IN THE BALANCE
Tag Heuer debuts its carbon composite hairspring (visible beneath this watch’s neon green tourbillon bridge).
A hairspring needs to be many things: thin, light, stainless, resistant to magnetic ﬁelds and ﬂuctuations in pressure and temperature, and be able to oscillate at the same speed despite all that movement on the wrist. Yes, the literal heart of every mechanical watch is a nightmare to make, which is why any advance in hairspring technology is a big deal. Which brings us to Tag Heuer’s recent contribution to the ﬁeld. The brand’s laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds has produced a hairspring made of carbon composite, a world ﬁrst in watchmaking, and it comes with a whole host of beneﬁts. The lightweight, low-density hairspring is virtually unaffected by gravity and shock, completely anti-magnetic, and offers perfect concentric oscillations that lead to improved precision.
By pairing the hairspring with an aluminium alloy balance wheel, it also achieves optimal thermal behaviour and aeroelasticity. Further inaccuracies have also been eliminated by producing the hairspring with the collet (a small part that attaches the hairspring to the balance wheel axis) already attached. And, while silicon has many of these properties, carbon composite is far less brittle.
The tiny but vital organ debuts in the Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph, a 45mm titanium-cased watch with a carbon composite bezel. The open-worked dial features a hexagon motif, a reference to the hexagonal structure of carbon. Save for the hairspring, the self-winding in-house movement is the same one found in previous Carrera Heuer 02T models, and features a chronograph, tourbillon, frequency of 4Hz and 65 hours of power reserve.
02 FLIGHT PLANS
In a bid to honour the golden age of commercial aviation, Breitling has released a capsule collection centred around its much loved pilot’s watch, the Navitimer 1. There are three references with retro styling, each one dedicated to a legendary airline of the past – Pan Am, Swissair and TWA.
The ﬁrst one to hit the market will be the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Swissair Edition, which will be presented with a black dial, silver subdials and red accents, along with a vintage-inspired black leather strap or stainless steel mesh bracelet. The Pan Am Edition will have a blue dial with red details, while the TWA Edition will sport a creamy dial with orange highlights. All Airline Editions will have the corresponding airline’s logo printed on the clear caseback.
03 BACK TO BLACK
When Chanel unveiled its ﬁrst men’s watch, the Monsieur de Chanel, just three years ago, it was unexpectedly impressive. The Art Decoinspired design was simple yet handsome, classic yet contemporary, and it was powered by an in-house movement that gave it jumping hours, retrograde minutes and three days of power reserve. Now that it has won over more traditional watch connoisseurs, the Monsieur de Chanel is re-emerging this year with a new all-black look. The 42mm ceramic case will no doubt wear well on younger wrists.
04 SHAPE SHIFTER
After leaving Patek Philippe to launch his eponymous brand in 2010, Laurent Ferrier has become known for classic, round dress watches equipped with his famous “natural” escapement and specially designed microrotor. Which is why his 2019 novelty, the Bridge One, is such a surprise. The elongated case was inspired by the Passerelle de l’Ile bridge in Geneva and it is ﬁtted with a brand new shaped movement that uses a traditional lever escapement. The manual-winding LF107.01 runs at a frequency of 3Hz and offers 80 hours of power reserve. The stainless steel watch is available with a grand feu enamel dial with no seconds, or a slate grey dial with an applied “XII” numeral and seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.