This was the question Benson Ko a long time watch collector and Horage enthusiast inquired about. He had signed up for the April 24th Challenge Taiwan a Half-Ironman and said he hadn't ever seen a tourbillon at such an event and therefore he wanted to see how the Touribllon 1 would stand up to the Challenge Taiwan. As a professional chef Benson is heavily reliant on time and has amassed an incredible watch collection. There are tourbillons in his collection, but none he would consider competing in a high endurance race with. That is until he learned about the Tourbillon 1 and our use of a super stable bearing construction that would make the Tourbillon 1 a true everyday wear. His creative mind kicked into high gear and he inquisitively asked us if he could put the Tourbillon 1 to the test. If you are unfamiliar with a Half-Ironman it consists of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run. The name of the event says it all, it's a challenge for anyone to take part in and equally a challenge for the equipment participants rely on for the event. The two main sections of the event for the Tourbillon 1's performance were the swim and the run. The bike ride would only pose a challenge to Benson's tan lines or so he thought as he would be partaking in the event double wristed (fyi, wristed is not a word). On one arm he wore his Garmin and on the other Tourbillon 1. With the Tourbillon 1 and a customized waterproof Swiss Made sturgeon skin strap all firmly planted on his right wrist he set out to put himself and our newly developed watch to the test. Benson has competed six times in triathlons so his mind was well trained for what to expect and how to mitigate any surprises along the way, for Tourbillon 1 the challenge was water resistance and accuracy. The first leg of the event was as always the Swim. Tourbillon 1 comes with a 100m water resistance. Water resistance testing is performed in a pressure chamber where the watch is fully submerged in water and pressure increased to determine the watch case, crystal and seals performance. Read most forums or recommended use from brands and although their watches are water resistant they often times do not recommend swimming with watches despite a watch being over 100m in water resistance.
Why is that?
Well, the fact of the matter is that swimming, especially competitive swimming involves the repetitive impact of the watch with water and this places watch seals under immense stress. Aside from the seal stability is the risk of a crown opening if not screwed down. Well, the Tourbillon 1 is not a screw down crown however our team have worked to ensure the sealing system is incredibly robust and have carefully perfected crown setting tension. To put things in perspective, Benson said his Garmin was tracking an average swim stroke rate of 44 cycles per minute, over 1.9km and this means his arms would have impacted the water 1790 times before completing the swim event. Our lab tests were in sync with Bensons real-world swim test which proved that a well designed push/pull system can achieve incredible performance. Water aside, one should consider what such impacts do to a watches regulating system and accuracy. As mentioned earlier the Tourbillon 1 is built with a ceramic bearing construction. Our engineers design movements to industrial standards, which means unlike manufacture movements, industrial movements must be far more reliable and this means making movements designed for the real world. Bearings are extremely strong, efficient and most importantly add to the watches shock resistance. The only negative attribute to a bearing construction is that our production cost was higher than if we were to go with a more fragile jewel and pinion construction like other tourbillons on the market. Less time spent in service means less cost for both enthusiast and for company so the bearing was the winner hands down. The bearing construction proved to be extremely stable and kept the silicon anchor and escape wheel ticking along with each and every meter of Bensons event. After leaving the water Benson headed onto the bike event and during that portion he was left to admire his wrist candy as it twinkled in the warm Taiwanese light, or so we would like to think. In actual fact for 60km, between the 20km and 80km points of the race Benson was fighting against rain and storm winds. His primary focus during this time was set on fighting the gusts of wind that repeatedly tried to push him off course. Additionally he was also fighting an internal battle due to strong stomach cramps. Eventually the weather would subside with just 10km of the cycle to go. On to the third and final leg of the event, the run; Benson was left to battle a half marathon mixed with a side order of escalating stomach cramps. The pain he was feeling increased and peaked at the 5km point at which time he focused in on his breathing and pace to push through the final 16km of the race. It goes without saying there is a lot of arm movement in running and we have had many reach out to ask us if running with mechanical watches is ok. The answer we give is always yes. As for tourbillons I believe many manufacturers might advise against running, again due to the delicate nature of the cage construction. Tourbillon 1 as earlier mentioned makes due with a robust bearing construction which enables it to keep stride with you each and every leg of your run.
Crossing the finish line, Benson despite rain, wind and stomach pain, had reached a personal best. The Tourbillon 1 also successfully finished its first triathlon and celebrated with an unwavering tick tock. Our hats go off to Benson for finishing the Challenge Taiwan event and for being the first to partake in a triathlon with a tourbillon. He risked it all for the every day wearer and we hope his test of endurance helps the new Tourbillon 1 owners sleep a little easier at night. Before we depart from this post I would like to thank all of you for your continued support of the Tourbillon 1 project. Many of you have received your watches and many of you are still waiting. True watchmaking is an endurance event and each watch is made by our team in-house with real hands. They have taken great care to ensure performance is as expected and as each batch is complete they ready them for shipment. We love the many email, photo and video messages we receive from those who ordered as it is fuel for our team to keep driving forward. We are nearing the finish line for the early supporters of the project and myself and the entire team would like to say thank you to each and everyone of you for being an integral part of HORAGE. Until next time...