MA­TE­RIAL WORLD

Im­proved ma­te­ri­als for next-level watch­mak­ing.

The Peak Selections: Timepieces - - Contents -

GRAPH TPT (RICHARD MILLE) Reg­is­ter­ing less than 40g on the scales, the RM 50-03 McLaren F1 (including its strap) weighs less than 10 pieces of pa­per. One of Richard Mille’s key launches for 2017, the watch is the world’s light­est split-sec­onds tour­bil­lon chrono­graph. It’s a feat made pos­si­ble by the use of a new car­bon com­pos­ite in the watch’s case and strap.

Graph TPT is the lat­est ma­te­rial that’s pro­pri­etary to Richard Mille within the watch­mak­ing in­dus­try, and a fur­ther it­er­a­tion of Car­bon TPT, which is al­ready in use for a few of the brand’s ex­ist­ing watches.

The two ma­te­ri­als’ pro­duc­tion meth­ods are iden­ti­cal – sheets of car­bon fi­bre just mi­crons thick are lay­ered over one an­other, be­fore the en­tire “stack” is im­preg­nated with resin and baked at 120 deg C un­der six bars of pres­sure. The dif­fer­ence lies in the resin used – the one used to pro­duce Graph TPT con­tains graphene, a form of car­bon that’s six times lighter than steel but 200 times stronger than it. The re­sult? A preter­nat­u­rally light ma­te­rial with an ab­nor­mally high strengthto-weight ra­tio. That’s what we call heavy duty. BMG-TECH (PAN­ERAI) The case that you see in Pan­erai’s PAM 692 looks like ti­ta­nium, but isn’t. In­stead, what you’re look­ing at is the first in­stance of BMG-Tech – BMG stands for Bulk Metal­lic Glass – in watch­mak­ing. This ma­te­rial is an al­loy of five met­als that have been cooled rapidly to pre­vent a crys­talline struc­ture from form­ing. In­stead, the “chaotic” ar­range­ment of atoms lends BMG-Tech great strength; ac­cord­ing to Pan­erai, this ma­te­rial is lighter than steel, yet twice as strong as ti­ta­nium. PE5000 (H. MOSER) H. Moser & Cie’s new hair­spring ma­te­rial PE5000 was con­ceived with shock re­sis­tance and anti-mag­netism in mind. The ma­te­rial to beat for such prop­er­ties is cur­rently sil­i­con, which comes in wafers from which com­plete hair­springs are etched out. A draw­back of sil­i­con hair­springs is that they sub­se­quently can­not be ad­justed. In con­trast, PE5000 – an al­loy of nio­bium and ti­ta­nium – be­haves like a reg­u­lar metal­lic al­loy, and its hair­springs are thus pro­duced and ad­justed like tra­di­tional hair­springs, lend­ing greater flex­i­bil­ity in pro­duc­tion.

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03 01 Graph TPT is used in the case and strap of the RM 50-03 McLaren F1. 02, 03 Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester, who first iso­lated graphene in 2004.

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