Quartz watches operate using a battery that will help supply power to its quartz crystal
in order for it to function. Mechanical watches, as the name implies, would require an
intricate mechanism that consists of different moving parts. One of these parts is known
as the Tourbillon.
A tourbillon, to put it simply, is just a mechanism that can be found inside luxury
mechanical watches. If you have a love for intricate horological instruments, you will find
that tourbillon watches are amazing to look at, let alone it is historical in its creation and
In today’s article, I will talk more about this mechanism so that you will be educated as
to what it is and how it functions and why it is only found in most high-end mechanical
Why the Tourbillon is Interesting
During the Quartz revolution, a lot of watchmaking companies have set their eyes in the
creation of Quartz watches and they made it sure that it is the only type of watch
movement they’re going to focus on.
The reason why they want to mass-produce quartz watches at that time was due to the
fact that these watches are not only accurate but it doesn’t require you to wind a
mainspring up just to help tell you the time (something that a mechanical watch is
At that time, mechanical watches are highly inaccurate, especially if you forgot to wound
its mainspring, which is one of its integral pieces of operation. Because of this, people
have somewhat ditched mechanical watches in favor of its more accurate counterpart.
Another reason why mechanical watches are somewhat inaccurate before is that you
have to account for the force of gravity because it is responsible for dragging the
watch’s movement in some directions (other than its main path).
A tourbillon was created to help address this as it is used to help the watch’s precision
and accuracy by making sure that the watch is not going to be affected by the center of
It was created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1975.
How Does It Work?
One of the biggest enemies of mechanical watches is the force of gravity. That is
because it affects the movement of the watch and watchmakers used to utilize a
tourbillon to help protect the small components that are encased in the watch’s
Essentially, the tourbillon will encase all of the smaller components in a rotating cage.
For those of you who do not know, a watch’s escapement is a collection of components
that comprise of the watch’s balance wheel, hairspring, and pallet fork.
To help counteract the negative effects of gravity, the tourbillon watch would have to
rotate slowly or roughly at a rate of 1 RPM to make sure that everything is going to be in
place; thus, making it accurate when it comes to telling the time.
Is it Still Being Used Today?
Certainly, but only in luxury watches. The reason is that including a tourbillon would be
nearly impossible, especially if you are going to mass-produce watches.
It has certainly received upgrades since its invention and one great implementation of
this is the tri-axial tourbillon.
Is a Tourbillon Watch Right for You?
It truly depends on you. Do you have the money to not only buy the watch but also have
it serviced from time to time? Then you can certainly buy one. Otherwise, you might just
buy other types of watches that are less expensive and more accurate.