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i know about toubillons but an embarassed to say not alot. i see sturhling will be offering a tourbillon. i think that a tourbillon was originally designed to improve the accuracy of the timepiece and that they are expensive. does a tourbillon improve accuracy and what is the benefits of having a toubillon watch? thank you. ....Bob
 

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Theoretically, the rotation of the tourbillon cage is to minimize the effects of gravity on the escapement and balance wheel assembly. The tourbillon cage rotates, once per minute. By rotating, the effects of gravity are minimized as critical parts of the watch's drive train are no longer subject to the position of the watch to horizontal.

If you lay your watch flat on a table, dial side up, the forces (gravity) placed on the movement's parts, push downwards towards to table top. If you take your watch and lay it flat, case back side up, the the forces exerted are still pushing downwards towards the table top, but in the opposite direction on the movement than they were with the dial up. Now take your watch and set it on it's side, crown up. The forces (gravity) are pushing against the table top, but the impact on the movement is once again, altered. If you keep up this scenario, you begin to see that gravity can affect these moving parts differently, depending on the position of the watch. If you take these affected parts, put them together inside of a rotating cage, then the forces (gravity) are minimized at all times (because they are rotating). :)


Originally, the tourbillon was created as a way to better regulate time, but now it produced more often, as a display of craftsmanship (look what we can do). :)
 

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Good question Bob, I always wondered the same thing. Thanks Current for the info.
 

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From a variety of sources for you Bob!

In horology, a tourbillon or tourbillion (pronounced /tʊərˈbɪljən/, French: [tuʁbijɔ̃], "whirlwind") is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement. Invented in 1795 by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet,, a tourbillon counters the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, ostensibly in order to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece (and thus the escapement) is rotated. Originally an attempt to improve accuracy, tourbillons are still included in some expensive modern watches as a novelty and demonstration of watchmaking virtuosity. The mechanism is usually exposed on the watch's face to show it off.

How it works:
Gravity was thought to have a very adverse effect on the accuracy of time pieces at the time of the invention of the tourbillon, particularly because pocketwatches were often less accurate than stationary clocks of the same construction. The prevailing theory amongst horologists of the time was that pocket watches suffered from the effects of gravity since they were usually carried in the same pocketed position for most of the day, which was vertical, and then held in a different position while being read. Because the movements of pocket watches and similar pieces were oriented with respect to the cases and the dials, their movements were positioned with the axes of motion perpendicular to their faces. This meant that when the timepiece was placed vertically, the axis of motion of the movements would be parallel to the ground, and thus the force of gravity. In such a position, the force of gravity would affect the motion of parts of the movement differently when the parts were in different positions (i.e., moving with gravity or moving against it), which would cause variations in the rate the movement, which in turn would affect the timepieces' accuracy. If adjusted for one position, the rate would change when the piece was kept in a different position, such as when being held to be read or when placed on a table at night. In a tourbillon, the entire escapement assembly rotates, including the balance wheel, the escape wheel, the hairspring, and the pallet fork, in order to average out the effect of gravity in the different positions. The rate of rotation varies per design but has generally become standardized at one rotation per minute. Most tourbillons use standard swiss lever escapements, but some have a detent escapement, and others contain novel designs, such as the Audemars Piguet Millenary for example.

The tourbillon is considered to be one of the most challenging of watch mechanisms to make [1] (although technically not a complication itself) and is valued for its engineering and design principles. The first production tourbillon mechanism was produced by Breguet for Napoleon in one of his carriage clocks (travel clocks of the time were of considerable weight, typically weighing almost 200 pounds).

Double Axis
Inspired by these genius clockmakers the young german watchmaker Thomas Prescher developed for the Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie in 2003 the first flying Double Axis Tourbillon in a pocketwatch and in 2004 the first flying Double Axis Tourbillon with constant force in the carriage in a wristwatch. Shown at the Baselworld 2003 and 2004 in Basel, Switzerland.

A characteristic of this tourbillon is that it is turning around 2 axes. The first axis and the second axis are both turning once per minute. The whole tourbillon is powered by a special constant force mechanism, called Remontoire[2]. Thomas Prescher invented the constant force mechanism in the carriage for the necessary power in the Double Axis Tourbillon. He has chosen the mechanism to equalize the different forces caused by wound and unwound mainspring, friction, and gravitation effects. So that even force is always supplied to the oscillation regulating system of the Double Axis Tourbillon. In addition he applies a modified system after Henri Jeanneret.

