When it comes to tourbillon watches, I don’t think everyone will be unfamiliar. Tourbillon is a transliteration of French Tourbillon, which means a rotary escapement speed regulation mechanism. At the beginning of my contact with watches, I did n’t know the perpetual calendar and the timepiece. The first thing I knew was the tourbillon watch. What attracted me was its unique operating method. It has brought the dynamic art beauty of clocks to the highest level. To the point.
Although many people think that tourbillon technology is becoming more and more mundane, after all, as a remedy system designed in the case of a relatively backward escapement design, today’s processing technology is indeed not much today. Many brands can make tourbillons, but they can’t make perpetual calendars or three questions, but this still can’t stop the charm of tourbillons being sought after by most watch fans who love mechanical watchmaking.
History of Tourbillon
When it comes to tourbillons, I believe watch fans will think of Mr. Bao Di. Swiss watchmaker Mr. Louis Breguet first discovered that the rate change of the watch in different directions is not only affected by the change of inertia, but also by the change of the center of gravity of the balance and hairspring. The balance is caused by the gravity The acceleration and deceleration of the swing both affect the speed of the watch. And these problems cannot be eliminated and can only be offset by other methods.
So he devised a scheme concept that put all the parts of the speed governing mechanism: balance wheel, balance spring and escapement in a special steel frame, so that this steel frame would make one revolution per minute around its own axis. That is, the axis of the balance wheel regularly rotates 360 degrees. In this way, the original escapement mechanism is fixed, so when the watch rest position is changed, the escapement mechanism does not change, resulting in different forces on the escapement parts and errors; when the escapement mechanism rotates 360 degrees continuously At the time, the azimuth errors of the parts are integrated and offset each other, thereby minimizing the errors.
Mr. Baodi proposed this idea in 1775, and it was not produced until nearly 6 years later. He wrote a letter to the French Republic on the 24th of the month (equivalent to April 14, 1801). The Minister of the Interior explained that he had invented a tourbillon governor and asked for a 10-year patent. On June 26, 1801, he received a patent license.
Breguet’s No. 1176 Tourbillon Pocket Watch
Most of Breguet’s early tourbillon watches were equipped with Breguet’s escapement ruby I-wheel, which was invented in 1795, and was known as the ‘natural’ escapement.
A total of 7 4-minute tourbillons of Mr. Breguet known to date. In addition to No. 1188 mentioned above (sold to the Prince of Spain in 1808), there is also No. 1297 sold in 1808 equipped with a Robin escapement. No. 2483 equipped with Echappement a force constante in 1815. And No. 2555 sold in 1823 equipped with Peto cross-detent escapement. There are also two escapements carrying their own inventions, of which the date on which No. 2483 was sold has not been recorded. Another No. 1176 was sold to Polish noble Count Potoki in 1809. This transaction was reached through Mr. Moreau in St. Petersburg, Russia. At that time, the price was 4600 francs.
The tourbillon was applied to the wristwatch to date back to 1945, Andre Bornand assembled a 30 mm diameter rod escapement tourbillon movement for Patek Philippe. Then, until 1948, Marcel, director of the Valle de Le Sanga Watch School, proposed that because the tourbillon on a wristwatch is much more affected by wrist movements than the pocket watch in a pocket, so the tourbillon on a watch The frame should make one revolution every 450 seconds instead of 60 seconds.
Later, the French brand LIP began manufacturing tourbillon watches in the 1940s. In 1948, Omega had installed a tourbillon on its 30mm movement.
In 1986, Audemars Piguet began making the first mass-produced tourbillon watch. These watches were the first automatic tourbillon watches. The key to its technology is to use the case back as the movement’s plate. As a result, the thickness of the entire tourbillon automatic watch is only 4.8 mm. The tourbillon’s turntable is made of titanium alloy, and the rotor is made of platinum alloy.
Then, the whirlwind of the watch tourbillon began to blow and became extremely popular. The introduction of modern technology, especially CNC machine tools and EDM cutting machines, has made the price of tourbillons as low as traditional tourbillons cannot reach. New and outstanding tourbillons are beginning to emerge.
