Watchuseek Blog

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 new masterpieces: The Zenith Academy Collection Grand Complications

Manufacture Zenith has been extremely busy releasing three exceptional new timepieces to their Zenith Academy Collection Grand Complications for this Autumn and they simply glitter with an incredibly high degree of craftsmanship: The Academy Minute Repeater automatic, also equipped with a chronograph; the Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute to Charles Fleck with “Gravity Control” system; as well as the three-hand Captain Tourbillon model. Each comes in a limited edition of just 25 pieces.

Academy Minute Repeater

•    New El Primero chronograph minute repeater
•    El Primero 4043 calibre; 461 components, 46 jewels
•    Hand-guilloché dial

The Academy Minute Repeater features one of the most difficult major complications to produce, housed in a 55mm Zenith Family Elite casing. It works with an entirely original repeater system: a patented mechanism built around a single rack governing three types of chime.

At the heart of the Academy Minute Repeater beats the integrated El Primero 4043 movement totalling no less than 461 components housed within a case just 18.36 mm thick and with an impressive 50 hour power reserve. There’s a slither of openworked through which you can view the minute repeater hammers. 

Through the duration of the chime, the intensity is maintained at a constant level thanks to an inertia governor in the form of an active brake. In order to avoid any loss of synchronisation during the travel of the three cams activating the hammers, a “surprise” device ensures their simultaneous transition at the end of the 59th minute, thus ensuring the perfect coordination of the hour chime.


Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute To Charles Fleck

•    The Christophe Colomb module: a major milestone
      in mechanical watchmaking
•    Inspired by the legendary marine chronometer instrument
•    A self-regulating gyroscopic module to guarantee
    flat positioning of the regulating organ

This is the first classic tourbillon with a three-hand display in the Captain Collection. The construction of a tourbillon is one of the most difficult horological feats to accomplish. This mechanical device enhances precision by counter-balancing the gravity-induced disturbances affecting the regularity of the balance. 

Charles Fleck was an exceptional precision timer who also left an indelible imprint on history, notably that of watchmaking, during the over 30 years that he spent at the Manufacture Zenith. Between 1925 and 1956, he registered a number of patents both for Zenith and under his own name and took part in developing Calibre 135 which won a number of chronometry prizes, including the prestigious Best Wristwatch Prize over five consecutive years.


At the heart of the Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute to Charles Fleck beats a self-regulating gyroscopic mechanism representing one of the major breakthroughs in 21st century watchmaking. 

With a movement that took a full five years of research, the Academy Christophe Colomb Tribute to Charles Fleck beats at a frequency of 10 vibrations per second, amounting to 36,000 per hour – an exceptional cadence that entailed even greater complexity.

The anthracite of the movement, the blue of the hands and screws, and the rose gold of the gear wheels, three screw-down sapphire dials are captivating while further emphasizing the magic of the dome at 6 o’clock. A rare collector’s piece in tribute to Charles Fleck.

Captain Tourbillon

•    Classic Zenith legacy watch
•    Automatic 40-mm tourbillons beating at 36,000 vph
•    Only non-chronograph tourbiillon in the Zenith Collection

The Captain Tourbillon features an off-centred rotating carriage that performs one rotation per minute and incorporates a small seconds hand. While the timepiece is above all classic by nature, it also pays homage to the Zenith heritage with an automatic El Primero calibre, a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour, a 50-hour power reserve, and a dial generously revealing the movement. 

With a nod to the 1950s Captain watches, the elegant dial features a brushed silver-toned centre, a grained silver-toned hour circle and a polished minute circle with a velvet finish. 

There’s also a transparent sapphire crystal case-back to glimpse the El Primero 4041 S movement, equipped with 199 parts and the world’s only tourbillon beating at a high frequency, with a 25% higher number of to-and-fro balance movements than on other constructions.

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