What you see here is perhaps the most important watchmaking innovation revealed this year. Seriously. And I’m about to tell you why, with plenty of photo and videos to back me up. With an official — though somewhat quiet — debut at Baselworld 2014, Ulysse Nardin’s silicon flying anchor escapement is one of those innovations which could very well change how certain things are done at high-end, cutting-edge horological landscape over the coming years and decades. Though the exact long-term influence will only be determined over time, this kinda reminds me of that time, about 15 years ago, when Ulysse Nardin rolled out a little ‘ole watch called The Freak. The Freak of course showcased — for the first time — a silicon escapement (among other niceties). This seminal launch in 2001 also ushered in the era of silicon components and high-tech materials innovation, which continues apace yet today.
Yea, Rolex’s Syloxi Hairspring is a pretty big deal (quietly announced at Baselworld this year, too), and yes I recently went “In-Depth” on that too, you know– but it was certainly not the first time a silicon hairspring has been used in watchmaking. Come to think of it, that honor also belongs to Ulysse Nardin. But I digress.
From Perpetuelle’s point of view, Ulysse Nardin’s flying silicon anchor escapement carries the gravitas more along the lines of Girard-Perregaux’s revolutionary constant escapement which debuted in 2013. In fact the two share a common principle in that they rely upon the elasticity of precision engineered silicon components. Though still in prototype phase, Ulysse Nardin’s flying anchor escapement has been under development for seven years, and I predict that in due course this new innovation will really start to make waves in how things are done in the high-end watchmaking segment. Follow along as Perpetuelle goes in-depth on this new innovation from Ulysse Nardin.
Girard-Perregaux presents its Sea Hawk dive watch in new hues for 2014. The cobalt blue dial is accented with coral orange hands and coral orange 15-min diver’s scale on the bezel. As a reminder, the Sea Hawk received a major design upgrade in 2012 which brought new life to the iconic diver’s line. Save for the new color-set, this 2014 model carries forward the characteristc design elements including the “honeycomb” textured dial, luminescent three dimensional hour markers, and a sloping outer flange which bridges the dial with the case/bezel. The case remains 44mm x 17.1mm in stainless steel, with 1,000m water resistance rating, helium escape valve, and meeting all of the other ISO 6425 dive watch standards. Offered on blue rubber strap (Ref 49960-19-431-FK4A) and bracelet (Ref 49960-19-431-11A), too.
Though last year’s groundbreaking Constant Escapement set the bar very high, the talented folks at Girard-Perregaux have really outdone themselves this year. At the top of the stack is the new Tri-Axial Tourbillon — a limited edition of only ten pieces, each priced at a cool $501,900. This is a spectacular watch — and a real study in technical watchmaking done right. I’ll break it down for you, below.