The tourbillon is one of the most enthralling, most exciting and most technical watch complications, albeit with a fairly hefty price tag. The tourbillon is often associated with a 6-figure price tag, a burning hole in your wallet and a whole lot of "sorrys" to your better half. And up until now, the words affordable and tourbillon were rarely used in the same sentence. Until now. Enter the Zelos Mirage, a wonderfully affordable tourbillon that is bang on the mark.
The Zelos Mirage's nearest rival is the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Tourbillon, whose price-tag is more than double that of the Mirage's. Coming in at $10,900USD for the titanium models and $11,900USD for the more exotic metal models, the Mirage is a superb offering.
Designed from the ground up and made in a super limited run of only a handful of pieces per model, the Zelos Mirage features either a titanium case, a timascus case (which is an alloy formed by the combination of two different titanium alloys), a yellow titanium damascus case and a Mokume-gane case, more on that one later.
Each piece measures 41mm in diameter and 9.50mm in thickness, excluding the crown. The word affordable often means the cutting of corners and missing finer details. But the Mirage's case is well constructed, features sharp edges, clean lines, angular changes in flow and a look that is quintessentially contemporary.
The Mokume-gane case is actually made out of an alloy that combines copper and nickel, forming that wonderful wood-grainy effect. Over time, the copper layers of the Mokume-gane case will patina, so you can imagine the amount of depth and charisma each of the 3 limited edition models will have.
Onto the movement. The Zelos Mirage is powered by the LJP 7814 calibre. This is a movement made by La Joux-Perrex, a renowned movement manufacturer with deep ties to many exceptional watchmakers. The LJP 7814 is a fully skeletonised flying tourbillon movement, with this particular example in the Mirage being fully decorated and featuring exceptional finishing, the same you would expect on a tourbillon costing tens of thousands of dollars more, including satin finishing, hand-angling, polished screw heads and the application of a curved-grain pattern on the main plates.
For a tourbillon that costs as much as $11,900USD, there is little to complain about. Everything ties in nicely. The look of the modern case, the use of unique alloys for the case, the brilliant architecture of the openworked movement, the flying tourbillon. Zelos has gone above and beyond with its first high complication watch, and as far as affordable tourbillons go, the Mirage is a halo piece.