In watchmaking, a tourbillon, also called a “rotating cage”, is a horological complication, added to the escapement mechanism, intended to improve the precision of mechanical watches by counterbalancing the disturbances in the isochronism of the resonator due to earth’s gravity. This mechanism was invented by French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801.
This device is very complex to make, which is why it is fitted with very few mechanical watches. Blackout concept in the honor of being able to offer it now in its range.
It should be distinguished from the carousel with which it can be confused. The latter, invented in 1892 by B. Bonniksen, if it pursues the same objective and appears very similar, is based on a different mechanical arrangement. After much research (on the terms and concepts included in the tourbillon patent in particular) and discussions with a confrontation of points of view, we can agree, following the perspective of Joseph Flores that the fundamental criterion that signs a tourbillon is the presence a fixed cog on which the tourbillon cage engages. On the other hand, a carousel does not have this fixed wheel and its operation is rather based on the principle of a differential causing the carousel to rotate by meshing of two cogs producing a relative movement between them which differs. The criteria of rotational speed, as well as the position (central or eccentric) of the balance axis are now irrelevant to distinguish them.
Finally, if the initial Breguet patent included a cage held between two pivots (like a bicycle wheel), Alfred Helwig for his part designed around 1920 a variant making it possible to do without the second pivot (like a spinning top). To do this, the cage is fixed by a base which allows it to rotate while being held by this side only, which gives the impression of being not held when viewed from above and called the “fliegendes” Tourbillon. or flying tourbillon.