Triple Axis
Thomas Prescher developed for the Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie in 2004 the first Triple Axis Tourbillon[4] with constant force in the carriage in a wristwatch. Presented at the Baselworld 2004 in Basel, Switzerland in a Set of three watches. A Single Axis Tourbillon, a Double Axis Tourbillon and a Triple Axis Tourbillon.

Characteristic for this technical high-end complication is that the tourbillon is turning around 3 axes. The first axis and the second axis both complete one rotation every minute and the third axis is turning once every hour. The Triple Axis Tourbillon is powered, same as the Double Axis Tourbillon, by a special constant force mechanism, called Remontoire

Modern watches:
In modern mechanical watch designs, a tourbillon is not required to produce a highly accurate timepiece; there is even debate amongst horologists as to whether tourbillons ever improved the accuracy of mechanical time pieces, even when they were first introduced, or whether the time pieces of the day were inherently inaccurate due to design and manufacturing techniques. Nevertheless, the tourbillon is one of the most valued features of collectors' watches and premium timepieces (Ref. August 2006 WatchTime article Girard-Perregaux's Tourbillon Icon), possibly for the same reason that mechanical watches fetch a much higher price than similar quartz watches that are much more accurate. High-quality tourbillon wristwatches, which are usually made by the Swiss luxury watch industry, are very expensive, and typically retail for at least thousands of dollars or euros, with much higher prices in the tens of thousands of dollars/euros being common. A recent renaissance of interest in tourbillons has been met by the industry with increased availability of time pieces bearing the feature, with the result that prices for basic tourbillon models have receded somewhat in recent years (where as previously they were very rare, in either antiques or new merchandise); however, any time piece that has a tourbillon will cost a great deal more than an equivalent piece without the feature.

Modern implementations typically allow the tourbillon to be seen through a window in the watch face. In addition to enhancing the charm of the piece, the tourbillon can act as a second hand for some watches as it generally rotates once per minute. However some Tourbillons spin faster (Gruebel Forsey's 24-second tourbillon for example.). There are many "Tourbillon" fake/replicas of premium brand watches that emulate this feature with the oscillating balance wheel visible through the watch dial; however, these are not tourbillons.

In the late 20th century, the first research into multi-axis tourbillion movements was done by British clockmakers Anthony Randall and Richard Good, eventually producing two- and three-axis tourbillon movements.
 

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The tourbillon history is an intriguing and thought-provoking one. Along with minute repeaters, grande and petite sonneries, perpetual calendars, and chronographs, the tourbillon is one of the most fascinating complications of mechanical horology. Priced out of the reach of all but a lucky few, the tourbillon is rarely seen up close and personal but most often seen in pictures. Once viewed, however, one cannot help but be seduced by the stately and measured dance of the tourbillon ("whirlwind" in French)

The tourbillon history dates back to the 18th century. The invention of the tourbillon, or tourbillon regulator stem from the days of the pocket watch and came about as a result of men's quest for improved accuracy of marine chronometers, a chronometer being a high precision watch. 18th century sailors on the high seas literally depended their lives on the accuracy of their ship's deck watch or these marine chronometer to steer them on course and out of harm's way. The quest for accuracy was obvious and did not end there - after all this was a time of continual innovation and invention in horology, the start of the tourbillon history being just around the corner. As a chronometer would almost invariably rest in the same position, gravity was a directional constant affecting the behavior of the chronometer's balance wheel and balance spring. In fact, the influence of gravity on the accuracy of mechanical watches had worried watchmakers for centuries. How is this so?

Depending on the position of the watch in the vertical plane (crown left; right; down; or up), different variations in the frequency of the balance wheel will occur as a result of changes in its center of gravity. For when a watch is in the vertical position, the earth's gravity either accelerates or slows the balance and the escapement (mechanism in the watch that regulates the speed of rotation of the wheels), causing a rate gain or loss. Even a watch in excellent condition that has been recently lubricated, serviced, and adjusted for temperature variations will still suffer the inevitable influence of the gravitational force of the Earth.

To nullify the effects of gravity in pocket watches, the great French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon in 1795, propelling the tourbillon history.

But his invention became known officially only in 1801 when he applied for a patent. The first pocket watch equipped with a tourbillon mechanism was sold in 1805 but it was presented formally to the public during the Parisian show of French industrial products in 1806.

Remember now that the tourbillon is a holdover from the days of the pocket watch. One chapter in the tourbillon history evidences that the tourbillon regulator made the jump to wristwatches starting in 1930. Unlike a wristwatch, a pocket watch worn in a vest will spend the majority of its time in a vertical position. Therefore, Breguet allegedly decided that, for the absolute best accuracy, some means of balancing out the effects of gravity in the various positions was needed. His ingenious solution placed the balance wheel, escape lever, and escape wheel in a cage, which then rotated a full 360 degrees making a complete revolution around itself, usually in a minute. In this way, the overall effects of gravity get balanced out, as the escapement of the movement never spends any significant time in one vertical position.

