Horology has a fascinating history that dates back to Babylon and Ancient Greece when astronomers discovered that celestial bodies can measure time. In 3500 BC, Egyptians erected tall obelisks that cast shadows on decorated spires to mark the time of day. Fast forward to 1795 when Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon. In those days, people carried pocket watches, and pulling them in and out caused irregularity in oscillation and interfered with accuracy. French for “whirlwind,” a tourbillon counteracts the effects of gravity on the escapement, the part inside a timepiece that sends periodic impulses from the spring to the balance wheel.
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Today, most people wear wristwatches. Tourbillons aren’t necessary for accuracy because the movement of the wrist provides the same effect against gravity. But the tourbillon has remained popular with watch enthusiasts and collectors. Difficult and time consuming to make, tourbillons require special tools for putting lots of parts into a tiny space. The process drives up the cost of the watch, and some can cost more than the price of an average home. However, it is possible to find one without such an exorbitant price tag from our collection of the cheapest tourbillon watches.