La-Chaux-de-Fonds watchmaker Girard-Perregaux is distinguished by a pioneering spirit – the manufacture was responsible for defining the general vibrating frequency of all quartz watches (32,768Hz for those who care to know) – and the Constant Force escapement (rated at 3Hz) within this watch is a symbol of the same. To be clear, this has nothing to do with quartz technology and, in fact brings something new to fine watchmaking, which is why it is one of our picks for important watches of 2013.

The idea behind the innovative escapement is to supply a perfectly steady beat for the watch, a sort of eternal quest for watchmakers because even quartz has infinitesimal variations. We see here that the watchmakers have managed to shape this movement with a nod to another famous symbol of Girard-Perregaux, the arrow-shaped bridges (above and top). The escapement uses the single thread-like silicon (silicium) section or blade (see below for the illustration) to generate a constant force. Basically, a micro-impulse is delivered to the blade, which bends and stores the energy until it snaps into a mirror shape. This process goes back and forth, thus generating a constant force between the main springs and the balance. Note also the two wheels above the balance and the silicium blade; these are the escapement wheels (the typical Swiss lever mechanical watch has one escapement wheel) and need only three specially profiled teeth to deliver a frequency of 3Hz to the movement.

The name Constant force is also a reference to one of the brand’s founders, Constant Girard-Perregaux. The Kerring (formerly PPR) firm has chosen to name the watch housing the new calibre MVT-009100-0007 simply enough, which leads us to think this will be the beginning of an entire collection. Girard-Perregaux will want to prove the worth of its escapement with all complications that it produces so there will be plenty to look forward to. For the moment, this Constant Escapement time-only watch with power reserve indication (approximately seven days) is offered in a 48mm white gold case, with black alligator strap.

Girard-Perregaux