Wristreview´s Top 5 Tourbillon Watches

By Harlan Chapman-Green

Welcome to yet another WristReview Top 5 article, we’ve been doing really well with the series so far and we’ve got so much more to come, really it’s sort of ongoing indefinitely. We can think of new ones to do to count down so you know what we think are the best watches of that category. This time its Tourbillons, the famed invention of Abraham Louis Breguet, the tourbillon was invented for pocket watches which were kept upright in pockets. The idea of the tourbillon is to rotate the balance wheel assembly on its own axis and thereby cancel out the effects of gravity on the accuracy of the watch. Now that our watches are worn on the wrist it’s debated whether the tourbillon actually has an effect on the watch, but we firmly believe that it still does.

5. Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon


The first mechanical marvel on the list, the Parallax Tourbillon has had a lot of technical thinking from the masters at Grönefeld. For starters, the balance arm for the tourbillon moves around at the same rate as the seconds hand and points to the same place as well, what I mean is that when the seconds hand is pointing to 15 seconds the balance arm will be pointing to 15 seconds as well. Not only this, but the crown stem is protected by a method that means to adjust the watch you need to push the crown in rather than pull it out. Continuing some more, when the time is to be adjusted the tourbillon will continue to run until the balance arm points to 12 O’clock, at that point, the tourbillon will stop (hack) and wait until the crown is returned. It’s easy to see how this watch has won the Grand Prix D’horlogerie De Genève. gronefeld.com

4. Blancpain Le Brassus Tourbillon Carrousel

This is a technically intriguing wristwatch, to say the least. Only Blancpain makes the carrousel complication on a large enough scale for it to be noticed at all. The carrousel was invented by a Danish man called Bahne Bonniksen, at the time he was working in Coventry in the United Kingdom when he invented this. A great admirer or Breguet, Bonniksen wanted to create his own tourbillon so that people would remember him. He created the carrousel, the difference between the two is that the tourbillon runs the balance and rotates itself all based off of one gear, the carrousel has a second gear independent of the balance wheel that only turns the balance. The watch that combines both clearly demonstrates the mastery of the skills required by watchmakers and very few can out-do Blancpain in that area. blancpain.com

3. A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour Le Merit”

The Richard Lange Tourbillon seems to be a real triumph of mechanical art and engineering for Lange. Even around the factory despite not being a particularly new model the staff still speak with such excitement over the watch and rightly so. The Richard Lange Tourbillon has received the title of “Pour Le Merit” from Lange which means it’s made to the highest standard it’s possible to be. The watch even has a couple of unique mechanical features to it, for example, part of the dial disappears for a certain time when the hands are pointing the other way so the wearer can enjoy the view of the tourbillon in its entirety. Also, the Richard Lange Tourbillon builds on the Parallax Tourbillon from Grönefeld by featuring an immediate hacking mechanism, meaning the tourbillon stops as soon as the crown is pulled out no matter where it is. Let’s not forget the gorgeous dial either. alange-soehne.com

2. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon

The WristReview favourite of this year’s SIHH show in Geneva, the Reverso Tribute Gryotourbillon makes it to second place on this list thanks to the extreme engineering and craftsmanship needed to make a piece of this complexity. The Reverso is the quintessential classic watch for a modern sporting collection, so it would seem like almost flawed logic to add an extremely delicate machine such as the gyrotourbillon to it. Having said that, you wouldn’t be able to make such a good use of the second time zone without the reversing function. The gyrotourbillon defeats the argument against tourbillons which is that they are only effective when in one position, it does this by rotating the balance on three axes (X,Y & Z) rather than the usual two (X & Y). This effectively means that the watch can be put into any position and not have an accuracy defect over the period of the power reserve. jaeger-lecoultre.com

1. Breguet Classique Complications Double Tourbillon 5347

If there were a champion’s choice for a tourbillon maker it would undoubtedly have to be Breguet whether you’re ready to admit to that or not. The Breguet Classique Complications Double Tourbillon takes it a notch further than Breguet’s other “more regular” tourbillons, such as the worlds thinnest automatic powered tourbillon found in the Extra-Plat 5377 or the gigantic titanium tourbillon in the Tradition 7047. It does this by offering not one but two tourbillons on the dial, and to add to the amazement of that they actually rotate themselves around the dial. The twin tourbillons are locked in breathtaking harmony orbiting each other slowly as the time passes by. Not to mention the engraving on the back of the watch will literally transport you to another dimension and quite possibly leave you there like it did for me. They only make one of these a year so the chances of finding one in a boutique are super low, but if you happen to turn up on the right day at the right time you absolutely must ask to see this cracker, it’ll change your perspective on them forever. breguet.com