Chinese watch tourbillon

Chinese watch tourbillonChinese watch tourbillon.



– against all manufacturing defects, but sapphire crystal, alligator strap any artificial damage are not covered – we will bear the costs of transport if your Tourbillon needs to be sent back for servicing during the 2 years worldwide warranty period – the warranty is void for watches being serviced or opened not by our workshop.

Features – silver dial – Breguet blued steel hands – steel romans – 11mm thick.

blued steel hands, details on FAQ.

The tourbillon market in China.

Shining Zhu.

When Abraham-Louis Breguet patented his greatest ever invention on June 26, 1801, he could never have imagined that more than 200 years later, his tourbillon would be the complication most in demand among a group of affluent buyers, thousands of miles away in China.

From the time the Chinese watch market began to gain momentum in the mid-1990s, local buyers learned fast and acted faster.

Within ten years, as sales of mechanical watches increased, so did interest in complications.

Small groups of enthusiasts and aficionados formed, and these helped spread important knowledge to the general public, especially potential customers.

It s worth noting that, by average figures, more tourbillon watches are sold in China than anywhere else in the world, whereas the opposite is true for perpetual calendars and split-second chronographs.

Similarly, local manufacturers are investing fortunes in tourbillons while almost ignoring other traditional complications.

The reason the tourbillon is the most popular luxury watch complication in China is, well, complicated.

The Chinese market has a reputation for preferring medium-size, time-only mechanical watches but these are for entry-level buyers who are purchasing their first or second timepiece.

As their experience and, especially, knowledge of watches grows, they start wanting to upgrade their collection with something more sophisticated.

Now, the ancient Chinese philosophers believe that the ultimate simplicity is ultimate complexity.

Apply this concept to complicated mechanical watches, and both the perpetual calendar and the split-second will seem too busy on the dial.

Only the tourbillon shows the clean dial and simple appearance which the wise man extols.

Secondly, a tourbillon is expensive.

Very expensive.

A serious watch buyer who wants to acquire something understated but at a premium price has few choices outside a tourbillon and a repeater.

Given the repeater s rarity and higher cost, he or she will likely choose a tourbillon.

It helps that not only experts but also the ordinary public can tell a tourbillon from a regular watch at a glance.

The unusual aperture on the dial, the moving carriage with the escapement inside, all these details hint at the complicated mechanism that sits quietly beneath.

Once recognized, it becomes a badge for the good taste and wealth of its owner.

Tourbillons for a limited budget.

That said, in China a tourbillon is not always expensive.

As mentioned, local watch manufacturers place great emphasis on this complication with the result that whereas a Swiss-made tourbillon costs upwards of US 50,000, a Chinese-made tourbillon sells for around US 3,000.

In fact China produces more tourbillons than any other country.

There are currently five manufacturers producing tourbillon movements in China.

They are Sea-Gull, Dan Dong, Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Sea-Gull, the country s biggest movement manufacturer, has developed a complete range, including a flying tourbillon, off-center tourbillon, double tourbillon, orbital tourbillon, etc.

The entry price of a Sea-Gull tourbillon watch is just RMB 10,199 around US 1,500 .

This has also helped stimulate the tourbillon market in China.

Thanks to these makers, many Chinese watch buyers now have the opportunity to own a tourbillon, despite a limited budget.

At Beijing Watch, tourbillons account for more than 20 of sales.

Their flagship store in Wangfujing, Beijing, can sell one tourbillon watch every three to five days.

This higher ownership rate in turn contributes to the popularization of tourbillons in China.

More than two centuries after its invention, and far away from Abraham-Louis Breguet s Paris workshop, the tourbillon has Chinese watch buyers in a spin.

Chinese tourbillon watches.

For many watch enthusiasts, the most exciting development coming out of China in the 21st century is the tourbillon.

The tourbillon has long been the exclusive preserve of elite Swiss watchmakers, but the new Chinese tourbillons, some even selling in the sub – 1000 range, have made this marvel of micro-engineering accessible as never before.

Unfortunately confusion has been created by the marketing of open-heart watches as tourbillon or toubillon style , leading some consumers to mistakenly conclude that genuine Chinese tourbillons do not exist.

A brief history of tourbillons.

The tourbillon was invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1795 as a means of correcting positional errors in chronometer pocket-watches.

For the next century it served this practical function in the highest grade of watches.

The advent of the wristwatch rendered the 2-dimensional correction of the tourbillon obsolete.

In the mid-1980s, after quartz watches had become the norm on most markets, there was a revival of interest in mechanical watches as a niche luxury special-interest market.

The tourbillon made a comeback; not as a practical enhancement, but simply an expression of the watchmaker s craft.

