Two Minute Repeaters in One Watch

You may have noticed that in the past decade or so, watches have begun to become larger.  In fact, a lot of watches today are absolutely huge.

Sometimes, this is done simply as a fashion statement.  On other occasions, it’s done in order to allow some additional complications be be squeezed into the case.

The last is certainly the case with the awkwardly-named Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon.

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon TourbillonThat’s a lot of name, but on the other hand, it’s also a lot of watch.  It ought to be; the price starts at $400,000, though they are all made to order and you can have some additional features added, if you like, for some additional money.

So, what do you get for your $400,000?  For starters, you’re going to get a gold case and sapphire crystal, but you’d likely expect that.  You’ll also get a dual time zone watch.

This one’s a bit odd, though, as the form factor of the watch is a skeleton model.  This allows you to see what’s going on inside, and that’s nice in this case, because there’s a lot going on inside.

There is only one pair of hands, but there’s a small inset indicator for either “home time” or “local time” so we assume that there’s a button that one can activate that will change the display to reflect the time in the time zone that you’re interested in seeing.  A small red indicator will show you which one you’re currently seeing.

Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon TourbillonOh, and there’s also a tourbillon.  Because why not?  A tourbillon isn’t quite the showstopper that it used to be, seeing as though even the Chinese have started making watches with them, but among certain segments of the watch-buying public, it’s still a feature that buyers like to see.

And see you will, as the works of the entire movement are visible through the watch face.

Another amazing feature, and the one that makes the Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon truly unique, is the minute repeater feature.   A minute repeater is still a relatively rare and somewhat difficult complication to make, so there aren’t too many on the market, and those that are available are quite expensive.

This one is truly unique, however, as it’s a dual minute repeater that will chime the time for each of the time zones that you’re tracking, and it will do so using a separate mechanism for each time zone.

That means that the chimes that you hear for the time in your home time zone will be different from those from your local time zone, which will allow you to keep track of which is which.

The Panerai Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon is a limited edition, though we have no word as exactly how “limited” it might be.  It may be limited to the number of people who have $400,000 to order and pay for one.

Regardless, if you have a need for a dual time zone watch with a tourbillon and a dual minute repeater, Panerai has your back and they’d likely be delighted to sell one to you.




The Forgotten Complication

When one thinks of watch complications, one tends to think of the surreal and the unusual.  That’s because those are the complications that watchmakers tend to use to show off in the marketplace.

These days, new models come along on a regular basis with an increasing number of fascinating features.  You’ll see perpetual calendars, and minute repeaters, and all manner of astronomy-related mechanisms showing you the relative locations of the sun, the moon, the planets and who-knows-what else.

automatic watchIt’s enough to make us wax nostalgic about the “old days” when a moonphase display was considered to be an exotic complication.

With the race on to see who can create the most elaborate watches with the most unusual features, people tend to ignore what may be the single most common watch complication of all – the automatic watch.

In fact, the automatic watch movement is such a common complication today that it, like the tourbillon, is often not regarded as a complication at all.  Still, by the most common definition, that being a watch feature that does something other than tell the time, the self-winding automatic movement should qualify.

Self-winding pocket watches were first made experimentally more than two hundred years ago, though they never were produced on a mass scale.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the self-winding movement began to appear in wrist watches and even then, it took several decades to come up with a movement that was reliable and which didn’t have drawbacks.  Early models had “knocks” which occurred when the rotating weight hit a spring that was installed to cushion the rotor as it hit the end of its stroke.

rolex oyster perpetual automatic watchObviously, no one would want to own a watch that either made noise or which had a weight that you could actually feel moving while you were going about your day.  These early models used a mechanism that modern automatic watches use, but one that had yet to be refined.

Eventually, someone patented a method that worked well and then, as these things usually go, someone else got a hold of that method and improved it.  In the case of the automatic watch, that movement was improved by Rolex, which began working on it in the early 1930s.  By the mid-1950s, they were using it in most of their watches.

Of course, other companies picked up on it, too, as no one was going to allow Rolex to be the only company that sold a watch that didn’t need to be wound on a daily basis.  By the mid-1960s, the automatic watch was so common that few people found it remarkable anymore.

