Wearing Future on Our Wrists

Dec 26, 2007
The recent wave of technological innovation has put the future on our wrists, with high-tech watches entering a new era, boasting supreme performance. The world of horology is gaining new and new grounds in the realms of high-tech. A present-day watch connoisseur will most probably not be surprised to see a tourbillon set inside a platinum watch case.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme LAB is one of the most successful examples illustrating the extremely hi-tech nature of timepieces created today.

The brand's watchmakers have opted for no less than 13 revolutionary space-age materials for developing the 988C calibre movement.

You will find titanium, magnesium, carbon, ceramic, and polyurethane, as well as the materilas you've most probably have never heard of - black crystalline diamond, Easium carbonitride, iridium platinum, silicon carbonitride, and Ticalium. You probably have to be a chemist or a physicist to realize the importance of these amazing materials' variety.

Even if you do not know much about watches, you will be impressed by the outside look of Master Compressor Extreme LAB, while the specialist will highly appreciate the inside components, with the balance worth special attention. The brand's master watchmakers came up to the conclusion that the whole surface influences the aerodynamic performance of the balance.

The engineers required several years of research to introduce a completely new balance with optimal geometry. The selected iridium platinum, an extremely dense material, for reducing the mass and maintaining the determined inertia. The unique precision of the timepiece is also explained by the shape of the arms, openings and the geometry contributing to the ideal mass-inertia ratio.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre 988C calibre comprises no traditionally used red pallet stones that were replaced by black diamond, a synthetic material that provides the same hardness as natural diamond. The creators of the mechanism used no grease - the mainspring smoothly unwinds due to the use of graphite powder. There is no drop of lubricant in the watch's movement.



The most prestigious watch brands want to create watches offering ultimate performance. To reach the goal, the watch industry discovers new ideas through taking them over from other branches such as micro-technology, micro-electronics, and aerospace.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team Chronograph created to honor the America's Cup serves as a fine example of mentioned above.

The brand took the challenge of producing the case of the watch out of forged carbon. The Audemars Piguet specialists based the development of the case upon outside expertise, and aeronautics in particular.

Following two years' research, Audemars Piguet managed to adapt the innovative material to its timepieces.



First, the technicians carefully pack carbon fiber strands into a mould, then compressing them at high temperature (reaching 200C) under pressures exceeding 300 kg/cm2. These way the specialists come up with an unbelievably light watch, just 100 grams! The Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi Team Chronograph sports the shimmering black effect creating its unique appearance.



Richard Mille is one more bright example of the watchmaker really mad about innovative technologies. The Frenchman has rich experience in the field of luxury and automotive industry.

The Richard Mille RM009 watch has been created while using alusic that represents an aluminum-silicon carbide alloy. The innovative material is extremely light and hard-wearing. Alusic is also used in Airbuses. The material needs special treatment and machining, absolutely different from standard in watchmaking.

It is impossible to stamp the alusic case using standard tools. It was necessary to use a special tool equipped with a diamond tip for cutting out the shapes designed by Richard Mille.

The RM009 manufactured in a limited edition of 25 pieces has been offered at an amazingly high price as despite numerous precautions, and the stone's hardness, the unique material is lost in huge quantities. The Richard Mille team has once again proved the world of horology is entering a new technological era.

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posted by: Nicky / Apr 03, 2008 12:53 PM
Amazing timepieces! great technologies! I'd never have thought there are so many innovative methods and materials in watchmaking.

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