Today Montres Breguet and iW celebrate Tourbillon Day, the 217th anniversary of the date in 1801 when Abraham-Louis Breguet patented the regulating device that helped make pocket watches more precise by counteracting many of the negative effects of gravity on timekeeping precision.
To assist in our celebrations, Montres Breguet has provided us with a few visual reminders how Mr. Breguet’s invention started more than two centuries of tourbillon development by watchmakers. Found primarily in pocket watches and the occasional clock, the tourbillon wasn’t adopted for serially produced wristwatches until the 1980s, though small numbers of prototype wristwatches with tourbillons were developed by Omega in 1947 and even earlier by special order at other Swiss manufacturers and by the French maker LIP.
Breguet reminds us that Abraham-Louis Breguet created only thirty-five tourbillon watches, and fewer than ten of them are known to survive. One of these, the Tourbillon precision pocket watch (No. 1188), will be exhibited in its Zurich Boutique and Museum starting today. The House of Breguet possesses two other historical Tourbillon pocket watches, No. 1176 sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1809, and No. 2567 sold in 1812, along with original records that list every single Breguet historical creation.
Montres Breguet provides a look at a few critical steps in the production of the 2018 Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique in a “Grand Feu” enamel version, one of Breguet’s newest tourbillon watches.
The newest version updates and pares down the first iteration from 2013 (Reference 5377). The new ultra-thin model no longer displays its power reserve and features a hand-beveled tourbillon bar and a rich white ‘grand feu’ enamel dial instead of a guilloché dial. But again, Breguet thoughtfully utilizes a peripheral rotor so that all of the movement’s engraved beauty can be seen through the sapphire caseback. This watch cased in platinum is priced at $161,800 and in rose gold is priced at $147,500.