It’s been quiet for some time now on The Horophile (not that it’s ever been that active 😛 ). To make up for lost time, I’m pleased to present the first hands-on look anywhere on the web of a timepiece you’ll surely be hearing a lot about during Baselworld 2015 in a few days, the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière that marks the return of the acclaimed Swiss watch and movement manufacturer.


After the incredible turnaround accomplished with Arnold & Son in a short few years, it didn’t really come as a surprise to me that La Joux-Perret would bring another name in watchmaking lore back from dead. Angelus, however, wasn’t an obvious choice.

And yet, Angelus is a name that any seasoned horophile would know about. Paneristis will tell you all about the coveted Luminor with an Angelus 8-days movement, while vintage chronograph aficionados will go on about the Angelus Chronodato from the 1940’s, the first watch to feature an automatic chronograph with a complete calendar and digital (window) displays for the day and month. If anything, Angelus was a bold, avant-garde watchmaker that like many, had to cease operations during the “Quartz Crisis” of the 1980s.

It is within this context that the resurrected brand’s first timepiece, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière, makes sense. I know that many would have rather seen a simpler, “vintage-inspired” chronograph that superficially paid homage to Angelus’ heritage, but that would have been too easy.  The U10 Tourbillon Lumière is a statement piece that fully exhibits the potential and creativity that La Joux-Perret can bring to Angelus and I have to say, it’s rather impressive.


With its oblong case, deconstructed movement and a whole lot of sapphire windows, the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière could easily be classified as a futuristic, experimental timepiece that has absolutely nothing to do with the historical Angelus. A closer look however would reveal several details that recall former Angelus creations, namely their prized multi-function table clocks.
1937 copy

Inspired by the creations of industrial designer Dieter Rams with clear zoning of functions, the case has an overall retro style evocative of the 60s and 70s. The way its angled and faceted with smooth corners makes it feel far less “boxy” in the metal. The U10 Tourbillon Lumière’s case is crafted from annealed BO-988 steel, which is supposedly tougher than the standard 316L steel alloy used in countless watches. With polished and satin-brushed surfaces as well as a matte interior and black PVD around the tourbillon escapement to add to its floating appearance.



The watch was designed to make the toubrillon stand out as much as possible, and in this respect I think they nailed it. The movement has a deconstructed form, with the tourbillon escapement being separate from the rest of it. Visible from multiple angles thanks to the curved sapphire crystal as will as two windows on the sides of the case,



One thing you’ll notice is that the flying tourbillon is pretty big, with the rounded cage measuring a massive 16.25 mm cage in diameter. It’s worth noting that the cage is made in steel. The balance wheel is screwed and features a Breguet overcoil, oscillating at a frequency of 2.5Hz or 18,000 vph, which is a typical speed for balances this big.


Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-9

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-17

Besides just a lateral view of the tourbillon, a second sapphire crystal on the lug-side of the case reveals a clever power reserve indicator, executed on a linear axis with a vertical hand. The manually-wound watch has a power reserve of 90 hours.

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-power-reserve

The round dial is set beneath a raised and faceted cushion sapphire crystal and is done in smoked translucent sapphire with painted luminescent markings. It’s most outstanding feature is the dead-beat seconds hand, which ticks in one-second increments rather than in a sweeping movement, much like a quartz movement.

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-dial

The case back reveals a view onto the two distinct parts of the movement, and it couldn’t be more atypical from your average display back. On one side you have a satin-brushed flying tourbillon’s single bridge made of light but shock-absorbing titanium.

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-movement-1

On the other you have the nickel-silver manipulate with the barrels and gear train. The A100 calibre features two mainspring barrels set into an unusually decorated bridge featuring a high-tech laser-engraved and satin-finished striped pattern. The two ratchet wheels are also laser-engraved and enamelled.

Working in series, the two mainspring barrels are optimally sized in a special ratio for a flatter torque curve,  maintaining accuracy throughout for the full 90 hours.

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-movement-2

On the wrist, the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière takes some getting used to. Inconspicuous it is not. Measuring 62.75 mm x 38 mm, it takes up a fair bit of wrist and dare I say forearm real-estate, though that’s not to say it’s unbearable. The way it’s designed is that the watch can be tucked under the cuff to reveal only the tourbillon. In terms of ergonomics, it could limit some of your wrist movement. And unless you wear your watch on the right wrist (not that there’s anything wrong with that) winding the movement while the watch is worn won’t be easy. I personally always wind my watches when they’re off my wrist, so this doesn’t bother me much.

Overall, wearing it was more comfortable than I would have expected.

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-review

Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière-7

And last but not least, here’s a short video I made of the first working prototype:

I have to say, when I first saw the press release images of the U10, I didn’t quite get it. Maybe it’s because we’ve become accustomed to seeing revived brands taking pages out of their own history and essentially rehash what’s already been done. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that Angelus should be a forward-thinking brand. And if this watch is any indication of things to come, then Angelus is a name you’ll be hearing much more of in the months and years to come.

The Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière is part of Angelus’ Urban collection, and will be limited to 25 pieces. The price will be confirmed in the next few days.

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