There have been a few refinements since, mostly involving making the movement as thin as possible.  Anything that adds complexity to a watch movement will also add size, and in the case of automatic movements, which require a moving weight to wind the watch, these movements usually resulted in a thicker watch.  Over the years, however, many companies have developed a way to make a self-winding movement that isn’t noticeably thicker than one that is manually wound.

Fortunately for buyers, automatic watches are now common enough that the addition of that complication also adds little to the cost of the watch.   In fact, in addition to being the most common watch complication, a self-winding movement is also likely the most affordable and most useful.




Too Complicated to Use?

Watchmakers clearly enjoy their craft, and adding new features to any watch is something that a craftsman looks forward to doing.  The more complex, the better, but sometimes, one cannot help but wonder if a watch that is overly complicated is really good for the wearer.

ulysse nardin executive moonstruck worldtimerA good example is the recently introduced Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer watch by Ulysse Nardin.  This company has been making elaborate watches with celestial complications for decades, and as time goes on, they seem to get more and more elaborate.

This isn’t a problem, since you’re unlikely to end up owning one of these watches by accident.  For starters, Ulysse Nardin is only going to make 100 of the Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer, so unless you are rushing out to buy one, you likely aren’t going to find one for sale.

Furthermore, the watch, as you might expect from this company, is not inexpensive.  The watch is available with a case in rose gold, for $75, 000, or in platinum, for $95,000.  That means, as we’ve already mentioned, that you aren’t going to come across this watch by accident.  If you end up owning one, it’s because you want one.

And want one you very well might.  It’s a horrendously complicated automatic watch that offers world time and the date, and a clever pair of buttons at 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock allow you to quickly advance the time ahead or back one hour, making it very simple to adjust your watch if you happen to be changing time zones.

ulysse nardin executive moonstruck worldtimerThe watch depicts a world map, as seen from the north pole.  Greenwich Mean Time is indicated at 6 o’clock.   Three concentric discs rotate this map of the world throughout the day.

The Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer also shows you the phases of the moon, the position of the moon and the sun in relation to the Earth, their respective gravitational strength, the status of tides, and, for those who need something more normal in their watch, the date.

The watch has a 46 mm case, making it a bit large, but not excessively so.   Ulysse Nardin says that this watch, despite a mechanical movement, is accurate to 5.7 seconds per day.

Obviously, very few people are going to actually need such a watch.  Few people need to know the position of the tides.  Even fewer people need to know the relatively positions of the sun and the moon to the Earth.  So why put such complications into a watch?

Because they can. Beyond a certain point, adding complications such as the state of tides is simply the designer of the watch showing potential buyers what is possible.  It’s one thing to come up with a device that can track such things, but it’s something else again to put it in a wristwatch and have it work in harmony with a mechanism that needs to keep accurate time.

That, you may recall, is the reason that most people buy a wristwatch in the first place, but allowing everything to work together and fit in a case that’s still small enough not to be a nuisance is what makes the Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer a piece of art.


Why Are Complications Expensive?

If you are a fan of wristwatches, you likely admire watches with complications.  For many collectors, the more complications a watch has, the better.

Unfortunately, those complications usually come with a price, and sometimes, the prices are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Even less expensive complication watches usually cost thousands of dollars.

You might think that these days, with watchmaking being pretty much a refined craft, that companies would be able to sell watches with features other than the ability to tell time for more modest prices.

Why are complication watches expensive?

jaeger lecoultre hybrisThere are a few reasons for this.  Some of them will make sense, and others may not make sense to the casual buyer.

One must keep in mind that the vast majority of people who buy watches only want one for either a fashion statement or want a simple device that will tell them the time.  Most buyers do not care at all how the watch is powered or what is inside the case.

That probably accounts for 99% of all watch buyers.  That is why most watches sold today have quartz movements.

That leaves the remaining 1% of the market for mechanical watches.  Buyers of mechanical watches want more than just an off-the-rack watch, but even most buyers of mechanical watches do not necessarily need one with elaborate features.  Many might like the ability to display the date, or have a built in stopwatch, but beyond that, the demand for other features or complications is fairly small.

a lange and sohneAfter date and chronograph complications, the market for watches with any other features is quite small.   The market may be small, but the amount of work that goes into designing and building a watch with unusual complications or multiple complications is extensive.  This is rarely offset by the ability to sell those watches in the market; if often costs a company more to make watches with multiple complications than they can readily recoup at the point of sale.

