Tomorrow, Breguet opens an exhibition with Sincere Watch, as part of the retailer's Fine Watchmaking Experience, in bringing an incredible collection of tourbillon timepieces to Singapore. The exhibition, which will showcase over two-thirds of Breguet's tourbillon pieces, offers collectors a chance to look at one of the biggest tourbillon watchmakers in the world.
The tourbillon is an invention of Abraham Louis Breguet, the famed watchmaker who patented this device in 1801. During the 19th century, pocket watches were common, but didn't keep exact time - part of this was due to gravity's effect on the hairspring's breathing, that led to differences in timekeeping when the watch was placed in optimal (horizontal) and inoptimal (vertical) positions. Breguet sought to fix this, with a clever solution of a cage which housed the escapement, and the cage engaged the gear train which turned it on its own axis every minute. This allowed the hairspring to move around, averaging out the differences in timekeeping in different positions. He called it the 'whirlwind', or 'tourbillon' in French.
The creation of the tourbillon was perfected over time, but when it came to wristwatches, less applicable and necessary. However, over the last few decades, the tourbillon has experienced a resurgence, both as a demonstration of fine watchmaking (even smaller on the wristwatch compared with the pocket watch, it's highly challenging to create) and as an artistic design in timepieces (placed on the front of the dial, the tourbillon itself became a design element of the mechanical watch). Now, Breguet is celebrating over two centuries of tourbillon creation, with one of the largest exhibitions of tourbillons valued at over S$8.5 million. Pieces include the Marine Tourbillon high jewellery chronograph in white gold, the Classique Grand Complication, as well as the La Tradition range of tourbillons (which are inspired by Breguet's pocket watch designs).
The exhibition takes place at Sincere Fine Watches' flagship store at Ngee Ann City. Ong Ban, CEO of Sincere Fine Watches, explained: "Sincere Fine Watches is very proud to host this extraordinary exhibition. It is an unparalleled platform for Breguet to reinforce their commitment and inherent strength in this highly coveted area of high end watchmaking."
Some of the timepieces on exhibition include:
1. The Breguet La Tradition Tourbillon Chain and Fusee ref. 7047BR which has a large tourbillon cage with a chain and fusee mechanism to regulate the power supply to the escapement, ensuring precision in timekeeping.
2. The Classique Tourbillon Messidor ref. 5335BR which features an open-worked, hand-wound movement with a tourbillon regulator with running seconds on the carriage in rose gold.
3. The Double Tourbillon ref. 5347BR featuring two tourbillons linked by a differential that rotate around the dial each hour.