If there was ever a wristwatch that caused the aficionado (affectionately known as the watch nerd or watch geek) heart palpitations just upon sight, this one is it. It’s not the modern design of the 42 mm stainless steel or white gold case and dial, either. The stab of joy occurs the second you turn the watch over. And what is it we see staring up at us from inside the sapphire crystal? Something most of us would never expect: the largest balance wheel ever seen in a wristwatch, a full 24 mm in diameter – which is as big as an entire standard ETA Calibre 2824. The balance beats as languidly as is mechanically possible at a speed of only one Hertz (7,200 vph). The mesmerized eye easily follows the balance wheel’s fluid motions until it becomes entranced.
Master watchmaker Martin Braun is the creative spirit behind niche brand Antoine Martin. While high frequency seems to be on the mechanical watch industry’s mind as the next possible solution to greater precision, Braun’s timepiece ticks at the lowest frequency possible for a wristwatch – an astonishing world first. He was inspired to invest in this idea a couple of years ago after reading something a futurologist had written about how the world is destined to start slowing down again more or less as a reaction to current first-world living conditions. The Slow Runner was made possible thanks to the Swiss lever escapement Braun had recalculated for use in Antoine Martin’s watches. The geometric changes were made possible by using silicon to manufacture them. The result is stunning on both back and front where the eye is literally drawn to the second hand where – much to our great surprise – we see that it makes two jumps per second as opposed to the fluid motion of mechanical second hands whose movements beat at the more conventional frequency of 4 Hz, or 28,800 vph. ED