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How the C1 QuantumGravity Watch Works

The C1 QuantumGravity, Down to the Second
The C1 QuantumGravity watch may be large, but the mechanisms used to power the watch are quite tiny.
The C1 QuantumGravity watch may be large, but the mechanisms used to power the watch are quite tiny.
Courtesy of Concord

The QuantumGravity takes up a fair amount of wrist real estate. It's 48.5 x 57.5 millimeters across, and 22 millimeters deep. However, the case is made of titanium and white gold, and most of the internal mechanisms are made of aluminum, which keeps the weight to a minimum. It also features a lugless design, meaning there are no bulky attachment points for the wrist strap -- the strap is made of black rubber and screws directly to the case. Concord claims that machining the case alone required "400 hours of fine adjustment." It's made of 511 parts, including 42 jewel bearings.

The watch has to be wound manually, and it has a three-day power reserve. The power indicator on most watches is a horizontal dial. The QuantumGravity uses the mainspring's tension to press on a small cylinder. This cylinder pushes up a small volume of green liquid, and the remaining power can be measured by the level of the liquid in the watch's "energy tank."

There are two large extrusions on the side of the watch. One takes the place of the second hand. The other is the winding mechanism. With a push of a button, a small hatch opens. The hatch itself becomes the knob you twist to wind the watch.

Another door opens on the back of the case, revealing the gear train that makes everything work. Open architecture is one of the main aesthetic features of this watch -- there are large, visible open spaces within the case, and the face that shows the minute and hour hands only takes up a small proportion of the overall face of the watch. Or, as the hilariously overwrought marketing copy from Concord puts it, "The dial has also been contaminated by this urge for maximum openness. Although it strives to display the flight of hours and minutes, its focus is on empty spaces."

The escapement is contained in a bi-axial tourbillon, meaning it rotates in two directions at once at all times. That tourbillon is contained in a transparent chamber that actually extends outside the main body of the case, where you can watch it turn. After all, what good is a ridiculously expensive watch if everyone can't see that it's a ridiculously expensive watch? An arm extends from the face to the tourbillon, connected by a series of small wires, like a cable-stayed bridge.

Concord states the retail price of the watch is 500,000 Swiss francs, and it's listed at U.S. $480,000. However, you can find it at online specialty watch dealers for the bargain price of $360,000 [source: Gemnation].