German born Bernhard Lederer established his highly successful company BLU in 2000. Originally he specialised in the restoration of vintage watches and clocks, as well as developing his own timepieces. With over 30 years of extensive experience in the watch industry he has utilised his immense talent to produce many exquisite creations. Essentially these innovations have won him international acclaim throughout the industry. The spectacular Gagarin Tourbillon perfectly highlights the extraordinary skills of this atelier.
It is really interesting that Bernhard Lederer has chosen the first man in space as inspiration for his latest timepiece. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made his historic journey on the morning of 12 April 1961. Even though this voyage lasted a mere 108 minutes, he has been immortalized through the passage of time. Bernhard has commemorated the 50th anniversary of this epic event by producing a monumental timepiece.
The dimensions of the Gagarin Tourbillon are modestly proportioned at 42 mm x 15 mm (46.5 mm with magnifying glass ring) Maybe this pays homage to the diminutive 5’ 2” stature of the subject. The case is beautifully sculpted from luxurious platinum 950. I can envisage the piece would be fairly lightweight and comfortable to wear. This watch would clearly be a treasured possession and would only be worn for the most special occasions. Just imagine how cool this timepiece would look under a dinner jacket for a movie premiere.
Visually the Gagarin Tourbillon is absolutely magnificent and the attention to detail is first rate. The façade of the watch is composed of a static central dial with intricate engravings chronicling Gagarin’s flight. An outer rotating ring displays the phenomenal orbiting tourbillon. The tourbillon is supported by a distinctive sweeping bridge inspired by the famous 25-metre commemorative statue near the Vostok landing site at Engels. This gives this sublime piece a three dimensional architectural quality.
As with all of BLU’s inventions there is a technical masterpiece located underneath the glorious exterior. This 35 jewel mechanical hand winding movement comprises 264 components and oscillates at a frequency of 28, 800 bph/4 Hz. All elements of this formidable caliber were hand finished and decorated by Bernhard Lederer in Switzerland. As well as displaying hours and minutes the watch also features a unique 60-second flying tourbillon that orbits the dial counter clockwise in 108 minutes.
The sensational Gagarin Tourbillon is a limited edition of 50 and priced at CHF 260,000 (approximately $274,000)