A Brief History Of The Tourbillon Regulator In Watchmaking

The History Of The Tourbillon Regulator In Watchmaking

The father of the Tourbillon invention, Abraham-Louis Breguet, built an unparalleled international reputation in the history of watchmaking in the 18th century. Abraham-Louis Breguet is known for his famous innovations, many of which are still in use today, starting with the tourbillon and the wristwatch. 

Tourbillon’s inventor – Abraham-Louis Breguet

The work of Abraham-Louis Breguet is based on the observation that gravity is the great enemy of the regularity of a watch movement, causing the time setting to drift every time a worn watch changes position. In order to solve the problem of gravity inherent in all human activities, the master conceived the idea of ​​integrating the entire escapement (that is, the balance and mainspring, pallet fork, and escape wheel, the most gravity-sensitive parts) into a single moving slide.

The idea was to create one complete revolution per minute. Since all errors are regularly repeated, they are in the process of mutual compensation. In addition, the constantly changing contact points of the balance pivot in its bearings ensure better lubrication.

Although advances in watchmaking made it possible to increase regularity using more classical means significantly, the tourbillon invention, which was patented in 1801, remains a great invention and a legendary milestone in Breguet’s career. Moreover, through careful associations with astronomy and the social sciences, it also appeared at a defining moment in European thought. Since then, Breguet has honored this invention with more elegant timepieces than the last.

Patent of the Tourbillon

On June 26, 1801, Abraham-Louis Breguet patented a revolutionary mechanism that counteracts the effects of gravity and makes mechanical timepieces incredibly precise Spend. The invention was a technical feat that cemented the famed watchmaker’s reputation as one of the most innovative watchmakers of all time.

Video: How On Earth Does A Tourbillon Work?

Courtesy of Watchfinder & Co.


Abraham-Louis Breguet created 35 tourbillon watches during his lifetime. Sold to the Spanish Prince Don Antonio de Bourbon in 1808, the Tourbillon Precision Pocket Watch No. 1188 is one of the most fascinating pieces in the brand’s history. 

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