Baselworld 2015 trends #2: sophisticated mechanics by Leroy, Breguet, Patek Philippe, Rolex

Beautiful mechanics is the main guest at Baselworld.

One of the astonishing pieces was the new Leroy caliber L100, the beating heart of the Leroy masterpiece “Chrnonomètre à Tourbillon” from the Osmior collection. Just to let you understand: a Tourbillon with Duplex escapement and constant force, fusee-chain and deadbeat seconds

Hand-wound Manufacture Calibre L100, entirely developed and built in the Manufacture in Le Sentier at the heart of the Vallée de Joux, has an escapement with direct impulse on the balance also featuring an impulse wheel and a winding wheel for constant force, as well as a balance-spring with two terminal curves.

The movement architecture and its pillar-based construction are inspired by the first 18th century marine chronometers.

The calibre comprises an original direct-impulse escapement (one direct impulse and one indirect impulse per oscillation) recalling the “Duplex” escapement developed by Pierre Le Roy and protected by a patent registered for its ingenious self-compensating mechanism for thermal variations. The balance is thus equipped with a system serving to compensate for the undesirable effects (such as disturbances to rating precision) caused by the dilatation of the balance-spring, at temperatures extending beyond those normally controlled within a horological mechanism.

The calibre oscillates at 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz) with a large-size balance that promotes long-term precision rating.In tribute to Pierre Le Roy, the first watchmaker to have produced a deck chronometer for maritime navigation, Leroy has selected a deadbeat seconds mechanism enabling the seconds hand to literally pause for a second to mark this unit of time.

This calibre counts 953 parts, almost as many as the iconic historical Leroy 01.

The movement is housed within an elegant 41 mm-diameter round case in gold (5N red gold, palladium-coated white gold or two-tone) framing a Grand Feu enamel dial, inspired by 19th century Leroy pocket watches. The design scrupulously respects the signature features of the works of art from past centuries bearing the Leroy signature, embellished by a variety of artistic craftsmanship techniques notably including a finely chased grid placed on top of the dial and reproducing the tapestry motif of an historical watch made for Marie-Antoinette.

Il sofisticato Chronomètre à Tourbillon di Leroy, con quadrante in smalto che richiama l'orologio storico prodotto per Maria Antonietta
Il sofisticato Chronomètre à Tourbillon di Leroy, con quadrante in smalto che richiama l’orologio storico prodotto per Maria Antonietta
Il complicato calibro L100 di Leroy, prodotto internamente a Le Sentier
Il complicato calibro L100 di Leroy, prodotto internamente a Le Sentier

Chronographs are fascinating thus (often) umprecise watches. Activating the additional gear train of the chronograph is a stress for the mechanism, since it can disturb the main gear trains. To alleviate this problem, Breguet has fitted its new Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 model with two independent trains. The first is the going train for the hours and minutes, regulated by a 3Hz balance and having a power reserve of 50 hours. For the chronograph, the second transmission has a 5Hz frequency to ensure more precise readings (in order to best suit its different rate while keeping the wheels the same size, the chronograph’s balance wheel is in titanium; both balance springs are silicon). The two trains are entirely disconnected and the movement remains unaffected when the chronograph is started.

Although the 7077 has two escapements, it only has one conventional mainspring, which provides the 50-hour power reserve for the running time. The power for the chronograph comes from a flexed blade spring, which has a maximum reserve of 20 minutes. This spring is not wound:  every time you reset the chronograph to zero, the blade spring tenses, storing up energy for the chronograph’s next use.

The running time can be read from the offset guilloché dial at the top of the watch. An unnumbered track runs around the flange: this tells the chronograph seconds, since the chronograph hand is the only one mounted at the center of the dial. Overlapping the running time display are two retrograde indicators: one for the power reserve, at 2 o’clock, and one for the chronograph minutes, at 10 o’clock.

Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant ref. 7077
Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant ref. 7077
I due bilancieri del Tradition 7077: sulla destra il bilanciere del movimento, a sinistra quello per il cronografo
I due bilancieri del Tradition 7077: sulla destra il bilanciere del movimento, a sinistra quello per il cronografo

Patek Philippe thought to its lovers when conceiving the new split-seconds chronograph ref. 5370. Not least because its elaborate inner life ticks beneath a genuine blackenamel dial.

The in-house caliber CHR 29-535 PS movement has so far only been built as a version with a perpetual calendar, available on the ref. 5204P. It is, finally, available as a pure split-seconds chronograph that melds tradition with innovation. Its traditional facet is the underlying concept of a manually wound movement with column-wheel control and a horizontal wheel clutch, still the benchmark for many friends of mechanical watches. To preserve this heritage in the 21st century, it was optimized in many respects and endowed with patented innovations that make this caliber avery progressive classic , both in the chronograph and in the rattrapante function (ie. Clutch wheels with patented tooth profiles boost efficiency in power transmission and reduce wear; the split-seconds lever that positions a ruby roller between two flat heart cam shoulders keeps the chronograph and split-seconds hands precisely aligned as long as they are superposed).

With the Ref. 5370, Patek Philippe extended its range of pure split-seconds chronographs with a two-pusher model, a stopwatch with two pushers for the basic start, stop, reset functions and an additional on/off button in the crown for the split-seconds function. This contrasts against the ultra-thin Ref. 5959 monopusher split-seconds chronograph which has a single consecutive-action pusher for the basic start, stop, reset functions (3-phase column-wheel control) and an additional pusher for the rattrapante hand

And, finally, the enamel dial. The solid white-gold disk is first coated with black enamel by hand. The coating is melted in an oven at 850°C and then allowed to solidify to a glasslike consistency by controlled cooling. The result is an intense black that preserves its depth and gloss across centuries, as we know from ancient enamel artifacts found in Greece. On this shiny-black dial, gold Breguet numerals are applied and scales are printed.

Il bellissimo quadrante in smalto nero del 5370P. Fidatevi, in fotografia non è bello come dal vivo!
Il bellissimo quadrante in smalto nero del 5370P. Fidatevi, in fotografia non è bello come dal vivo!
Il calibro CHR 29-535 PS è visibile dal fondello dell'orologio
Il calibro CHR 29-535 PS è visibile dal fondello dell’orologio

Tags: Breguet Leroy Patek Philippe Rolex