Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SOLD OUT: The Watch That Costs as Much as a Maserati

Switzerland exported 28.1 million watches in 2013... at an average price of $830, according to The Economist.

Girard-Perregaux, a watchmaker working with the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology,
has created “constant escapement” that uses a strip of silicon 14 microns wide anchored at both ends and in its centre, reports E..

The Economist goes on:
When compressed from each end it causes each half of the strip to “buckle”, the left half in one direction, the right half in the other direction. When a force is applied to the buckle on one half of the strip—via one of two escapement wheels that draw power from the mainspring—it instantly snaps to being buckled in the other direction. Because of how silicon buckles, this delivers a precise, unvarying pulse of energy to the balance-wheel. The same then happens to the other half’s buckle, and so on, back and forth, tick by tock. The mechanism loses so little energy that the watch will run for a week without winding.
True, at $123,500 it costs about the same as a decent Maserati—and all have been pre-sold. But as with Breguet’s magnetic pivot and other innovations likely to emerge from the Swiss watchmakers, expect prices of such mechanical marvels to start ticking down.

Constant Escapement is now integrated into the movements driving the new models of Girard-Perregaux's Haute Horlogerie collection.


  1. Awesome post RW!

    Gotta love the movement, engineering, & machining involved, even if an electronic atomic watch outperforms it functionally for only $35.

  2. "...the watch will run for a week without winding."

    How long will it run if you do wind it?

  3. It's great to see the free market develop this type of technology as I'm sure there are countless applications in microrobotics, medicine, and other fields. Imagine a tiny robot sweeper that cleans up your arteries after a lifetime of pounding Big Macs! Of course, I can just imagine the Liz Warren types saying how a $125k watch shows how our "low" taxes let the rich waste their money on trivial luxuries - money that she thinks would be better spent in her hands.

  4. "True, at $123,500 it costs about the same as a decent Maserati—and all have been pre-sold."

    There's no such thing as a "decent Maserati".

  5. As a watch enthusiast I'm terribly unimpressed. (Really, I'm paying $123K for a functional dial that is about 1/4th of the face and is unreadable?)

    But the comments from y'all are awesome.

  6. My $25 Timex Ironman Triathlon will run 5 years without winding.

    What a waste of money. If you want to waste that much money, just GIVE the money to someone who NEEDS IT and watch the smile on their face. World of idiots!!!!!