When all balance springs were metal, Swatch Group's Nivarox enjoyed a virtual monopoly. The most widespread alternative, patented silicon technology, is also the property of a handful of manufacturers. However crucial it may be, mechanically and strategically, the balance spring is about materials science, not horological genius.
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Exposure to magnetic fields isn't without consequence on a mechanical watch's proper functioning. After early attempts to resolve the problem, recent innovations are delivering promising results. Demagnetising tools are also benefiting from new developments.
Greubel Forsey doesn't make watches. It crafts timepieces which, one by one, rebuild the expertise that fell by the wayside of the quartz crisis. We visited the brand in Le Crêt-du-Locle.
Already with two sites in the village of Le Lieu and a third in Arch, this specialist in additional mechanisms recently moved into new premises in Les Charbonnières, in La Vallée de Joux. This bricks-and-mortar expansion has been matched by a CHF 4 million investment in equipment. At stake: the market for pre-assembled components.
Sister company to H. Moser & Cie, Precision Engineering is one of the few manufacturers with the capacity to develop and produce regulating organs and their components: balance springs, balances, levers and escape wheels. At last month's EPHJ fair, it presented the prototype for its first cylindrical balance spring.
Managing Director of Montblanc's Watch Division since 2015, Davide Cerrato doesn't want to dissolve Minerva within the brand but to instil its values. A strategy that has already made its mark in the TimeWalker collection.
Of all the inventions that have helped improve the precision of mechanical watches, none is more important, or less well-documented, than the development of the regulating organ. To help bridge that gap, we retrace the history of escapements from the earliest devices to the very latest silicon regulators. Part one: from the clepsydra to the verge escapement.
Watchmakers have always been at pains to shield their movements from magnetic fields. But as science has progressed, a handful of visionaries have searched for ways to turn magnetism to their advantage. This two-part article - an MRI of the latest developments – explains just what the big attraction is.