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When reading through one of the links that Rick posted and found this article from thewatchlounge.com, a site I read and like. Interesting reading.
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What’s A Tourbillon Really Worth?

source - http://thewatchlounge.com/what%E2%80%99s-a-tourbillon-really-worth/


Bell & Ross BR01 Tourbillon

Later this week we will be presenting our “on-the-wrist” review of this watch from Chinese manufacturer, Longio. Whilst not yet on the mainstream radar this Hong Kong based brand is really making a concerted effort to break into the luxury watch market by offering watches that have been constructed fully in-house, including the automatic movement which features a tourbillon complication.

This got us thinking: what is the real value of a tourbillon and its associated variations? Will the introduction of these Chinese made alternatives impact negatively on this value or has the damage already been done through the excessive use of this not so rare complication by over-exuberant European brands attempting to establish their watch making credentials?

Undeniably the tourbillon has to be one of the most commonly used complications in watch-making today, though that’s not to say that its still not an impressive piece of engineering. Notwithstanding that fact, at its heart its purpose is purely aesthetic and offers no tangible benefit to the wearer other than something attractive to look at on the watch dial.


Breguet – the original tourbillon master

It should be acknowledged here though, that there are those who take the art of the Tourbillon to another level. Brands such as Breguet or individuals like Thomas Prescher are names that immediately spring to mind. Thomas’ mind-blowing creations including the Triple-Axis Flying Tourbillon and the Mysterious Automatic Double-Axis Tourbillon provide exemplary illustrations of what a true master is capable of achieving with the tourbillon complication.

However, it seems that for most brands the humble tourbillon is the complication most often called upon to help them make the step from mainstream watch maker into the world of haute horologerie. Arguably this is because of the known complications available (and trust us, there are many more yet to be invented, just look at Ludovic Ballouard’s gloriously original Upside Down watch) the tourbillon is one of the easiest to make relative to the level of impact it has on the wearer. For example, a perpetual calendar, whilst far more useful simply does not have the same visual appeal as a flying tourbillon complication, although many would say that the latter is a redundant technology.


Chinese-made Longio Telamon Diving Watch with Classic Tourbillon complication

So this takes us back to our original question, what is the real value of a tourbillon complication?

In our opinion, the tourbillon is so widely used now that the introduction of Chinese brands which feature this complication (and there are many more than just Longio) will only have a marginal impact on the overall value of the tourbillon. Certainly it will make this attractive complication far more accessible to mainstream consumers but it seems to us that the European brands are doing more than enough to diminish the value of this centuries-old masterpiece of engineering that the impact will simply not be that noticeable.

Which brings us to our next question: is the inclusion of this somewhat common complication enough for a Chinese brand to break into the luxury market?
Again, in our humble opinions we think not. Yes, the fact that Chinese manufacturers have been able to create a tourbillon movement of their own (albeit a not too accurate one at +/- 30 seconds a day) should send up red flags over in Switzerland, but is it really enough to make these brands stand-out? Where is the creativity? European manufacturers have been incorporating tourbillon complications into their high-end timepieces for several decades, in our opinion if Chinese manufacturers really want to have a fighting chance at the upper-end of the market they really need to do something dramatically different!


The Santos 100 by Cartier with tourbillon complication

Of course we could be completely wrong. That’s where you come in, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below, whether you agree with us or not. It would be really great getting some discussion going on this topic as we are very curious to hear what you think!
 

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I think the point is that they are obtainable at lower prices. The really really expensive ones are incorporated into extremely limited edition watches that are as much ART as they are timepieces.
 

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CurrentTime wrote:
I read where folks don't see that the tourbillon escapement isn't any more accurate than a lever escapement or co-axial escapement. I wonder how many have actually read this . . .


http://journal.hautehorlogerie.org/en/news/news/first-and-second-for-jaeger-lecoultre-watches-at-timing-competition.html


The top 2 most accurate mechanical automatic watches in the world are tourbillon movements.
question from the article -

What is a helical mainspring?
the multi-axis Gyrotourbillon movement with a helical mainspring showed remarkable constancy of rate between vertical and horizontal positions, with an average daily variation of 0.29 seconds in the three stages of the tria
 

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TVDinner wrote:
CurrentTime wrote:
I read where folks don't see that the tourbillon escapement isn't any more accurate than a lever escapement or co-axial escapement. I wonder how many have actually read this . . .


http://journal.hautehorlogerie.org/en/news/news/first-and-second-for-jaeger-lecoultre-watches-at-timing-competition.html


The top 2 most accurate mechanical automatic watches in the world are tourbillon movements.
question from the article -

What is a helical mainspring?
the multi-axis Gyrotourbillon movement with a helical mainspring showed remarkable constancy of rate between vertical and horizontal positions, with an average daily variation of 0.29 seconds in the three stages of the tria
A helical spring is a coil spring, like on your car. I assume then that the coiled spring is either compression or tension, but I'm not sure which.

