Ghostbusting & The Angelus U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante
The word “Ghostbusters” will mean different things to different people depending on when they were born. If you were old enough to see Ghostbusters when it first came out in June 1984, it will have a wholly different meaning for you than others.
While I was born after the film was released, I was already in the womb at the time and grew up in a world well acquainted with the Ghostbusters universe.
After its premiere, the original Ghostbusters broke studio records and held the top spot at the box office for at least nine weeks. Following a re-release in August 1985 (the studio must have known I was six months old and needed to see it), it became the highest grossing comedy of the 1980s. As time passed, the film entered the realm of legend to become a beloved comedy classic resulting in almost everyone knowing the answer to the question “Who you gonna call?”
Skip ahead to 2015 and the announcement that the original Ghostbusters film would be rebooted with an all-female ensemble and we see the Ghostbusters phenomenon take a new turn. While the film has rave reviews, many die-hard fans are furious and disappointed, but misogyny and racism also rear their ugly little heads.
Basically, the internet collectively lost its dang mind. When the first trailer made its debut in early in 2016, the firestorm swirled again: it was hard to miss the calls for boycotts and the eruption of hateful tweets aimed at the cast.
You tamper with collective fond memories at your peril, because that quickly incites anger and extremely strong opinions about what can or should be done in the name of memories. Many classic films have been rebooted, and many have met with the same sort of vitriol. People have a tendency to want their memories to stay pure, even if those memories have largely been psychologically aggrandized anyway.
The same goes for reviving a defunct watch brand, but luckily, like with movies, the detractors are almost always a minority; they just a very vocal minority.
When the name Angelus was resurrected from the grave to debut its first new watch in more than 35 years at Baselworld 2015, it was a real event (see Historic Swiss Brand Angelus Is Back And Presents The U10 Tourbillon Lumière).
Passionate and loud
When the new incarnation of Angelus launched in 2015 with the U10 Tourbillon Lumière, many passionates of vintage Angelus watches were upset. And they let everyone know about it. The U10 was an amazing timepiece, but it just didn’t fit their expectations.
But the U10 Tourbillon Lumière (see Photo Essay: The Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière) wasn’t some slapped-together pile of sticks and Elmer’s glue; it was a fantastically creative and accomplished piece of horology from the workshops of La Joux-Perret SA, the manufacture of Angelus (and sister brand Arnold & Son).
Still, hardcore collectors criticized both Angelus and the U10 loudly, claiming that it shared no easily discernible lineage or connection to the once great Angelus that many of them had in their own collections.
Of course it did, just not in the way they thought it should.
Irrespective of how wrong I think those collectors were, the next Angelus watches followed a slightly more classic direction, albeit a decidedly modern and avant-garde take on classic − one that nevertheless produced round watches with movements that wouldn’t necessarily seem mechanically out of place in a group of Angelus watches of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
Design-wise they were still very modern, though.
And the latest release is a very special chronograph that should make any WIS weak in the knees. Its name? The U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante.
The name is pretty straightforward, leaving its clearly classic and high watchmaking pedigree intact. The reality is so much more awesome, though.
Angelus has already presented two manufacture movements developed from the ground up, and now comes a chronograph, which is probably the most fitting watch to jibe with the Angelus history as it made its reputation with innovative chronographs like the Chronodate and a doctor-oriented model.
The U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is what I think the affronted collectors might have been hoping for as a debut model, though perhaps in a more vintage-styled package.
Engineering and design-minded
As is probably evident from the modern Angelus’s first two models, the idea was to create a challenging movement in a contemporary style, highlighting its technicalities.
The movement in the U30 centers around the double column wheel split-seconds chronograph function, which is partially visible from the dial side. The 30-minute counter is positioned at 3 o’clock, just above one of the column wheels that I suspect is the one tied to the split-seconds function.
The other major feature of the movement is on the opposite side of the dial, near 10:30: the tourbillon. Featuring a small black arched pointer, the tourbillon isn’t a gaudy showcase but a subtly technical and integrated part of the whole.
Even though almost the entire movement is skeletonized, the only portal through to the rear is where the tourbillon regulator is located, suspended in a window providing the subtle illusion that the tourbillon is floating.
On the bottom of the dial, visually balancing the tourbillon, is the 45-hour power reserve mechanism, something very important to the operation of a dual column wheel split-seconds chronograph with tourbillon. Given the large power requirements of such a movement, it is critical to be aware when the piece is running low.
The bridges are skeletonized in such a way that visually they make the shape of an A, which also happens to represent Angelus’s logo. Okay, tying the architecture of the movement into a cohesive unit was actually intentional: the A shape isn’t perfect, but it can definitely be seen. The openness of the layout results in the ability to better appreciate the skeletonized wheels and complex gear train delivering power where it’s needed.
