Girard-Perregaux is back at Baselworld after exhibiting at the SIHH. Besides this the brand is being refreshed and also relaunched a little bit. Unfortunately things went wrong in the past. But the novelties 2013 look really good, so I am confident …
Just in brief some first information about the Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement. More will come when I am back home and have more time to publish …
The new Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement
The heart of a mechanical watch is ruled by the regulating organ, which manages the flow rate of the energy received from the barrel to drive the gear train and the rotation speed of the hands. The classic image is that of a faucet managing the flow of water. The main factor is not so much the speed of the beats of this heart, the chosen frequency, but their regularity. The dance can be three in a bar or four in a bar, or even a thousand; but the essential thing is that it keeps the beat over time.
All sorts of systems had been dreamed up before the famous Swiss lever escapement was presented in wristwatches, and became more or less standard. Yet it suffers from one drawback: it can only give back the energy it receives from the barrel, which diminishes with time. This energy, which defines its timekeeping accuracy, is too fast to start with, and finishes like a machine running out of steam. A curve, the curse and the bane of watchmakers, illustrates the phenomenon: the curve of the amplitude, or angular displacement of a sprung balance wheel or a pendulum, which lessens towards the end of the run. The principle of a constant force escapement is that whatever the energy supplied by the barrel, the escapement returns a constant energy to the regulator (balance wheel). To achieve this, they had the brilliant idea of integrating an intermediate device into the escapement, consisting of an extremely thin blade that stores the energy up to an invariable threshold bordering on instability, and then transmits it all instantaneously, before recommencing the cycle. The inspiration came from an experiment, which anyone can repeat by holding a train ticket vertically between thumb and forefinger, bending it to form a C or an open round bracket. If you then apply pressure from the side you will feel resistance until the moment when the card snaps to the other side to mirror its former shape, and close the round bracket. Try it with a business card, it works every time. The phenomenon of instability is known as buckling, which is the passage from a state of compression to one of bending. Spring specialists thus speak of buckled blades. Here, the silicon blade measures one sixth of a hair’s thickness and plays the role of a micro-accumulator of energy. This blade is flexed to a point as close as possible to its unstable state, and only needs an infinitesimal quantity of energy – a micro-impulse given by the balance wheel (less perturbing than in a lever escapement) – for it to snap from one state to the other, and in the process, to push the balance wheel forward, compensating for the variable energy of the barrel and liberating the same quantity of energy every time.
The new Girard-Perregaux 1966 Column-Wheel Chronograph
The manufactory is presenting a new manufacture movement to join its 3000 family: the caliber GP0 3800-001, a hand-wound column-wheel chronograph. For its first appearance, this new development is housed in the elegant case of the Girard-Perregaux 1966 collection.
The new Girard-Perregaux Hawk Ceramic
The Girard-Perregaux Hawk Chronograph
The new Girard-Perregaux Traveller Moon Phase and Large Date
The Girard-Perregaux Traveller WW.TC