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News: The Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920, The Best-Looking Tourbillon You Can’t See

This is something special, something German—no, I’m not talking about another A. Lange & Söhne. Here we have the Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920, quite possibly the best-looking tourbillon watch of 2020.

For those of you that don’t know, Alfred Helwig taught at the German Watchmaking School in Glashütte between 1913 and 1954. Having taught some 800 students and attained the role of Technical Director of the school, Helwig was one of Germany’s best watchmakers. But that’s not all: in 1920, Helwig invented the flying tourbillon.

Alfred Helwig invented the flying tourbillon in 1920

Alfred Helwig invented the flying tourbillon in 1920

Where a traditional tourbillon would usually be sandwiched between the movement plate and upper bridge, Helwig’s flying tourbillon meant that it was only attached on one side. This meant tourbillon watches could be made thinner and the tourbillon could actually be seen.

So, to mark 100 years since the invention, Glashütte Original has produced this: the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920. Upon first glance the watch appears quite simple. I know what you’re thinking: “A simple watch for a simple idea then”—but while the core concept is as straightforward as taking away one side of support, I can assure you the execution, just like this watch, is anything but. A rose gold case, complete with a dial made from silver-plated gold—and what’s that written in the small seconds? “Tourbillon”

A flying tourbillon is only supported on one side

A flying tourbillon is only supported on one side

Flipping the watch around reveals the hand-wound caliber 54-01, a movement containing the flying tourbillon in all its glory. No distractions—except a little Glashütte Original style added here and there—just pure homage and respect for one of German watchmaking’s best.

At just under £100,000 and limited to just 25 pieces, the Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 is a watch that will not be easy to get your hands on. But that’s ok. It’s a piece that shines a light on some of watchmaking’s lesser-known history and pays its respects to an invention that shaped the modern tourbillon as we know it.

The Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 is limited to just 25 pieces and costs just under £100,000

The Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig Tourbillon 1920 is limited to just 25 pieces and costs just under £100,000

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