MORE IN RESERVE
Setting new standards in power reserve.
WHILE THE MOST
advanced technology may neither halt nor hasten the passage of time, horological innovations have certainly enabled watches to measure it with increasing accuracy and for substantially longer periods. Through a series of five articles, Esquire will uncover technological breakthroughs set to impact the watch market in 2014 and beyond.
Among automatic watches, one significant innovation would be the 80 Hours Power Reserve. With this innovation, a fully wound movement can last 80 hours without further winding by its wearer.
The Swatch Group and LVMH Group have respectively introduced versions of the 80 Hours Power Reserve with the Tissot Powermatic 80 series (incorporating the new ETA CO7.111 movement) in 2013 and the Tag Heuer Carrera CH 80 series in 2014. Present mass market watches (USD5,00010,000) often contain movements from makers such as ETA, Eterna and Selitta, and feature power reserves of 40—60 hours. In the luxury segment, where prices easily exceed USD320,000 for a platinum Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle 14 Day Tourbillon, manufactures like IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Officine Panerai have produced movements running from 168 to 336 hours. While certainly not the movement with the greatest power reserve; that honour goes to Hublot’s MP- 05 LaFerrari wristwatch at 1,200 hours with a USD330,000 price tag, the 80 hours power reserve from the Swatch Group and LVMH Group represents an opportunity for watch lovers to own high quality, enduring instruments at relatively accessible price points of USD850–1550 for Tissot’s Powermatic watches and around USD5,500 for pieces from the Carrera CH 80 series. It is noteworthy that the higher priced Tissot watches are C.O.S.C certified, allowing them to bear the name “chronometer” and thus theoretically belong to the same technical league as watches from Rolex, Omega and Breitling which bear the signature red seal.
From a technical viewpoint, the 80 Hours Power Reserve represents several strides forward. ETA, Swatch Group’s movement production arm, based it’s C07.111 movement on the ETA 2824-2 movement which has a power reserve of about 40 hours. Among many changes, the operating frequency was reduced from 28,800 vph to 21,600vph (vibrations per hour), which maximises the energy from the mainspring. Additionally, a new synthetic material used in making the escapement reduces friction, thus wasting less energy. Furthermore, reducing the diameter of the barrel-arbor’s core (the barrel contains the mainspring) allows for a longer mainspring which yields more energy when coiled. Manufactured in Tag Heur’s new Chevenez facility, from which the movement derives it’s name, CH 80 is based on the Calibre 1969, and beats at 28,800 vph. CH 80 has a unique vertical clutch which ensures a more consistent energy flow by always keeping the gears of the chronograph meshed together, thus minimising energy wastage. These movements are powered from one barrel and thus one spring, which demonstrate superior efficiency over comparable movements.
As the pride of two major watch conglomerates, the 80 Hours Power Reserve will gradually be implemented into brands within their portfolios. Thus far, Swatch has introduced this movement directly into the Certina DS watch while Hamilton has seen a trio of movements likely to be modifications of the ETA CO7.111. No doubt, watch lovers can look forward to a new generation of watches which not only stay true to the heritage of each brand, but are also endowed with greater stamina. The 80 Hours Power Reserve truly keeps up with the times.
HENRY FORD “I see no advantage in these new clocks. They run no faster than the ones made 100 years ago.”–
Right: Hamilton Flintridge.