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Discussion Starter #1
From Bloomberg - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-08/parmigiani-senfine-concept-watch-escapement-how-it-works?cmpid=BBD020816_BIZ
(there's a short video of the movement at the bloomberg link).



Mechanical Watchmaking Just Leapt Forward After 250 Years

Real innovation in watchmaking is rare, which is why Parmigiani's new concept—with a 70-day power reserve—is so exciting.


Stephen Pulvirent AlmostStephen


February 8, 2016 — 6:17 AM PST



Source: Parmigiani


It's rare that there's a genuine innovation in mechanical watchmaking. Sure, every brand loves to talk about the latest thing they've done, but it's usually more surface level than a true advance in the underlying technology. Parmigiani, though, is showing something entirely new in its Senfine concept watch, which keeps time using a totally new mechanism that allows for a 70-day power reserve. Yes, 70 days. (Most watches run only two or three days at a time before needing to be rewound.)
To understand what makes the Senfine special, you must first understand the basics of what makes a mechanical watch work.
The mechanism that actually ticks out the fractions of seconds is called the escapement, and almost all watches use a style called a "lever escapement." This was invented back around 1755 by a British clockmaker, and since then it's been shrunk down to fit on the wrist. But otherwise nothing has changed. A balance wheel with a spring in the center swings a wide arc (usually around 300 degrees, give or take) causing a little fork to flick back and forth on a gear, letting it slowly advance one tooth at a time. Most watches today advance three or four times per second, getting you the little ticks you hear if you put the watch up to your ear.


This new concept from Parmigiani does away with 250 years of received wisdom in watchmaking.
Source: Parmigiani

Only a handful of watch brands, most notably Omega, don't use this basic mechanism in their watches. Omega uses something called a co-axial escapement, which is meant to improve on the lever escapement by making it more reliable, more accurate, and more durable. It's the same basic principle, just done better.
The new Senfine escapement does away with the lever escapement's mechanics for something much more efficient. There's still a wheel, but it swings only 16 degrees instead of 300—and does so 16 times per second instead of four. The increase in frequency means you get much higher accuracy than with a traditional balance, and the low amplitude conserves power (there's a lot less motion happening overall, meaning less power is used). To make this work, the little fork (usually made of metal and cut rubies) is replaced by silicon blades. The result is a mechanical movement that, according to the company, is capable of getting that incredible 70-day potential out of the same type of mechanical spring that gives a typical watch 48 to 72 hours of juice.


Now, the decoration on the concept watch here might look high-tech, especially with the faux-circuit board engravings on the left side of the dial. But, rest assured, this is a mechanical watch through and through. It's not like Piaget's latest creation, which is a hybrid electromechanical timekeeper, even if the two do have a common spirit of innovation.

Sadly, you can't yet buy a Senfine watch from Parmigiani or anyone else. The mechanism is still in the development phase, and there are a few kinks that need to be worked out—namely, shock resistance and temperature variability—before it can be truly industrialized. But keep your eye on Parmigiani and hopefully you'll be able to strap on one of these interesting timekeepers sometime in the next few years. Given that you've got some time and the early models will likely be expensive and sell quickly, we recommend you start saving up now.
 

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I read about movements with silicone components in IW recently. Very interesting. I love mechanicals but I admit that sometimes the watch industry can be a bit conservative


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70 days eh?
I have one Orient piece that has a 40 hour power reserve.
I'm an old sod and I can remember back n my RRing days
when some RR grade pocketwatches had what were called
"wind indicators" (usually below the 12:00 oclock position).

Wind indicators were power reserves with a different name

My 40 hour power reserve kinda pales in comparison with
a 70 day power reserve.

Lou Snutt
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If they get this figured out and into production, I'm sure it will be well out of the reach of my wallet.
 

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The movement is beautiful but I don't get trying to improve the power reserve of a mechanical watch, if I'm being honest. It's like trying to improve a steam engined locomotive.

I like mechanical watches because they are old fashioned, quaint throw backs to a bygone era. When I want performance, reliability, features, technology and quality engineering, however, I look to quartz.

It's a clever achievement in a way. It just seems pointless.
 

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This is very impressive. In my personal opinion, I think this is needed technology. If anything, it could be applied to other branches in the technological tree. Say, for example, a modified and enlarged version could be used to power a generator without the use of fossil fuels.

Improving old technology makes sense. That's basically how we got to where we are today.
 

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The movement is beautiful but I don't get trying to improve the power reserve of a mechanical watch, if I'm being honest. It's like trying to improve a steam engined locomotive.

I like mechanical watches because they are old fashioned, quaint throw backs to a bygone era. When I want performance, reliability, features, technology and quality engineering, however, I look to quartz.

It's a clever achievement in a way. It just seems pointless.


Yup. But what the heck-for an extra 100,000 grand, or so,it's well worth not having to wind your watch for over 2 months.:confused:
 

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Hmmmm? If I needed a 70 day power reserve that badly, I would just logically slap on one of my Eco-Drives
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Personally, I like to see advancements in technology.

Do I need a watch that can last 70 days without winding... No. And realistically, how many times would I have to reset the time over 70 days. Personally I would like to see advancements in accuracy over a longer period of time.

Having said that, who knows where this advancement in engineering might take us (and I don't just mean watches). I certainly don't see it as a bad thing, even if I will never be able to afford it.
 
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