Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical: Revolutionizing Haute Horlogerie

The Absolute Luxury World of Cabestan Watch – it leaves no one indifferent

A unique universe imagined by a revolutionary creator, Jean-François Ruchonnet. A new dimension of luxury timepieces, audacious and highly exclusive, where watches become authentic works of fine mechanical art, breaking with the traditions and the constraints of watchmaking norms. Pure emotion reserved for aesthetes and true lovers of beautiful mechanisms. Absolute luxury.

The creator
Cabestan reflects the image of its creator Jean-François Ruchonnet : different, extreme, unconventional.  And above all provocative.

Referred to by some as the “Bad Boy“ of luxury watchmaking and described by others as a genius of watch design, Jean-François Ruchonnet never hesitates to challenge what is generally accepted.  One thing is certain : he leaves no one indifferent.

A rebel. An aesthete. Attracted by exceptional mechanisms, Jean-François Ruchonnet is a truly hyperactive creator with a personality that pushes him to the limit of his dreams and desires.  Fascinated by extreme sports, he loves piloting boats and airplanes, but even more so, he has become an accomplished race car driver, most recently competing in the Radical European Masters. He lives his dreams going 250 km/hour on legendary race circuits like Spa, Silverstone and Nürburgring. This passion for mechanics is at the heart of his life, and his work, and this is what has enabled him to successfully create timepieces for the most well-known names in watchmaking over the past 25 years.

His insatiable need to create led him to conceive a series of watches inspired by purely mechanical images.  The concept revolves around the technological rigor found in a trilogy of mechanical universes : race cars, sailboats and airplanes. The idea rapidly evolved in the incredibly imaginative mind of Jean-François Ruchonnet: that of creating works of mechanical art reserved for the most discerning collectors of exclusive timepieces.  Absolute luxury.
The amazing story of the Cabestan began, freed from tradition, free to be bold.

The master watchmaker 
An wildly creative project always attracts those with great talent.  In order to bring his extremely imaginative creations to life, Jean-François Ruchonnet needed to surround himself with a team of watchmakers of exceptional talent ; the only craftsmen capable of realising such a complex timepiece entirely by hand.

Eric Coudray, admired by collectors around the world, had to be a part of such an exciting adventure.  Seduced by the technical challenge that the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical represented, the master watchmaker quickly brought together a talented team of experienced craftsmen.

The technological success of the Cabestan rests entirely in the hands of Eric Coudray. His expertise in making exceptional timepieces is fully proven.  Using his talented mind and hands, he developed the famous double-axis tourbillon, better know today as the gyrotourbillon. Reputed for his inventiveness, Eric Coudray plays with forms and materials never before used in luxury watchmaking.  And this with troubling ease.

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical represents an incredible challenge for the master watchmaker, one that is in keeping with his unwavering technical intransigence and his never ending search for perfection.  And every timepiece that leaves the manufacture, does so only with his blessing.

Pushing back the limits of the impossible, the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical came to life in the mind of its creator. Jean-François Ruchonnet had a vision of a capstan in his mind : a mechanical device charateristic of sailboats comprised of a large drum on a vertical axis which is hand-operated with a lever – the winch – causing a rope or chain to wrap around the drum.

From this device comes the force necessary to raise and trim the sail or lift the anchor.  Fascinated by the simple ingenuity of this mechanism, Jean-François Ruchonnet imagined a system to rewind a watch movement and to set the time using a miniature winch.

A unique detail, ultimate luxury, absolute design, this tiny winch is cleverly and elegantly hidden in the deployant buckle of the watch strap. It was yet another formidable exploit that Cabestan’s watchmakers had to achieve in strict compliance with the perfection of design and technicity that defines the brand.

Amazing designs and technological innovations. Jean-François Ruchonnet imagines one per minute.  A piece of fine art paying tribute to exquisite mechanical devices, the Cabestan was born with a movement composed of not less than 800 pieces, mounted vertically.  The challenge was launched.

Incredible precision
Unlike a classical movement comprised of a plate and bridge which hold the wheels in place, the major difficulty for the Cabestan was its vertical concept that necessitated using two bridges.  Positioned vertically, the wheels are in effect held in place on either side by bookends.

The vertical design, in itself, presented a number of difficulties in terms of precision.  These complications were perfectly mastered by the expert craftsmen specialised in making each of the components of the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical.  Every aspect of the timepiece requires particular attention and know how.  One example, the thermo-formed crystals.  This element, which would appear simple at first glance, was a technological challenge given its eneven form, sharp angles, metallised edges and the need for a perfect seal, requiring highly skilled craftsmen, with years of experience in making technically complicated watch crystals.

Through incredible attention to the most minute details, the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical is one of the most precise mechanical watches in the world.

A unique design

With the intransigent spirit that defines the brand, each Cabestan is hand made.  The finishing of each component is also done by hand with extreme patience and care : the graining and beveling of the bridges and plates, the wheel rimming, the polishing of the mouldings, the assembly of the chain…
The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical, thanks to its vertical construction, is fascinating to observe.  The design takes this fully into account with twin, curved crystals that provide spectacular 180° views of this unique and striking movement with its wheels, drums, axes and chain.  An incredible mechanism rendered wonderfully elegant through the use of rhodium- and gold-plated surfaces, and the case made of natural or black PVD-coated titanium, white, red or yellow gold and platinum, with the possibility of diamond settings using a variety of cuts.

The drums
No classical hands and dials for this watch. Instead, the hours and minutes are read from two engraved aluminum rotary drums in the upper right side of the timepiece. These drums are equipped with a friction spring, permitting them to disengage when setting the time by turning the upper-righthand capstan.  The opposite capstan is used for re-winding the movement using the miniature winch that is stored in the deployant buckle of the watch strap.

