The Dualwing concept was invented with having the precision in mind. But how does building a second mechanism inside one caliber can help in bringing both accuracy and energy to a watch?!
As we saw in our last article about the chronograph mechanisms, watchmakers need power to supply complications. Therefore we can sometimes see several barrel spring inside one watch to store as much energy as possible. Other watchmakers have imagined that we could literally add a second movement inside a watch!
Using the mainspring to both supply the hours/minutes and complications can indeed affect the watch’s precision. Moreover, starting a chronograph function when the power reserve is low could stop the function while working. And eventually damage the entire mechanism.
You’ll tell me that protections have been invented, true. But some watchmakers have also invented a brand new way of building a caliber. So far we know two great examples: the Dualwing concept from Jaeger-LeCoultre found in their Duomètre collection and the new caliber from Breguet. Let’s see how they work and why it is really interesting from a mechanical point of view.
The basic idea of both concepts is pretty simple : let one mechanism in charge of supplying the hour functions (hours and minutes hands) and another one dedicated to the complications.
The Dualwing concept:
The basic idea here has been to create a watch with one heart and two brains. The two mechanisms use the same regulating organ but have their own source of energy : two mainsprings (yeah, Dualwing makes sense now!) each one powering a different part of the movement. Technically, watchmakers have put two pallets on the balance spring to provide the two mechanisms the same right accuracy.
Jaeger-LeCoultre first introduced this innovation in 2007 with the Duomètre collection. The first model was featuring a chronograph complication. Thanks to its own mechanism, they were able to create an amazing chronograph, measuring 1/6th of a second. The chronograph mechanism provides a full 50 hours of power reserve. Pretty cool, right ?
Those watches use one unique crown winding either one barrel or the other depending on the winding direction.
The calibre 580DR from Breguet:
Breguet’s watchmakers have decided to go even further by building two fully independent mechanisms! They have indeed both their own energy and accuracy! We can say that two calibers live inside the same watch. They’ve built the calibre this way to be able to provide a high frequency to the chronograph function and a lower classic one for the hour/minute function, respectively 5hertz (36’000 vph) and 3hertz (21’600 vph).
However, the 5hertz balance spring is only activated when you start the chronograph. This chronograph can actually run up only 20 minutes before its power reserve is empty as it is not using a traditional main pring but a flex blade ring. This one is not wind up through a crown but actually by pressing on the chrono reset function. This is totally new and amazing !
This caliber has been introduced at Baselworld 2015 and is featured in the Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077. Here is a great video from Breguet :
Those concepts are pushing the limits of horology even further and answer the need for more accurate watches. BTW, you should regularly chek your watch accuracy here to ensure they still work properly 😉
One last thing: Do you know which Duomètre is the most complicated one?!
-> It’s the Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie which features 27 complications!
See you soon for a next article to share our love for mechanical watches !