Over the past few years, tourbillon watches have become increasingly popular, but what makes them unique? Will they make the standard wristwatch obsolete in the future, or will they eventually fade away into history like other experimental technologies? This article explores these questions, what sets tourbillon watches apart from regular ones and why they may be the way of the future when it comes to fine timekeeping.
The History of the Tourbillon
The first recorded use of a tourbillon as a timekeeping device was in 1801. A Swiss watchmaker named Abraham-Louis Breguet invented it to counterbalance the effects of gravity on pocket watches. Today, tourbillons are a staple among high-end watches. They've become more popular with manufacturers in recent years because their complex construction allows for smaller and thinner cases. Manufacturers like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, IWC Schaffhausen, Audemars Piguet, and JLC have been making some of the best tourbillon watches in recent years. These watches feature incredibly sophisticated movements that make them an excellent investment. But you don't need to spend upwards of $10,000 to get a great example. Here's our list of cool tourbillon watches under $5000: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication and the Hublot Big Bang Aero Club Titanium or Squelette. In addition, we recommend checking out these cool tourbillon watches from German manufacturer Sinn (sisters).
How a Tourbillon Works
A tourbillon is a type of escapement that helps keep time more accurate by compensating for gravity's effects on a watch's balance wheel. The balance wheel is mounted in a cage that rotates at high speed. As it oscillates, it continually moves to different positions relative to its axis, and this motion cancels out any change in gravity force. So if the wearer of a tourbillon watch is climbing up or down stairs or taking an elevator, the second-hand rate stays steady.
A good example is watches made by Ressence because they use their own innovation known as hydro-balance, which works similarly to how a pendulum works: regulating with changes in gravitational force. I love Ressence's design philosophy. They make some of the best tourbillon watches I have seen so far. They have been awarded prizes like the designer watch prize 2018 and the best futuristic concept for horology 2019 by esteemed companies such as WatchTime Magazine.
The Advantages of a Tourbillon
A tourbillon is an escapement mechanism in a mechanical watch or clock that counters the effects of gravity by mounting the balance wheel and hairspring in a rotating cage. Typically, but not always, it is positioned near the center of mass to achieve better balance. This device was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet and initially patented in 1801. He intended his invention to improve accuracy during wristwatch use because he felt that pocket watches were less accurate at measuring time while being carried in one's pocket.
Nowadays, tourbillons are most commonly found in expensive high-end watches such as Rolex. But just because they're expensive doesn't mean they're good; there are many low-cost good quality tourbillon watches on the market. One company is keeping the tradition alive with their cheap tourbillon watches. However, some say that these cheap tourbillon watches might be too greedy, especially since some people feel like they've been cheated when a company advertises itself as having good quality products.
The Disadvantages of a Tourbillon
Tourbillons have been around for more than 180 years, and they've come a long way. But are they really worth the price and hype? Probably not, according to some watchmakers. The best tourbillon watches go for as much as $200,000, which is nuts. We can all agree that there are some cool tourbillon watches, but they're mostly just collector items, not something you wear daily because they just don't work as well. The key feature of a good tourbillon watch is the balance wheel which regulates the movement to make it more accurate. The best tourbillon watches might look cool, but even then, they're just wearing their gimmick on their sleeve like anyone else! They may be the best tourbillon watches, but if I'm going to spend $200,000 on a timepiece, I want it to be helpful. They're too fragile for everyday use, and only people with lots of money will buy them. And for what reason? Sure, they're exciting pieces, but how many times do you get to see one in person before getting bored? At least these companies found another way to make money off us: making us think we need an expensive piece when really all we want is the affordable one.
The Future of the Tourbillon
There are many tourbillon watches, but not all are created equal. Here are a few things to consider when buying a good tourbillon watch. First, you want one that is made by a well-established Swiss manufacturer. Look for one that has an in-house movement and be sure it is operated by hand. The most important thing to look at is the quality of the case and dial work, as they will have a lot of bearing on how long your watch will last. Good tourbillon watches can often cost upwards of $100,000, but if you buy from a reputable retailer, you should have no problems getting a great deal. Buying a watch with these features ensures you're purchasing one of the best tourbillon watches money can buy. We recommend looking for one of the top tourbillon watches before deciding what to get. If you find yourself on this blog post, chances are, cool tourbillon watches are something you're interested in, and we've done some research, so read below!