The talent of Vincent Calabrese is unusually multifaceted. A self-taught inventor who defies canons and traditions, he is a real generator of original ideas in everything related to design and style.
Calabrese belongs to that rare breed of watchmakers who even today make their watches exclusively by hand. He also personally makes movements for his watches. The quantity, exclusivity, and variety of his creations have earned him a reputation as one of the most prolific inventors in the watchmaking world. Calabrese not only produces watches himself, but also sells his movements, ideas, and ingenious developments to other companies.
The real career of Calabrese began in 1977 after he received a gold medal at the Geneva International Inventions Exhibition for a watch whose movement seemed to be floating in the air, showcased between transparent sapphire crystals. This prototype was later bought by Corum, who made its legendary Golden Bridge watch based on Calabrese's design, while the inventor retained the right to use this concept in his future creations.
This idea would later grow into a unique Les Spatiales collection. While in the Golden Bridge watch Calabrese used a mechanism that was simply formed into one line, similar to a golden bridge, in the Spatial collection, the movements took on a variety of forms - from the initials of the watch’s owner to the Eiffel Tower, the winged horse Pegasus and the geographical contours of Italy and Japan.
33-year-old Calabrese caught the interest of the Blancpain’s management, and the company ordered a tourbillon watch from him. He proposed to make not just a tourbillon, but a flying tourbillon, which was a rarity at that time. The Calabrese flying tourbillon broke five world records at once, including the thinnest tourbillon in the world and the world's first wristwatch equipped with a flying tourbillon.
The year was 1986, and even today, the list of his records looks impressive. By the way, a year before, Calabrese created the famous AHCI – Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants, which today gathers the most outstanding watchmakers from all over the world.
In 1990 Calabrese introduced an ironic Commedia jumping-hour watch, which evolved the following year into the Mona Lisa watch – the first timepiece in the history of watchmaking to feature a jumping hour in the form of an artistic representation.
In the middle of the 2000s, having released several collections with original movements, Calabrese returned to his collaboration with Blancpain. Marc Hayek, the head of the company, decided to pursue the sensational idea of creating a wristwatch with a carousel. The carousel is very close to a tourbillon since it performs the same functions as Abraham-Louis Breguet’s invention. Calabrese was the first to accelerate the carousel carriage to the standard tourbillon speed of one revolution per minute. And although it was a great achievement, the carousel failed to overshadow the popularity of the tourbillon.
In 2008, Vincent Calabrese sold his company to Blancpain. In the period from 2008 to 2011, the watchmaker implemented several projects for the brand, which resulted in registering nine patents. In particular, during these years, Blancpain produced a watch with a flying carousel, as well as a model that combined a carousel and a minute repeater with a cathedral chime.
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