New for 2012 is the Glashütte Original Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon, a timepiece which is as unusual as it is useful, a watch with a complexity matched only by its user-friendly simplicity and unsurprisingly the Saxony brand are rather chuffed with it.
The Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon has been years in the making. Glashütte Original have described it as the "most unusual and sophisticated masterpiece in our history" - quite a sweeping statement when you consider the achievements thus far of the Saxony brand and one which bears witness to the extraordinary mechanisms required to harmonise the compendium of complications which it contains.
The piece displays home time and a destination time, chosen from one of 37 time zones which includes those cities with fractional off-sets. Each is identified by its IATA code inscribed on a city ring and displayed in two apertures at 8 o'clock, one for Standard Time, one for Daylight Saving Time, which, with a touch of ingenious engineering are each correctly accounted for. Home time is displayed at 6 o'clock on a 24-hour dial with a day/night indicator, destination time is located on the centre dial. These additional features ensure that even with fuzzy-headed jet lag you need never phone anyone, anywhere, at an unreasonable hour of the day or night again.
These are complications made simple - first set the home time - hours and minutes, then the time of the chosen second time zone. Next up, the Perpetual Calendar - set the date, day of the week, month, year and leap year. In a singular triumphant raising of the horological bar, a simple turn of the crown will change all five date displays as required - if travelling west turn the crown anti-clockwise, if travelling east turn the crown clockwise. This Perpetual Calendar will quite happily mark the days and years, needing no intervention - not even a date change from March 1st back to February 29th or 28th will confuse its marvellous mechanical memory. All but the most strong-willed wearer may be tempted to fiddle with this outstanding display, but this is a mechanism which must be respected, and one which is more than praiseworthy.
Not familiar with your International Airport codes? They have thought of that too - on the case back, a hunter-style case is engraved with all 37 timezones in IATA format. Beneath this, sapphire crystal offers a view of the Glashütte Original Calibre 89-01 with its uncluttered panorama of Glashütte ribbing, gold chatons and winding wheels, a movement with a generous 72 hours of power reserve.
Then there's the dial - each indication is beautifully laid out with none of the overlapping often synonymous with this brand. You may remember the excellent Flying Tourbillon featured on last year's Sixties Square Tourbillon, created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Alfred Helwig's birthday - the inclusion of a flying Tourbillon on this piece is there "just because.." and with its excellent anatomical look-see into its minute components is a very fine feature indeed.
The dial, itself is made from silver-grained 18K gold edged with slender Roman numerals and a fine railtrack chapter ring. With a case measurement of 48mm this is a substantial piece with an abundance of stand-alone space for each indication and feature. Personalisation is offered - the owner can, if required have their own home town enscribed in the form of IATA code, a splendid bespoke detail.
The Glashütte Original Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon is constructed from platinum, comes presented in a finely decorated watch case and will be limited to just 25 pieces worldwide.