Many companies do it for prestige purposes, but they do realize that the market is going to be small for whatever it is they are building.   That doesn’t change the fact that it is very difficult to incorporate a tourbillon, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar and/or a moonphase display into a watch at the same time.

That is very complex work that not anyone can do, and creating the mechanical parts that make such movements work is painstaking and expensive.

That is why, when such watches come to market, they are usually manufactured with gold or platinum cases.   Many of them have added diamonds.  Almost all such watches also have extremely limited production numbers that are publicly announced so that potential buyers will know that these watches are rare.

This allows the makers to increase the prices to the point where the price may offset the cost of making the watches in the first place.

Of course, few, if any, companies pay their rent with elaborate complication watches.  Most companies sell less complex watches to pay the bills, and the more elaborate models are their show pieces.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a combination of supply and demand vs. the amount of work and expense of making such watches.

Lots of people want complication watches.  Few people are actually going to buy them, and that drives up the price.


A French Twist – Charlie Watch With a Complication

When one thinks of watches, and particularly when one thinks of watches with complications, one usually thinks “Switzerland.”

It’s true that the Swiss have long been leaders in horology and particularly when it comes to innovation.  Others can make watches that display the time, but when you want complications in your wristwatch, you go to the Swiss.

charlie watch complicationIf you really want to get a bit edgy, you might go with the Japanese, as Seiko and Citizen have come up with a few interesting innovations over the years.

What about the French?

The French aren’t exactly known for their watches.  They’ve built the Eiffel tower, and some rather odd looking automobiles, but France isn’t usually anyone’s “go-to” place for watches, especially watches with complications.

But Charlie Watch, based in Paris, is seeking to change that.  Founded in 2014, the company was founded by two watch fans who wanted to create watches of their own that would please them and their families.  That’s all.

But Charlie Watch makes some tastefully elegant watches that look great when you’re wearing them in the office or for an evening at a nice restaurant or a visit to the symphony.

charlie watch initial power reserveYou won’t find Charlie Watch to be particularly “edgy” when it comes to styling; there aren’t a lot of flashy colors or diamond-covered bezels.  They’re simple, austere, attractive timepieces that are offered at a good price point.

…and now, thanks to the introduction of the Initial Power Reserve model, you have a Charlie Watch with a complication.

Offered in five colors (maroon, blue, chocolate, black and camel,) the Initial Power Reserve is a timepiece that offers several different complications:

  • 24 hour indicator
  • Date
  • Power reserve

Not a bad start.  You do not, after all, start adding complications to your watches by adding minute repeater functions or a perpetual calendar.  These are complicated complications that can come in time.  You start small, make sure that the resulting watch works and that it looks good.

Charlie Watch has the good looks part down pretty well.  The Initial Power Reserve is a great looking watch that displays the complications nicely but doesn’t come across as gaudy.

The Initial Power Reserve features an automatic movement, though it wasn’t developed in-house.  Instead, you’ll find a Miyota 9132 movement inside.  Miyota is a Japanese company that is actually owned by Citizen.  They manufacture movements exclusively and sell them to other watch companies that can put them in their own cases and market them under their own name.

Miyota has been making automatic movements (with and without complications) for years and they are very reliable.

The case on the Initial Power Reserve is made from 316L grade stainless steel, and the watch is protected by sapphire crystal.   Water resistance is rated at 30 meters and the power reserve on the watch is 42 hours, which will allow you to go without wearing it for a couple of days.

Best of all is the price, as the Initial Power Reserve is priced at £595, or about $900 U.S.  That’s a bit more than the rest of the watches in the Charlie Watch line cost, but it’s a pretty reasonable price when compared with other comparable models from other brands.

You can see the Charlie Watch line at their Website.




Watch Complications You Might Actually Use

Watchmakers love adding complications to their timepieces.  For many, creating elaborate features that go beyond just telling the time is the very reason they became watchmakers.

