Tourbillon was created as a mechanical answer to a difficult challenge at the time. Before 1795, when wristwatches were still unknown to man, pocket watches were many gentlemen’s preferred timekeeping equipment, and they either sat vertical in pockets or horizontal on desks. This resulted in an uneven distribution of gravitational forces and friction within the watch’s movement, which finally caused damage.
To overcome this issue, Abraham-Louis Breguet, a French-Swiss watchmaker, positioned the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage to minimize the effects of gravity when the clock was held in fixed positions for extended periods of time. This not only improved its accuracy but also minimized the wear and tear of the mechanism.
Few watches nowadays spend their time solely vertically or horizontally. The tourbillon, like many complications, has developed from a mechanical solution to a display of watchmaking expertise. It wasn’t long before the single tourbillon became popular, and expert watchmakers began competing by increasing the stakes with two tourbillons instead.
Without further ado, take a look at the 12 most impressive double tourbillon watches recently released.
Rotonde de Cartier – Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon Watch
This 45mm polished titanium case houses an impressive horological marvel. The French watchmaker Cartier, world-recognized for their ability to craft such unique pieces, comes with a double tourbillon watch that, at first sight, appears to mysteriously be floating in mid-air. With only 30 pieces made, the Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious watch comes with a 52 hours of power reserve, where the tourbillon cage executes a second spin every five minutes, and the double flying tourbillon completes its rotation in 60 seconds.
Louis Moinet Astronef Twin Tourbillon Watch
Last time I checked, technically describing how a double tourbillon watch works was not the easiest thing to do. But here we go: With the help of this clear image of the watch, you can relate the words for a better understanding. Astronef Twin Tourbillon from Louis Moinet relies on its dual tourbillons to keep track of time. These tourbillons use a differential system that averages out their separate rates. The central “tower” relates them with the watch hands. Each tourbillon is powered by its own barrel, and when completely wound, the power reserve is 48 hours. The dynamic movement is contained under a box-domed sapphire crystal placed on a gold chassis with openworked lugs. On the caseback, an innovative sliding selector enables you to vary between winding and time setting modes.
Jacob & Co. Twin Turbo Furious
The Twin Turbo Furious from Jacob & Co. is an insanely well-achieved technological challenge that surely will start a conversation. The timepiece features many complications, from their double-triple axis tourbillon, a chronograph, a decimal minute repeater, and a power reserve indicator – all fitted inside an outstanding black DLC titanium and carbon fiber case (57mm x 52mm). Including the domed sapphire crystal, 88 parts are used to craft the watch case only. If you’re lucky enough to have one adorning your wrist, note that the watch is wound with the crank placed on the crown at 3 o’clock.
Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon 5345 Quai de L’Horloge
Not one but two independent sub-movements are used to run this horological marvel. Much like 2 motors powering a car, the Breguet 5345 has two movements, each with its own parts (barrel, tourbillon regulator, and gear train). The rate of the two regulators is averaged via a differential mechanism.
On the watch’s caseback, you will find the façade of A.L. Breguet’s residence at 39 Quai de l’Horloge in Paris. The architectural scenery is made of four solid gold bridges, totally engraved by hand.
Ralph Lauren RL Automotive Double Tourbillon
Inspired by the high-end, super-fast Bugatti Atlantic, this watch has an unmistakable Ralph Lauren flare, thanks to the wooden bezel coupled with a black dial and case. The twin tourbillon, which comes in a traditional setting with two tourbillons arranged next to each other, steals the show. However, they feature different bridges to better integrate into Ralph Lauren’s classical style.
Zenith Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Only Watch Edition
Zenith picked the Defy model to best represent itself in last year’s Only Watch Auction 2021, a one-of-a-kind auction. The Defy Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Only Watch Edition distinguishes itself with material innovation as well as technological prowess. This bright clock is notable for its one-of-a-kind architecture and finishing.
It has a sapphire crystal casing, rainbow-hued PVD coating on the bridges, the same spectrum reproduced on the hands, and an oscillating weight. Of course, the double tourbillon, which is powered by an adaptation of the famed El Primero movement, adds to the inherent worth of this timepiece.
Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° Technique Sapphire Watch
Truly magical, is how I would describe every timepiece that comes from the independent watchmaker, Greubel Forsey. With an impressive portfolio of mind-bending watches, Greubel Forsey has managed to have the industry’s whole attention to them. The 38.4mm watch we picked – The Double Tourbillon 30° Technique, comes with a case made of sapphire crystal, that houses a hand-wound two-tourbillon escapement. The outer tourbillon spins every four minutes, while the inner one rotates every 60 seconds, earning an incredible 915 out of 1,000 points at the International Chronometry Competition. That explains the $1.1 million price tag. (That is not a typo!)
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli with Double Flying Tourbillon
The way Roger Dubuis does it, it looks easy to enter the hyper-luxury watch market. It is not! It takes watches like these to grab the attention of sheiks, princes, or any other big baller out there who is willing to spend hundreds of thousands on a wristwatch. To get your hands on the Double Flying Tourbillon Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli, you can expect to pay not less than $292,500. An entrance to a two-day VIP racing event is also included. The watch is limited to 8 pieces, is made in collaboration with Pirelli (racing tire manufacturer), and comes in a 47mm case that houses the two flying tourbillons. The latter function as sub-seconds registers, surrounded by speedometer-inspired seconds tracks.
Speake-Marin Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon
As simple as double tourbillon watches go, the Speake-Marin Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon looks at first sight, easy to understand. You will find a white enamel dial positioned next to two one-minute tourbillons, and joined by power reserve and day/night indicators, perfectly placed alongside the dial.
The watch provides up to 72 hours of power reserve, and is powered by the manually wound Calibre SM6. With this visually appealing timepiece, Peter Speake-Marin masterfully illustrates the beautiful passage of time.
Arnold & Son Dte Double Tourbillon
Double tourbillons for double the fun! Arnold & Son DTE ((Double Tourbillon Escapement) is limited to 28 pieces and was released to celebrate the company’s 250th anniversary. The watch allows the wearer to keep track of two time zones – local time in Roman numerals and reference time in Arabic numerals. If you happen to get your hands on this piece, note that you can set the time individually for each time zone, from the crowns at 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock.
Pedrozo & Piriz PP01
Pedrozo & Piriz is an independent watchmaker who started the journey to the world of watches with the PP01, a double tourbillon watch. For the headmaster that stands behind the brand, Adrian Pedrozo, an ex-journalist, his watches are inspired by kinetic art and an x-factor. In this case, it is architecture. The PP01, a double tourbillon timepiece housed in an architectural two-tone rectangular casing, is the result.
The two-tone watch comes as a combo of titanium and pink gold and comes in a limited edition of 25 pieces. The timepiece retails at $160.000.
Purnell Escape II
Purnell Escape II is a visually appealing statement piece that retails for at least 400 k Swiss francs. For this price tag, the watch does quite the impossible! Like nothing you’ve witnessed before, its twin triple-axis tourbillons spin in opposite directions, continuously. Thanks to its 48mm sapphire crystal case, the wearer has a better view of the horological marvel houses within. When completely wound, six mainsprings arranged in four barrels provide a 32-hour power reserve.
FAQ About Tourbillon Watches
Is a tourbillon necessary in a watch?
Tourbillons have been found to be no more accurate than a regular escapement on a timepiece, and in some circumstances are even less accurate. Despite its obvious inutility, the tourbillon has proven popular among the upper ranks of the watch industry.
How does a watch tourbillon work?
A tourbillon is a mechanism in a watch that continually turns the balance wheel, balance spring, and escapement while the movement is operating. This is done to compensate for the effect of gravity on the isochronal characteristics of the balance wheel and spring.
Why do some watches have double tourbillons?
The major reason for this is that it improves the accuracy of the watch. The tourbillon, which was originally designed to limit/eliminate the impact of gravity, is still the most efficient in a pocket watch since it remains generally in the same place. Their efficacy in wristwatches is limited, but two (or more) is always preferable because a differential can take the average rate of the tourbillons and combine them into a single output, which will be more exact due to the law of averages.