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Editorial - You Spin Me Round (Like A Tourbillon)

Editorial You Spin Me Round (Like A Tourbillon)

This year marks the 220th anniversary of the world’s favourite horological mechanism, and June is its dedicated month

I’ve been told that it’s bad writing to start by stating the obvious. But I’ve also been told that you’re allowed to break the rules, once you’ve mastered them. So here I am, breaking the rules by stating the obvious: Tomorrow is the first day in June. For most people around the world, this means school vacations, packing grumpy family members into a too-small car and driving six hours to the seaside only to wish you were back home with a cold beer watching the Euro Championship on your wide-screen TV. I can’t speak for the rest of my team, but that’s not going to be my June. Here at WorldTempus, June is the month of the tourbillon!

Over the following weeks, keep an eye out as we celebrate all things related to this endlessly mesmerising whirlwind. Perhaps you’ve always wondered how exactly it works, conceptually and mechanically, or how it differs from the carrousel (and we know exactly the right watch to demonstrate the difference to you), or wanted to know about its rise from obscure mechanical curiosity to the horological sensation of the 21st century.

In case you haven’t heard, 2021 marks the 220th anniversary of the Abraham-Louis Breguet’s most famous invention — the tourbillon. More than anyone else, the 18th-century watchmaker can be said to be the father of modern horology. He conceived the tourbillon as a mechanism that would simultaneously simplify the regulating process for the watchmaker and improve the chronometric precision of a watch. He received the patent for the tourbillon on 26 June 1801.

Great things tend to happen on this day, as you might realise if you somehow came across the birth certificate of a certain scarlet-tressed watch writer. Rational adults aren’t supposed to believe in things like destiny, but tell that to the girl born at 10:10pm (okay fine, it was 10:08pm) CET on 26 June, who three and a half decades later moved to Geneva and became editor in chief of the world’s biggest bilingual watch website. Apparently there’s a phenomenon known as nominative determinism, where people tend to gravitate towards areas of work suggested by their names (famously exemplified by Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, or bakers with the last name Baker). I’m not sure what the birthday-related form of that is, but whatever it’s called, I seem to have it.

There is power behind a name, that much is certain. Shakespeare observed that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, but he also put those words in the mouth of Juliet, a 13-year-old with a huge dramatic crush on Romeo, another teenage kid. I wouldn’t necessarily take advice from her, if you know what I mean. Apart from keeping time, we expect our watches to make us feel good about ourselves (a very reasonable expectation), and names are an important part of that. The watch we’re giving away to one lucky reader in June, the Raymond Weil Maestro Gents, wouldn’t have the same appeal if it was called something else. Once again, I’ve stated the obvious, which brings us on a 360° rotation back to where we started, just like a spinning tourbillon. See what I did, there?

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