Tourbillon s began to proliferate from Switzerland s elite watchmakers.

Some have even attempted to tackle the 3-dimensional problem of making a toubillon useful in a wristwatch.

The first Chinese tourbillon was the 1993 Mystery Tourbillon by Hong Kong s master watchmaker Kiu Tai Yu, formerly of the Suzhou Watch Factory.

Master Kiu s tourbillons may be considered pure art as they were never intended for general sale.

In 1995 the Beijing Watch Factory created their first tourbillon prototype however this was not developed for production.

For further history, refer to the article Tourbillon Watches – Fact Fiction by Julian Stargardt.

Current Chinese Developments.

Beijing TB01-2 In 2000, the Beijing Watch Factory revisited the tourbillon concept and reworked it for limited production.

The result was the TB01-2 flying carrousel-tourbillon, currently the most expensive production Chinese tourbillon on the market.

It features a titanium flying tourbillon cage, and is usually elaborately decorated on both dial and movement.

Beijing have also developed a double-tourbillon, TB02, an 8-day tourbillon, TB03, a dual-axis tourbillon, TB04, and a tourbillon with minute-repeater, MRB1.

Liaoning 5010 Costing much less and thus reaching a much wider market, Liaoning Watch Factory s tourbillon has enjoyed great success cased-up by Million Smart Enterprises for a variety of new international brands.

The British Horological Institute s 150th Anniversary watch featured a 5010 tourbillon.

Shanghai The Shanghai Watch Factory launched their Classic Tourbillon as an exclusive Shanghai-branded product only, however they have since followed the trend and offered this somewhat expensive movement for sale to other watch companies.

Returning to Breguet s original idea, this movement features a large balance-wheel on a common axis to the tourbillon cage.

In 2007 Shanghai revealed their amazing Orbital Tourbillon, which features either one or two tourbillons mounted on a 12-hour karrusel platform.

PTS Resources FD-3032 This was the first Chinese tourbillon to be reviewed online.

Clearly built to a budget, and featuring components from the humble Standard movement, it is nonetheless as impressive as any tourbillon is that actually works.

In 2007 PTS presented a prototype 12 Hour Karrousel movement of unusual design and much higher grade.

In 2008, PTS introduced a dual-mainspring tourbillon.

Sea-Gull ST80 Most Chinese tourbillons owe something to the Blancpain flying carrousel-tourbillon design, but this is the one with the closest physical resemblance.

Of higher quality than all but the TB01-2, the ST80 is still very competitively priced.

The newer ST82 features a common axis tourbillon similar to the Shanghai.

Auto-winding is now available on both.

In 2006 Sea-Gull released their ST8080 double tourbillon with one carrousel-tourbillon and one common axis.

Sea-Gull s compact ST84 is currently China s smallest tourbillon movement, suitable for use in women s watches.

Dixmont DG-8000 A latecomer to the field, Dixmont-Guangzhou have focussed on auto-winding on their tourbillons.

The DG-8101 is similar but with a common-axis tourbillon.

Starking SKT Series In 2014 the Starking Watch Group established the Shenzhen Jingrui Movement Company, LTD to produce tourbillon movements.

The resulting calibers are 21 jewel, manual winding movements, operating at 28,800 bph.

Memorigin is a Hong Kong based producer of tourbillon watches, with a movement factory in mainland China.

They produce unique, 28,800 bph, flying tourbillon movements, and claim to source most, if not all of their parts from European manufacturers.

Tourbillon terminology.

In the tourbillon, invented by Breguet in 1795, the escapement balance, escape wheel, etc.

is mounted on a carriage which carries a pinion driven by the third wheel.

The fourth wheel is fixed and is concentric with the carriage shaft.

The escape wheel pinion meshes with the fixed fourth wheel which will cause the pinion to rotate and operate the escape wheel and balance in the normal way.

Cutmore – Watches 1850-1980 1989 p.

It must be borne in mind that tourbillons are intended only to correct pocket-watch positional errors which are largely 2-dimensional when carried in a waistcoat pocket.

A wristwatch experiences many more varied and frequent positional shifts in normal use.

In the karrusel by Bonniksen UK patent 21421 of 1892 the carriage is mounted on a karrusel wheel driven by the third wheel pinion.

The fourth wheel staff passes through the centre of the karrusel bearing to allow the fourth wheel pinion to mesh with the third wheel and power is transmitted to the escapement in the normal way rather than through the carriage rotation as in the tourbillon.

The rate of rotation of the karrusel is about once per hour compared with the tourbillon which may rotate once per minute.

Both these designs require considerable skill to manufacture, and are only found in watches of high quality.

Cutmore – Watches 1850-1980 1989 p.

