No negatives: The Horage Lensman 1 is a Swiss-made tourbillon for under 10K inspired by photographyZach Blass
The watch community enjoys an intimate relationship with photography. Like many other elements of our lives in this digital era, the watches we buy are not only flexed on our wrists, but also on our social-media profiles. Decades ago, the idea of the wrist-roll or wrist-shot did not exist amongst watch buyers. Today, however, photography has become so tied to watch collecting that many collectors often look to purchase high-end cameras from brands like Hasselblad and Leica (the latter of which now produces its own high-end watches), or invest in the latest smartphone to ensure they have the most megapixels when it comes to shooting their watch. Horage, the sister brand of well-known independent movement manufacturer THE Plus, acknowledges and honours the ties between horology and photography with a new Swiss-made tourbillon watch offered for under CHF 10K: the Horage Lensman 1.
Landon Stirling, marketing director for Horage, explains: “We’re passionate about horology, but many of us are also photography enthusiasts with professional backgrounds. The new Horage Lensman 1 honours the pioneers of photography and watchmaking and those they have inspired to this day. Oskar Barnack designed the first commercial 35mm camera in 1925 and Abraham-Louis Breguet improved a watch’s accuracy with the invention of the tourbillon in 1795, later to be patented in 1801. Those two individuals created devices that bring us all a little closer to the moment.”
The through line is abundantly clear as you look at the flanks of the grade 5 titanium case with a clear motif of the body of a 35mm rangefinder lens immediately discernible. But do not mistake the knurling around the perimeter as a means to rotate and adjust the focal length of your watch.
This homage to Barnack and Breguet, even with a flying tourbillon, is highly robust – the grade 5 titanium case (with push/pull crown) being 100m water-resistant. The 41mm case – 10.3mm thick and 49mm across the wrist lug-to-lug – carries a brushed finish around its case band, with the thin bezel and lug hoods mirror polished.
As we have seen from many of Horage’s calibres, the brand has opted to utilise a darkened aesthetic to the dial. The black dial is comprised of two textures, the central medallion a pebbled matte and outer ring executed with a ridged guilloche texture. Its outermost ring, the stepped inner bezel, is home to an outer minutes track with dark grey hashes and numerals placed subtly yet legibly on a black ring. Moving back inwards, the applied indices – single bar aside from the double bar indices at 12′, 3′, 6′,and 9′ – are diamond cut and fashioned from black gold. Interestingly, the hands are left rhodium-plated or displayed in a white-metal tone.
This makes them incredibly easy to discern against the black backdrop, but considering the rest of the visible components of the dial are black in nature, they do disrupt the blackened aesthetic a bit. The semi-skeletonised hands, also diamond-cut, are half-filled with white Super-LumiNova, while the indices have a more phantom filling with Super-LumiNova in black. I cannot help but wonder if the visuals would have been better served were it 100% blackened, although that could cause legibility issues. But as I have not yet held this watch ‘in the metal’, I will reserve judgment for now. One last notable element of the dial is the sapphire crystal, and the large cyclops lens that rests above the 6′ position in order to magnify the view of the flying tourbillon beneath. Considering the watch is named the Lensman 1, it is fitting an actual lens has a presence in the offering.
The Horage Lensman 1 is outfitted on a black leather strap with red accents to the stitching. Its texture takes inspiration from the grip found on the body of a camera. The strap is secured to the wrist via Horage’s proprietary deployment folding clasp, offering a greater sense of luxury than a standard pin/buckle.
Inside and visible beneath an exhibition caseback is the brand’s in-house hand-wound tourbillon calibre K-TOU. It utilises a darkened aesthetic with blackened bridges, slightly openworked with their familiar grid pattern. A large barrel can be seen at the 12′ of the movement, housing a mainspring that affords the calibre five full days, or 120 hours, of power reserve on a full wind. On the perimeter of the caseback, engraved in relief, is a paraphrased quote from French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: “One’s head, one’s heart and one’s eye on the same axis.”
The entire watch is Swiss-made with the exception of three silicon components found in the tourbillon escapement. The flying tourbillon, made of case-matching titanium, weighs a mere 0.29 grams and is 3.4mm thick. Thin chamfers grace the edges of the carriage, with linear graining to give it a modern yet elegant finish. And, of course, with the silicon components the K-TOU calibre affords greater resistance against magnetism – a chronometrical nemesis in the modern era.
Horage Lensman 1 pricing and availability:
At pre-order, the Lensman 1 is priced at CHF 8,390, however, returning customers will get a special Loyalty Price of CHF 7,990 (again all prices include tax/duties). After pre-order the regular retail price of Lensman 1 is CHF 8,890.
Pre-orders open in November 2022 for five days only (exact date announced 10 days prior). The watch will be produced as a single edition with total production dependent on the amount ordered – with a 500 piece cap on production. To learn more about purchasing the Horage Lensman 1 you can click here.
|Case Dimensions||41mm x 10.3mm x 49mm|
|Case Materials||Grade 5 Titanium|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire crystals (dial and caseback), Sapphire lens above tourbillon. Double AR-Coated.|
|Dial||Black with black gold applied indices, black SuperLuminova® luminous inserts, flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, 60 minute track|
|Straps||Black or red stitched hand/Swiss Made calf leather with camera body-inspired texture and Horage‘s proprietary deployant buckle|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, flying tourbillon|
|Power Reserve||120 hours|
|Availability||November 2022 pre-order|
|Price||CHF 8,390 (pre-order), CHF 7,990 (loyalty price), CHF 8,890 (after pre-order price)|