Plaza Watch International - - Baselworld Roundup -

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

Slow Run­ner

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