Pocket watches of the 1600s were often crafted with delicate floral motifs. Soft colour palettes, such as pastel shades, were often used on these watches. Floral motifs can be found on contemporary wrist watches as well. For instance, luxury watchmaker Hublot and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami have collaborated for an artistic timepiece, the face of which is shaped like a flower. The MP-15 Takashi Murakami Tourbillon Sapphire (Ref. 915.JX.4802.RT) is the latest flower motif-dial watch, which is limited to only 50 pieces. The new reference is the brand’s first limited edition with a central flying tourbillon.
A central flying tourbillon is a sophisticated and highly regarded complication in mechanical watchmaking. A tourbillon is a rotating cage that holds the balance wheel and the escapement of a watch, compensating for errors in timekeeping, caused by changes in the watch's position. A central flying tourbillon takes this a step further by placing the entire mechanism at the centre of the dial; this can enhance precision by minimising the effect of gravitational forces, especially in different orientations. Constructing a central flying tourbillon is a complex and challenging task for watchmakers. The design requires high levels of skill and precision, underscoring a manufacturer's technical prowess. The intricate nature of the movement also makes it a symbol of excellence in watchmaking.
There is nothing conventional about the 42 mm Hublot MP-15 Takashi Murakami, a polished sapphire crystal case watch. Here, the case, the movement, and the dial merge into an extraordinary composition, resembling the shape of a flower. The tourbillon is surrounded by Takashi Murakami's iconic motif — a 12-petal flower made entirely of sapphire. The case, the caseback, and the crown are also made of sapphire, not to mention the translucent flange.
The hands of this unusual watch are moved to the edge to display the time. The hours and minutes are indicated all around by the tips of two hands. These are not arranged centrally, but peripherally, and run under the tourbillon cage. Twelve white indices on the flange and the black-coated hands with white SuperLumiNova ensure constant readability. The watch is wound and set via a crown at 3 o'clock.
The HUB9015 hand-wound flying central tourbillon has a power reserve of 150 hours. For complete winding, Hublot supplies a special stylus that is charged via a USB port. It is placed on the crown to wind it gently and easily with 100 revolutions until the two barrels that drive the central tourbillon are fully wound. The watch doesn’t have any top bridge. All components are skeletonised; part of the gear train and all components of the tourbillon, which seemingly floats in space, are visible. The watch is finished on a transparent decorated rubber strap with a sapphire crystal and titanium deployant buckle.