Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon Replica Watch Hands-On


It’s good to be different. The Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon is the latest offering from a brand full of head-turners. Cecil Purnell replica watches look like nothing else on Planet Wrist. You can see flashes of Jacob & Co. in some of the dials, Roger Dubuis in some of the skeletonization, Zenith in some of the complications, but hardly anywhere else will you see this bizarrely beautiful mishmash of technical and artistic endeavour all in one replica watch. And it all comes from a good, wholesome place. In a world of multinational conglomerates, rapacious industry behemoths, and long-established horological heavyweights, Cecil Purnell is run by Jonathan Purnell, the actual grandson of the company’s founder.

Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon


Cecil Purnell founded the company in 1918. His passion for mechanical devices rubbed off on his grandson, who, as a visible spokesman for the brand, is unapologetically ardent about the creations made in the name of his grandfather. And so he should be. Cecil Purnell create timepieces that will generate an opinion, and very likely a strong one at that. But it wasn’t always this way. The company had much humbler origins and interests until 2006, when Jonathan Purnell formed an alliance with replica watch industry professional Stéphane Valsamides, and launched Cecil Purnell SA in the Jura Mountains. It was only a matter of time before replica watches like the Cecil Purnell CP-V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon were rolling off the production line – but we probably should not call it that, as “CP” is more of a micro-manufacture than anything else, with a small workshop in Geneva, and with a reliance on a number of select Swiss suppliers to obtain different movement, case and other components


Quite aside from the fact that every Cecil Purnell features a tourbillon (a differentiating factor like few others), the way in which this most beloved complication is presented is very unusual. In previous models, such as the LaCroix and the Lucky Lady, the case shape has been a cross (totally off-the-wall), and in the Pit Lane range, the case has more overlapping shapes than Guernica and is almost as austere. With such radical housings it is possible for the tourbillon to go unnoticed. When you stick a couple of rarely seen complications right next to it, you may not even glance its way!


That’s the case with the new Cecil Purnell CP-V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon, which features a tourbillon (obviously) alongside a very nicely rendered 3D world time display, and an artificial horizon indicator, which really has to be one of the coolest and most useless complications I have ever seen. Maybe useless is a bad word. I’m pretty sure you could use it as a spirit level when you’re putting up some shelves, so on that front it is a bargain (why buy a replica watch and spirit level when you can get them in one convenient package for a few hundred thousand dollars?).


Seriously, though, the world time indicator is excellent. The time is indicated by a semi-circular globe that rotates once every 24 hours. Surrounded by a numbered chapter ring, the countries align with their individual times as the clock turns and the half-globe rotates. It’s not very easy to read, but it is a fluid, handsome, and thoroughly well-executed idea. I kind of like complications like this, and in a way, it reminds me of the ones I saw in the Greubel Forsey GMT (hands-on here) or the Vicenterra GMT-3 (hands-on here) .


They are little more than an aesthetic innovation, requiring very little technical expertise to conceive. But they do allow art to creep into replica watchmaking without it becoming too contrived. That globe, which looks awesome, is basically a fancy GMT hand. Less precise; more beautiful – a balance all replica watchmakers are always trying to strike. In this instance, I believe the Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon has struck it right between the eyes.


So maybe Cecil Purnell thought they’d better add a dash of horological clout to proceedings to compensate for the forgivable whimsy of the world timer. Enter the bi-axial tourbillon. Tourbillons are great; bi-axial tourbillons are even better. They are theoretically better at eliminating positional error by moving the balance wheel through three dimensions, but from a layman’s perspective, they just look amazing. They make it appear as if the tourbillon is falling through space, suspended by an almost invisible arm. It is a glorious thing to see time objectified, floating before your eyes, twisting, turning, ticking away in its own environment. The Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon is a treat and a really lovely addition to a range of madcap creations. The marriage of a tourbillon with a horizon indicator is a partnership of complimentary features that enjoy very different relationships with gravity: the former aims to eliminate gravity, while the latter is controlled by it. These polarised relationships create a feeling of balance that transcends the aesthetic.



