The tourbillon, this little mechanical wonder, with its hypnotizing movement that can turn anyone in a watch lover, was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Developed around 1795, it was on this day, June 26, 1801, that he patented his revolutionary mechanical device. If today the tourbillon has an aesthetic role, usually shown on the face of the wristwatch as a token of high-end horology, Breguet had a more practical motivation to come up with it. Back in those days, gentlemen having their watches in their pockets, most of the time in a vertical position, these watches were susceptible to inaccuracies, mainly because of the gravitational force exercised on the escapement.
Breguet found a solution to this problem by mounting a lever escapement within a rotating cage that shares the same axis as the balance wheel and it is held in place by a bridge. By continuously rotating the entire balance wheel/escapement assembly at a slow rate, the tourbillon averages out positional errors.
During his lifetime, Abraham-Louis Breguet created 35 tourbillon watches, of which fewer than 10 are known to have survived. Here are a couple of them:
June 26 is now celebrated by Breguet, the brand, as “Tourbillon Day” with special events at Breguet boutiques in Zurich, Taipei and New York, showcasing the brand’s vast collection of tourbillon pieces. Among them the gorgeous Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 with an enamel dial and an incredibly slim profile of only 7.45 mm.
The 5367 is an automatic watch with a peripheral rotor, providing minimal obstruction to admiring the beautifully engraved movement.
More about Breguet at www.breguet.com