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GP’s New Silicon Escapement

by J.Edwards

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Two weeks ago I attended the wedding of a good friend from watchmaking school, who also happens to be a fellow co-founder of Alliance Horlogère. At the reception afterwards, I sat with another great friend of ours who is also a watchmaker. As might be expected, the conversation throughout the evening drifted in and out of what we’ve been up to at work and, at one point, he mentioned a new watch he’d seen recently on the wrist of the president of Girard-Perregaux. Of course, having shown some interest in the peculiar piece, he was offered the chance to handle it for a moment. Though after gulping back the monstrous price tag he was informed of for the prototype, my friend was quick to give it back to him, feeling a little weak in the knees. I was able to relate (to a small degree) having felt similarly after hearing the cost of the first Patek I ever handled.

Seven figure price aside, the most noteworthy feature about this new timepiece is its completely outside-the-box approach to escapement design. I had a very difficult time trying to conceptualize in my head exactly what my friend was attempting to convey to me as he explained what he’d seen, and I left that night with little more than a vague idea of what this new escapement looked like or how it could possibly function as he had described. It turns out, a key part of its ability to function got lost in translation (quite literally) and I didn’t discover until today what that was when I stumbled across an article on Europastar that portrayed the escapement my friend had seen. Silicon seems to hold a lot of new promise for mechanical timekeeping and GP’s new constant force escapement is the biggest step away from conventional thinking I have seen. I would have greatly appreciated the opportunity to see this new marvel in the wild myself.

For the full scoop, check out Europastar’s article on The Silicon Revolution. The Girard-Perregaux escapement is the third one featured down the page.

For even more unconventional horology, pick up this month’s copy of the BHI’s Horological Journal, or zip on over to LutolfPhilip.com.

One Comment

  1. J.Peter
    Posted October 4, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Here is another great article which covers some of the technical aspects in a somewhat different way to help understand how this escapement works.

    http://basel.watchprosite.com/show-nblog.post/ti-426471/

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. [...] wound frequently. Other focus has focused on the escapement. With a constant force escapement, like this one by G.P. change in torque delivered by the mainspring does not affect timekeeping abilities. This entry [...]

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