It’s hard to come up with a clever feature that can be powered by a watch mainspring.  It’s harder to make it fit into a watch case with the timekeeping movement.  It’s harder still to find a way to make the resulting complication both functional and attractive.

dual time zone watchIt happens, however, and there are dozens of complications or non-time-keeping-features that you can find on a mechanical watch.  Some of them are fairly common and others are somewhat rare.  A few are borderline unique (Hebrew calendar, anyone?)

While complications add a lot of flash and style to a watch and give the company that makes the watch something to brag about, many complications are not overly useful to the wearer.   It goes without saying that in a world where there may be 50-60 different things a watch might be asked to do for the wearer that not all of them are going to be equally useful.

Listed below are some complications that someone who is new to the hobby of watch collecting may find to be helpful.

  • Automatic movement – Winding a watch is a pain.  It’s not as bad as it used to be, back before we had cellphones and atomic clocks to keep us apprised of the correct time.  Back then, you had to wind a run-down watch to get it going again and then find someone who had the correct time to set it.  Those days are gone, but it’s still easier to have a watch wind itself automatically.
  • perpetual calendar watchChronograph – The ability to time how long something takes using a built-in stopwatch function is one of the most popular of complications, and racers, pilots and just people who like watches that have lots of dials and buttons on them like having a chronograph.  They look busy, so people think you must be important if you’re wearing one.
  • Dual time zone watch – Some watches have the ability to display the time in two time zones at once.  That’s helpful if you travel; you can see the time at home and the time where you are.   A dual time zone watch is far more helpful than a World Time watch, which shows you the time everywhere.  Those watches are just showing off.
  • Perpetual calendar – Lots of watches have the date, or the day and the date.  A perpetual calendar takes it a step further, providing you with a calendar that also remembers which months have 30 days, which have 31 and which month is February.  Most day/date watches can’t do this, so you’ll have to fumble with them every few months.  With a perpetual calendar, you’ll have to do it once a century or so.

These are the complications that a novice watch collector will likely find to the most helpful if they’re wearing their watch on a day to day basis.  Obviously, everyone is going to have different needs, so one person might find a minute repeater to be more helpful than a perpetual calendar, for instance.

That’s up to you.   All of the complications above are likely to be useful most of the time.


Apple Cheapens Complications

Among watch aficionados, complications are special.  They are sacred.  They are holy.

OK.  Not all watch complications are sacred.  Quite a few of them, such as the day/date or the self-winding movement, are more or less taken for granted today, as they’ve been included in a large percentage of mechanical watches for a half a century or so.

tourbillon watch complication
A watch complication

Still, watch collectors realize that anything a watch does over and above telling time is known as a “complication.”   The addition of a feature such as a perpetual calendar or a moon phase display or a flying tourbillon may not complicate the life of the wearer, but you can bet that it certainly complicated the life of the designers and the people who assembled the watch.

Complications are what make mechanical watches special.  Anyone can make a watch that tells the time with reasonable accuracy, and for proof of that, one only need look at the fact that you can buy Chinese-made, time-only mechanical watches online for about $20.

Buying one with a perpetual calendar, on the other hand, is going to cost you a bit more.  And even though the Chinese are now making watches with a tourbillon, you’re still going to pay thousands of dollars to own one.

Complications interest watch collectors the way a limited edition Lamborghini interests people over and above the interest they might show in an off-the-shelf Fiat.

That’s why it’s rather disturbing to see that Apple is now using the term “complication” in conjunction with their Apple Watch.

apple watch complication
Not a watch complication

The Apple Watch is Apple’s version of the smartwatch.  It was introduced a couple of years ago and was created to function as an external interface to the iPhone.  It can also function as a fitness tracker, and it can allow you to check your email.  A new, recently-introduced Apple Watch 3 will also allow you to make and receive phone calls.d

That’s great, if you’re a fan of smartwatches.  That’s neither here nor there.

But Apple is now using the word “complication” to describe things that appear on the watch face other than the time.  In short, Apple is using “complication” more or less as a synonym for “app.”

Want to see the weather on your watch face?  That’s a complication.
Want to see a pedometer display on your watch?  That’s a complication.
Want to see a train schedule on your Apple Watch?  That’s a complication.

These aren’t complications; at least, I don’t think so.  I’d argue that the software that makes it possible to display any of those things on your watch might reasonably be called a complication, but not the apps themselves.

