Swiss watch maker Breitling unveils the Superocean Héritage Chronoworks® limited series, a high grade sports wrist chronograph equipped with a reworked Breitling Caliber 01 manufacture movement. For this high performance chronograph, the Chronoworks® specialists at Breitling have incorporated five major innovations serving to increase its power reserve from 70 to 100 hours.
As the privileged partner of aviation, a field where security and reliability are of vital importance, the firm constantly strives to improve the quality of its movements. It is in this spirit that the Chronoworks® department was created, driven by a determination to keep moving ahead and pushing boundaries in the service of professionals. Regrouping the finest specialists working in one of the best-equipped labs in the entire watch industry, this cutting-edge unit is dedicated to seeking out innovative solutions that will serve to enhance movement performance and to testing avant-garde concepts suitable for introduction into standard production.
1. Ceramic Base-Plate and Gear-Train Bridges: The first optimization involved the movement chassis (baseplate and gear-train bridges). To reduce friction due to the pivoting of the arbors, these components were made from a high-tech ceramic (hexagonal boron nitride) already used as a solid adjuvant in high-performance engine lubricants, but applied here for the first time to mechanical horology.
2. Silicon Wheels: Contrary to what one might think, a watch movement is actually at a halt 95% of the time and each “restart” results in a certain loss of energy. To counteract this inertia, the caliber has been fitted with three wheels (center wheel, third wheel, fourth wheel) in silicon, a material twice as light as normal and that thus makes it easier to set in motion again.
3. Silicon Escapement: Attention also focused on the “distribution” organ, the escapement – the part of the movement where most of the energy losses take place. The Swiss lever escapement was maintained, but with a wheel and lever made of silicon serving to reduce weight and thus inertia, as well as eliminating the need for pallet jewels – thereby enhancing precision in terms of shapes.
4. Variable-Inertia Balance: Balance-wheel oscillations are generally adjusted by modifying the active length of the balance-spring using pins, an operation that can disturb chronometry (precision timekeeping). The Chronoworks® specialists have opted for a variable-inertia balance adjustable via four tiny gold weights situated around the rim.
5. Elastic Toothing: Another key nerve center in a vertical coupling-clutch chronograph mechanism is this tiny organ responsible for connecting the base movement and the wheel bearing the sweep-seconds hand (chronograph wheel and pinion). This set of one arbor and two wheels (2 mm in diameter) generally displays a certain play that can lead to jerking, that is eliminated by using a “friction spring” – that causes a 15% energy loss.
By reducing the friction and the inertia of mobile components, while ensuring optimal running of the base movement and the chronograph, these five measures jointly led to a significant increase in the energy efficiency of Breitling Caliber 01. This made it possible to equip it with a slimmer – and thus longer – spring, in turn increasing the power reserve from 70 to 100 hours: a 45% gain.
This progress not only provides greater convenience for the user, who can leave his watch off the wrist for four days without then needing to rewind it; it also contributes to improving precision. The higher the power reserve, the less the force of the spring dwindles during the first 24 hours, thereby guaranteeing enhanced regularity of the movement rate.
Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 Chronoworks®, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, self-winding
High-frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour)
100-hour power reserve
1/4th of a second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers
Black ceramic (100-piece limited series)
Water-resistant to 100 m/330 ft
Unidirectional ratcheted rotating bezel
Cambered sapphire crystal, glare-proofed on both sides
Transparent sapphire caseback
Diameter: 46 mm
Rubber Aero Classic
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