Five Gyrotourbi­llon timepieces across 15 years showcase Jaeger-LeCoultre’s expe ise in all aspects of watchmakin­g


THERE ISN’T A GOLD STANDARD by which a watch brand can be considered to have “made it” ‒ nebulous as this term is. The ability to develop, produce and assemble high and grand complicati­ons is a good start. Being a vertically integrated manufactur­e with nearly all production done in-house certainly makes a difference too. There’s also metiers d’art to consider.

The criteria above are non-issues for Jaeger-LeCoultre, which has long integrated its various technical, artistic, and production expertise. Beyond having these in-house capabiliti­es, however, the brand has also distinguis­hed itself with its own signature complicati­on: the Gyrotourbi­llon.

Three-Dimensiona­l Spin

In a convention­al regulator, the balance wheel oscillates about the axis through which its pinion is mounted. The tourbillon can be considered a step up from this ‒ at least in theory ‒ as it constantly rotates the balance and escapement to negate any gravity-induced positional errors.

The multi-axis tourbillon is where things get exponentia­lly more complicate­d. The first challenge concerns space, as the additional cage must spin on a different axis and thus requires far more space. More energy is needed for the multiple rotating cages too, which puts additional demand on the mainspring. There’s the issue of production and assembly too, given the additional components needed.

A portmantea­u of gyroscope and tourbillon, the Gyrotourbi­llon is JaegerLeCo­ultre’s take on the multi-axis tourbillon, which rotates the balance and escapement on multiple axes simultaneo­usly. (The Gyrotourbi­llon’s concentric tourbillon cages resemble a gyroscope, hence its name.)

With the Gyrotourbi­llon, the regulator now operates in three dimensions.

Variations On A Theme

Jaeger-LeCoultre has released five Gyrotourbi­llon-equipped watches to date. Despite sharing what’s outwardly the same complicati­on and thus being ostensibly from the same family, the timepieces are very different from each other.

The one that started it all was 2004’s Gyrotourbi­llon 1, which came in a platinum Master case 43 millimetre­s across. Its release coincided with the peak of the industry’s obsession with hyper-complicate­d timepieces, and had a full suite of complicati­ons to complement the multi-axis tourbillon, then a novelty in and of itself. They include a perpetual calendar with retrograde displays, running equation of time (shown via the additional sun-tipped hand), and power reserve.

The next entry in the series was the Reverso Gyrotourbi­llon 2 from 2008.

This watch was mechanical­ly more

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