Watchmakers devote their lives to figuring out how to include minute repeaters and world time displays into a mechanical watch.  That’s hard work and requires some pretty difficult and sometimes groundbreaking engineering.   The work is, by definition, complicated.

The Apple Watch isn’t really doing that.  If apps for smartphones are called “apps,” then there’s no reason why an app for a smartwatch should be called anything else.

They’re not complications.  That’s an insult to people who actually make real watch complications as well as the people who collect them.


The Most Complicated Wristwatch

Watchmakers enjoy creating watches for their customers, and they obviously try to create watches that have features, or complications, that their customers will find useful.

Watchmakers also have a desire to create, and many of them also have a desire to show off.  Adding a single complication to a watch is difficult; adding more than one becomes even more so.

franck muller aeternitas mega 4Beyond that, the ability to create a watch with multiple functions is the stuff that watchmakers dream of doing.  Why stop at one or two complications when you can build a watch with ten?  Or twenty?

Or thirty six?

That’s how many different complications you will find in the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, also known as the world’s most complicated wristwatch.

Note that I said “wristwatch.”  There are pocket watches with more complications, but pocketwatches don’t have the size limitations that wristwatches have.  You can’t have a wristwatch that measures 8 inches across or which weighs 5 pounds, so there are going to be some practical considerations when it comes to adding that many complications to something that someone can wear on their wrist.

Still, 36 complications is impressive, and a quick glance at the face of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 will show you that it is indeed one very complicated watch.

franck muller aeternitas mega 4There are 1483 different parts in the Aeternitas Mega 4, and more than two dozen of the complications are actually visible to the wearer.  The watch took  5 years to create.

So, what’s “under the hood?”  What sorts of things will this amazing watch do besides tell you the time?

Here are a few of the complications to be found in the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4:

  • The day of the week
  • The month
  • A leap year indicator
  • Hour and minute repeater
  • Year indicator
  • Dual time zones
  • 24 hour indicator
  • Equation of time
  • Moon phase indicator
  • Chronograph
  • Equation of time
  • Tourbillon
  • Automatic movement
  • …and many more

It’s a nice looking watch, although it is necessarily a bit busy-looking.  It’s also a bit awkward to use, as a time-only watch might have a single knob on the crown, where this one has at least seven buttons to deal with.

On the other hand, the calendar is said to be accurate for 1000 years, so that’s a huge bonus.

The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 comes in white gold and was made in a limited edition, though I’m not sure how many were made.

As with all mechanical watches that feature complications, the more complex the watch, the higher the price.  You will pay for all of that innovation and you’re certainly going to pay for the ingenuity that went into putting that many different functions into a form factor that can fit on your wrist.

In the case of the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, the price is something just north of $2.5 million.  Yes, that’s a lot of money, but on the other hand, an awful lot of work went into this watch and the company knows there is a limit to how many of these that they can sell.

Not everyone needs a perpetual calendar or a repeater that sounds like the Westminster chimes.




Common Watch Complications – A Few That You’ll See Frequently

As we have mentioned before, a watch “complication” is an feature found in a wristwatch that other than the ability to display the time.  Many watches have additional complications, and the more a watch has, the greater the complexity and the higher the price.

Some complications are quite common and are found on many different models of watch.  Others are somewhat more rare, and a few are seldom seen.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Watch
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Watch

Listed below is a list of some of the most common watch complications, along with their function.

Alarm – A chime built into the watch that the wearer can set to sound at a time of the wearer’s choosing.

Annual Calendar – A watch that displays the day and date for every day of the year, at least for those months that have 30 or 31 days.  Annual Calendar watches are not able to handle February; you will have to change the date to March first on your own.

Chronograph – A watch with a built-in stopwatch that allows you to time events independently of the watch’s own timekeeping.  A “Flyback Chronograph” can be instantly reset to begin timing again, where a regular chronograph must be stopped, reset, and started again.

Dual Time Zone – A watch that, as the name suggests, is capable of keeping track of the time in two different time zones at once.  This is a useful complication for people who frequently travel.

