The latest feminine tourbillons are designed for discerning women who want their watch to do much more than just keep time
By Rebecca Doulton
Originally developed as a complication by Breguet in
1795 to counter the effects of gravity on pocket watches, the
tourbillon has spiralled from anonymity into the limelight.
Tourbillons, which essentially unite the escapement and balance
wheel in a rotating cage, spent most of their historical life
hidden inside the movement.
However, since the late 20th century and in spite of the fact
that their function has never really been validated, tourbillons
have come out of the case and are flaunted on the dial. Far more
hypnotic that a rotor, tourbillons are mesmerizing visual reminders
of the amazing symphony of components at play inside your
Tourbillons have become part of the aesthetic experience in many
high jewellery models. Chopard's Imperiale Tourbillon Joaillerie,
winner of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève, is proof that a
breathtaking high jewellery watch is not incompatible with a
serious chronometer-certified tourbillon calibre. Covered from head
to toe in diamonds, the tourbillon is held in place at 6 o´clock by
four amethysts, although one may be excused for missing a spin
given the extravaganza of precious stones on display.
GRISOGONO, a brand associated with the jet-set party crowd, was
also tempted by the spinning complication and launched Tondo
Toubillon Gioiello in 2012. In keeping with de Grisogono's high
jewellery party mood, the oval bezel and lugs have been set ablaze
with diamonds to offset the mother-of-pearl dial, with its
mechanical tourbillon whizzing between 7 and 9 o'clock. Depending
on the shade of dial, the diamonds may be black, brown or white,
matched with a bubbly galuchat strap.
When it comes to bubbles, however, Girard-Perregaux's Cat's Eye Tourbillon fizzes
like fine champagne. With its spectacular bubbly pearl dial,
snow-set diamond bezel and case, the tourbillon is held in place by
the house's iconic hand-engraved gold bridge. Bolder still is Jacob &
Co's Brilliant Tourbillon, a whopping 47mm dial, invisible set
with 220 pink baguette pink sapphires (also available with 100
rubies or blue sapphires) that frame the one-minute flying
tourbillon in pride of place at 6 o'clock.
proudly flaunts the maison's skills in both haute joaillerie and
haute horlogerie with its magnificent Tourbillon and Bird Watch.
Belonging to Les Heures Fabuleuses collection, a beautiful gem
enhanced and enamel coloured humming bird hovers over the flying
homage to the tourbillon is housed in the colourful Berries
Tourbillon watch. Featuring retrograde hours, the tourbillon is
emphasized and surrounded by a lavish swirl of seven colourful
In a more classical vein, Jaeger-LeCoultre's Rendez-Vous Tourbillon
Night & Day provides a beautiful guilloché dial on which to
display the magical workings of the one-minute tourbillon sitting
at 6 o'clock and features a pretty night and day aperture just
below 12 o'clock. One of the few octagonal sided models featured in
this review is Chanel's Premiere Flying Tourbillon. Housed in
a white gold case inspired by the geometry of Place Vendôme, the
flying tourbillon has been crafted in the shape of a Camelia, Coco
Chanel's favourite flower. Performing one rotation per minute, the
petals indicate the passing seconds.
The evening sky is another decorative motif that appears in DeLaneau's
Square Dôme Full Moon Tourbillon. The Swiss watchmaker was the
first to create a tourbillon designed specifically for women 10
years ago and to celebrate, it has revisited the tourbillon theme
with a collection of seven one-off tourbillons based on its
rectangular-cased Dôme model. The Full Moon Tourbillon features a
beautiful Grand Feu enamel celestial dome with a full Moon floating
above the tourbillon like a sheltering sky.