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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the Chinese watch industry exploring ever more exotic complications, I figure a few definitions are in order. So if you've ever wondered what the difference is between a tourbillon, a karrusel and a carrousel-tourbillon, the following may be helpful.

Tourbillon
"In the tourbillon, invented by Breguet in 1795, the escapement (balance, escape wheel, etc.) is mounted on a carriage which carries a pinion driven by the third wheel. The fourth wheel is fixed and is concentric with the carriage shaft. The escape wheel pinion meshes with the fixed fourth wheel which will cause the pinion to rotate and operate the escape wheel and balance in the normal way."
(M. Cutmore - Watches 1850-1980 (1989) p. 71)

Karrusel
"In the karrusel by Bonniksen (UK patent 21421 of 1892) the carriage is mounted on a karrusel wheel driven by the third wheel pinion. The fourth wheel staff passes through the centre of the karrusel bearing to allow the fourth wheel pinion to mesh with the third wheel and power is transmitted to the escapement in the normal way rather than through the carriage rotation as in the tourbillon. The rate of rotation of the karrusel is about once per hour compared with the tourbillon which may rotate once per minute. Both these designs require considerable skill to manufacture, and are only found in watches of high quality."
(M. Cutmore - Watches 1850-1980 (1989) p. 72)

(See the attached diagram below to make better sense of the above)

I should add here that in official chronometer trials in the 1890s-1900s, karrusels consistently out-performed tourbillons. This seems to be because the longer period of rotation consumed less energy and achieved a more representative correction to the positional shifts normally experienced by a pocket-watch. Bear in mind that tourbillons and karrusels are intended only to correct pocket-watch positional errors which are largely 2-dimensional when carried in a waistcoat pocket. A wristwatch experiences many more varied and frequent positional shifts in normal use.

Flying Tourbillon
This describes a tourbillon carriage that is supported only at the back so that from the dial side it appears to be floating with no visible means of support. The lack of a bridge on the dial side also helps reduce the height of the tourbillon sub-assembly.

Carrousel-tourbillon
As best as I can figure out, this now widely-used term was introduced by Blancpain to describe an otherwise conventional 1-minute tourbillon in which the axis of the balance was offset from the axis of the tourbillon carriage, giving the tourbillon a more karrusel-like appearance. The reason for this modification appears to be to reduce the overall height of the tourbillon.

Flying carrousel-tourbillons were the first type of tourbillon attempted by the Chinese watch industry, no doubt on account of the aesthetics of such an arrangement. They have been made by Beijing Watch Factory, Sea-Gull, Liaoning Watch Factory and PTS Resources (Liaocheng).

Freak
When you run out of sensible terminology for outrageous innovation, what do you call it? Ulysse-Nardin describe the escapement on their 'Freak' as a kind of carrousel-tourbillon, however that aspect of the design is really closer to Bonniksen's 60-minute Karrusel. On the Freak, the escapement is the minute hand. This in turn is mounted on yet another carriage that rotates itself once per 12-hours and serves as the hour hand. Thus the entire movement is in the hands!

Double-tourbillon
Both Beijing and Sea-Gull have developed movements featuring a pair of tourbillons engaging a common third wheel. This might possibly result in better timekeeping, but primarily these watches have been made for their aesthetic appeal.

Dual-axis Tourbillon
To offer any genuine positional correction in a wristwatch, the escapement should rotate in more than one plane. In the Greubel-Forsey Tourbillon, the balance-wheel is inclined at 30deg to the carriage plane. Other watchmakers have created spherical carriages in which two planes of rotation intersect via a rotation within a rotation.

12-hour Karrousel
PTS Resources' latest innovation takes the traditional Karrusel and moves another wheel from the train onto the carriage, which revolves once every 12 hours and appears to be driven directly by the mainspring barrel. A separate minute hand also looks like it is directly driven. The corrective benefit of this arrangement is negligible, but it must be simpler to build and adjust than a 60-second tourbillon or 60-minute karrusel, yet has most of the visual appeal of those more exotic complications.

