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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Romain Gautier Logical 1

I featured the abstract art of the Romain Gautier Logical 1 last week, today, I show the whole watch, and some of the interesting stuff which goes on beyond what the naked eye can normally see.

First, an establishment shot of the rather handsome, if not a bit unusual, guts hanging out shot. Do note that this is a prototype watch, having travelled the world and being shown and handled by countless people.

The problem Romain set out to try and solve is to even out the torque from the mainspring to the gear train, to provide a constant torque environment which will lead to better timekeeping.

Small thoughts like the shape of the screwdriver slot is also stylised for the custom look.

He studied many historical solutions, and was drawn to the fusee and chain, as executed by Lange in their Pour le Merite series, and the Breguet La Tradition. However, was frustrated because the fusee has a stack height, and requires the chain to traverse up the conical structure.
Causing a chain line which is always have some lateral tension on the chain. This requires the chain to have some freedom to move, but yet without play...the French term Libre san jeux...free but without play. Lange solved this problem by assembling the links with a thin silk paper sandwiched in between the links, and burning the silk after assembly. But still the there is some tension as the chain line is not perfect except for one position. This line of thought is not unlike a bicycle chain line on a derailleur multi gear bicycle compared to a single speed or fixie.

Romain's solution was to flatten the fusee, like the fixie gear. One snail, describing the mainspring discharge torque, on one plane. The result is a chain which can be built without regard for libre san jeux. And what a beautiful chain. The upper and bottom plates are in steel, but the interconnection is made using traditional style watchmaking jewels, which are free to turn on its pivot.

Beautiful. Elegant solution. The smoothness of power delivery is further ensured by using sapphire glass plates in the mainspring barrel, so that the spring, as it slides across the barrel experiences little friction.

The watch is finished very nicely, with all the ts crossed and is dotted. Well done Romain. Note also the interesting winding method...by pressing a button at 9 o'clock instead of winding the crown. Some 40 pushes are needed to completely wind the mainspring to provide 80hours autonomy.

Click on image above for 1920 wide full screen wallpaper.

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