TOURBILLON WATCHES

The tourbillon improves the rate accuracy of a mechanical timepiece by overcoming the influence of gravity on the running of a watch. This complication is considered one of the most elaborate and fascinating in fine watchmaking. 

THE TOURBILLON AND ITS EVOLUTION AT LANGE

PROGRESS IN PRECISION

Gravity is arguably the most elusive of all physical phenomena and has piqued the curiosity of the human mind since time immemorial. In H. G. Wells’ book “The First Men in the Moon”, which was published in 1901, an eccentric scientist named Cavor developed a mysterious material that cancels out gravitational forces. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, gravitation can be neither neutralised nor deflected in the real world. One hundred years before Wells wrote his novel, watchmakers at least discovered a way to outfox gravity – with the invention of the tourbillon. 


The tourbillon is probably the most elaborate horological complication for improving the rate accuracy of a mechanical watch. Patented in 1801, it was first integrated in pocket watches and later in wristwatches as well. To compensate for the influence of gravity on a possible centre of mass error of the balance, the entire escapement – the balance, lever, and escape wheel – is in a cage that rotates about the fixed fourth wheel once a minute. 

THE WORLD’S FIRST STOP-SECONDS MECHANISM FOR THE TOURBILLON

Timepieces endowed with a tourbillon kept the time very precisely, but there was a drawback: the tourbillon could not be stopped instantaneously, so it was impossible to set the watch with one-second accuracy. The patented stop-seconds mechanism for the tourbillon developed by Lange in 2008 made it possible for the first time to stop the device at will – regardless of the angular position of the balance and the orientation of the cage – with an arresting spring, thus allowing the time to be set to the second.


When the crown is pulled, a lever mechanism releases the stop lever, which guides the arresting spring in the direction of the balance. The contact pressure of the spring instantly stops the balance and with it the tourbillon cage.

The V-shaped arresting spring engages with the tourbillon cage and the balance wheel rim when the crown is pulled out.

Both spring ends are bent up to prevent jamming when the balance is arrested and released. When the crown is pushed home, the balance and the tourbillon are released. The watch instantly starts running again.


At A. Lange & Söhne, all currently available models with a tourbillon are endowed with a stop-seconds mechanism – with one exception. The Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite” has no seconds hand and thus needs no stop-seconds device. 

COMPLICATIONS

OUTSIZE DATE
OUTSIZE DATE
The A. Lange & Söhne outsize date enables a date display with digits around three times as large as those in watches of comparable dimensions.
CHRONOGRAPH
CHRONOGRAPH
Chronographs and their manufacture movements have been flagship products of A. Lange & Söhne since 1999.
CALENDAR FUNCTION
CALENDAR FUNCTION
Lange models incorporate either annual calendars or perpetual calendars.
MOON-PHASE DISPLAY
MOON-PHASE DISPLAY
Most of our moon-phase displays reproduce the moon’s orbit with a precision of 99.998 per cent.
POWER-RESERVE INDICATOR
POWER-RESERVE INDICATOR
The UP/DOWN display reminds the owner to rewind the watch before it stops running.
TOURBILLON WATCHES
TOURBILLON WATCHES
The tourbillon improves the rate accuracy of a mechanical timepiece by overcoming the influence of gravity on the running of a watch.
THE FUSÉE-AND-CHAIN TRANSMISSION
THE FUSÉE-AND-CHAIN TRANSMISSION
The fusée-and-chain transmission is one of the most effective complications when it comes to increasing the rate accuracy of a mechanical watch.
CONSTANT-FORCE ESCAPEMENT
CONSTANT-FORCE ESCAPEMENT
The purpose of a constant-force escapement in a mechanical watch is to provide the escapement with a consistent flow of power, regardless of whether the watch is fully wound or nearly unwound.
CHIMING MECHANISM
CHIMING MECHANISM
Chiming mechanisms make it possible to hear the time.

EXPLORE FURTHER

ZERO-RESET MECHANISM
ZERO-RESET MECHANISM
With the ZERO-RESET mechanism, the movement stops and the seconds hand jumps to zero when the crown is pulled.
HANDWERKSKUNST EDITIONS
HANDWERKSKUNST EDITIONS
Since 2011, our HANDWERKSKUNST models have been taking the finissage of cases, movements, and dials to a new level of excellence.
TWOFOLD ASSEMBLY
TWOFOLD ASSEMBLY
Be it a simple model or a highly sophisticated timepiece – at A. Lange & Söhne, every movement is assembled twice.

EXCLUSIVE INSIGHTS INTO THE WORLD OF FINE WATCHMAKING

HOW CAN WE BE OF SERVICE?

Whether you are in search of a specific model, have questions out of interest or need a service request for your timepiece – we are delighted to help you. We are at your service by phone, email or in one of our boutiques. 

The A. Lange & Söhne salon in Geneva