It has taken ten years from idea to system, it has involved some of the best minds in the field of technology and of watchmaking – and, it is the realization of a dream for one very inventive individual. Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and CSEM have launched the prototype of a mechanical watch escapement which promises a one month long power reserve.
Genequand Escapement – Official Video Introduction
Réserve d’un Mois
Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier is a renowned supplier of high-end watch movements, Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique or CSEM have made watchmaking headlines before. When two such companies combine their talents you would expect the outcome to be brilliant, yet the original concept for this ground-breaking movement was Pierre Genequand, an ex-employee of CSEM who on his retirement in 2002 refused to give up on his ambitions of developing a watch and instead went straight to work on his project.
When it comes to innovations in watchmaking escapements, flexibility is the key to longevity and precision. Using the experiences gained from his years as a senior expert in CSEM’s Advanced Mechanisms department, M. Genequand realised that the advancements in Flextech technologies developed for use in fibre-optic guidance and aerospace engineering could be put to good use in watchmaking.
The major benefit of his escapement concept would be reduced energy consumption and therefore a longer power reserve. He proposed that this could be achieved by using flexible structures in the construction of escapement and the oscillator – the parts which would be most affected by friction. His “Genequand System” would run smoother and use less energy thus enabling a longer reserve of power and it would run without the use of lubricants and with minimum wear and tear.
Pierre Genequand – A Man And His Vision
When he was satisfied with his first prototype, a 20:1 scale model, he presented it to a CSEM delegation who took it on. Shrinking the invention proved challenging, but by 2005, the technical team at CSEM had reduced it to a 5:1 scale. Two years later, Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier signed an agreement so that a watch movement could be developed to integrate the new escapement system. High-tech materials formed the basis of the development, the mechanical properties of silicon combined with the frictionless pivots mounted on flexible articulations used in the escapement and the oscillator ensured that this innovative system would work within the confines of a watchcase. Prototypes are now scaled at the size of a watch case, the first movement is planned within a three year timescale.
Naturally Parmigiani Fleurier, sister company of Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier within the Sandoz ecosystem will be first to incorporate the new technology, for an exclusive period, after which the system which will enable a power reserve of 30+ days will be made available to VMF’s other clients.
Images © Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier