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Tourbillon watches: what are they?
In tourbillon watches, gravity-related deviations from the correct time are compensated for by a very special mechanism. The tourbillon (“whirlwind”) was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1795. When pocket watches were first introduced, men carried them vertically in the pockets of their vests. Watches deviated from the reference time due to this position, which negatively impacted their accuracy. The balance wheel and escapement were placed inside a cage that rotates 360 degrees every minute. Because the rotation compensated for gravity-related deviations, mechanical timepieces were exceptionally precise.
It is still considered haute horlogerie to wear a watch with a tourbillon. In precision tests, these timepieces consistently perform better than others. Timepieces with a tourbillon are featured in the collections of nearly all traditional, renowned Swiss manufacturers. Many tourbillon watches add complications such as those made by Patek Philippe or Jaeger-LeCoultre. Grande Complication watches are among the most expensive watches in the world and are the epitome of haute horology. The Sky Moon Tourbillon by Patek Philippe, which has displays on both sides of the case, is an example of such a watch. Additional complications include a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and sidereal time display. One of the most expensive wristwatches in the world is the Sky Moon Tourbillon, which costs around 1.5 million euros.
How do tourbillon watches work?
Tourbillon watches have a very special mechanism that compensates for gravity-related deviations from the correct time. In 1795, Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon (“whirlwind”). In those days, men carried their pocket watches vertically in their vest pockets. As a result of this position, the watches were often inaccurate and would deviate from the reference time.
As a result, Breguet designed a cage with a balance wheel and escapement inside that rotates 360 degrees every minute. Due to the rotation, gravity-related deviations were compensated for and exceptionally precise mechanical timepieces were created.
Tourbillons are still considered proof of haute horlogerie today. Precision tests consistently show that these watches outperform others. Many traditional, renowned Swiss watchmakers offer timepieces with tourbillons.
Some of the most expensive watches in the world are these so-called Grande Complication models. Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon, which has displays on the front and back, is an example of such a watch. Additional complications include a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and sidereal time display. One of the most expensive wristwatches in the world is the Sky Moon Tourbillon, which costs around 1.5 million euros.
The tourbillon watch is the pinnacle of watchmaking
The tourbillon is the pinnacle of watchmaking complications – a symbol of mechanical accuracy that defies gravity. With intriguing technological prowess, the Maison creates luxury tourbillon watches with ultra-thin designs, skeleton structures, or a marriage of tonneau and cushion shapes.
With its motto “always do better than necessary,” Piaget offers this high-end watch complication in its most prestigious form: the flying tourbillon. An engraved ‘P’ for Piaget accompanies its every revolution as it floats in its cage held by a single bridge.
This is a new milestone for the Manufacture when it comes to the relative vortex. From the tip of the minutes hand, the tourbillon seems to be suspended from the movement, thus transforming it into a theater of double rotation, as if it were suspended from the movement. One of the shining stars of the collection is the tourbillon watch by Piaget.
What is the price of a tourbillon watch?
Tourbillon wristwatches are extremely expensive due to their time-consuming and intricate manufacturing process. The price of a Patek Philippe model is rarely below 150,000 euros. Jaeger-LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet wristwatches, which cost between 50,000 and 60,000 euros new, are significantly less expensive. There are, however, some tourbillon timepieces that are reasonably priced, such as those from Frédérique Constant. Under 30,000 euros is the price they charge for their tourbillon watches. Chrono24 Brand Boutique sells wristwatches from this brand and others. Brand Boutique also offers Moritz Grossmann watches, including the 168,000 euro Benu Tourbillon in white gold.
Tourbillon timepieces at an affordable price
Take a look at wristwatches from Frédérique Constant if you’re looking for a tourbillon watch without spending millions of euros. The price difference between their tourbillon timepieces and those of their competitors is significant. Some pre-owned models are even available for less than 20,000 euros. Tourbillon watches with in-house movements are very affordable. New stainless steel watches with gold bezels cost 32,000 euros; gold watches cost around 39,000 euros.
Zenith and IWC’s tourbillon watches are somewhat more expensive. A new or pre-owned Zenith El Primero chronograph with a tourbillon starts at 35,000 euros. Pre-owned IWC timepieces with tourbillons cost around 30,000 euros, while new models are still under 40,000 euros. Among the Portugieser collection are these timepieces.