On the technical side of things, the Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon replica watch is 45mm wide, water resistant to 50 meters, and comes on a black leather strap with folding rose gold clasp. The movement (calibre CP-V17) has a 70-hour power reserve, 267 components, and operates at 21,600vph. The 13mm tourbillon cage hovers between two bridges, rotating as the seconds tick by. The hands, which are bold in style, but beautifully designed, with a straight-grain finish and delicate chamfer along the edge, are shown in rose gold on the official website, but appear to be blue in real life – at this level you will certainly be given the chance to go with your preferred color combination. Either way, they both look great (I might go for rose gold, as in this style of hand I think it looks a little classier).


Talking of class, if you get chance to handle this replica watch you should turn it over right away. As a huge fan of engraving, I was overjoyed to see an appropriate map adorning the case back. There are a couple of holes drilled through so you can see some of the jewels, but the main draw of the movement is the bi-axial tourbillon, which is viewable from the back as well. You get a little bit of everything from the back of this replica watch – nice case engraving, well-rendered plate engraving, a flash of motion from the movement, and a great colour contrast between the rose gold case and the dark silver map.

Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon


Now for the bad news. There will only be ten of these 18ct Rose Gold beauties produced. This is sure to result in DIY stores the world over selling out of spirit levels, as everyone who doesn’t jump the queue for one of these multi-functional timepieces rushes to ensure flat shelves. If you miss the rush and decide to settle for a Cecil Purnell V17 World Time Bi-Axial Tourbillon replica watch, you can expect to pay a price of CHF 245,000. cecilpurnell.com

Jacob Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Replica Watches Hands-On


Easily one of the most impressive things I strapped to my wrist at Baselworld 2015 was the completed Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon replica watch (as well as the diamond-set Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette). There was a very real and very wide smile on my face as I gazed into the enormous sapphire crystal-wrapped mechanical planetary system on my wrist that, according to some people, has no business even existing because it is just so over the top. It is an insane replica watch, which is Jacob & Co. at its best – a replica watch and jewelry company that I think deserves a lot more attention than it is getting from replica watch lovers. I’ve written a lot about Jacob Arabo over the years and his controversial life and company. Let’s face it, he is in the business of dazzling the world’s rich and famous. That’s a tall order, and people need to appreciate that with so many companies trying to wow the world’s money, it isn’t easy to get the attention of people whose lives are often spent avoiding attention.



I’ve learned a lot of things during my time as a luxury replica watch writer/blogger/critic/whatever, and one of those things is that the world of the wealthy is extremely distinct from the world of those people who aren’t as wealthy. Classism exists, and it is real, and while everyone goes to the toilet and puts their pants on one leg at a time, people who have a lot of money simple have a different set of problems and considerations in their life. Well, enough of that for now, let’s get back to the dazzling Mr. Arabo and some replica watches which I think people who aren’t in his world don’t quite understand.



If you try to measure the “point” of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon in, say, relation to a dive-style tool replica watch, it is like trying to compare a sturdy log cabin with a grand villa on the ocean front. Yes, both are technically structures, and the first one might make a lot more sense, but the latter is about social positioning, and the ability to reward oneself. You see, no matter how rich you are, there are going to be things out there you need to save up to afford.



Maybe most people need to save up a bit to purchase a $1,000 item, and some people need to save up to buy a $1,000,000 item. Jacob & Co. is a brand whose top items are grail pieces for the types of people who can buy, but still need to consider million dollar replica watches. I’ll put it another way, royalty wear crowns and live in castles to communicate something about themselves – something about their power, prestige, and position in life. Doing so upsets people who don’t have crowns and castles, but those people still get point of those that have means.



Diamonds and highly complicated replica watches can serve as wearable conveyances of power. At the end of the day, that is what status and social symbols are there for. First, it is about attracting a mate, and after that, it is all about telling fellow humans around you that you have some power over them or privileges they don’t. We all want power and we all get irritated at others who have power (especially when we feel that they don’t deserve it). Love it or hate it, Jacob & Co. replica watches are about the Mr. Arabo’s talented way of producing designs that convey this very well. This, after all, is the guy who just came out with a replica watch called the Billionaire Tourbillon.



