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An original combination and a fascinating kinetic contrastBASELWORLD 2013: The Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel

The tourbillon and the carrousel (karussel) are two of the major devices aimed at reducing gravity-related effects on the running of the movement. For the first time in horological history, Blancpain introduces a wristwatch combining these two regulators.

The Manufacture from Le Brassus achieves a true technical feat by associating the tourbillon and the carrousel, two of the brand’s emblematic complications, in a model equipped with a flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock, a flying carrousel at 6 o’clock, and a date display at 3 o’clock. The eye is immediately drawn to the surprising differences and similarities between the mechanisms, as well as to the beauty of their rotation. The two independent carriages are linked by a differential gear system, which transmits the average rate of both regulators to the time display. An external winding crown enables both barrels to be wound simultaneously while guaranteeing their equal winding, thereby endowing this timepiece with impressive precision along with a comfortable seven-day power reserve. The sapphire crystal case-back provides a fascinating view of this ingenious mechanism as well as of the power-reserve indication.

In reviving the carrousel and opening up whole new vistas for this historical device, the Manufacture from Le Brassus effectively redefined it. It thus offers a genuine alternative to the tourbillon, but is distinguished by the way in which it accomplishes this function. These two systems pursue the same purpose, but differ in terms of their construction. In the case of the tourbillon, the carriage is linked to the barrel via a single gear train, which means that if this mechanical connection is interrupted, the tourbillon also stops rotating. The carrousel is connected to the barrel by two gear trains: the first delivers the energy required for the operation of the escapement, while the second controls the carriage rotation speed. The difference between the two systems thus consists in a more elaborate construction involving more components for the carrousel, but ensuring the smooth cohabitation of both devices is a true challenge and a world first achieved by the Blancpain watchmakers.