Hands-on With The Angelus U30, A Split-seconds Chronograph With Flyback Watch

First of all, the sequence to start a timing session is controlled by a column-wheel. For the moment, this is a classical 2-pushers chronograph – one at 2 starting and pausing the timing session, one at 4 to reset the chronograph. Then, add to that the split-seconds / rattrapante (in French) function. This function allows the timing of different events that begin but do not end together, for example the times of two runners. Two separate chronograph second hands are set one over the other; the one underneath is the split-seconds hand. When the chronograph is started, both hands start moving in lockstep together, until a press of the pusher in the crown “splits” them, with the top hand continuing and the bottom split- seconds hand stopping to allow an intermediate time to be noted. By again pressing the pusher, the split-seconds hand will instantly catch up to the main chronograph hand, ready again to record a new intermediate time.
Hands-on With The Angelus U30, A Split-seconds Chronograph With Flyback Watch
Related to this function is a second column-wheel, this time visible on the dial-side, a pair of clamps that control the split-second wheel (they close or open on request, when pushing the split-second function and are released by the second column-wheel), of course a series of levers and gears and finally a third pusher, which is placed into the crown at 3. The split-seconds / rattrapante function is complex, mainly because it adds moving parts to a complication already hard to master, the chronograph. A chronograph is sensitive, hard to adjust and mechanically complex (probably more than a tourbillon). A split-second is even more complex to develop and assemble.

The latest function linked to the chronograph is a flyback. Combined this to the rattrapante and you have a really complex mechanism. The flyback or retour-en-vol in French was developed in order to allow pilots to time several events in a row. While most chronographs have a start-stop-reset sequence – meaning the need to press the buttons 3 times to stop and start a new timing session again – a flyback will allow doing this sequence in one single push on the button at 4. The flyback function is particularly complicated to achieve when combined with the split-seconds as the flyback mechanism has not one, but two central chronograph hands to reset and restart. In addition, the forces generated on the split-seconds mechanism during the instantaneous reset and restart are significant. Therefore, all of the different chronograph functions have to be painstakingly set and optimized by the replica watchmaker during assembly, in order to guarantee smooth operation of all functions.

Hands-on With The Angelus U30, A Split-seconds Chronograph With Flyback Watch

The latest function that is linked to the chronograph is the 30-minute counter, placed directly on the movement – this is a chapter ring attached to a bridge of the movement. As the rest of the replica watch, it is also rather complex, as linked to the flyback function. The only delicacy that this replica watch doesn’t have is the split-function on the minute counter (like in the Double-Split from Lange), but honestly, we’re just being picky here. All the functions linked to the chronograph in the  are just insanely impressive, complex and the best comes from the feeling when used: smooth, strong enough with a lot of interaction when pushing the buttons, and a reassuring feel of reliability – which considering the amount of technology was certainly not easy to achieve.

As if it was not enough, Angelus mens replica and his mastermind Sébastien Chaulmontet added a tourbillon and an automatic winding to this flyback, double column-wheel, split-seconds chronograph replica watch (sorry, I just love writing this sequence of words…). Indeed, in an opening between 9 and 11 sits a traditional one-minute tourbillon, which serves as regulating organ for the whole movement. While it can’t be used as a small second indicator (no second track), it will give a nice running indication and will enliven this dial when the chronograph is not running. Furthermore, continuing to play on the high-tech side, the Angelus U30 features a fast-beating tourbillon, cadenced at 4Hz (28,800 beats per hour), instead of the traditional 3Hz used in tourbillon replica watches. On paper and if the replica watch is correctly adjusted by the replica watchmaker (and we have no doubt about it here), this will be beneficial to the accuracy of the whole replica watch and its chronograph mechanism (the faster an escapement beats, the most precise it will be – theoretically).

The tourbillon cage of the Angelus U30 is entirely made of non-magnetic material and reduced to the maximum to further minimize mass and optimize performance. The entire mechanism of the regulating organ, including the tourbillon cage, the balance wheel and the escapement, as well as all the gears and pinions that link it to the rest of the movement can be seen here – and same goes on the movement side. On these photos below, we can also observe the power reserve indictor, which, like the 30-minute counter, is directly attached to the movement and with its gears and wheels visible. It will provide an instinctive display: a green sector indicates ideal torque while red highlights that it’s time to wind the replica watch. The Angelus U30 has a power reserve of 45 hours, however linked to a comfortable automatic winding.

Hands-on With The Angelus U30, A Split-seconds Chronograph With Flyback Watch

As a proof of the modernity and technical wish wanted by Angelus, the U30 Tourbillon Rattrapante is based on a modern integrated and automatic movement – something that is also attested by the 4Hz frequency. First of all, this movement is fully integrated, with a modern architecture – we’re not talking about a standard 3-hand movement on top of which a tourbillon and split-second chronograph have been added. This integrated architecture is particularly visible on the back, where the bridges are rather plain and hide most of the chronograph parts, to the exception of the main column-wheel. Such a structure will definitely help a better interaction of parts, which have been conceived from the beginning to work together in harmony, and thus better performance and reliability. Then, this movement relies on an automatic winding, again a proof of its modernity. While the power reserve is quite short – 45 hours when the chronograph is not engaged – the automatic winding will make it comfortable.