From his small workshop in Paris, Abraham –Louis Breguet would blaze a trail that would transform time measurement forever. Breguet established his watchmaking company in 1775 and would go on to create such innovations as a shock protection system known as “Pare-chute” and the perfection of the “Perpetuelle” – the basis of the self- winding watch. However, Breguet is probably best known for his patent on the “Tourbillon” regulator. With the tourbillon, he developed a system to eliminate errors in rate caused by the Earth’s gravitational pull on pocket watches and thereby increase their precision.”
Breguet’s idea was essentially to house a balance wheel that rotates on itself within a clock. If you understand the concept of a balance wheel, you know that it does not just turn endlessly in one direction. Rather, it moves in a back and forth manner, like a revolving pendulum. This is often referred to as balance wheel oscillation. In fact, a balance wheel is a pendulum, and the consistency of its back and forth rotations are the basis for mechanical watch movement accuracy. So a tourbillon is a balance wheel that itself rotates, but the balance wheel rotates in one direction (not oscillation), and it typically makes a full rotation every 60 or in some cases, every 30 seconds. For this reason, the tourbillon is often used as the seconds counter when it is used in a watch. A-a convenient way of putting in a seconds counter. There are different types of tourbillons: traditional tourbillons (one axis) and flying tourbillons, along with various terms to refer to multi-axis tourbillons.
Even though the progress of watchmaking has made it possible to considerably improve regularity by more modern means, the Tourbillon remains a legendary milestone in the history of timepieces. Tourbillons are extremely complex to develop and manufacture. Each must be carefully assembled by hand and their complexity and intricacy of movement are a marvel to view.
In a world of mass- produced and ultimately disposable technology the Tourbillon is a testament to our desire to celebrate and cherish the permanence of the intricate craft of watchmaking. Today many luxury watchmaker will have at least one innovative variation on the still popular tourbillon watch in its catalogue. Recent examples of luxury watches with tourbillions are: Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon. Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux, Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 7 . Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon, Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon.
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