Source and more - http://www.tourbillonwatches.com/tourbillon-history.html
 

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CurrentTime wrote:
Theoretically, the rotation of the tourbillon cage is to minimize the effects of gravity on the escapement and balance wheel assembly. The tourbillon cage rotates, once per minute. By rotating, the effects of gravity are minimized as critical parts of the watch's drive train are no longer subject to the position of the watch to horizontal.

If you lay your watch flat on a table, dial side up, the forces (gravity) placed on the movement's parts, push downwards towards to table top. If you take your watch and lay it flat, case back side up, the the forces exerted are still pushing downwards towards the table top, but in the opposite direction on the movement than they were with the dial up. Now take your watch and set it on it's side, crown up. The forces (gravity) are pushing against the table top, but the impact on the movement is once again, altered. If you keep up this scenario, you begin to see that gravity can affect these moving parts differently, depending on the position of the watch. If you take these affected parts, put them together inside of a rotating cage, then the forces (gravity) are minimized at all times (because they are rotating). :)


Originally, the tourbillon was created as a way to better regulate time, but now it produced more often, as a display of craftsmanship (look what we can do). :)
thank you Current Time! i understand, you explained it well. ....bob
 

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thank you all for the responses. thank you James for all the information and link. ....bob
 

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Anytime, Bob!

When people ask "What is your grail?" . . . for me . . . it's a tourbillon!

Whereas I might covet the might Swiss Tourbillon (at $25K to $2.5M), I would be very pleased with a Chinese tourbillon . . . just to have a tourbillon.

When I was first introduced to the concept, you couldn't buy a tourbillon under $250K. Now they are available under $1K. Incredible! :c



Bob wrote:
CurrentTime wrote:
Theoretically, the rotation of the tourbillon cage is to minimize the effects of gravity on the escapement and balance wheel assembly. The tourbillon cage rotates, once per minute. By rotating, the effects of gravity are minimized as critical parts of the watch's drive train are no longer subject to the position of the watch to horizontal.

If you lay your watch flat on a table, dial side up, the forces (gravity) placed on the movement's parts, push downwards towards to table top. If you take your watch and lay it flat, case back side up, the the forces exerted are still pushing downwards towards the table top, but in the opposite direction on the movement than they were with the dial up. Now take your watch and set it on it's side, crown up. The forces (gravity) are pushing against the table top, but the impact on the movement is once again, altered. If you keep up this scenario, you begin to see that gravity can affect these moving parts differently, depending on the position of the watch. If you take these affected parts, put them together inside of a rotating cage, then the forces (gravity) are minimized at all times (because they are rotating). :)


Originally, the tourbillon was created as a way to better regulate time, but now it produced more often, as a display of craftsmanship (look what we can do). :)
thank you Current Time! i understand, you explained it well. ....bob
 

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Here is a graphical illustration of the tourbillon parts. The tourbillon device has the escape wheel, lever, and balance wheel all mounted in a carriage made of a lightweight material (usually titanium). The carriage turns 360 degrees at regular intervals (usually once per minute). The fourth wheel (not shown) is fixed and is concentric with the carriage pinion and arbor. The escape wheel pinion meshes with the fourth wheel and rotates around the fourth wheel in the fashion of a satellite. The escape wheel and lever are mounted on the carriage, and the third wheel (not shown) drives the carriage pinion, turning the carriage once every minute. This rotation of the escapement helps reduce the positional errors of a watch.

Source - http://www.tourbillonwatches.com/tourbillon-parts.html
 

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This is a great post specially for those who want to learn so I just want to bump it for those who did not have read it yet. Thankyou Bob, Currenttime and TvDinner.
 

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Thanks TVD and CT - great insights.
I want one of course. I was thinking the Android Hercules with the Seagull (TY-802) movement because it's affordable at least for my first Tourbillon.
Comments?
 

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great question, always had that in mind.
amazing answers as well!!
 

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ZombieSuffer wrote:
Here is an exploded view another forum member shared a few months ago. (p.s. my current desktop wallpaper).

Simply amazing image. That has to be a computer generated image complete with the reflections of the other parts in the reflective surfaces of other parts. As a professional photographer who has photographed many "product" shots from jewelry to insects, I can't for the life of me figure how they would actually produce this.
 
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