During its 150 years at the forefront of the Swiss avant-garde, TAG Heuer has written some of the most important chapters in the history of mechanical watchmaking — from the oscillating pinion patented in 1887 to the awesome 1/100th-of-a-second precision of the Calibre 360 chronograph in 2005.
TAG Heuer does not innovate for innovation’s sake. The brand’s passion for the avant-garde is an essential element of its DNA and history, and the driving force of its R&D strategy. And now, to mark its 150th anniversary, TAG Heuer proudly introduces the TAG Heuer Pendulum Concept, the first-ever mechanical movement without hairspring.
Since the creation of the Galileo-inspired hairspring by Christiaan Huygens in 1675, a mechanical watch movement involves four basic operations: energy is generated, stored, transmitted and regulated. For centuries, these constants of mechanical watchmaking have been performed by three complementary blocks: a power storage system with cylindrical barrel, a transmission system with pinions and gears, and a regulation system with balance wheel, spiral hairspring and escapement.
With the challenge of temperature diminished by Guillaume’s alloys, the spiral hairspring regulation system came to dominate mechanical movement design. However, the mechanical hairspring has three serious design limitations: a mass that makes it sensitive to gravity and deforms its geometry; a material that makes it sensitive to thermal expansion; and a divergence between its geometric centre and its centre of mass. These may cause isochronal issues that can be technically and physically improved but never completely eliminated.
But let’s return to the new TAG Heuer’s concept. In the TAG Heuer Pendulum Concept, the traditional hairspring is replaced by an “invisible” or virtual spring derived from magnets. The complete device forms a harmonic oscillator. The magnetic field, generated by means of 4 high-performance magnets and controlled in 3D through complex geometric calculations, provides the linear restoring torque necessary for the alternative oscillations of the balance wheel.
The oscillating period of the TAG Heuer Pendulum Concept is resistant to changes from perturbing forces, which is what makes it an exceptionally good timekeeping device. The movement built with this revolutionary oscillator is fully mechanical and does not contain any electronics or driven actuators. The magnets generate a constant field over decades.
The TAG Heuer Pendulum Concept beats at 43,200/hour (6 Hertz) — making it a superlative representative of TAG Heuer’s unique mastery of high frequencies and ultimate precision.
It’s not clear how much the Tag Heuer Pendulum concept watch is expected to cost, and when exactly it would be available, but you could always wait for the company to launch it in the market or you could keep visiting their official website as well. [TagHeuer via EliteChoice and Watch-Happening]