Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Look at Omega's Silicon Balance spring

My fascination with watches extends far beyond the aesthetic "wow" factor, but penetrates deep into the bowels of the movement.  Every component is an entire system unto itself, crafted to its own unique perfection, receiving feedback and giving feedback in a complex transfer and stabilization of energy.  A timepiece is better than the sum of its parts providing extreme, efficiency, competency and accuracy in time display; however, as the saying goes: " A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."
A watch with a weakness in any  component will confound the movement, thus the quest for optimum materials for watch components  is one of the branches of research at the forefront of watch innovations. 
Omega has used its technology to develop a unique material for its balance spring: Silicon.
  A balance spring is one of the most important components for the accuracy of a time piece.  The Balance Spring , for example the  flat spiral or Bregeuet over-coil (extremely visible and elevated in MB&F Legacy Machine No.1 Watch-see inset),  is attached to the balance wheel and controls the rate at which the wheels turn, effecting the rate at which the hands on the dial turn. On the balance spring, a regulator adjusts and regulates the speed maintaining time tracking precision.
  The Balance Spring is extremely sensitive to shocks (fast jagged motions and abrupt stops-such as during a game of tennis or if inadvertently dropped) as well as to magnetic fields.  If the balance spring is exposed to these factors, it may sustain damage or displacement causing the efficiency of the timepiece to dramatically decrease.
Since the balance spring is critical for precision, much attention has focused on increasing the resilience of this component.
Omega has increased the Balance Spring's shock absorbency and stability as well as eradicating the effects of any magnetic field by crafting the Balance Spring in silicon.   See video below

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