This list is really just the tip of the iceberg. The more one looks, the more varieties of rotating escapements may be found. Manufacturers as diverse as Breguet and Shanghai have movements in which a 60-second tourbillon (or a pair of them) orbits the dial once per 12 hours, or was it once per 60-minutes? What would you call a device like that?
 

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You should include some pics
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
very nice china made tourbillon watch models. the brand is Longio.
Please enjoy the watch photos
I like the '29 1/2'. I guess it must have a genuine moon-phase.

The flying-tourbillon-at-12 has a definite PTS appearance, so I guess it is a new design from them, built by Hangzhou. I hadn't noticed that one in the PTS catalogue, but the other tourbillon-at-12 is in there.

I'm glad to see some more adventurous styling on Chinese tourbillons, even if some of them are a bit wild for my tastes.
 

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I like the '29 1/2'. I guess it must have a genuine moon-phase.

The flying-tourbillon-at-12 has a definite PTS appearance, so I guess it is a new design from them, built by Hangzhou. I hadn't noticed that one in the PTS catalogue, but the other tourbillon-at-12 is in there.

I'm glad to see some more adventurous styling on Chinese tourbillons, even if some of them are a bit wild for my tastes.
Yes, you are quite right. It is the real moonphrase tourbillon, not just look like tourbillon.
 

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Oh, what's a re-booted classic Chascomm-built tourbillon thread without newer tourbillon eye candy...

Flying (Jintuofei)...


and here's a great video that explores the tourbillon and the Karrusel mechanisms.

 

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Apparently, Seagull also has a Carousel-Turbillion (like Blancpain's) from 2011
As in the video, the price is 235,000 in HK dollars (~$30,000)


And, not to be outdone, Beijing also has a dual-Turbillion, one of which is Bi-axial - China's first (from 2013)

 

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Apparently, Seagull also has a Carousel-Turbillion (like Blancpain's) from 2011
As in the video, the price is 235,000 in HK dollars (~$30,000)


And, not to be outdone, Beijing also has a dual-Turbillion, one of which is Bi-axial - China's first (from 2013)

Really like the Sea-Gull. (Except the price) But that Beijing is one unattractive piece in my opinion. The Chinese really seem to be rocking these units lately. Pretty much dominating the tourbillion movement industry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There is also tourbillion chronograph on alibaba - "tourbillograph", or may be there was. It seems it's out of stock. That is/was the only Chinese tourbillon I am aware of with three hands.
Apparently the chronograph version of the watch uses a Swiss movement, whereas the non-chronograph version uses a Chinese movement. I am not aware of any Chinese manufactured tourbillon chronograph (but to be fair, this is the first I knew that a Swiss generic tourbillon chronograph exists).
 

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So not to create a new thread. I see that there is almost no Chinese tourbillon watches with seconds hand. There is one from Haofa with small seconds hand and there is Brigada branded with central seconds hand on alibaba from Shenzhen Aiers Watch Co. The latter looks like a concept image, not sure if it ever was a real watch. Why so few? Is it technical difficulty or it is perceived that tourbillon watch don't need seconds hand because tourbillon rotate at 60 seconds per revolution? Most of Swiss tourbillon watches seems having seconds hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So not to create a new thread. I see that there is almost no Chinese tourbillon watches with seconds hand. There is one from Haofa with small seconds hand and there is Brigada branded with central seconds hand on alibaba from Shenzhen Aiers Watch Co. The latter looks like a concept image, not sure if it ever was a real watch. Why so few? Is it technical difficulty or it is perceived that tourbillon watch don't need seconds hand because tourbillon rotate at 60 seconds per revolution? Most of Swiss tourbillon watches seems having seconds hand.
All we can do is speculate about why a diverse group of designers choose to not do something.

One thing to note is that the tourbillon carriage is the part of the watch that rotates once per minute, therefore if you want a second hand to be separate from that, it will need to be indirectly driven. Not difficult, but it is extra parts for a feature that is probably not in high demand in a fancy dress watch. The other thing to note is that most of the Chinese tourbillons on the market have the tourbillon dial opening marked for seconds, and the tourbillon carriage usually includes some element that can serve as a pointer.
 
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