Watchmaking anno 2010 – an art or a science?
Nowadays, a lot of innovation brought to the market are masterful pieces of engineering that do not always work as well. Double Tourbillon, triple axes…It sometimes feels that form has taken over from function. Although we do get excited by these master pieces of engineering, we can also still get very excited by a movement that actually works, and works very well and very precise. Function first! We got a lot of inspiration from Henry Royce that set out with a very similar vision when he created the foundation for the Rolls Royce brand as we know it today.
So when we are in technical meetings and people get overexcited by the solutions or new technical inventions, I often ask: “So what is the problem we are trying to solve with this new technology?”
Thus, when we were working on our Grand Tourbillon XP1, the issue at hand was clear. The TB is invented to deliver higher precision than a normal mechanical watch. However, the vertical positions have variations of amplitude and precision caused by the TB cage itself. But we felt there was an opportunity to minimize the force used for the escapement in the cage, and if we could eliminate oil or grease in the escapement with the use of modern materials, then this would be a plus as well.
We believe we have made a huge step forward in the precision of the TB movement. Key enablers for the step forward have been our Patented Perfect Balance Cage and the silicium escape wheel and lever with silicium oxide coating to avoid unnecessary power and efficiency loss. We can guarantee all our movements between 0-2 seconds/24hours, and we have already produced one that did much better!
Can we do better? The aim is to come as close to zero as possible, so we have a mechanical movement that is always accurate. Wouldn’t that be cool? We believe it is possible, and for sure it is a nice aim to pursue.
Personally, I believe our Ateliers deMonaco watches are pieces of art, that have embraced modern science to make them also functional as perfect as possible. Like the painter who studies his subjects for a long time before he can reach the highest level of perfection, our pieces feel they get better and more perfect with time as well. Let’s talk in 20 years to see how close to our dream we could come.