From tower clocks to wristwatches, the history of clock- and watch-making over the past four centuries chronicles the ever-increasing downsizing of mechanisms. Up until now, the power needed to drive a wristwatch mechanism has been a limiting factor in terms of design and innovation. But with Greubel Forsey it’s getting smaller still.
The manufacturer’s fundamental work on Mechanical Nano, based on the mastery of energy and available space, is once again confirmed and now applied in a watch mechanism. For more than ten years, Greubel Forsey’s Experimental Watch Technology Laboratory (EWT) has been working to push boundaries of mechanical watchmaking and has had particular success in the domain of the Mechanical Nano project. Thanks to this totally new concept, the manufacturer is unveiling the first Nano Foudroyante EWT. So let’s take a look.
Mechanical Nano has led the engineers and designers of Greubel Forsey to completely rethink the mechanism of the traditional foudroyant jumping seconds. This new construction consists of a mobile with a very low moment of inertia, which takes its information directly from the escape wheel. This principle means that a full gear train is no longer needed to ensure the sub-division of seconds, since the information is obtained from the wheel, which distributes and gives the rhythm to the energy of the movement.
In the process of developing the 180-day power reserve movement, the decision was taken to apply Mechanical Nano to the foudroyant jumping seconds mechanism. This watchmaking complication consists of a hand that makes one rotation every second to indicate the fractions of a second.
The first Mechanical Nano watchmaking application focuses on the reduction of inertia and on the energy savings it made possible. The display of the Nano Foudroyante EWT is by a miniature hand. This is made clearer to read by an optical system with 23x magnification.
On the basis of this first demonstrator there are a number of different innovative possibilities hat will enable further optimisation of energy. Compared to a traditional foudroyant jumping seconds mechanism, the Greubel Forsey Nano Foudroyante EWT consumes 1,800 times less energy and occupies 96% less space. This means, that this jumping seconds mechanism makes best use fo energy and available space in the movement of a mechanical timepiece.