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Plenty in reserve

Plenty in reserve

Sunday, 01 May 2016
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Mathilde Binetruy
Freelance journalist

“And yet, it moves.”


From the 1998 World Cup, her first big event, to SIHH and Baselworld today, she reports from where the action is.

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4 min read

Proof that watchmakers aren’t lacking in energy, a succession of record-breaking power reserves has produced movements that will keep ticking for a week or longer on a single wind.

Picture the scene: a group of journalists gathers at the 2016 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva to view the latest from Parmigiani Fleurier. It’s getting on in the afternoon, concentration is beginning to wane when suddenly the brand makes an announcement that snaps everyone to attention. Codename: Senfine, which is Esperanto for eternally. Say again? Senfine. A concept that gives a whole new meaning to power reserve. Traditionally, a movement’s autonomy is measured in hours, sometimes days, possibly weeks for certain extra-long power reserves. With Senfine, it’s a question of months. The result of years of research and development, Senfine is a groundbreaking concept (not to mention a highly effective wake-up call for sleepy journalists). In fact it’s safe to say that power reserve will never be the same again.

Parmigiani Fleurier Senfine Concept Movement
Parmigiani Fleurier Senfine Concept Movement
The working week

The secret of Senfine, which runs off a conventional energy supply, resides in its regulator. Rather than increasing the size and number of barrels, Parmigiani has turned the problem around and focused on energy consumption. The project is still in the development stage, and has a few years to go before it will be fully finalised, but it’s already promising to transform watchmaking with its supersized power reserve. Imagine a watch you can leave on your bedside table, disappear on vacation for a month, and find it still keeping precise time on your return. Pie in the sky? Future fare, more like.

Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari
Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari

The busy boys and girls we are are constantly seeking to take something off our to do list. This includes winding our watch. Fortunately for us, watchmakers are on our side. For example Hublot, which never thinks small, has imagined its MP-05 “LaFerrari” Sapphire, a descendant of the MP-05 “LaFerrari” which the brand launched in 2013. The tourbillon movement driving the MP-05 “LaFerrari” delivers an unprecedented 50 days of power reserve, thanks to 11 barrels stacked vertically along its centre. Suitably inspired, the brand has equipped its sibling, the MP-05 “LaFerrari” Sapphire, with the same attributes inside a stunning three-dimensional sapphire case that reveals the movement from all angles. Contemplative, not to mention futuristic, it makes daily winding a thing of the past.

H. Moser & Cie Venturer Big Date
H. Moser & Cie Venturer Big Date
I've got the power

Others too have succeeded in boosting power reserve beyond the usual 40-hour average. H. Moser & Cie and its Venturer Big Date is a good example. As well as a beautiful fumé dial, it benefits from the manual-winding HMC 100 calibre whose twin barrels provide a seven-day power reserve. Seiko goes one step beyond the wind-free week with the Spring Drive Eight Day Power Reserve, which can count on three barrels.

Panerai Luminor Daylight 8 Days Acciaio
Panerai Luminor Daylight 8 Days Acciaio

True to form, Officine Panerai has reprised one of its historic watches in the Luminor Daylight 8 Days. Its movement has the traditional manual winding and large power reserve of a Panerai calibre, in this instance the P5000 which owes its eight-day autonomy to two series-coupled barrels.

Breitling, meanwhile, makes its point with the limited-edition Superocean Heritage Chronoworks®. Reducing the friction and the inertia of the mobile components while ensuring optimal running of the base movement and the chronograph leads to a significant increase in energy efficiency for Breitling Caliber 01. This in turn makes it possible to use a thinner (and therefore longer) spring, resulting in a 45% gain in power reserve, which goes from 70 to a full 100 hours.

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks

These brands join the numerous others that have worked on ways to give their watches a marathon runner’s endurance by ramping up power reserve: Rebellion’s testosterone-heavy T-1000 Gotham has a whopping 1,000 hours of power reserve. Both the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 31 and the Jacob & Co Quenttin Tourbillon clock up 31 days. Projects such as Senfine are a reminder that watchmakers are determined to keep on running.

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