After five years of research and development, Girard-Perregaux launches its first model that boasts a Constant escapement. This innovative mechanism is integrated into the movement that drives the new member of Girard-Perregaux’s Haute Horlogerie collection.
The Constant Escapement also refers to a holy grail in mechanical watchmaking – the constant force which bewildered watchmakers from the beginning of measuring the time. To make this an important step in the watchmaking history, Girard-Perregaux decided to try using a new approach.
In order to understand the importance of this innovation, I will recall here a few basic notions. A mechanical timepiece works as the regulating organ which maintains the flow rate of the energy that drives the watch parts, and all that at the certain speed and regularity. The very important thing is that the movement keeps the beat over time, whether it is slow or fast.
The famous Swiss lever escapement is invented to help the watch run completely free of interference from the escapement, and it became more or less standard. Unfortunately, it can only give back the energy it receives from the barrel which abates over time.
Compared with the lever escapement, the constant force has an important advantage – it returns a constant energy to the regulator regardless of the energy it receives from the barrel. To achieve this, GP had the ingenious idea of integrating an intermediate device into the escapement. This device consists of the quite thin blade that stores the energy up to an invariable threshold bordering on instability, and then conducts it directly, before restarting the cycle.
Inspiration for this invention came from an experiment. You can simply hold a business card vertically between your thumb and forefinger, compress it slightly, and then push at the centre of the bend. The card will snap back in the opposite direction. It works every time!
Compared to the concept that was presented five years ago, the production series escapement boasts the twin escape wheels and each of them features three wheels rather than six, which equates to an operating frequency of 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz) for the movement.
The Constant Escapement – A Groundbreaking Type of Escapement
Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement Watch with the referent number 93500-53-131-BA6C is the very first GP model tooled with this innovative device which got a top priority in its display with the entire lower part of the dial opened up to show the continuous undulation of the microscopic filament. Under the anti-glare sapphire glass, the Girard-Perregaux’s three emblematic bridges are visible and play their structural role in a novel layout.
The off-centered dial, located at the 12 o’clock position, shows the hours and minutes, while a discreet linear power reserve indicator is placed at the 9 o’clock position.
The very first model that features Constant Escapement is housed in a large-sized case with the diameter of 48mm. The case is crafted from the 18-karats white gold and has a curved case band.
The manually wound caliber MVT-009100-0007 that has been incorporated in this watch provides approximately seven days of power reserve. It is not thicker than 8 mm, whilst the case that houses it measures 14.63 mm. Through the wide open sapphire glass case back, you can enjoy another angle of view on the remarkable 3-D construction of this unique movement.
The latest member to the GP’s Haute Horlogerie collection is teamed with a black, hand-sewn alligator strap fitted with a folding clasp.