Friday, March 15, 2013

The Slow Runner from ANTOINE MARTIN

This just in from ANTOINE MARTIN - 
With the idea of "slowing down time", Antoine Martin has created a sensational counterpoint in mechanical watchmaking. Contrary to the underlying trend towards small, rapidly oscillating balances, the forward-looking watchmaking company on Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland has made an unequivocal commitment to large dimensions, poise and longevity. The balance of the new 36.001 calibre beats with an unbelievably leisurely frequency of 7200 beats per hour, or just one hertz. This is not even half as fast as the slowest-running designs currently available in the modern watchmaking industry.


Martin Braun has very clear ideas. Partner and head watchmaker at Antoine Martin, he is firmly convinced that fast-beating movements and small balances should not be the aim of mechanical timekeeping. When it comes to frequency and miniaturization, quartz incontestably leads the field.

Mechanical watchmaking has a higher purpose. And that is decidedly not to step up the pace of the already hectic times we live in. Mechanics should be all about slowing down the passage of time. Its job is to return time to a rhythm with which both Nature and human beings can feel at one. In much the same way that the slow food movement has established itself as an antithesis to fast food, genuine mechanics represents a clear counterpoint to the hectic pace and sensory overload typical of our age. In a watch, it is not speed that counts so much as the way we experience the phenomenon of time. The quality of life is not about having more, but the right quantity. And life's one true luxury is time itself.

Bruno Jufer, CEO of the brand explains: “The new Slow Runner Collection from Antoine Martin evokes precisely this sensation of time. It takes mechanical watch lovers back to essentials. Permanently. The rhythm of 7200 beats per hour gives the wearer a completely different experience of time. The Slow Runner is an invitation to take life a little easier. The seconds hand advances at the rate of exactly twice per second. And it does so with utmost precision.”

Never has the experience of time been quite so authentic as with the Antoine Martin Slow Runner.

This quantum leap towards a slower, more measured pace is not some trick effect achieved using an additional gear train, as in conventional one-hertz watches. On the contrary: it is the theoretical outcome of a thorough analysis involving material and frictional characteristics and mathematics. On the practical side, there was the experience gained from the existing silicium escapement (HPE), which had proved its worth and was designed in-house by Antoine Martin. Martin Braun recognized the possibilities for mechanical applications that were opened up by new materials like silicium. The silicium escapement comes with a silicium balance spring that is much more stable than a classic steel spring. At the same time, a balance with a 24-millimetre diameter builds up so much kinetic energy that small impacts or sudden, extreme movements no longer have any influence on it.

When developing the new movement, Antoine Martin did not rely solely on the new high-tech material, silicium, or the unusual dimensions. By making a number of selective design modifications, Antoine Martin's team of engineers significantly improved the movement's isochronism (evenness of the rate). Further technical details:
• the balance wheel has two weighted screws to aid adjustment (in place of the usual index or arrow)

• the extreme precision involved in production of the silicium balance spring meant that both the position of the stud and the “knee” in the spring could be optimized.

• the balance rim of Grade 3 titanium oscillates on a balance bridge with an additional shock absorption system and six cabochon jewels.

The result is a perfectly stable rate combined with maximum run time and efficiency.

The company's wish to establish a connection between traditional and modern watchmaking prompted it to develop rarely used wolf (or helical) tooth gearing for the winding train. Naturally, the AM36.001 movement integrates all the features that have proved themselves in previous movements made by the company as well as the perpetual calendar and the tourbillon. These include parallel-adjustable banking pins, toothing developed in-house with chamfered gears and sinks, and tempered steel threaded bushes. All in all: a compelling statement of belief in the concept of authentic time.

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