The third drum, in the lower right indicates secondes.  Next to this drum is one of the true technical achievements of the watch, the vertical tourbillon which contributes to the accuracy of this extremely precise movement. The fourth drum in the upper left shows the power reserve of up to 72 hours.

The barrel spring is housed inside the fifth drum in the lower left side of the timepiece.  The force of this spring is transmitted through the chain to the fusée which guarantees the delivery of a constant force to the movement. The chain is composed of nearly 250 tiny links each riveted by hand, naturally.  The fusée, for which the geometric design was conceived as a perfect function of the torque curve of the barrel spring, is mounted on a special set of ball bearings.  And as a preventative measure, the timepiece has two specific systems to prevent the user from applying too much tension to the chain during rewinding.

The power reserve
The movement of the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical has a power reserve of 72 hours, with an average amplitude of the balance of 240 degrees.

The case
Resulting from the fusion of seven components vacuum-welded in a controlled atmosphere, the Cabestan’s case is proposed in brushed, natural or black PVD titanium, in white, red or yellow 18ct gold and in platinum. The case is equipped with two functional capstans for winding the movement and setting the time. The two other capstans are ornamental. The back of the case can be engraved on request and includes the serial number of the watch.

The crystals
The crystals are made of Pyrex that is thermoformed by hand. The edges are then metallised and the crystals set on each case in what is a very delicate operation.

The bracelet

Equipped with a deployant buckle which cleaverly conceals the winch, the bracelet exists in high quality alligator with handmade edges folded back and sown, in calf, peccary leather and in rubber.

Cabestan is one of the rare young independant watch brands that can claim having its own manufacture. 
In order to surmount the difficulties of developing and constructing this extraordinary timepiece, Jean-François Ruchonnet, from the very beginning, saw the need to have his own team of expert watchmakers.

Situated in L’Orient, in the Vallée de Joux, in Switzerland, the manufacture has a team of eight watchmakers dedicated to making Cabestan timepieces of exacting quality and precision.

Working closely with creator Jean-François Ruchonnet, the prototypes are developed, then thoroughly tested and studied before being fabricated and assembled in the manufacture. Here, craftsmen exercise their skills using a combination of state-of-the-art technology and more traditional tools that only the most agile and experienced hands can manipulate.

The origins of watchmaking can be witnessed within the Cabestan manufacture where our timepieces are made, regulated and tested entirely by hand.  And only when our matchmakers are absolutely satisfied with the quality of the watch, following an intense inspection and testing process, do they allow it to leave the manufacture.


Thanks to the teamwork of the various craftsmen who work to construct each Cabestan, the components are constantly being reviewed and refined in the search for the perfect movement. Nearly 1000 hours of work is needed to build each Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical ; proof that true luxury takes time.
At the very heart of the manufacture, Eric Coudray embodies the values of the brand: inventive watchmaking at it finest, technical rigour and uncomprosing attention to the the smallest details.  The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical is the result of watch engineering and construction taken to extreme limits by the best watchmakers in the industry.

The combination of the chaine and fusée along with the vertically-mounted tourbillon, makes the Cabestan one of the most precise mechanical watches in the world. This is an amazing feat considering that all aspects of the fabrication of this watch, composed of over 800 components, is done by hand.

Conceived and constructed entirely in-house, the Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical can be configured according to the desires of its future owner.  Bespoke watchmaking par excellence.

The acquiror can choose not only the metal used for the case and the deployant buckle, but also the colour of the wheels, bridges, plate and drums, the colour of the markings on the drums and the colour of other pieces within the movement. The back plate is equally personalisable.  

This level of possible customisation enables the most demanding collectors and enthusiasts to procure a Cabestan that is truly their own. 

Cabestan also offers its clients to participate in each step of the process of creating their watch.  By visiting the manufacture and discussing with Jean-François Ruchonnet and Eric Coudray, the future owner can configure the timepiece and obtain a perfect vision of the final result through our expert use of virtual imaging.


•    Hours, minutes, seconds read from two engraved rotary drums
•    Power reserve indicator on rotating drums (72 hours, with an average amplitude of the balance of 240 degrees)

•    Mechanical with vertical tourbillon and fusee with chain
•    1352 components
•    Manually wound calibre CAB EC 101 with Swiss lever escapement
•    Frequency: 21 600 alt/h or 3 HZ
•    Breguet-style overcoil; Geneva stud
•    Balance amplitude: 240°
•    Rewinding and time setting with a auto-disengaging torque winch
•    Stainless steel chain 230 mm long made of 450 links and 150 rivets assembled by hand
•    Vertical gear system with golden brass wheels, rhodium-plated bottom-plate and bridges, and steel pinions
•    Fully hand finished components: beveling, polishing, drawing, graining and hooping

•    Brushed, natural or black PVD titanium, 3N yellow gold, 5N pink gold, palladium white gold, platinum
•    F baguette diamond settings
•    Case composed of 7 elements welded under vacuum in a controlled atmosphere
•    Two functional capstans (total number of components: 50)
•    Two ornamental capstans (total number of components: 20)
•    Back of the case can be engraved according to the client’s wishes
•    Two thermoformed. metalized Pyrex crystals hand-fitted for each case

Strap & Buckle
•    Double buckle, which accommodates the winch crank
•    High quality alligator with handmade edges folded back and sown. Bracelets also available in calf or peccary leather, or a very stylish rubber


•    Special tool for winding and setting the time is stored in the box
•    Miniature winch for winding and setting the time is hidden in the buckle.