The Tourbillon

Unnecessary Or Aesthetic? Flying Or Under Bridges? This Complication Provokes

The Tourbillon, invented and patented by Abraham Louis Breguet in 1801, represented an important step forward in the tireless efforts to make gear-accurate wheel clocks. In modern wrist watches, it is above all the pleasure of complex mechanics and the aesthetic feeling. We present the complication with all important information, pictures, videos and current models.

This also applies to tourbillons, which remind Swug Group Breguet of the invention of its brand forefather. A question of today’s tourbillon is: “Dear flying, or rather under a bridge?” But we begin at the beginning. In the English-speaking video, the watch expert Jeff Kingston explains the operation of the Tourbillon by means of the L-evolution C Tourbillon from Blancpain:

The Tourbillon-For What?

Especially with the pocket watches, which are mostly worn in the vertical positionthe gravitational force considerably disturbs the behavior of the gait. This is the case when the center of gravity of the balance and the balance is not at the center of the balance. In this case, there is a place at the point of unrest, which persistently strives towards the center of the earth. The clockmakers once encountered this vexing problem by a careful regulation of the balance-of-balance-of-balance-of-spirals-ensemble. But even with great meticulousness, the complex balancing act is only of limited duration. At some point, the annoying center-of-gravity errors return, accelerate or decelerate the balance rotations. The result: noticeable gauntlet deviations. The impact of the gravitational power of Abraham-Louis Breguet for years. In this process, the realization that the resulting center errors can not be permanently eliminated with the known means.

The royal path consisted of a continuous balancing of the unwelcome interdependence between center faults and gravitation. At the end of the 18th century, presumably in 1795, Breguet had found a tricky solution: he installed the oscillating and locking system-the balance, balance wheel, anchor and anchor wheel-in a bogie that rotated around its axis once a minute. Thus, accelerating and braking moments in the vertical position of the watch against each other largely rose. The success recipe for this zero-sum game with the name Tourbillon obtained 1801 patent protection. The watchmaking implementation of this idea demanded competent craftsmen. Even after the death of the inventor, only top-level personnel were able to realize the brilliant design in such a way that it fulfilled their purpose.

This Is How Breguets Tourbillon Works

Breguet positioned the balance in the center of the bogie. As usual, he stored the pins of their shaft up and down. In addition, a bearing of the bogie itself was necessary. It was also up and down in a line with the balance wave. The anchor wheel or escapement drive protrudes slightly from the bogie at the bottom. Down at the center, the master had also attached the secondary drive. He fixed the corresponding seconds wheel rigidly and concentrically with the lower circuit board. Thus, as the last mobile of the normal wheeled vehicle, the mini-wheel set the secondary drive and thus also the bogie in motion. The teeth of the escapement drive engaged in those of the fixed second wheel.

Not To Be Confused: Tourbillon And Carrousel

In the case of the last-mentioned construction, it is not, as one sometimes reads falsely, a carrousel. In the carousel, the bogie is operated not from the seconds but from the ground wheel. In other words, the question of the tourbillon or carousel can not be answered from the position of the balance, but only with reference to the drive form. In the case of tourbillons – in contrast to the carrousel – the rotation of the cage is indispensable for oscillating the balance and thus for the function. If the cage stops, the whole clock is standing. The carousel, on the other hand, continues to function when the bogie is stopped due to the design. In the following English-language video the independent watch expert Jeff Kingston shows the differences of the two complications:

GlashÜTter Specialty: The “Flying” Tourbillon

A fine, but clearly visible difference in tourbillon designs goes back to Alfred Helwig : the “flying” bearing of the bogie. She probably debuted in 1922 in a pocket watch with the number 3022. With her, no storage bridge disturbed the never-ending rotations of the filigree bogie. Of course, the Glashütter master watchmaker and teacher at the watchmaker’s school did not pass by two camps.

However, Helwig hid them below the bogie floor. The propulsion is also carried out with a drive at the flying tourbillon. However, this sits on the long rear shaft of the bogie. The detachable storage of flying tourbillons are often referred to as a “tower” because of the long construction. It is screwed to the circuit board. The trick in assembly is that watchmakers can remove the rear bearing plate and pull off the press-mounted secondary drive. Today you can find “flying” tourbillons at Ulysse Nardin and Tourbillon specialists Wilhelm Rieber from Tiefenbronn in the Black Forest. Glashütte Original builds exclusively the “floating” variant of the Tourbillon.

How The Tourbillon Came To The Wrist

Although the tourbillon was originally invented for pocket watches, it also found the wrist. First, there were bracelet tourbillons in homeopathic microscopes, produced as unique pieces and to be able to triumph at Chronometer competitions. In 1945, André Bornand provided a round, 30 millimeter pocket watch with an anchor tourbillon. The client was Patek Philippe. In 1949, 1951 and 1953 this caliber took part in Chronometer competitions. In 1950, André Zibach and Eric Jaccard made their way to the tonne-shaped caliber 34, whose surface area of ​​702 square millimeters fitted it to the competition category D.

Once again André Bornand was responsible for the bogie. The precious caliber 34 T took part in competitions of the Geneva Observatory from 1958 to 1966. In 1962 two reached the first two places.

In 1948, Marcel Vuilleumier, director of the watchmaker’s school in Le Sentier, split up with the whirlwind for the wrist. His credo: Tourbillons are much more demanding than in the bag. Therefore, he set to 7.7 minutes of orbit. On this mental foundation, Jean-Pierre Matthey-Claudet of Evilard produced 10 bracelet tourbillies for Omega for trial purposes. Finally, the manufactory Lip experimented in the French Besançon . Their unicorn was based on a sculpture. The special feature: the minute tourbillon with anchor suspension and a bogie diameter of a proud 11.5 millimeters rotated in a dial section.

With Audemars Piguet, The Tourbillon Went In Wrist Watch Series

With the first series tourbillon Audemars Piguet waited in 1986. The form was not only the smallest and shallowest of its kind, but also the first specimen with self-elevation. As was the case at the end of the 1970s, a super-thin “Delirium” chime produced by various manufacturers, or at the Swatch, the case floor served as a work surface. The tiny bogie was made of titanium. With this watch, Audemars Piguet launched an avalanche.

The unprecedented tourbillon boom continues to the present. State-of-the-art technologies such as computer-controlled milling or spark erosion open up unexpected possibilities to the cheap tourbillon from the People’s Republic of China. The variety of the small whirlwind seem to have no limits. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked , presented at the SIHH 2017, moves between luxury and sportiness .

Flying or under a bridge-which tourbillon is the better one?

Classic constructions with a bridge over the bogie stand against flying constructions. The classic is the more reliable – both in terms of impact safety and in terms of gearing accuracy. Gang tests in different vertical positions have shown that the differences in the flying tourbillon are very large, but the classical design is much more balanced. The flying design does not offer any advantages, but it is more subjectively the more aesthetic, whereas the famous Tourbillon under three bridges of Girard-Perregaux has numerous beautiful possibilities.

Flying bogies can be designed more delicate and lighter. But they are also much more difficult to realize. But for the fascination tourbillon is worth the effort. The construction can be slightly raised, slightly protruding from the dial. A Tourbillon can be regarded today as a work of art, a real gait-regulating benefit as at Breguet’s times it no longer has. The technical top performance justifies its existence and undoubtedly attracts every viewer.

Gallery

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Beijing Watch Factory Wu Ji "Infinite Universe" Bi-Axial ...

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Bulgari Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon watch

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