Everything You Need to Know About Tourbillon

 

THE PATH OF THE STORM

Two centuries worth of advances in metallurgy, design and manufacturing technology means that the high-end mechanical watches of today are precision machines on par (to a certain degree) with whatever state-of-the-art timekeeping devices the electronic industry can come up with. New alloys such as Elinvar and super-accurate laser cutting equipment have eliminated a host of problems, from lost elasticity from changes in temperature to the shock of daily wear, which might interfere with the delicate operations of a fine mechanical timepiece.

At the same time, the need for a mechanism like the tourbillon has also been more or less eliminated. In fact, there is still some debate as to whether tourbillons were ever necessary in the first place, with some horologists arguing that the inaccuracy of mechanical timepieces in the past is simply the inevitable consequence of how far technology has progressed at the time.

Yet, in the latter part of the 20th century, the tourbillon made a grand comeback. Some have even credited it as one of the factors that helped the mechanical watch industry survive the Quartz Crisis of the 1980s, when the Swiss watch industry fought back by reinventing itself as crafters of luxury items. The tourbillon would have been the perfect poster child for this movement, as it still is one of the most complicated watch mechanisms ever devised.

 

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Piaget Emperador Coussin 1270S in white gold


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Graining the movement bridge

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