DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige
The brand founded by Jerome de Witt has developed its own powerful and unmistakable style, one that casts its net far from classic esthetic and mechanical practices…
Those who have had the opportunity to visit the DeWitt manufacture in Meyrin (Geneva) have usually remarked on the special atmosphere of the place. It is otherworldly, in some ways, with lots of space. A hallway doubling as a museum welcomes the visitor with a backdrop featuring valuable watchmaking artifacts related to micro-engineering.
The factory serving creativity
To truly understand the level of excellence sought by the watchmakers at this company, it is crucial to mention some of the special aspects of the brand, whose artistic director is the owner and founder, a man impassioned by engineering.
First, let us look at design. It was shaped by the taste and esthetic influences of the man himself and was inspired by automotive collector's items and the Art-Deco movement. Worth mentioning as well is the company's will to remain independent. Right from the start, Jerome de Witt put all his efforts into verticalizing production, by attracting the necessary competencies to conceive and manufacture the brand's models. All the pieces from the haute horlogerie segment are the product of full industrial integration, and the brand is currently working on completing reliability tests on its basic movement, a three-hand automatic.
Among the brand's most remarkable workshops are those devoted to making the dials, where one finds all the necessary crafts and special skills, from electroplating and printing, to a guillocheur who still uses traditional machines. This very particular competence is rare for a watchmaking brand. Mostly, they have the work done by outside suppliers. But Jerome de Witt wanted to develop exceptional dials, so, naturally, he decided to have a sort of crème de la crème of dial makers under his roof at all times.
Tourbillon Prestige, outstanding engineering and style
The interaction between the brand's sire and the various crafts working inside the manufactory has given rise to very innovative timepieces, like the Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige. This watch perfectly sums up, in its own right, Jerome de Witt's interpretation of contemporary watchmaking. On the one hand, it is a genuine mechanical tour-de-force, notably its patented automatic sequential winding (A.S.W.) system, with a peripheral oscillating weight with a sinusoidal profile on its inner edge, which keeps the movement running optimally. On the other hand, pure watchmaking skill also reveals itself in a unique design with great attention given to details, notably the finishing on the movement and the complexity of the dial.
The Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige combines ease of use and chronometric precision. It is inhabited by the Caliber DW 8015, itself a derivation of the DW 8014, introduced for the first time in 2010. Automatic winding avoids having to manually recharge the spring barrel, but the irregularity of the energy feed inevitably causes running errors. In order to maintain optimal chronometric precision and still keep all the advantages of automatic winding, the DeWitt manufactory developed a brand new system (A.S.W., or Automatic Sequential Winding) that ensures even distribution of the energy. This patented mechanism lets the movement operate in an ideal functional range between 92% and 96% of the main-spring torque.
Another technical feat is the sweep seconds hand (dead-beats), which is directly connected to the tourbillon cage, making the seconds easier to read than when they are ticked off by the tourbillon cage. The regular pauses of the seconds hand adds an esthetic dimension to the watch, a steady rhythm that contrasts with the continuous movement of the tourbillon, which is driven by 18,000 vibrations per hour. The Caliber DW 8015, composed of 334 pieces, was developed and assembled entirely at the manufacture in Meyrin. The Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige comes in a limited edition of ninety-nine pieces. The bridge under the caliber of each piece features the signature of the watchmaker in charge of the movement and assembly.
Striking visuals, architectural quotes
True to the uncommon style of all de Witt products, the Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon Prestige features the brand's identifying imperial columns along the edge of the 46-millimeter case of rose gold. This visual impact is bolstered by the four screws inserted into the lugs. The crown, for its part, recalls the assembly of some industrial iron structures. The architectural design of the case is further boosted by the outstanding work on the dial and the opening at 6 o'clock, which offers a deep view into the depths of the tourbillon cage. The chocolate-colored dial is carved out with sharp angles, producing various open-worked surfaces that also reveal the mainplate and the gearwheels, as well as a power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock. The watch face, supported by a matt rhodium-plated grid structure and the assembly screws, revisits some of the typical Art-Deco ornaments without actually being entirely inspired by the style.
With its Tourbillon Prestige, the DeWitt manufactory is continuing down the stylistic track it embarked on in 2010 with the launch of the Twenty-8-Eight collection. The stylistic references subtly suggest the source of inspiration, while at the same time exhibiting a very individual and well-defined identity. It's undoubtedly an exceptional watch for buyers who are themselves exceptional and cultivated.