Not too long ago, H. Moser & Cie and Precision Engineering AG participated in a simulated spaceship environment via a parabolic flight. While being weightless inside a spacecraft in Switzerland, H. Moser & Cie CEO, Edouard Meylan and his colleagues in watchmaking R&D tested watch movements and escapements. According to H. Moser & Cie, the experiments were to learn more about how Earth’s gravity influences the operation of a mechanical watch (and its effects on parts such as the hairspring, balance wheel, etc.).
“Our aim is to compare various escapement configurations previously modeled on computers in an environment with limited mechanical constraints. This can only be achieved in a state of weightlessness,” says Meylan. Using instruments adapted by Witschi Electronics AG to perform tests in extreme conditions, Meylan and an engineer from Witschi Electronics, measured the rate and amplitude achieved with various components and materials, including steel, nickel and ruby, paramagnetic materials and the like. Engineers from Precision Engineering also conducted optical tests with the components, with special emphasis on regulating organs. Precision Engineering produces alloys and creates 50,000 self-compensating hairsprings and regulating organs annually.
“The tests that we have conducted in zero gravity enable us to determine the real effect of gravity on escapement components by carrying out comparative measurements under different conditions: zero gravity, normal terrestrial gravity and even hyper-gravity during the flight acceleration phases,” Dominique Lauper, CEO of Precision Engineering.
So, other than having fun floating in outer space-like conditions, just how successful was the research? According to Meylan – good enough to create some new developments and file patents. “The tests performed will enable us to improve the stability and quality of our chronometric performance and the isochronism of our timepieces. We have also been able to confirm new research directions, and we will capitalize on this by filing patents.”
In keeping with the pioneering spirit of space-like research, H. Moser & Cie also reinvents a sporty aesthetic for the brand and unveils the new Pioneer Centre Seconds watch – the first watch in the new collection called Pioneer. A distinctly sporty watch that represents a departure from the brand’s classic elegance (yet retains many of the same aesthetic codes), the new timepiece is crafted in titanium and 18-karat rose gold and is paired with a rubber strap. Water resistant to 120 meters, the 42.8mm watch is offered in different colors and finishes: Argente, fume’, red-gold fume’ and ardoise fume’ dials; black or titanium and rose gold cases.
The watch hands and markers are offered in SuperLuminova to further underscore the sporty nature of the timepiece. The new automatic movement powering the watch features a patented automatic bi-directional pawl winding system that ensures a more direct transmission of energy and therefore, enhanced performance. The HMC 230 caliber is traditionally finished in true H. Moser & Cie. Style. The watch features a hacking seconds and three days of power reserve. It retails for $22,900.