When it comes to types, let’s pick some features that are easier to identify. From the appearance, tourbillon can be roughly divided into coaxial tourbillon and eccentric tourbillon. The eccentric tourbillon is relative to the coaxial tourbillon. The main difference between the two is whether the position of the balance spring in the tourbillon is centered or off-center, and does its axis of rotation coincide with the axis of rotation of the tourbillon frame? If it is, it is coaxial; if not, it should be classified as eccentric. Coaxial representative brands include Breguet and Vacheron Constantin, while eccentric representative brands include Blancpain. Because the eccentric layout restricts the swing space, it is slightly inferior to the coaxial, but because of its wonderful running trajectory, it has also been loved by many watch fans.
In addition to the two most common types, the flying tourbillon is actually an open turntable, which allows the rotating balance wheel to be fully exposed to create a floating feeling, which improves the novelty and dynamic expression of the tourbillon. This minor change is technically demanding, but it does bring unexpected lightness and beauty. Currently, among the latest tourbillon models launched by various brands, flying tourbillons are more widely used than coaxial ones. The reason is that people’s longing for tourbillons today has improved the timing accuracy from the beginning. Degree becomes a manifestation of dynamic beauty. For example, Roger Dubuis is very good at making flying tourbillons.
Three Golden Bridge Tourbillon
The three-gold bridge tourbillon is also a type of tourbillon that can be easily identified. Three parallel bridge-shaped supporting splints appear on the tourbillon, giving the entire watch a stronger sense of ceremony and gorgeousness. The mechanical movement usually consists of multiple splints and bridges. The bridges become part of the decoration. The three bridges correspond to the parallel bridges of the barrel, the center wheel and the tourbillon.
Girard Perregaux Three Gold Bridge Tourbillon
As the heirloom of Girard-Perregaux watches, Girard-Perregaux has applied for two patents for appearance: the first time was the application of the earliest design of the three-golden bridge on December 13th, 1883, which was aimed at pocket watches. The second time was after 107 years, and on September 27, 1990, a new design was applied for the redesigned watch Sanjinqiao.
Not all tourbillons are as accurate as people think. After all, the tourbillon was invented for a pocket watch, and the appearance of a watch is greater than the meaning of the tourbillon itself. However, there are also precise tourbillons on the watch, such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre biplane series of two-dimensional stereo two-axis tourbillon watches, allowing the watch to have both precision and complex functions.
The concept of the two wings is that the tourbillon and the travel time system are driven by two sets of power systems, respectively, and there is a function of ‘adjusting the time and stopping without stopping’ to ensure accuracy.
The dual-axis tourbillon rotates around two axes at the same time. The position of the two axes can be inclined or vertical. Such a device can reduce errors to a certain extent and is more accurate than the single-axis tourbillon. With the wonderful cooperation of the two axes, it no longer only rotates in one plane, but can be said to be ‘universal’.
‘Magic Tourbillon’ by Mr. Jiao Dayu
In the end, I have to mention the ‘magic tourbillon’, which was first invented in Hong Kong’s ‘Tianyixuan’ by the Chinese watchmaker Jiao Dayu of the East in 1993 and was successfully manufactured by himself. At the same time, the two components of the fixed bracket and the rotating frame were eliminated, and the weight of the flywheel was greatly reduced by more than half for the first time, and the diameter of the balance wheel could be increased to enhance the stability of the timing, and at the same time improve the level of dynamic artistic performance. In the history of tourbillon watch manufacturing, for the first time, Jiao Dayu chose sapphire glass to replace the original ‘balance wheel splint’ made of metal. This part was previously attached to the ‘flywheel rotating frame’. Because this watch is more mysterious when it works.
Today, the tourbillon is no longer a complicated function, but it is still one of the most eye-catching functions. Its status is still not to be underestimated. It is not only the object of collectors and investors competing for hunting, but also major Fine watch brands are the strongest evidence of their watchmaking prowess. Well-known watch critic Norma Buchanan once wrote that ‘after two hundred years of its existence, the tourbillon still made the watchmaking industry overwhelmed.’ If Mr. Baodi was alive, perhaps he would see it with pride and even surprise The tiny rotating device in the case can appear at major watch exhibitions with amazing frequencies, and has never been absent for years.
Each tourbillon watch can be made under the magnifying glass, and the slender parts have been made through more than a hundred steps. After the watchmaker’s alert hands, experienced eyes and sensitive auditory judgments about the rhythm of time, Glittering, complex structure. In this era of standardized product popularity, the tourbillon is undoubtedly the best symbol of unique timepieces and the legendary symbol of the tourbillon.