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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Breguet Tourbillon Exhibit Opens in Geneva and will Tour the World

A modern-day Breguet tourbillon timepiece

Swiss luxury watch brand, Breguet, is celebrating the invention of the tourbillion through an exhibition titled, “Breguet, the innovator. Inventor of the Tourbillon,” at the Cité du Temps exhibition space in Geneva.

The exhibition will run till February 24 and then will tour cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States.

On June 26, 1801 (or rather on 7 Messidor Year 9, since the Republic calendar was still in force at the time), the French Minister of the Interior awarded Abraham-Louis Breguet, the founder of Breguet, a patent for the invention of the tourbillon. This new type of regulator was developed in response to a longstanding problem: the detrimental effects of gravity on the regularity of a movement by generating variations in rate. Breguet understood that in order to reduce such errors, he would need to install the entire escapement within a mobile carriage that would perform a complete rotation, generally in one, four or six minutes. The regular repetition of the variations would allow them to compensate for each other.

This invention turned out to be difficult for Breguet to produce and implement. One reason is because the tourbillon must not weigh more than one gram, and yet be robust enough to avoid inducing rating errors rather than eliminating them. This inherent difficulty was compounded by the delicate work of finishing more than70 tiny parts that must fit and mesh together with absolute precision. Making a tourbillon was not within reach of all watchmakers, and only the finest proved capable of producing one after the 10-year patent had expired.

La Cité du Temps

La Cité du Temps, owned by the Swatch Group, is a public exhibition center focusing on the world of time. It hosts a variety of exhibitions and activities. It’s the only place in the world where you can find a permanent exhibition of Swatch watches.

The Swatch Group, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of finished watches, acquired Montres Breguet in 1999.

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