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Tourbillon Watches All you need to know

Tourbillon Watches: All you need to know

Tourbillons are some of the most fascinating complications ever put on a wristwatch. It is the mechanism that is visible through the dial on some luxury watches. As you might have noticed, it just spins around and around in a continuous motion. But what does it do? Why is it only found on some seriously expensive timepieces? Here’s a look at everything you will ever need to know about Tourbillon watches. 

Tourbillon: The mechanism behind the complication

Tourbillon is a complication that has become a fascination among watch enthusiasts today. But in order to understand the mechanism behind it, we first need to understand why does it even exist in the first place.

Tourbillon’s Existence: An innovation that was never needed

The Tourbillon complication was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet back in the late 18th century. In order to understand how it works, one first needs to understand how a mechanical watch works. Unlike a quartz watch that works on a battery, a mechanical timepiece is powered by a coiled spring.

Tourbillion’s Existence An innovation that was never needed

In order to make a mechanical watch function in the way it has been designed, it needs a gear spring that converts the speed and torque to an appropriate level. Hence, it can keep the hours and minutes running on the dial. It also needs some resistance so that the mechanism does not unwind all at once. For that, it has something called an Escapement.

An escapement is made up of three parts, which include the escape wheel, pallet fork and a balance wheel. The escape wheel is what controls the speed of the movement.

What is a Tourbillion watch?

As for the tourbillon itself, it is a mechanism that mounts the escapement and the balance wheel inside a rotating cage. The balance wheel here completes one full rotation per minute. This rotation causes the balance wheel to rotate on its own axis, canceling out the effect of gravity on the balance wheel’s oscillation. This was invented to avoid any inaccuracies in timekeeping.

While all of this sounds interesting and ground-breaking, it is not as helpful in the world of timekeeping. Watch manufacturers were able to achieve more or less similar accuracy with or without using a tourbillon. Hence, over the period of time, a tourbillon became nothing but an intricate mechanism that was good to showcase on high-end timepieces. With the technology advancements around us, the complication has also made its way to some affordable timepieces.

The fascination of Tourbillon watches among watch enthusiasts

The fascination of Tourbillion watches among watch enthusiasts

Tourbillons are mechanisms that are fitted inside a rotating cage. This cage is visually stunning, which is why you will see that it is always shown through an aperture on the dial of the watch. It clearly showcases that a lot of work was put into building that watch. It gives watch enthusiasts something to talk about in front of people who are not particularly watch nerds.

Over the past many years, a tourbillon has become a symbol of the pinnace of mechanical watchmaking. These complications are ever-so more desirable and it is the first thing people look for when getting into really high-end timepieces. The complication allows the watch to stand out besides its case and bracelet design.

Variations of Tourbillon watches

Variations of Tourbillon watches

Tourbillon is a mechanical movement that is complex to manufacture and comes in different variations. While the function of the tourbillon is the same across the variations, it is the way how it is shown to the user that differs. Here’s a list of the variations of tourbillon watches.

  1. Single-axis tourbillon: It features a rotating cage that completes one full rotation per minute around a single axis.
  2. Double-axis tourbillon: In this, the rotating cage completes one full rotation per minute around two axes. As a result, it is able to provide greater accuracy as it cancels out the effects of gravity in multiple directions.
  3. Flying tourbillon: Mostly seen in modern watches, a flying tourbillon’s rotating cage is supported on only one side. This offers an impression that it is floating within the watch.
  4. Skeletonized tourbillon: As the name suggests, this type of tourbillon is seen on watches that feature a skeletonized dial. With such dials, the wearer is able to see the inner workings of the watch at all times.

Buying Tourbillon watches in 2023

Buying Tourbillion watches in 2023

Tourbillon watches can definitely be considered as a worthwhile investment. If you pick the right option, you will get a timepiece that has been engineered to perfection with the highest level of craftsmanship. A tourbillon watch, being a fascinating piece, will be your ticket to a lot of opportunities. It will give you the opportunity to open up conversations with a lot more people in the luxury world.

On top of that, just by owning a tourbillon watch, you will be regarded as someone who appreciates intricate design and precise engineering. A tourbillon watch is a considered a symbol of luxury and sophistication. These are also watches that will always stand-out and will carry a timeless design that even future generations will admire.

Here are some of the best Tourbillon watches you can buy:

Richard Mille Tourbillon

Richard Mille creates some of the nicest-looking watches and in order to do that most of their models come with a tourbillon complication. When shopping for an RM with a tourbillon, you can pick anything from an RM 88 to a RM 52-05.

AP Royal Oak Tourbillon

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon brings the simplicity of a classic Royal Oak and adds a touch of sophistication with the help of a tourbillon complication. The watch is available in a variety of dial color options and it can be picked up in steel, gold or even ceramic.

Patek Philippe Grand Complications 6002R

If you love watch complications, the Patek Philippe Grand Complications 6002R should be on the top of your list. This is a tourbillon watch that every collector wants to have in their collection. Made out of Rose Gold, the watch features a Perpetual calendar, moonphase indicator and even a tourbillon.

Devesh Arora Author WatchMaestro
Written By

Devesh Arora

Devesh Arora is a watch enthusiast and Website Manager at WatchMaestro. He is passionate about watches and loves sharing his knowledge through blog posts here. Every day, he learns more about these timepieces and enjoys simplifying the complexities of watchmaking for his readers. Devesh's goal is to make the world of watches more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

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