You can appreciate the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon as a neat little machine, but when you put it on your wrist and have a two-inch-high semi-globe in sapphire and 18k gold stick off of it, you are really telling people something about yourself. Hopefully, I suppose, the attention you are gathering is positive, right? Now, allow me to step back a few paces and remind you that there is both a refined way of showing diamonds and a terribly unrefined way. This is a nuance of diamond replica watch critique that I suppose only a few people can fully appreciate, those who have been in the odd situation to have extremely expensive assortments of diamonds handed to them and asked for their opinion – and then been able to compare those experiences time and time again. Jacob & Co. is unique because they are able to ride that fine line between “too much, and totally enough.”


Jacob & Co. has a nice long history working with the Swiss movement maker Concepto, who, I believe, is responsible for the wild-looking mechanical movement inside of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon. Look closely at it, and the mechanism is deeply impressive, but it isn’t finished like a Greubel Forsey. Well, nothing is really finished like that, so it isn’t a fair comparison. The movement is a tiny industrial mechanical mechanism, and I don’t even know how to describe its complications. Let’s start with the triple axis tourbillon that exists as one of the four arms on the movement.



Note that what you see in the case cavity of the Jacob & Co. Astronomia is the entire JCEM01 manually-wound movement, and the planetary structure is literally sitting on the mainspring barrel. It is actually a motor barrel, and has been designed after some systems from historical American pocket replica watches. The four arms are all connected via a special differential system, and the system rotates around the dial fully once each 20 minutes. That is the first axis for the tourbillon.



The tourbillon system itself features another two axis points which make a rotation each 60 seconds, and then in a different direction each 5 minutes. Across from the tourbillon is a dial for the time, which is so cool because it points upright no matter where it is in its rotation around the dial. I just love that. Then there are the arms with the tiny hand-painted titanium globe, and across from it, a “Jacob-cut” diamond with a registered process exclusive to Jacob & Co. which gives the diamond a spherical case and 288 facets. The globe and the diamond disco ball make a full rotation each 60 seconds.


What is the point of all this rotation and movement? To act as a “hypnotic choreography,” of course; it is all about visual splendor (and it works). So like I said, if you think too hard about the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon, you’ll keep asking “why?” It isn’t about why, it is merely because it is cool and because they can. When you are a client of Jacob & Co., you don’t want to hear about functioning planetariums and mathematical equations – you want to be dazzled, entertainment, and reminded that you are special. Anyone wearing a Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon is “special.”



At 50mm wide and 25mm thick, the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon case is produced from 18k rose gold with very nicely AR-coated sapphire crystal all over it. While not everyone might “get” the Jacob & Co. Astronomia, you can tell that the design was well curated. To operate the replica watch or wind it, there are two fold out “keys” on the caseback. And as big as the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon is on the wrist, it is surprisingly comfortable to wear. That is, until you accidentally hit it against a wall or table.


If you are a replica watch lover, then playing with the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon or even the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette is fun. I mean, at the end of the day, it is supposed to be fun. Jacob Arabo might have an interesting reputation, but being very good to his clients is also part of that. When he promises something to wow them, then that is exactly what happens.



What I am trying to do in all of this is help explain the admittedly strange world that a brand like Jacob & Co. exists within – as well as the strange world of replica watches such as the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette, which adds 16 carats of invisible-set baguette-cut diamonds. To regular folks, so much about ostentatious displays of wealth is offensive, and probably for good reason, because the message really is about saying “I am better than you.” But imagine a world of people who can all afford this stuff, and rather than looking to make their peers jealous due to the price of their items, they are just looking to wow and impress people visually. The “in your face” element of luxury is never going to go away, and I am a fan of democratizing luxury, for sure. With that said, I think many people are deeply fascinated by what the ultra-wealthy are doing, and since they aren’t going anywhere, they could do a lot worse than to get some of the rather amazing stuff you’ll find in the plush rooms at Jacob & Co.’s inviting inner sanctum.

Price for the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon (without diamonds) is 540,000 Swiss Francs, right now about US$566,350, and price for the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon Baguette is 1,000,000 Swiss Francs, that right now is about US$1,004,800jacobandco.com