The rear view of the movement doesn’t reveal any big surprises; it’s fairly simple design that uses a couple features to maximum benefit. The main plate is really a three-quarter plate with the only opening being the tourbillon window.
The rest of the plate has lightly machined pockets to resemble a skeletonized movement. This brings the aesthetic flow from the front to the rear without adding visual complexity through skeletonizing and complicating the construction of the split-seconds (rattrapante) chronograph mechanism.
Next we find the second chronograph column wheel, only partially covered by an overhanging ledge. This, combined with the edge of a heart-shaped cam poking out from under the main plate, hints at the complex mechanisms residing on the other side of the plate.
Finally, swinging across the entire rear of the movement is the automatic winding rotor, with arms highly reminiscent of bridges found in some Arnold & Son movements like the TB88. It’s clear that relationships exist between the design teams for the different movements.
Straight and square skeletonizing shows up across the Angelus movement bridges, and the rotor arms are no different. Fitting perfectly with the aesthetic of the movement architecture, it ties the models together with details and applied finishes. One last unique touch on this movement is the use of special screw heads. These require a triple triangular screw driver, meaning only the brand’s own watchmakers can work on it (or anyone skilled enough to fabricate their own special screwdriver).
The rest of the details are rather standard fare: the awesome “A” logo shows up in three places; the lugs, hour hand, and minute hand also show evidence of skeletonizing; and the crown features a push button for activating the split-seconds function. We’ve seen features like this before, but usually only from major, established brands.
Granted, La Joux-Perret is a well-established movement maker for many brands, but it is still surprising to see such effort spent on a relatively new watch brand.
Following the first releases from Angelus, the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante does not fail to impress and excite. With the initial blowback of the first launch all but extinguished by now, people have the chance to really evaluate the brand and its pieces on their own merit, something that the new Ghostbusters movie is experiencing as well.
Unlike the new Ghostbusters movie, however, it feels like Angelus keeps hitting them out of the park; the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is poised to build a solid foundation for chronographs from the brand.
It also seems like a little bit more of the history of Angelus is creeping into the pieces, if only in essence and not in practical application. Many hardcore collectors might still dismiss Angelus for this reason, but they would be missing the chance to be tickled by the new things coming from the contemporary Angelus.
And if the design of the U30 doesn’t win over the naysayers, perhaps the price will. $59,950 for an integrated manufacture movement featuring a flyback, split seconds chronograph and tourbillon regulator is more than very good value.
The U10 Tourbillon Lumière is a showstopper; the U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon (see It’s Not What You Think: Angelus U20 Ultra-Skeleton Tourbillon) is fantastic; and the newest releases, the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante and the U40 Racing Tourbillon Skeleton, all indicate Angelus is headed in the right direction: Awesometown.
Angelus is even running a pretty strong campaign for mayor of Awesometown and, given a good turnout at the sales polls, this could be a landslide race.
I have to wonder what Angelus has in store for the U50, U60, and U70 or if it might change things up and introduce a fundamentally different line with a different naming convention. Time will tell!
Until then, the breakdown! Who you gonna call?!?!
- Wowza Factor * 9.1 The wowza from this watch comes more from its speedy release after two other amazing watches from a new brand. Wowza is an understatement!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 88.9 » 871.811 m/s2 The force behind this piece is amplified by the momentum of Angelus and La Joux-Perret in creating fantastic new watches. There are some serious Gs being pulled by this watch.
- M.G.R. * 68.8 Automatic, double column wheel, split-seconds chronograph with power reserve and tourbillon . . . that is a pretty geektastic assembly!
- Added-Functionitis * Serious Finally not a time-only watch! Like has been stated before, double column wheel split-seconds chronograph with flyback and power reserve. Oh, yeah! It looks like you may need prescription strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for the very impressive horological swelling.
- Ouch Outline * 11.4 Blinded by a hot arc being struck by a welder while you forget to wear a welding mask. Doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does: ugh. White spots for hours and if you look too long, sandy, itchy eyes all night. But to get this thing on my arm I might willingly stare into the miniature sun!
- Mermaid Moment * I love pressing buttons! For someone that likes to play with their toys, not many watches can beat a split-seconds chronograph with flyback. It is just so darn fun. So much fun that I may have to start looking for DJs for the reception.
- Awesome Total * 705 Multiply the power reserve in hours (45) with the diameter of the case (47 mm), then divide by the water resistance in atmospheres (3 ATM) and you end up with an extremely timely awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.angelus-watches.com/en-us/urban-collection/u30-tourbillon-rattrapante.
Case: 47 x 15 mm, grade 5 titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber Angelus A-150 with one-minute tourbillon
Functions: hours, minutes; split seconds chronograph with flyback, power reserve