The Past And Present Life Of The Speed ​​governing Agency (9)

Of all the inventions that help improve the accuracy of mechanical timepieces, nothing is more important than the speed control mechanism. This article will trace the development and evolution history of speed governing mechanism from its early prototype to the latest material. This article is the ninth part: silicon escapement.

Rolex Calibre 3255

   After entering the third millennium, the watchmakers no longer need to start from scratch. They are faced with a choice in which new direction to take the lever escapement. Patek Philippe created the Advanced Research department and set out to develop a new speed control mechanism based on silicon components. In 2005, the Advanced Research Division released the first major innovation, the Silinvar escape wheel without lubrication. The following year, the Spiromax hairspring was launched. Then came the 2008 Pulsomax escapement. Finally in 2011, the GyromaxSi? Balance wheel became the last puzzle.

Calibre 324 SC movement on Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5227 watch with Spiromax® silicon spring

   Patek Philippe’s innovation significantly improves the accuracy of the speed without any structural changes to the movement. Patek Philippe’s Pulsomax escapement optimized the geometry of the escapement fork and escape wheel through the application of silicon, but it is still a classic freestyle escapement, except that the raw materials for manufacturing the parts have changed. Perhaps the silicon revolution should be led by a brand that strictly adheres to tradition, so that everything is possible. In fact, this research is indeed a joint project of Rolex, Swatch Group (via Breguet) and the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microelectronics Technology Research (CSEM).

Truly new concept

Rolex Syloxi hairspring

   Since then, silicon has steadily expanded in the watchmaking industry, starting with hairsprings and escapement wheels / forks. Since 2014, even Rolex has begun fitting Sylox hairsprings (and another patented alloy, Parachrom hairsprings) for women’s watches. However, none of these systems using silicon as an alternative material changes the basic nature of the escapement. Speaking of a truly new structure, the first thing that comes to mind is the constant-power escapement, which was developed by Girard-Perregaux from the concept of Nicolas Dehon (in 1998 Nicolas Dehon was patented while working for Rolex). The feature of this mechanism is to adjust the two escapement wheels, the lever connected to the silicon flexible piece, and the traditional balance with hairspring by using the elasticity and regular deformation of the ultra-fine silicon flexible piece. This kind of mechanism is difficult to control, and if it is to be put into industrial production, it still needs to be simplified.

Girard Perregaux Constant Power Escapement

   Other brands have launched silicon-based solutions. In 2016, Parmigiani launched the Senfine concept movement, which includes a new escapement mechanism that can significantly reduce energy consumption and increase power reserve from days or weeks to months. The specific method is to abandon the mechanical coupling energy consumption factor in the traditional speed governing mechanism and replace it with a zero friction flexible joint system. The invention was attributed to a Geneva engineer named Pierre Genequand, who began working on the idea after retiring from the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) in 2004. This unconventional, zero-friction escapement is still under development, and it is the silicon material that makes it possible.

Zenith Defy Lab movement

   In September 2017, Zenith used DefyLab watches to show the brand’s vision for the future. DefyLab replaces the hairspring balance with a new monolithic oscillator made of monocrystalline silicon. Approximately 30 parts of the standard adjustment mechanism were replaced by monolithic monolithic elements that were only 0.5 mm thick. The design of the gear train also seems to be inspired by the TAHEuer Mikrogirder watch (both mechanisms are designed by the same person). Except for the single-crystal silicon escapement that does not require lubrication, the rest of the movement is in a classic configuration with a vibration frequency of up to 108,000 times / hour (15 Hz). High vibration frequency and silicon material means that the movement is not affected by acceleration, gravity or magnetic fields.

High frequency

TAG Heuer Mikrogirder watch

   Watchmakers followed the example of Bulova Accutron watches to create a similar high-frequency system, but replaced the power source with a mechanical mechanism. In a way, maybe this is the idea of ​​TAGHeuer. In 2012, the brand launched the Mikrogirder dual-frequency chronograph and described it as ‘reshaping the mechanical speed regulation mechanism’. Brand-new fine-tuning system-consisting of a connecting beam and excitation beam system and a linear oscillator (different from traditional spiral hairsprings), synchronously vibrates at a small angle, which greatly improves accuracy and performance. The timing accuracy reaches 1/2000 seconds.

Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph Movement

   In fact, strictly speaking, the meter escapement adjusted for long-term reliability is also a speed-regulating component. Broadly speaking, this is the research direction of Seiko SpringDrive movement. The concept of combining waves and high frequencies has been around since 2012, when DeBethune launched a new speed control mechanism called ‘Résonique’. At a given frequency, the magnetic escapement enters resonance and then maintains a constant frequency. In theory, the results are absolutely accurate. The system is still in the prototype stage, but this independent brand has opened up new directions for the watchmaking industry. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)

Hot Steel Watch

In 1976, Patek Philippe released the first sports watch in the 137-year history of the Swiss brand, namely Patek Philippe Nautilus. The word Nautilus comes from the English name ‘Nautilus’. Nautilus is the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine (USS Nautilus SSN-571). The shape of the Nautilus adopts the iconic design. The porthole shape of the classic Patek Philippe sports watch shows the most popular design among many steel watches. (Watch model: Ref. 5726 / 1A-014)

Classic beauty and charm

  As the Nautilus series evolved, Patek Philippe incorporated more technology into it. In 1996, Patek Philippe invented the annual calendar mechanism, registered a patent, and launched the first annual calendar Ref.5035. This watch was awarded the Swiss best watch of the year. Subsequently, in 2010, Patek Philippe was included in the Nautilus men’s watch Ingeniously blending the spirit of sports with precision technology, it adopts the annual calendar, moon phase display and 24-hour display. This Ref. 5726 / A stainless steel watch joins this model, enriching the original leather strap and stainless steel bracelet styles. Today, Patek Philippe reinterprets and shines at this year’s Basel watch fair.



