In constant motion, difficult to craft, and always a joy to gaze upon, the tourbillon - which means whirlwind in French – is the spinning star of these exquisite time-tellers.
01: ORIGIN STORY
With the Classique 5335 Grande Complication Tourbillon Messidor (shown here in rose gold; Ref. 5335BR/42/9W6), Breguet pays tribute to one of its founder’s most famous inventions. The tourbillon was patented by Abraham Breguet in 1801, who realised that fitting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage could help to cancel out timekeeping inaccuracies caused by the effects of gravity. The openwork, manually wound calibre 588 SQ2 housed in this 40mm watch is entirely engraved by hand.
02: SLENDER STATEMENT
Thanks to features like a micro-rotor, the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon by Parmigiani Fleurier is one of the slimmest self-winding tourbillon watches around. The 40mm-wide rose gold case of the model seen here has a thickness of 8.65mm. The flying tourbillon of Calibre PF517, which is visible through an aperture at seven o’clock, also has a streamlined cage that is crafted from titanium.
03: TECHNICAL TRIUMPH
The Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour Le Merite” by A. Lange & Sohne features a regulator-style display, with the 60-second tourbillon directly connected to the subsidiary seconds at the bottom left, a minutes subdial at 12 o’clock, and the hour register at the bottom right. The manual movement features a fusee-and-chain mechanism for consistent rate accuracy. This boutique-exclusive edition features a 41.9mm white gold case.
04: LASTING ELEGANCE
The glossy white enamel of Blancpain’s Villeret 12-Day One-Minute Flying Tourbillon watch allows its tourbillon to take centre stage at 12 o’clock. Powered by the automatic Calibre 242, this 42mm red gold timepiece has an exceptional power reserve of 12 days. While the watch is kept clean on the front, there’s plenty to enjoy through its display caseback, including guilloche bridges and a power reserve disc, and an openwork rotor.
05: POWERING AHEAD
One of Cartier’s biggest launches for the year, the Drive collection is characterised by a cushion-shaped case, and the crown jewel of the family is the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon. The 60-second tourbillon of the in-house movement 9452 MC is distinguished by the C-shaped carriage, which also indicates the seconds. Elsewhere, the 40mm pink gold watch has the design codes of the Drive pieces, which include a guilloche dial, and an openwork grid of numerals with a sunray effect.
06: STEADY AS IT GOES
Arnold & Son’s Constant Force Tourbillon is a time-only watch, but it’s by no means simple. The 46mm red-gold timepiece features a power regulating constant-force mechanism comprising two mainspring barrels. When the energy in the first barrel falls below a certain level, the second one tops up the former. Also, this watch has a true-beat seconds hand at seven o’clock, which ticks rather than sweeps. It’s almost enough to make you overlook the 60-second tourbillon at four o’clock. Almost.
07: ON ALL CYLINDERS
Occupying prime position at the bottom part of a beautifully grained silver-toned dial, there is no doubt that the tourbillon is the star of the Master Grande Tradition Tourbillon Cylindrique by Jaeger-LeCoultre. But it’s no ordinary tourbillon – this spinning regulator features a cylindrical hairspring made by the brand, which apparently improves chronometric performance. It is powered by the automatic Calibre 995, which has a 45-hour power reserve.