Breguet Perpetual Calendar Moonphase
Breguet Perpetual Calendar Moonphase

Minute Repeater – A watch that chimes on the minute, quarter hour and hour.  This is user-adjustable so that the feature can be turned on and off.  A useful complication for when you need to know the time when it is dark.

Moonphase – An increasingly common complication.  This one displays the current phase of the moon.   While the complication was once useful for navigation, it is now largely a novelty.

Perpetual Calendar – This is the Big Kahuna of calendar functions.  If the date or the day and date are not enough for you, a perpetual calendar will keep you informed.  These complications keep track of the day and the date, adjust automatically to compensate for the shorter month of February, and even keep track of leap years.  They do not, however, generally keep track of century years, as only one out of every four of those (2000,2100,2200,2300, etc.) is actually a leap year.

Power Reserve – This is a dial or indicator that shows the wearer how much power is left in the mainspring of the watch.  This is important for mechanical watches, as it suggests how much time remains before the watch stops running.  For mechanical watches, this may indicate that it’s time to wind it.  For automatic watches, it might suggest that it’s time for the owner to either wear it or, if wearing it already, time to start moving.

Tourbillon – Not one of the most useful of complications, but a very popular one in high end wristwatches.  A tourbillon is a rotating cage that holds the escapement and balance wheel of the watch in order to attempt to offset the effects of gravity on the watch’s accuracy.

World Time – A watch that displays the time in each of the world’s time zones.  Most world time watches show the time in 24 zones, but a few acknowledge that there are actually 37 time zones in the world, and show those, too.

Some of these complications are more useful than others.  A world time watch, for example, is only going to be useful if you travel a lot.  Others, such as a calendar, will likely come in handy on a regular basis.


Some Not So Useful Watch Complications

In my last post, I talked about watch complications in general, what they are, why we have them and then listed a few complications that I thought might be useful to a watch owner.

Many complications (and there are dozens) are useful to watch owners, and that is why some of them, such as the date and chronograph features, turn up in hundreds of different models each year.  They truly are beneficial, and people often buy specific watches because they have those features.

Vacheron Constantin World time watch
A world time watch

Not all complications are equal, however, and some of them are a lot less useful than others.  In fact, some of them might not be of any use to the average person at all.  Of course, you will pay for any complication, as they cost more money to add to the watch, but here are few complications that likely won’t improve your life in any way:

    • Moon phases – A display that shows the phases of the moon is an increasingly common complication, and oddly enough, it’s turning up increasingly frequently on watches for women.  It hasn’t quite reached the status of being known exclusively as a “woman’s complication,” but it’s getting there.  Still – when was the last time that you cared at all about the current phase of the moon?
    • A foudroyante – A what?  Also known as a “flying seconds hand,” a foudroyante is a dial indicating fractions of a second.  While this isn’t a common complication, it is an odd one; there’s a hand or marker on the face of the watch that rotates every second.  It’s not really useful in any way; it’s just another way to run down your mainspring.
foudroyante watch
A watch with a foudroyante
  • Position of the planets – A few watches have an indicator on the face of the watch that will show you the relative positioning of the planets.  If you occasionally need to know the position of Venus vis a vis Neptune, then this might be useful to you.  On the other hand, if such things are important to you, you probably already work at either an observatory of a planetarium.  In all likelihood, this one isn’t particularly useful to anyone.
  • World time – This one is particularly odd, especially in its full-blown incarnation.  A world time watch will show you the time of day in all of the world’s time zones.  How many is that?  24, you say?  No, it’s actually 37, as there are some very small time zones that are off by 15 minutes or 30 minutes from the rest of us.    A true, 37 time zone world time watch is a remarkable piece of engineering, but it’s not overly useful.  You’ll thank me for this, because such watches are very rare and very, very expensive.
  • A tourbillon – Purists will argue that a tourbillon, a rotating cage that contains the balance wheel and escapement of a watch movement, isn’t really a complication.  It’s an increasingly popular feature, however, as the engineers get to show off how talented they are and you get to see the rotating mechanism through a window on the face of your watch.  Originally thought to make watches more accurate, a tourbillon today is more an excuse to dramatically increase the price of the watch than anything else.

Of course, one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, and while I don’t think these complications are useful, others may regard them as essential.  The kind of features you want to see in a watch is up to you.