In official chronometer trials in the 1890s-1900s, karrusels consistently out-performed tourbillons.

This seems to be because the longer period of rotation consumed less energy and achieved a more representative correction to the positional shifts normally experienced by a pocket-watch.

Flying Tourbillon.

This describes a tourbillon carriage that is supported only at the back so that from the dial side it appears to be floating with no visible means of support.

The lack of a bridge on the dial side also helps reduce the height of the tourbillon sub-assembly.

This now widely-used term was introduced by Blancpain to describe an otherwise conventional 1-minute tourbillon in which the axis of the balance was offset from the axis of the tourbillon carriage, giving the tourbillon a more karrusel-like appearance.

The reason for this modification appears to be to reduce the overall height of the tourbillon.

Flying carrousel-tourbillons were the first type of tourbillon attempted by the Chinese watch industry, no doubt on account of the aesthetics of such an arrangement.

Ulysse-Nardin describe the escapement on their Freak as a kind of carrousel-tourbillon, however that aspect of the design is really closer to Bonniksen s 60-minute Karrusel.

On the Freak, the escapement is the minute hand.

This in turn is mounted on yet another carriage that rotates itself once per 12-hours and serves as the hour hand.

Thus the entire movement is in the hands.

There is no Chinese equivalent to this concept.

Both Beijing and Sea-Gull have developed movements featuring a pair of tourbillons engaging a common third wheel.

This might possibly result in better timekeeping, but primarily these watches have been made for their aesthetic appeal.

The Beijing TB02 features a patented differential device to prevent conflict between the two escapements.

Dual-axis Tourbillon.

To offer any genuine positional correction in a wristwatch, the escapement should rotate in more than one plane.

In the Greubel-Forsey Tourbillon, the balance-wheel is inclined at 30deg to the carriage plane.

Other watchmakers have created spherical carriages in which two planes of rotation intersect via a rotation within a rotation.

The Beijing Watch Factory TB04 is currently China s only dual-axis tourbillon.

In this movement a 60 second rotation intersects a 24 hour rotation.

12-hour Karrousel.

PTS Resources latest innovation takes the traditional Karrusel and moves another wheel from the train onto the carriage, which revolves once every 12 hours and appears to be driven directly by the mainspring barrel.

A separate minute hand also looks like it is directly driven.

The corrective benefit of this arrangement is negligible, but it must be simpler to build and adjust than a 60-second tourbillon or 60-minute karrusel, yet has most of the visual appeal of those more exotic complications.

Orbital Tourbillon.

This is a term first used by Jean Dunand watches in 2005 to decribe a 1 minute tourbillon mounted on a 60-minute carrousel platform orbiting the dial.

In 2006 Breguet applied this concept to a double-tourbillon, and in 2007 the Shanghai Watch Factory developed their own versions of both the single and double tourbillon types.

AATOS Tiago Review The Cheapest Tourbillon Watch In The World.

W hen the first Chinese tourbillons came out in 2007 there was a collective gasp in the watch community.

For the first time ever, one could, at an accessible price, buy and own a tourbillon without the huge price tag of a Swiss one.

Tourbillon fever ran rampant among the watch community and the forums were instantly set alight.

I remember those murky days well when I trawled through the internet looking for scraps of information.

What did these tourbillons look like.

Were they good.

And most importantly, how could I buy them.

Tourbillon fever ran its course for me quite quickly.

Early designs were ugly derivatives of Swiss designs, and prices, much lower than a Swiss one, were still high, coming in at multiple thousands in USD.

At that price, it was not on the cards to risk the money on an unknown quantity when the same amount could buy me a decent Rolex that I could get serviced or resold very easily.

It is now February 2013, and I have in my hands, a Chinese tourbillon bought at the amazingly eye popping price of 399 GBP from Amazon UK.

Why do I have this watch.

My recent entry into watch blogging came to the attention of a long-lost friend who contacted me to tell me that he had just bought a tourbillon watch from Amazon.

Now, this friend does not know much about watches, and often defers to me for advice.

So, when he told me that he had paid 399 GBP , I instantly assumed that he had overpaid for one of those faux tourbillons, i.

e the open heart.

He brought it along to meet me so that I could have a look at it.

I checked the open window at 6 o clock and sure enough, the escape wheel and pinion was circling around the balance wheel.

I checked the invoice also and sure enough, I saw only three figures in the price, instead of the usual five or six normally associated with a tourbillon.

So this was the real deal.

Not an open heart, but a true blue and plainly authentic tourbillon.

How was this possible.

The watch in question was the AATOS TiagoLSB, a watch from a brand that doubtless many have not heard of.

A quick Google search turns up a bunch of online retailers, but no official brand website or company address.