In 2016, the top 10 technological breakthroughs in the watch industry were ranked in no particular order.
08 Rolex New Generation 3235 Movement
The 32 series movement represented by 3235 is the latest technological achievement of Rolex, and it is also a replacement for the 31 series movement. The Rolex 32 series movement is currently equipped with the new Day-Date 40 and new DATEJUST watches. Rolex’s 31 series movement, represented by 3135, came out at the end of the 1980s and is the representative of the previous generation Rolex movement technology. In 2016, 3235’s replacement 3235 came out.
Rolex new generation 3235 movement
The Rolex 3235 calibre was optimized by improving its barrel (3135 is the center two-wheel gear train, 3235 is the center four-wheel gear train), improving the escapement to improve the efficiency of the movement and obtained 70 hours of power. The role of the Rolex 3235 is not to reduce the thickness of the barrel-shaped inner wall to accommodate longer barrels, but to reduce the top and bottom covers to accommodate wider springs. By using wider springs, Achieve a longer power reserve. The Rolex 3235 movement uses a new chronergy escapement system. The shape of the escapement fork is different from the traditional Swiss lever escapement. The thickness of the jewel forks is reduced by half. The escapement fork and escapement wheel are etched by LIGA with high shaping accuracy. The escapement surface is smoother than conventional escapements, the escapement wheel is hollowed out, and the weight is reduced, so the efficiency of the escapement system is 15% higher than the traditional Swiss lever escapement.
Rolex new generation 3235 movement
The Rolex 3235 movement continues to use blue Parachrom hairsprings with winding on the ends. Rolex has experimentally found that combining a paramagnetic hairspring with a balance wheel equipped with a flangeless balance shaft can reduce the residual operating magnetic value to approximately one twelfth of the same balance wheel group combined with a Nivarox® balance spring. The optimized design has a residual magnetic value of about one-seventh. Based on this scientific discovery, Rolex designed a new balance shaft. The Rolex 3235 movement no longer uses the pin-type automatic tourbillon of the 3135 movement, and the ball bearing automatic tourbillon is replaced. The 3235 makes up for the regret of the 3135. In terms of watch accuracy, the Rolex 3235 movement continues to maintain Super Observatory certification, with a daily error of + 2 / -2 seconds. What is even more surprising is that Rolex, which has always adhered to the pragmatist route, added a gold sleeve with a jewel bearing to the 32 series movement represented by 3235, which increased the sense of luxury of the movement.
The chronergy escapement used in Rolex’s next-generation 3235 movement.
09 Omega Co-Axial Movement
In 2016, Omega will complicate the Co-Axial movement, adding new functions such as annual calendar, chronograph, and calendar month to the Co-Axial movement, so that all Omega watches have 15,000 Gauss antimagnetic capabilities.
Omega Co-Axial movement, the picture shows the 8400 Co-Axial movement used by the Haima 300.
Prior to the launch of Omega’s Co-Axial movement with a magnetic-proof level of 15,000 Gauss, anti-magnetic protection for watches was achieved by a soft iron inner case wrapped around the movement. With the development of watchmaking technology, Rolex Milgauss once claimed a 1000 Gauss antimagnetic level, in a soft iron inner shell, and using a new non-magnetic Parachrom blue niobium hairspring, which has greatly improved the antimagnetic ability, far more than 1000 Gauss. Some data have inferred that the Rolex MILGAUSS including the soft iron inner shell can actually achieve a magnetic protection level of at least 7000 Gauss. Omega uses a new anti-magnetic concept, instead of using an anti-magnetic soft iron inner shell. Instead, all key parts of the movement are made of non-magnetic materials. The Omega Co-Axial movement uses a non-magnetic Si 14 balance spring, and the balance spring dampers are made of liquid metal. The highly susceptible balance wheel shaft and shaft tip are also made of non-magnetic materials. Omega’s new anti-magnetic concept allows the watch to have a strong anti-magnetic ability, while also using a transparent bottom cover, dial calendar window. The traditional anti-magnetic watch using a soft iron inner case not only cannot penetrate the bottom, the dial cannot be opened, and the pointer shaft must be very thin. The use of non-magnetic materials made of Omega Co-Axial movements has a very high magnetic limit, and the true strength is far more than 15,000 Gauss. According to the experiments of watch enthusiasts, the antimagnetic ability of Omega watches using the Co-Axial movement can even reach 60,000 Gauss to 70,000 Gauss.
