The tourbillon was invented in 1795 by Abraham-Louis Breguet and represents a milestone in watchmaking. This ingenious device aims to balance out all differences of position by mounting the rate determinative components – the balance, balance spring and escapement – in a delicate lightweight carriage which rotates on its own axis once every sixty seconds allowing many watches to attain chronometer-like accuracy. In his application for a patent in 1801, Breguet wrote the following,
"By means of this invention, I have succeeded in cancelling through compensation the anomalies caused by the different positions of the centers of gravity of the regulator movements, to distribute frictions on all parts of the circumference of this regulator's pivots and of the holes in which these pivots move. This is to allow the oiling of the friction surfaces to always be even, in spite of oil coagulation, and finally to cancel many other causes of error influencing movement accuracy. This could only be attained until now by constant trial and error and often even without any certainty of success."
The Breguet Ref. 3356 displays a fully skeletonized, hand-engraved manual winding tourbillon movement. The art of skeletonization requires the watchmaker to work as a goldsmith crafting in miniature. Housed in a sculpted 18k white gold case, further adorned with 99 calibre baguette-cut diamonds (weighing approximately 11 carats) on the bezel and case band, this timepiece dazzles and exudes refinement. The delicate dance of the tourbillon is further admired through the sapphire crystal display back.
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