An Oversized 3D-Printed Tourbillon Reveals the Marvels of Watchmaking

Even though they're lacking the ability to notify you when a text message arrives, traditional mechanical watches still cost thousands of dollars more than the smartwatches released this year. And if you've always wondered why they're so expensive, this 3D-printed over-sized model of one of the components that makes them tick will help explain why.

Created by Nicholas Manousos, the contraption you see in motion is what's known as a tourbillon that's been scaled up by about 1,000 percent. It was invented by a watchmaker named Abraham-Louis Breguet back in the late 1700s as a way to prevent the springs in a pocket watch from getting stretched by gravity since they were carried upright.

But while they've since been replaced with better mechanisms and designs, the tourbillon still has a devoted following among watch aficionados, and it's those folks that this over-sized working model will appeal to.

For an undisclosed sum Manousos will happily 3D-print one of these replicas for you. Because it's made from a thermoplastic filament it won't be as precise and regulated as the smaller versions you'd find in a high-end watch, but that doesn't make it any less mesmerizing to stare at all day long. [Nicholas Manousos via Cnet]

An Oversized 3D-Printed Tourbillon Reveals the Marvels of Watchmaking