Omega Co-Axial Movement
After the chronometer movement used by the Omega watch passes the Swiss Official Observatory (COSC) test, the watch will be placed in a magnetic field and its performance will be tested according to the standards set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. Consumers will receive a certification certificate when purchasing a watch, and can check the performance of the watch in each test through the certification number on the certificate. This certificate is proof that the watch has passed METAS certification.
Omega’s coaxial coaxial anti-magnetic technology, as shown in the figure, the coaxial coaxial anti-magnetic technology does not require an anti-magnetic inner case. The watch can use a transparent bottom cover and a calendar to open the window.
10 Tudor-made MT5601 movement
Royal Capital further expanded the use of the MT5621 / 5601 movement in 2016. We always believe that the movement is the only difference between Rolex and Tudor. Outside the almost identical case and bracelet, Rolex uses its own movement and Tudor uses an outsourced ETA movement. In fact, the news that Tudor has developed its own movement has long been known. As early as 2004, Tudor developed the T8000 movement for women’s watches, the T8050 movement for junior and three watches, and the T8008 movement for junior three watches. However, these three movements have not been put into production, mainly because Tudor believes that the performance indicators of these three movements cannot meet the requirements of Tudor, so it plans to shelve. Tudor finally launched the first self-winding three-needle movement, MT5621. Through several important technical indicators, we can have a general understanding of the performance of MT5621 movement.
Tudor-made MT5621 movement
The size of the Tudor MT5621 movement is very large, reaching 33.8 mm, and the general movement size represented by 2824, 2892 is usually 25.6 mm. In order to directly replace the universal movement, some brands have launched their own production movements that have maintained dimensions of about 26 mm (for example, Cartier’s 1904MC movement is 25.6 mm, Audemars Piguet 3120 movement is 26.6 mm, Vacheron Constantin 2460 movement is 26.2 mm ,and many more). Some of the larger self-produced movements, such as the Glashütte Original 100 movement, measure 31.15 mm. So as an automatic winding movement, MT5621 is definitely a large size. The thickness of the 2824 is 4.6 millimeters. The thickness of the MT5621 movement is 6.5 millimeters, which is much higher than that of the 2824. It is close to the Panerai movement. The large size and thickness provide huge space for the MT5621 movement. The most direct advantage is that it can use a large spring box to accommodate longer and wider springs. The power of the MT5621 can reach 70 hours.
Tudor bronze watch with MT5601 movement
Rolex was among the first watch factories involved in the development of silicon hairsprings, but except for women’s watches, Rolex has never used silicon hairsprings on any of the main male watches, even the latest 3235 movement. As a brand of the Rolex Group, Tudor took the lead in using silicon hairsprings on its main sports watch. MT5621 uses a flat silicon hairspring (a brand like Breguet has used a double-layer silicon hairspring). The advantages of silicon hairspring are self-evident, better anti-magnetic, better isochronous, and easier to produce. Some people believe that Tudor will often take the lead in applying Rolex’s new achievements, new designs, and new attempts. At the point of silicon hairspring, this view is confirmed again.
Tudor MT5601 movement, the main difference between MT5601 and MT5621 is the balance wheel, MT5601 uses a unique new balance wheel (pictured).
Genetic factors play an important role in balances and adjustments. MT5621 uses the same straddle balance wheel splint as Rolex, four arm balance wheel with four fine adjustment screws. These configurations, while showing more technical characteristics, are more helpful for the MT5621 movement to obtain the Observatory certification. MT5621 movement is Tudor’s first movement with astronomical certification (within ± 6 / -4 error per day). It turns out that the MT5621 movement has an error of almost zero every 24 hours. I can’t say that the Rolex Super Observatory standard has been reached, but it is not far away.