Clock hands are rigid by nature and describe a perfect circle. And so the first fake watches were naturally round and the vast majority of them still are today. However, there is another shape, similar to the circle but more elegant and perhaps with a touch more delicate: the oval. But how can a circle be set to an oval? How can you make the hands rotate exactly in the oval shape? It is not an easy task. But Breguet has found a beautiful and innovative answer. Heart shaped.
Technological innovation is not always visible to the person wearing the watch. It is often hidden within complex mechanisms, in alloys or by transforming production methods. But in the case of the variable length hand of the Breguet Reine de Naples Coeur 9825, it is there before our eyes, elegant and surprising.
Undoubtedly, the oval shape has always been a minority choice due to the geometric impossibility of getting the minute hand to follow the contours of the case.
To achieve this, the key is obviously in extendable hands capable of varying their length to adapt their course to the ovoid shape of the watch.
The solutions exist. We know rare examples such as the Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Pantographe, a solution inspired by the oval pocket watches of Vardon and Stedmann and restored at the brand. Its extendable hands are based on the pantograph principle: two parallelogram-shaped telescopic structures that, as they move, follow the elliptical shape of the dial. The architecture is a delicate display of mechanics inspired by the work of a certain Mr. Eiffel.
The solution developed by Breguet for its beautiful oval-shaped Reine de Naples is totally different. Its extensibility is a matter of flexibility fake watches and elasticity, rather than the articulation of rigid parts.
Undoubtedly, the oval shape has always been a minority choice due to the geometric impossibility of getting the minute hand to follow the contours of the case. But the solutions exist.
The queen’s heart
Apart from the scientific and technical aspects of the Queen of Naples minute hand, you cannot help but marvel at the beauty and sophistication that this flexible appendage imparts to the oval clock. When Breguet created this watch, it was inspired
by the first wristwatch designed to be worn: the wrist of the Queen of Naples. Showing the passing of the minutes by means of a little heart that swells and contracts is a beautiful, poetic achievement, as well as a horological feat.
But behind the heart there is a whole team of “surgeons” who have combined concepts, calculations, materials research, tests and prototypes to allow the minute hand to breathe while accurately tracing the oval shape of the watch.
Behind the theory we find the famous bending bearings (theorized in 2001 by Simon Henein, among others, who today runs the Instant-Lab at EPFL), whose development has given rise to numerous recent innovations, especially in clock regulation. These flex bearings have added a whole new field to watchmaking mechanics.
Applied here to a needle of variable length, they provide an aesthetic and visible solution to a technical problem.
Breguet uses the LIGA process for the needles, a stable and durable material, nickel-phosphorus alloy, chosen for its flexibility and high elastic limit. It is made up of a heart-shaped tip attached to two blades, each of which has a flexible section, a rigid section, luxury replica watches and an hour wheel. The entire needle is extremely fine, the flexible parts no thicker than half a hair.
To connect the hands to the movement, the two hour wheels are on the same axis, one above the other, driven by two pinions of the coaxial barrel. The needle does not turn. It “simply” changes shape and length as the two arms rotate in identical ways, but in opposite directions. This causes the needle to expand from a minimum length of 7.7mm to a maximum length of 16.8mm. This variable needle principle is now protected by a patent.
The needle is made up of a heart-shaped tip attached to two blades, each of which has a flexible section, a rigid section, fake watches cheap and an hour wheel.
Setting the needle in motion
So the needle is flexible, but now you have to set it in motion. And that’s where the more complex research comes in. In order for the needle to advance and change shape and length, each arm must be able to move separately. The movement of the watch, through the pinion of the barrel, drives the activation system of the hand by rotating it through a defined angle. The additional plate mechanism converts the entry angle into one rotation by the right arm hour wheel and another rotation by the left arm hour wheel.
We’ll save you the complex calculations required to display the time accurately. They depend both on the deformation properties of the pointer and on the desired length variation,
which depends on the curve of the ovoid contours of the dial. In addition to calculating this equation, you must also evaluate the non-constant rotational speed of the hour wheels.
The activation mechanism
Breguet’s engineers and watchmakers studied various possible types of trigger mechanisms for the hand. One avenue of research that they pursued up to the working
and tested prototype stage was a non-circular dual gear train.
But although this prototype met the specifications,
offering a simple, robust and precise method of operation, the idea (for which a patent is pending)
was shelved due to the intrinsic limitations of non-circular gears: a “modulation of displacements”. Needle arm angles ”subjected to too abrupt variations would require gears whose “non-circularity” would be too extreme.
Another problem was that the architecture of such a non-circular gear train would not be easy to modify or adapt. To drive it, “Breguet placed the system on a rotating support, of which the barrel pinion was an integral part” (Editor’s note:
this is the pinion that controls the workings of the movement). At each rotation, this support drives two pinions of the barrel that are a fixed part of the two arms of the pointer. They interact with a satellite that carries a sensor. This sensor interacts with the cam, the only fixed element of the set.
The needle does not turn. It “simply” changes shape and length as the two arms rotate in identical ways, but in opposite directions. This causes the needle to expand from a minimum length of 7.7mm to a maximum length of 16.8mm.
It would take too long here to explain in detail the precise operation of the mechanism,
which has to juggle the respective angles of the two arms of the variable-length flexible needle,
calculations of the angle of rotation, the pivot of the satellite, fake watches and interactions with the cam. The needle is permanently under tension and holds the sensor against the cam.
Simple and robust, composed of few parts, allowing design modifications through simple changes in the geometry of the cam,
fake watches and “relatively easy” to assemble, this system passed all the homologation tests for its final approval. There are two patents pending for it. For the investigation, Breguet fake worked with Nivarox, Asulab and ETA, all companies of the Swatch Group.
But ultimately, it is the delicate grace of this unique needle that arouses admiration and even emotion. Which shows that technological innovation can also produce poetry.