Tourbillon History


Tourbillon, meaning whirlwind in French was designed in 1795 by Breguet, the French-Swiss watchmaker and receive the patent for it within a period of six years in 1801. Gravity influences all aspects of the watch movement, this is particular for the pallet fork, hairspring and balance wheel. The main reason for the development of Tourbillon was to avoid positional error.

This was developed when pocket watches were on its peak popularity .Pocket watches tend to remain stationary for most parts except when it is pulled out to view time. The most significant issue for watchmakers was to find a solution to regulate the watch regardless of the position it was in.

Pocket watches were vertically worn but kept flat within the pocket ,this exerted considerable pressure on the fragile hairspring .Any disturbance to the hairspring would cause disruptions to the oscillation rate which renders the watch inaccurate over time

During this time Breguet was developing the Tourbillon design. Watchmakers took use of an alternative watch when regulating, this would not ensure accurate readings.

Watchmakers had the ability to place the watch in eight unique positions: dial up, crown down, dial down, crown left, crown up, crown right, half-way position crown up and halfway position crown down.

Following Breguet's invention, it reduce the regulated watch positions from eight to three: dial up. dial down and one vertical position. During the course of one minute, the tourbillon rotates once, the escarpment turns around its own axis eliminating any effect from gravity by turning in all vertically possible positions!