Innovative constant force mechanics…with patent-pending ruby chain…
43mm platinum case
In what looks to be a noteworthy advancement of one of the oldest and most traditional constant force mechanisms, independent watchamker Romain Gauthier (more on him below, “Did You Know?”) today unveiled his third and latest creation, the Logical One. In the triple-patent pending Logical One we see that Gauthier has replaced the ‘chain-and-fusee’ with his own ‘ruby chain-and-snail’ constant force system. In addition to replacing the ‘fusee’, the chain in this mechanical system is made of ruby links, which is quite visually appealing. The Logical One also features push button winding and a barrel with sapphire inserts. And yes while this watch is mechanically innovative, you can see that it is also quite beautiful and well finished — Gauthier’s best work yet, in my opinion.
Let’s first take a look at the innovative ‘chain and snail’ system that Gauthier has devised.
‘Ruby Chain and Snail‘ Constant Force Mechanism
This movement was entirely conceived, developed, designed, produced, decorated, assembled and regulated by Manufacture Romain Gauthier. Gauthier is quick to note that while the vast majority of machines run on constant force (cars and planes don’t start running slower as fuel runs low and machines receive the same voltage no matter how much electricity is produced), the power that runs and regulates the vast majority of high precision mechanical timepieces varies greatly according to the state of wind of the mainspring. Of course the concept of “constant force” is no great secret in the watch world, in fact it is a persistent challenge for watchmakers. One must appreciate the gumption of Gauthier for taking take on the challenge of improving the constant force challenge by discarding conventional wisdom.
Appreciate: A ruby chain
To improve on the age-old “chain and fusee” system, Gauthier has replaced the fusee with a slowly rotating snail cam. You can see it situated above at 10 o’clock, just to the left of the hour/minutes dial. As the snail cam and mainspring barrel are on the same level, the force is always transmitted in a straight line and, as only one short line of chain is needed, the links can be bigger and stronger. In short…
Winding and Time Setting
As shown here, the pusher set neatly into the left caseband. Gauthier notes that there aesthetic and engineering advantages in such a system, namely that it is more robust than the traditional crown and stem approach by transmitting force to the barrel on the same plane.
Time is set via the crown (with sapphire cabochon) at 2 o’clock — barely visible in pictures, but see the video.
Mainspring barrel with sapphire lining
Here is another innovation in the watch. You see that within the mainspring barrel Gauthier has placed two sapphire plates, one on either side of the mainspring. These objects are advantaged versus steel (which the mainspring would rub against sans- the sapphire plates) in that they are lower-friction and thus will result in less wear and tear on the barrel over time.
Haute Horlogerie Finishing
As show here, the Logical One is punctuated by a high standard of finishing. On the dial side, you see beautifully shaped gear wheels, frosted bridges and polished screw heads. Notice also the screw has a distinctive S-slot rather than being straight slotted. This also ensures that Gauthier will do your service work (that is, unless you know someone with an S-head screwdriver) 🙂
The back is equally stunning. Note the polished sharp internal bevelled angles in the movement plates and bridges, a hallmark of superlative hand finishing. Machines are not capable of such fine handiwork, believe you me.
As well, notice the double-angle bevels with sharp internal angles, which give the effect of border — exquisite! And also there is a power reserve indicator (60 hours) — too bad he couldn’t get that onto the dial-side!
A nice run through of the watch and its various elements can be seen in this short video:
The Romain Gauthier Logical One is available in red gold or platinum (43mm x 14.2mm case), with a price TBD. Neither model is “limited edition” per se, but rest assured that if you own one of these, you will be in small and exclusive company.
Last thought: While I have found previous models to be somewhat uninspiring in their design (though mechanically interesting), this piece really brings it all together. Nicely done, Mr. Gauthier.
Did You Know?
Romain Gauthier launched his brand in 2006 with the Prestige HM (Hour, Minute”, which featured his own in-house manufacture movement. The HM was/is an elegant hand-guilloched open dial with off-center time indication, but what makes it non-traditional is its apparent lack of a crown. The crown is actually flat and located on the caseback. This feature was carried through to the Prestige HMS (Hour, Minute, Second) which launched in 2012. Manufacture Romain Gauthier has advanced CNC machines and automatic lathes and produces virtually every high-quality component in-house. Learn more at http://www.montres-rg.com