Whether you are wearing a mechanical watch or a quartz watch, every timepiece is an
instrument that tells the time. That is its most basic function and any other function that
is added on top of that is known as a watch complication.
There are many watch complications out there but certainly, one of the most interesting
is the Tourbillon. The word is a French Term for ‘Whirlwind’ and if you’ve ever set your
sights on a tourbillon watch before, you will know why that timepiece received its
The tourbillon is an intricate mechanism that was invented as a means to ensure that
mechanical watches tell the time as accurately as possible. You see, the mechanical
watch has a lot of moving parts and all of those parts are subject to the force of gravity.
Tourbillon is just a mechanism that ensures that everything is protected by encasing all
of the watch’s escapement and moving the entire thing (known as the tourbillon cage)
together, one round per minute.
This mechanism was created by the famous watchmaker, Abraham-Louis Breguet back
in 1801. For the most part, the mechanism was predominantly used in pocket watches
and it is only in the 20 th century where it was used in wristwatches.
Due to the massive influx of Quartz watches in the 80s, mechanical watches were
doomed to be extinct. To ensure that mechanical watches still exist to this day, some
Swiss watchmakers pooled their collective minds together to turn such watches into
They thought that by adding a watch complication in mechanical watches at that time,
the more novel the item would be. The more complicated the mechanism, the more
expensive the watch is expected to sell.
Why Tourbillon Watches Are Expensive
The simple reason why Tourbillon watches are expensive is due to the fact that it is
pretty complicated to implement in a wristwatch; not to mention that it requires a
massive amount of time to do so.
If you’ve ever seen a tourbillon watch before, you will find that the mechanism simply
just looks amazing. The problem is that such a mechanism was never really
scientifically validated to work as intended.
Remember that the mechanism was created as a means to ensure continuous
operation of the moving parts inside the watch’s escapement and it helps protect the
watch’s smaller components against the forces of gravity. But again, it was never really
As for the consumers, people buy tourbillon watches not because of its technical
aspects, but it is due to the fact that these luxury timepieces are expensive. As common
as it sounds, it is actually the main reason why mainstream consumers buy tourbillon
watches in the first place.
Because of how difficult it is to create, watchmaking companies sell tourbillon watches
at exorbitant prices. Think about a five-figure price tag. For instance, Swiss
watchmakers sell them for at least $50,000.
However, there are some Chinese companies that also create Tourbillon watches.
Despite people’s perception of things created in China, Chinese Tourbillon watches are
nothing to laugh at.
In fact, it is quite amazing to look at, that people who want to own one at a relatively
affordable price can go to the Chinese market and buy one for themselves.