A third generation watchmaker and AHCI member, this year David Candaux presented the DC6 Half Hunter Tourbillon Series. The Solstice collection that is the subject of today’s post uses the same design, movements, and finishing as the Half Hunters, but is a more playful sporty variant. Available in bright blue, red, or orange on rubber straps, I had the opportunity to get up close with the last of these.
The Solstice collection features a 43mm sized titanium case that is 12.6mm thick and has a water resistance of 30m. The Candaux case is an unusual slightly elongated shape, extending downwards towards the wrist with the ‘Magic Crown’. This Candaux special patented feature is retractable; you have to push it to pop the crown up for use.
The dial and case feature the same inclined dial as the First 8 watch; that is, the entire front is ever so slightly lower at 6 than it is at 12. The titanium dial, with a guilloché pattern he calls Pointe du Risoux (inspired by and named for the Risoux fir trees that surround his atelier), is exposed. Two sapphire domes cover the time display and the inclined tourbillon. The time part is on a spherical, convex dial with two curved blued steel hand-finished hands that follow the curve of the dial. The blued ‘arm’ with its orange tip on the tourbillon are a seconds indicator. The tactile feel of the dial, as one can touch the guilloché surface, in juxtaposition to the smooth domes is an appealing part of it.
The 60 seconds flying tourbillon has been designed using a ceramic ball bearing inclined at 3 degrees from the horizontal. Within its Grade 5 titanium cage, the balance has been placed in a position with another 30 degrees inclination, hence Candaux’ ‘bi-plan’ flying tourbillon name that he uses. Along with the inclined tourbillon and time display, there is an gauge indicator at 12 o’clock for the 55 hour power reserve.
The Grade 5 titanium movement is the manual-wind Candaux Cal.1740, beating at 21,600VPH. The gear wheel, wheels, and bridges are inclined at 3 degrees. The titanium bridges are hand made and polished in double stripes that Candaux calls Côtes du Solliat. All 23 inner angles and edges of the tourbillon movement are hand finished with traditional anglage. The balance wheel is beryllium copper (CuBe2), fitted with variable inertia adjustment of our 18 carat gold screws and a load screw also in beryllium copper which can be adjusted by the watchmaker during assembly and timing control. Wheels are chamfered, beveled, and circular-grained on both sides. Name plates bearing the Candaux logo and series limitation number are attached with polished screws.
The patented retractable crown meant that the gear train and bridges are inclined at 3 degrees to accommodate it; because of the variation of the position of the bridges towards each other, each bridge is inclined at 3 degrees from each other.
An eminently practical and particularly noteworthy feature of this watch is that all the technical specifications required to restore or service the movement have been micro-engraved onto the flank of the base plate. This includes general specs, what is known as a CGS number (height of the blade of the balance-spring). Other similar details are engraved on the second wheel.
With a warranty of ten years, the DC6-Solstice Half Hunter Tourbillon comes in three colours with eight pieces available in each colour. The price including tax is CHF 273,000. Yes pricing matters and yes this is a lot of money, but if we look at this separate to the price, it is a comfortable wearable watch that combines atypical design features with genuine technical interest as well. It’s also unexpectedly fun, and worth looking at if the opportunity arises.
This piece was one of the pre-selected finalists in the ‘Complications’ category of the GPHG 2019. For the full list of winners, go to this link.
[My thanks to The Hour Glass Australia, at which I took these photos during the GPHG 2019 travelling exhibition]