  The watch is made of stainless steel, and the case and bezel are polished and satin-finished, forming a sharp contrast. The case is elegant and dynamic, with a water resistance of 120 meters. The iconic case design inspired by portholes is eye-catching. The diameter is 40.5 mm and the thickness is 11.3 mm.

  The watch features an elegant chic gradient blue dial inspired by the dial colors of the original 1976 Nautilus watch. The dial is decorated with horizontal horizontal embossed pattern and subtle design with blue gradient to black. Different sights present a unique scene, eye-catching and delicate, perfectly set off the delicate luster of stainless steel, three-dimensional platinum hour markers and hour and minute hands Covered with a fluorescent coating to ensure that the watch can still be read clearly in the dim state, the center is equipped with a slim large second hand.

  The day and month display windows are located side by side at 12 o’clock, and the date window is located at 6 o’clock. The 24-hour display on the lower part of the dial simplifies the calendar adjustment process. The date needs to be adjusted only once a year on March 1. The sub-dial is also equipped with an extremely accurate moon phase display, with only one day error every 122 years.

  The side crown is also made of stainless steel, and the body is decorated with a non-slip texture to ensure that the wearer can accurately time it. The Patek Philippe Calatrava classic icon is engraved on it, giving the watch brand its unique characteristics.

  The stainless steel bracelet is also polished and satin-finished, with a folding clasp for safety and reliability.

  The transparent caseback design clearly observes the movement of the movement. The watch is equipped with Caliber324S QA LU 24H / 303 self-winding movement. This movement consists of 347 parts. This movement includes the annual calendar device patented by Patek Philippe in 1996. It is equipped with a 21K gold oscillating weight and can provide up to 45 hours with full strings Power reserve.

  Summary: If you are interested in this Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Nautilus, you may wish to pay more attention to it, the key is to start first. Watch official website price: RMB 336,200

A Tribute To The Legend, A Gift Of Glory, Zenith Released El Primero Revival Limited Edition

Zenith re-engraved the classics, grandly released the ELPRIMERO limited three-piece set, presented the 50th anniversary celebration of the ElPrimero high-frequency chronograph, and continued the legendary journey of the brand. To commemorate the extraordinary history of this outstanding watch for half a century, Zenith launched three precious metal neutral watches in platinum, rose gold and gold. Each model is limited to 50 pieces worldwide and has a warranty period of 50 years.

ZENITH ELPRIMEROREVIVAL limited model (model: 65.A386.400.69.C815)

Immortal legend continues classic
  Since its birth in 1969, ElPrimero has been writing legends for Zenith. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, this precise and excellent automatic chronograph will retain glory in brilliant white, rose and gold colors while retaining its original features. Its revolutionary mechanism can measure tenths of a second, together with its highly recognizable dial, make a legend of the generation. 36,000 vibrations per hour, integrated column wheel structure; central rotor mounted on ball bearings and a power reserve of more than 50 hours (a real feat for such a high-frequency movement), making it ElPrimero’s signature for half a century. To pay tribute to the classics, Zenith introduced 50 original models and reissued them with a 50-year warranty, continuing the extraordinary legend of ElPrimero.

  In addition to material changes, this anniversary set faithfully reproduces the original features of the 1969 ElPrimero: a 38-mm stainless steel case, a curved glass with magnifying effect, a three-color timer, tachymeter scale, hands and hour markers. This watch uses the ‘counter-time’ process, which completely reproduces the shape of the lugs and mushroom-shaped adjustment buttons. To perfectly recreate this outstanding watch, every component is laser scanned. In addition, Zenith also displayed ingenuity on the case: the original solid case back now shows the movement of the movement without obstruction, and the brand logo on the crown has also been updated. At the same time, the ‘Power Engine’ of this model is equipped with the current version of the ElPrimero column wheel chronograph movement, displaying the hours, minutes and small seconds, chronograph, speedometer and date display functions are in white paint Face dial between 4 and 5 o’clock. The straps continue to use brown or black leather straps, depending on the model-the models in the picture are rubber-lined crocodile leather and equipped with the same buckle as the case material. The set also includes a bright red travel bag from the 1969 version, a microfiber cloth adorned with drawings of the ElPrimero chronograph movement on one side, and a photo of the original user manual printed on the other side.

Technical specifications
Model: 65.A386.400.69.C815
Suggested retail price: RMB 154,500
Reprint of the first El Primero model launched in 1969
38 mm diameter case reprinted as is
El Primero star-speed self-winding column wheel chronograph
Platinum style: limited edition of 50 pieces 50-year warranty
El Primero Star Speed ​​400 Automatic
Movement: 13 ¼ law minutes (diameter: 30 mm)
Movement thickness: 6.6 mm
Number of components: 278
Number of jewels: 31
Vibration frequency: 36 000 vibrations / hour (5 Hz)
Power reserve: at least 50 hours
Finishing: Pendulum with ‘Geneva Ornamentation’
Center hour, minute display, small seconds at 9 o’clock
-Center chronograph hands
-12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
-30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
Speed ​​scale date display at 4:30
Case, dial and hands
Diameter: 38 mm
Happy diameter: 33.05 mm
Thickness: 12.60 mm
Table mirror: curved double-sided anti-glare sapphire crystal glass
Case back: clear sapphire crystal
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 10 ATM (100 meters)
Dial: white lacquered dial with 3 different color chronographs
Hour markers: rhodium-plated facet with Super-LumiNova SLN C3 fluorescent coating
Hands: Rhodium-plated facet with Super-LumiNova SLN C3 fluorescent coating
Strap and buckle
Black alligator strap with protective rubber lining
Platinum pin buckle