Literally translating to “whirlwind” in French, the tourbillon is an added mechanism on timepieces that was originally purposed to improve accuracy in pocket watches. Although the tourbillon has little effect on precision on today’s modern wrist watches, the complexity and craftsmanship of the tourbillon has made it highly desirable. Often brought into New York Loan as pawn collateral, tourbillon watches represent class and exclusivity.
In classic mechanical watches, the time would be skewed when set down at night – this was a huge inconvenience in the 16th and 17th centuries and gentlemen would have to reset their watch at the town square each morning. The “brain” of mechanical watches is called an escapement, and the tourbillon was created to surround the escapement in a rotating cage which keeps the mechanics consistently moving, preventing timing variations no matter the position of the watch.
Because of the advanced design and mechanics it takes to create a Tourbillon watch, they are created only by highly talented horologists with the leading watch manufacturers. Averaging a price of $50,000 – $500,000 for a tourbillon watch, watchmakers like Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet, A. Lange & Sohne, and Jaeger LeColultre have the highly trained horologists to produce such timepieces.
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