Tourbillon Carrousel Watch Finally Explains What Blancpain Has Been Talking About, Hands-On

Tourbillon Carrousel Watch Finally Explains What Blancpain Has Been Talking About, Hands-On

Tourbillon Carrousel Watch Finally Explains What Blancpain Has Been Talking About, Hands-On Hands-On

The Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel presented at Baselworld 2013 showcases the difference between the well-known (among watch people) tourbillon and its lesser-known cousin, the carrousel. Each uses very similar methods for attempting to compensate for gravity in a balance wheel. Just a smidgen of background. Blancpain used to produce tourbillon complications like the best of them. Then a few years ago they seemed to decide that the tourbillon was too common (pshh, tourbillon... I know! Like everyone has one). So they adopted the carrousel as "their" preferred rotating regulation system. It was an interesting idea, but the funny part was seeing them attempt to explain in words exactly how a tourbillon and carrousel are different. So for those struggling to distinguish between the two (and there are many who will struggle), this watch will finally allow you to compare a tourbillon and carrousel side by side. Thanks Blancpain!

This is important for a number of reasons. Some have tried to deride the carrousel, considering it an inferior tourbillon or a second rate complication altogether. Making appreciation of the carrousel more difficult, is the fact what while helpful videos by Blancpain try to make the distinction with the tourbillon clear, it remains relatively too technical for most people to truly understand.

I for one, was one of those people who struggled to tell the difference at first, and it didn't help that Blancpain is the only company that actively delineates the difference between the two, leaving it as the only brand that uses the carrousel in such an assertive way.

Tourbillon Carrousel Watch Finally Explains What Blancpain Has Been Talking About, Hands-On Hands-On

To put it as simply as possible, the tourbillon runs via a single gear train all the way to the escape wheel which uses a fixed fourth wheel (normally running seconds) upon which it makes its rotation, spinning the cage as it goes along. The carrousel on the other hand, runs two gear trains, the first from the mainspring to the escape wheel like a normal watch, the second running through the third wheel with additional gears to turn the cage sitting on a platform that is geared to rotate.

If all this sounds confusing to you, it doesn't matter, just know that the carrousel has a plain technical difference, even though the purpose is essentially the same as a tourbillon - to average out gravity related losses in timekeeping. Just let us know if you want a full technical article explaining the difference, and I will see what I can do. Still, have a look at this video if you are technically inclined, and perhaps you will be able to perceive the difference yourself. Of course on the watch, Blancpain makes it easy by labeling which complication is which.

As the brand that wants to be known as the one with the carrousel, this watch makes sense for Blancpain. Part of the enjoyment of high end watch-making is the understanding and appreciation of the little details, and it was in my trying to understand the difference between the tourbillon and the carrousel that really made me get a better than vague sense of how they work.

What do you think?
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  • Ulysses31

    However it works, it’s a beautiful watch.  Does the addition of the carrousel increase accuracy in practical terms compared to the tourbillon alone, or is it mostly for show?

    • Ulysses31 I would venture to guess that the additional of these two complications doesn’t enhance accuracy in any real way, but is more a proof of concept and showpiece. Regulating a tourbillon so that it is as accurate as a normal escapement is tough enough. It is possible to get them to be really accurate, but it isn’t easy. If Blancpain properly regulates them then kudos!

  • Lesthepom

    Still as clear as mud what the difference is but that is more to do with my ignorance about watch making than the article I am still quite new to the inner workings of some of these fine time pieces still trying to get my head around how a standard ETA movement works and I am not sure I want to know all the detailed some times too much knoll age can spoil things not to say I don’t want to know but a watch like this one would give me years of ore and wonderment trying to see how it works
    This watch must be the holy grail of fine dress watches its about as complicatedly simple as it gets
    I think I will be asking some questions on the new sight

  • Hacker4748

    The workings of a GBP 221,610 timepiece presented as a GIF. The new format of choice? 😛

  • Ryan B

    Blancpain has an excellent animated video explaining difference between the two.

  • MarcGeorgin

    Swatch did build a carrousel about 10 years ago. It was about $3500 if I remember correctly.

    • MarkCarson

      MarcGeorgin In that Swatch owns Blancpain, I guess that Swatch still does build a carrousel. Only now it costs what a house does. Guess that is what 10 years does to the price of stuff from Swatch (and others). If you find any more info on the Swatch carrousel, please share a link. Cheers.

  • Ironman007

    This page lags ! is it because of the animated gif ?

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