You have to decide between owning a BMW or a new Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks.
Breitling unveiled today what the Swiss luxury watch brand calls a tuned Chronograph. The Breitling Superocean Heritage is the result of the work of the Chronoworks team. They took a Breitling Caliber 01added five major innovations serving to increase its power reserve from 70 to 100 hours.
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The watch tuning has its price. The Breitling Superocean Heritage has a retail price in Europe of about 37,300 Euro (~$41,000).
The first optimization involved the movement chassis. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Caliber 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.
Baselworld 2016 opens its doors on March 17 in Basel Switzerland.
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