It’s true to say that Manufacture Royale is a little different to most other watch brands. Established by the philosopher, inventor and trier of everything, Voltaire, in 1770, even from its first steps, this was a company for whom exception to the rule was the de facto mode. Fast forward almost 250 years, and the name was resurrected in 2010, and although re-emerging in a completely different world, that spirit of eccentricity and creation is still at the core of this fascinating brand, and this is vividly brought to life in the remarkable Manufacture Royale Androgyne Tourbillon.
With its bold, non conformist and uncompromising case design, Androgyne is a piece with polarising effect. A strong and pronounced aesthetic has a steampunk feel, and makes it a watch which does not even attempt to do discrete, but while this flamboyant styling will never be to the taste of everyone, it is in fact part of what this brand represents – craftsmanship and watchmaking skills of exceptionally high quality, but different, and in this distinction, Manufacture Royale caters for the discerning collector who lives by their own codes, and doesn’t care much for what others think.
The Androgyne Tourbillon is encased in stainless steel with a bronze PVD treatment, and surrounding the case is a complex structure of tubular limbs and form part of the lug assembly, which is articulated by mobile joints for a superb fit and comfort. At its centre. the body of the case, which houses the mechanism is round, with twelve screw heads embedded into the bezel, which as well as being decorative, also double as hour indices.
Beneath the sapphire crystal the architecture of the hand produced movement is laid bare, with the tourbillon seemingly suspended in its own space in the lower portion of the display. Above it, the silvery surfaces of the main plate and the bridges are finished with a grainy effect, which contrasts against the blue the hour and minute hands. This allows a view of the winding and setting mechanism as well as the coiled spring inside the open barrel. The tourbillon in the lower part of the display is suspended beneath a green bridge, and appears almost disconnected from the rest of the movement as it rotates in a sixty second cycle.
As with every other part of the watch, the hand winding MR02 movement which powers the Manufacture Royale Androgyne Tourbillon has been produced in house, and finished by hand. The flying tourbillon is secured from beneath and so it rotates in a sixty second cycle seemingly unconnected to the rest of the movement. Beating at 21’600vph it has an impressive power reserve of at least 108 hours when fully wound.
A piece with immense presence and character, from its very own corner in the world of independent haute horlogerie, the Manufacture Royale Androgyne Tourbillon is presented on a faded blue alligator leather strap with pin buckle.