Reaping the Whirlwind

Reaping the Whirlwind

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The fascination for tourbillon watches continues with top end Manufactures releasing their version with this complication, writes Hiren Kumar Bose

Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Fairmined
Chopard L.U.C Tourbillon Fairmined

A stellar horological complication, the tourbillon improves the precision of a watch by counteracting the gravity-induced disturbances affecting the regularity of the balance. Originally designed to improve the accuracy of pocket watches, it was developed by the famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. An interesting but often obscure feature in mechanical watches is that only a small number of watch manufacturers are capable of developing and producing this complex mechanism in-house. That also explains why some mechanical watches are extremely expensive.

A beautiful thing to watch visually, it is a variation on an escapement mechanism whereby the entire escapement assembly (often referred to as the heartbeat of a watch) rotates constantly on its own axis. Over the years watch makers have moved the location of the tourbillon to the front of the dial – making it possible to see the tourbillon when looking at one’s watch. The tourbillon looks good, is complicated to assemble, and is steeped in history. The dawn of 21st century witnessed the golden age of tourbillon with top watchmakers vying with each other to launch their tourbillon watches. The fascination for “whirlwind” (English translation of the French “tourbillon”) continues. We bring you a selection of tourbillon watches unveiled at Basel-World 2014.

The watch combines a tourbillon with a perpetual calendar, Breguet has striven for an intuitive display of the indications by lifting the hours and minutes chapter to the foreground of the dial, above the one-minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock. A triple hand on the tourbillon cage indicates the seconds, a subdial at 9 o’clock with an engine-turned wave pattern shows the days, and a blued steel hand at 3 o’clock points to the months on another subdial with an engine-turned sunburst finish. At this subdial’s centre, a blue sun provides the leap year indication.

For the first time Chopard has used ‘Fairmined’ gold to produce the L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined, an elegan tourbillon model with a nine-day power reserve. The main parts of this watch (case-back, case and bezel) are entirely made of ‘Fairmined’ gold. This certification guarantees that the gold was extracted in a responsible manner and that the miners themselves receive fair payment and an overall premium, thereby demonstrating that gold can be sustainably mined. Enclosed in an elegant 43 mm-diameter ‘Fairmined’ rose gold case, the new L.U.C Tourbillon Qualité Fleurier Fairmined, features alternating satinbrushed and polished surfaces. The sapphire crystal case-back provides an opportunity to admire the L.U.C 02.13-L1 movement, driving a tourbillon and a power-reserve indicator. The latter is located at 12 o’clock and displays the movement’s remaining autonomy, amounting to a maximum of 216 hours, meaning nine days. This 25-piece limited series is water-resistant to 50m.


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