Cyrus Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon
Carl Eady reveals his fondness for a neoteric timepiece endowed with a vertical tourbillon, thought-provoking styling and high-end finishing.
This detailed review of the Cyrus Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon includes images, specification details and pricing
Cyrus the Great (c600-530BC) hailed from Persis (Persia) and was a visionary ruler who founded the first Persian Empire ‘Achaemenid’, which at the time was the world’s largest empire. He went on to conquer the Median, Lydian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Despite his undoubted power and prowess for military strategy, he respected the culture and traditions of the lands he conquered.
Named after this most inspirational leader, the brand ‘Cyrus’ arrived on the horology scene in 2010. In its own words, the brand demonstrates ‘a conquering spirit and the courage to take risks’. Whilst the company’s designs may challenge those possessing more conservative tastes, they are undeniably finished to the most exacting standards. Jean-François Mojon is the brand’s master watchmaker and creative force. The 2011 winner of GPHG ‘Watchmaker of the Year’ and creator of the Harry Winston ‘Opus X’, Mojon is the brains behind some of the most inventive and audacious pieces to enliven the independent horology scene.
In 2018, the Le Locle based brand launched its first tourbillon and its most daring timepiece to date, the acclaimed ‘Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon’. Thirty-eight pieces of each colour variant were produced comprising rose gold, rose gold with DLC and finally full black DLC titanium. The success of these pieces has led Cyrus to manufacture three skeletonised iterations that reveal much of the stunning hand wound in-house movement. Launched at Basel 2019, they are limited to just 5 examples of each colour variant.
Cyrus recently visited ‘The Watchmakers Club’ event in London’s Covent Garden, where attendees were lucky enough to get hands on with its exceptional pieces and, in particular, the Rose Gold and Black DLC Limited Edition Ref. 539.506.GD.A
Despite being a relatively young brand, Cyrus has created a unique design language. Cushion shaped cases house its creations, whilst the twin crowns positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock afford the watches a pleasing symmetrical aesthetic. Not only do they provide balance, their function brings simplicity, with one crown advancing the jumping hours (perfect if switching time zones) and the other setting the time and manually winding the movement.
The 44mm two-tone case of this Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon is comprised of some 26 parts and is exquisitely finished. The gold elements of the case combine three complementary finishes. The lugs sport a sumptuous satin grain, juxtaposed with sublime mirror polish edges, while the recesses display a matt ‘microbillage’ (bead blasted) finish. The black bezel is DLC coated, Grade 5 titanium and displays a highly polished outer with a finely brushed inner. On the reverse side, a transparent anti-reflective sapphire crystal is a window into the calibre CYR625. Above the dial, a specially shaped domed sapphire crystal has been fashioned to accommodate the bridge structure and tourbillon. A consequence of this avant-garde design is the height of the crystal required, resulting in a case thickness of 19.9mm. Arguably, this is a small price to pay given the model’s stunning three dimensional architecture.
Dominating the Klepcys Tourbillon is the vertical bridge running from 6 to 12 o’clock. It is inspired by drawings created by Da Vinci for a bridge over the Golden Horn, a natural inlet of the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul). At first glance, for some it may be a bridge too far, however, for those whose philosophy resonates with the ethos of Cyrus it will no doubt symbolise a spirit of adventure. This spectacular feature, with beautifully polished and bevelled edges, houses the vertical tourbillon cage and through its domed arches one can see the mechanism in full detail.
The original Klepcys Tourbillons (2018) all came with solid dials. With the 2019 variants, the decision to reveal the movement with an open dial adds to the intrigue of the watch. By separating the two halves of the dial estate, the bridge perpetuates the symmetry found elsewhere on the watch. Hours and minutes are displayed by means of two arced scales around the dial’s perimeter. Each is black (DLC) finished with white Arabic numerals. On the left, the 12-hour markers welcome a long skeletonised hand which ‘jumps’ between hours before returning to its point of origin via a retrograde mechanism. The corresponding retrograde minute hand is also skeletonised, gently sweeping clockwise past the five-minute markers. The seconds display is communicated via twelve tiny numbered tiles which decorate the perimeter of the tourbillon’s rotating cage.
The available power reserve is communicated by means of a 5mm rotating ball situated at 12 o’clock. Finished in microbillé DLC, it has four Arabic numerals set neatly within tram lines, indicating the ‘days left’ before further manual winding is required. A playful representation of this complication perhaps, but this is without doubt serious horology.
The calibre powering this magical timepiece is the 51 jewelled CYR625 which is comprised of 344 parts. Beating at 3Hz, the twin barrels harness approximately 100 hours of power when fully wound.
Mojon and the Cyrus team clearly have exceptional talents in mechanics, design and finishing. However, revealing so much of the movement through the open dial presents a degree of risk. With today’s mobile phone cameras equipped with macro lenses, the slightest imperfection or burred screwhead could threaten a brand’s credibility. For Cyrus though, many painstaking hours spent at the bench has resulted in production values that warrant the closest of inspections. Beautifully decorated throughout, this timepiece is just as spectacular when viewed through the exhibition caseback.
Enhancing the symmetry throughout the watch, the bridges display an ornate sunray pattern, created by alternating polished and sandblasted finishes. Two parallel barrels sit beneath the ratchet wheels. Akin to the eyes of a knowledgeable owl, the wheels are decorated in black lacquer and embellished with brushed Cyrus logos.
Despite the tourbillon being patented in 1801 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, this derivative, the vertical tourbillon, is a surprisingly rare sight. The anti-gravity thinking behind the tourbillon is well documented and it has fascinated watch enthusiasts since its conception. Cyrus has set their tourbillon cage on a vertical axis at 90°. During normal wear, it will therefore spend most of the time in a vertical position, ensuring precision is optimised. Comprised of 52 parts, yet weighing less than a gram, the beating heart of this movement is nothing short of spectacular. Rotating 360° per minute, the tourbillon also incorporates a seconds indication.
With a watch endowed with such a modern appearance, one may have expected the strap to be made of a contemporary material rather than the leather which has been used. However, collectors will not be disappointed with the sumptuous alligator leather chosen as it proves a harmonious pairing with the case. The strap affixed to the two toned case edition 539.506.GD.A is black and secured with a black titanium folding clasp, adorned with the Cyrus logo.
The creativity on display from the current crop of independent brands in the industry is truly first class. To stand out in such a sea of talent requires brands to push the boundaries of design and possess the technical expertise and finishing skills to bring new visions to life. In creating the Klepcys Vertical Skeleton Tourbillon, Cyrus, driven by Jean-François Mojon, has proven its credentials and deserves to be recognised for its place in the top tier of independent watchmaking.
- Model: Cyrus Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon Skeleton Rose Gold & DLC finish
- Reference: 539.506.GD.A
- Case: Rose gold and grade 5 titanium with DLC coating. Titanium black DLC bezel; diameter 44mm; height 19.9mm; water resistance 3ATM (30 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
- Functions: Jumping retrograde hours; sweeping retrograde minutes; seconds on tourbillon cage; power-reserve displayed with sphere
- Movement: Calibre CYR625; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600VpH (3Hz); 51 jewels; power reserve more than 100 hours
- Strap: Black alligator leather strap with folding clasp
- Price: £132,500 (RRP as at 20.6.2019)