Jean-Paul will present you Chronoworks, in charge of developing and testing technical breakthroughs that can subsequently be introduced on series-produced models.
So this is really cool stuff if you are interested in future calibre developments.
Breitling is pushing the technical boundaries and introducing new technologies …
Listen to my interview with Jean-Paul Girardin and be among the first to learn about the future of watchmaking …
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These are pictures and some addition descriptions to help you to better understand.
First let us start with the watch itself:
Breitling Superocean Héritage Chronoworks
The technical innovations …
Ceramic baseplate and gear-train bridges for the Breitling Calibre 01
The first optimization involved the movement chassis (baseplate and gear-train bridges). To reduce friction due to the pivoting of the arbors, these components were made from a high-tech ceramic (hexagonal boron nitride) already used as a solid adjuvant in high-performance engine lubricants, but applied here for the first time to mechanical horology. Thanks to an extremely low friction coefficient, the arbors can pivot directly in the baseplate and bridge holes without any wear or energy loss – and also without any lubricant, thereby eliminating 11 out of 47 jewels.
Silicon wheels for the Breitling Calibre 01
Contrary to what one might think, a watch movement is actually at a halt 95% of the time and each “restart” results in a certain loss of energy. To counteract this inertia, the caliber has been fitted with three wheels (center wheel, third wheel, fourth wheel) in silicon, a material twice as light as normal and that thus makes it easier to set in motion again. As for the geometry of these wheels, made using deep-reactive iron etching (DRIE), it has been revised to make the structure more rigid and to thus avoid any distortion of the spokes.
Silicon escapement for the Breitling Calibre 01
Attention also focused on the “distribution” organ, the escapement – the part of the movement where most of the energy losses take place. The Swiss lever escapement was maintained, but with a wheel and lever made of silicon serving to reduce weight and thus inertia, as well as eliminating the need for pallet jewels – thereby enhancing precision in terms of shapes. To ensure more efficient transmission of the energy from the barrel, the geometry of the two components was revisited (the profile of the teeth and pallets). The banking- free angular limitation of the lever also contributes to increasing reliability. The overall result is a 42% gain in efficiency for this vital organ, thereby ensuring optimal security, an essential aspect of performance.
Variable-inertia balance for the Breitling Calibre 01
Balance-wheel oscillations are generally adjusted by modifying the active length of the balance-spring using pins, an operation that can disturb chronometry (precision timekeeping). The Chronoworks specialists have opted for a variable-inertia balance adjustable via four tiny gold weights situated around the rim. To free this organ from temperature sensitivities and maintain the same rating precision in every circumstances, they have chosen to combine a nickel felly (ring) with a cross (spoke) made of brass, using the metal’s expansion/contraction to modify the inertia. When the temperature rises, the cross expands and “pulls” the felly towards the center, thus reducing inertia. This system reinterprets the principle of bimetallic balance-wheels by leveraging state-of-the-art production technologies (LIGA).
Elastic toothing for the Breitling Calibre 01
Another key nerve center in a vertical coupling-clutch chronograph mechanism is this tiny organ responsible for connecting the base movement and the wheel bearing the sweep-seconds hand (chronograph wheel and pinion). This set of one arbor and two wheels (2 mm in diameter) generally displays a certain play that can lead to jerking, that is eliminated by using a “friction spring” – that causes a 15% energy loss. Rather than compensating for this play by braking, the Chronoworks specialists opted to equip the two wheels with elastic toothing molding the shape of the opposite teeth, by means of a nickel- phosphorous structure. The result is an end to energy losses, as well as identical autonomy whether or not the chronograph function is activated.
By reducing the friction and the inertia of mobile components, while ensuring optimal running of the base movement and the chronograph, these five measures jointly led to a significant increase in the energy efficiency of Breitling Calibre 01. This made it possible to equip it with a slimmer – and thus longer – spring, in turn increasing the power reserve from 70 to 100 hours: a 45% gain.