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INTRODUCING: Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3

The tourbillon-equipped hands-free watch gets a high-tech update with help from Black Badger.

We’ve previously expressed our admiration for Hautlence’s brand of evocative watchmaking that is often at odds with preconceived notions and prevailing trends, especially with recent releases such as its Linear Series 2 and the GPHG-winning Sphere Series 1. Unique aesthetic sensibilities notwithstanding, its ability to consistently present novel ways of displaying the passage of time has led us to expect the unexpected from the avant-garde indie. Perhaps the only thing we can count on is the signature TV-shaped case applied across its current collections. 

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3
A space-age superconductor material imbues the Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3 with a sci-fi edge.

While Hautlence’s latest release revisits the Vagabonde Tourbillon’s tourbillon-equipped hands-free time display, which debuted in 2019, it’s its fascinating dial crafted from a space-age material that imbues the watch with a surprisingly apt sci-fi edge. At first blush, long-time followers of the brand would recognise the honeycomb pattern that has repeatedly appeared in its timepieces since its inception in 2004. However, rather than a mere geometric pattern, it is actually the structure of the dial’s base material.

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3
Another collaborative effort with James ‘Black Badger’ Thompson, the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3’s dial features a copper-niobium superconductor dial with a tight honeycomb network.

Originally intended for particle accelerators due to its unique physical properties, a copper-niobium superconductor material is instead used to forge the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3’s three-dimensional dial. To that end, Hautlence roped in its friend and collaborator James ‘Black Badger’ Thompson, who’d previously worked on another Vagabonde piece. Consisting of copper with hexagonal niobium filaments, the material first undergoes a precise cross-grain cutting process. Subsequently, it is immersed in an acid bath, which corrodes the copper while the niobium remains unscathed, to unveil a visually striking and tightly contrasting honeycomb network. The outcome is an extraordinary lattice of raw metal that exudes a distinctive and almost organic aesthetic.

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3
The Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3’s novel time display is a reinvention of the traditional wandering hours complication.

A ripple-like pattern is then created by meticulously removing the superconductor material, the centre of which is where the time display resides. A reinvention of the traditional wandering hours complication, the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3 has three rotating hour satellites hidden under stationary matte black hour discs with an aperture above the central axis showing the current hour. The sapphire minutes track, on the other hand, rotates and aligns with the hour window to indicate the current minutes. To enhance legibility, the applied minute numerals are made from Globolight, a ceramic compound loaded with Super-LumiNova.

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3
The self-winding D30 calibre of the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3 is showcased by a sapphire crystal caseback.

Powering the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3, the self-winding D30 calibre has a minimum power reserve of 72 hours and is equipped with an efficient bidirectional pawl winding system. Seemingly taking a backseat amidst all the visual intrigue on the dial, the one-minute flying tourbillon features a double hairspring in an open bar-shaped carriage, all expertly produced in-house by Precision Engineering AG, Hautlence’s sister company.

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3
The heft of the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3’s stainless steel case is visually tamped down by a midnight blue PVD coating.

While the Vagabonde Tourbillon was initially introduced in 5N red gold as well as an iced-out pièce unique covered in diamonds and blue sapphires, we reckon it’s finally come into its own with its latest incarnation in stainless steel. Though its dimensions have been bumped up slightly to 43.0 x 50.8 x 11.9 mm, the increase in size is hardly noticeable thanks to the midnight blue PVD coating, which perfectly complements the high-tech dial. Limited to 28 pieces, the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3 is paired with an integrated white rubber strap, ensuring a comfortable fit on most wrists despite its relative heft.

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tourbillon, Sports luxe, Hautlence