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InnoVision - silicon watch

Low coefficient of friction allows to make from silicon escape wheel, which does not require lubrication. This discovery is in fact marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking. After all, if the trigger runs without lubrication, it is possible, first, at times extended maintenance intervals, and, secondly, significantly increase the frequency balance and thereby increase the precision. However, it took several years before undertaking Ulysse Nardin supported by another manufacture.

In 2006, Patek Philippe watch shows that have been made from silicon, not only escape wheel, but a spiral. And not only that the hair is evenly compressed silicon and was not susceptible to magnetism - the fact of a bombshell. Although some people still do not want to notice the obvious, silicon - the key to independence for many companies, tired of the dictatorship of suppliers microcomponents.

In 2007, the advantages of silicon is finally evaluated on the merits, and the entire Swiss watch industry has hit in the technology race with excitement not seen since the Soviet-American confrontation. Small laboratories in Switzerland and Germany are increasing their production capacity for silicon parts, and even the Swatch Group opened its silicon division at Micro Component Factory Nivarox.

However, were the first watches InnoVision Freak,InnoVision Freak built by Rolf Schnyder Ulysse Nardin, who can live without any lubricant and it was not because of any special coatings, but only thanks to the natural properties of silicon. Opening with a movement that does not require lubrication. Watches, the creation of which methods are used, has never been used in watchmaking. And, incidentally, is a watch with no hands.

"We pay tribute to the success of other manufacturers - in particular, the company Jaeger-LeCoultre, which is due to the project Extreme Lab considerable progress in improving the characteristics of the movement. Oscillator there is generally excellent. But we are interested in something else: new technologies and materials in the manufacture of the watch movement has not yet find applications, "- said technical director Pierre Gygax.

Strictly speaking, the project was made possible InnoVision thanks to the innovative use of silicon, to whom the developers of the first model Freak. In the trigger of these watches, there were two running wheels (in construction is based on dual direct descent, to the creation of which Ludwig Oyshlina prompted a "natural slope" Breguet). In watches with traditional Swiss anchor escapement wheel speed, usually has 20 teeth. If you reduce the number, the load on each tooth increases. Later, Ulysse Nardin cope with this difficulty by developing a double indirect descent, where the wheel is equipped with 18 teeth (this slope is available for all watches Freak II, «Calibre 160" and, of course, the new InnoVision Freak).

Neither gold, nor the steel for the manufacture of this device is not good, and the creators of watches InnoVision Freak had to find another, more lightweight metal. Aluminum also did not fit: for large load of five pulse teeth aluminum wheels quickly wore out.

The idea of contact to the silicon somewhere in the mid-90s gave the inventive Pierre Gygax Officer School of Engineering in Le Locle, Michel Verma. Then Verma appealed to Neuchatel and the Swiss Institute of microtechnology center and micro-electronics with a request to make a trigger movement of silicon.

Gygax had heard about the good conductivity of silicon caused its widespread use in computer science, but on the elasticity of the substance he did not know. He took up the study and found that using a deep reactive ion etching (DRIE), used for manufacture of micro-, silicon can produce tiny details of incredible precision. The first silicon wheels were designed for watches Freak, covered with diamond-like carbon. Ensure uniformity of application of this coating was then very, very difficult. Particularly difficult to check vertical surfaces.

In a qualitative coating movement worked flawlessly, but at the slightest defect in the correctness of the few broken, especially when the vertical surface of the dust fell. These violations are compounded by and large load on the teeth of the wheels caused by the design of the double line of descent.

"It is recommended that we cover the Swiss Center of Electronics and micro - says Gygax. - As shown, the silicon wheel well coated worked better than the uncoated and coated with a bad - worse."

Then, Ulysse Nardin decided on an amazing step the company became retire watches with unsatisfactory progress, and replace them with new wheels, more qualitative, and sometimes completely change the trigger.

"When introduced something new, always have to take responsibility: for there is a danger to prevent miscalculation - says Pierre Gygax. - If we do not, hardly anyone else tried to use in the manufacture of silicon watches. Today, the wheels and other parts of the silicon differ stunning accuracy: geometric tolerance from them is one micron, and the tolerance of the holes - two microns. "

Rolf Schnyder: "When we released the Freak watch in 2001, we produced a revolution in three areas: the aesthetic, technical, and material selection in the field."

By creating a watch InnoVision Freak, the main goal that guided the developers, was to bring the work of mechanical watches to the highest degree of perfection. It is no coincidence in the construction of InnoVision Freak is so widely used silicon, which has, among other things, anti-magnetic properties, elasticity and ability to transform into the details of the most complicated form.


  Video  
Ulysse Nardin watches  at BaselWorld 2012 (Basel, March 2012)
Ulysse Nardin watches at BaselWorld 2012 (Basel, March 2012)

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