This would differ from a traditional hairspring which is wound up (like a tape measure) and releases its tension over time, eventually "running out"
 

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Thanks Rick!
 

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I view a flying tourbillon as "neat" or "cool". I don't see it as being more accurate, nor does it have to be for me to appreciate it.

If it were solely the purview of Swiss watch companies, virtually none of us would ever afford to own one.

Even if the Swiss execution of the tourbillon are better designed, more graceful, more innovative, or (debatably) more accurate, I'm happy to own an "inferior" Chinese flying tourbillon at 1% of the cost.

I find it curious that the author decided to include pictures of flying tourbillons for all the Swiss watches, but NOT a flying tourbillon for the Chinese example, the implication being that Chinese tourbillons aren't "real" tourbillons. Bias?
 

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TVDinner wrote:
I think the point is that they are obtainable at lower prices. The really really expensive ones are incorporated into extremely limited edition watches that are as much ART as they are timepieces.
Thank you all for the interesting reading. Maybe it's old news,anyway there's a Chinese company-Perpetual-Watch that offers two tourbillions,one under a thousand and one under eight-hundred.
 

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Hummm ... well, my li'l Sea-Gull ST8000SA just keeps spinnin' away at +/- 2 sec./day! ...
... and, IMHO, this "Flying Tourbillon" is, indeed, a REAL tourbillon! ... :madd ...​
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BTW, FWIW, I believe that "Tourbillon" is French for "Whirlwind" ...

 

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late to da dance as usual. . . .

"Notwithstanding that fact, at its heart its purpose is purely aesthetic and offers no tangible benefit to the wearer other than something attractive to look at on the watch dial."

Da original (and still functional) purpose of da Tourbillon is to help to eliminate da "positional error". stiff likes der aesthetics too.

Without da aid of da modern techiniques - cad, cnc controlls, edm, waterjet, precision scintered powdermetal casting, electronic magnification - da creation of da single carriage is da brutal, painstaking operation requiring hundreds of hours of handwork on minute parts. Due to da scale of these operations da success infabricating some of da components is unsuccessful and must be repeated. The mass produced tourbillon is an entirely different animal than the "one off".

stiff examined some of da "first run" of de "Million Smart" watches and for tree fiddy - they were da tremendous value (even if they werecrude by European standards).

As stiff is reminded often by da master uhrmacher - technically da tourbillon is not da complication.

stiff muckler ist im da Haus!
 

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I like to see these older threads resurrected, especially when I missed it the first time out...

Now, Tourbillions... My thoughts only: Mind boggling marvels of mechanical engineering...I cannot even conceptually imagine how an escapement can do 360's onone axis or more and maintain contact with the gears on either side...

Definitely more of a WOW:BEfactor than anything else, not to mention the added cost of maintaining such a complication... (That is unless you flip it first!:%)
 

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The imported models with the Sea Gull tourby movements where quite the novelty when they were first introduced well over a year ago. As usual, a few of the Johnny Come Lately importers had to overhype their wears and start out asking far more than these watches are worth IMO. Now the competition for our money is beginning to kick in. Prices are dropping like spent cannon balls while the quality and features being offered are improving.

Don't get me wrong here. Sea Gull builds a decent movement for the money they usually bring. It's a question of what we are getting for what we pay. None of them are hand crafted, hand built Swiss Tourbies are they? Further,theseversions are all wind ups. Sea Gull also has an automatic version of their movement. I'd much prefer one of those.

I'll wait until the bloom is finally off the rose so to speak. By doing so, I think I'll get a lot more for my money.I'll buy one when prices settle down to affordable for the quality we get.Why get overly excited and all froggy. It's not likemost of usdon't already have at least a few very good automatics ( and quartz) models to wear and play with.
 

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Well I purchased a MontieK tourbillon and it is quite higher priced than the other chinese tourbillons online. But I read a lot of stories about other brands and broken movements and what then? You than have an expensive watch and no service. And how do you know if the quality control of the watches is well? What if you need to have your watch serviced after 3-5 years? So if the brand & design is good and the watch is well build I am prepared to pay more. I enjoy watching it every single day! I personally make my decision on a watch/brand I trust and like not only the movement which is inside. :)

Love it!
 
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