Today we report about the impending debut of a new sophisticated balance spring – a component which is an essential part of virtually all mechanical watch movements. Many players in today’s watch industry continue to push the boundaries of what was once thought achievable in mechanical watch movement accuracy, reliability, durability, and of course, complexity.
Balance springs are arguably the most challenging component to produce in mechanical watch movements. The problem is both in producing them in large volumes to begin with as well as producing them in such volumes with consistent properties. Balance springs lie at the heart of what creates reliable accuracy in mechanical watch movements, and it likely goes without saying that anything which affects their operation also negatively affects a timepiece’s ability to be accurate. Without sophisticated balance spring production technology the wrist watch industry would not be able to rely on having as many interchangeable parts.
Quartz watch movements entirely do away with traditional regulation balance wheel and balance spring-based regulation systems opting instead for a system which operates on a much more microscopic scale, powered by electricity. Mechanical watches are powered by a mainspring, but it is the balance spring which is the most sensitive component in terms design, production, and assembly. Swiss Made new sophisticated alloy balance springs promise improved resistance to the elements (namely magnetism) as compared to previous metal alloys used for their balance spring production. This should give movements equipped with new sophisticated balance springs and the watches which contain them more technical and perceived value. It could also be a strong reason for consumers to purchase new watches given the existence of novel and ideally compelling technology.
Today clear statements are made by many brands that their new watches would feature enhanced magnetic resistance, including movements with more antimagnetic parts. Some brands have long since been a champion of antimagnetic watches with milli-gauss properties, and more recently brands have been leading the watch world in antimagnetism especially with a certification program that includes testing completed watches for magnetic resistance. Thus, the new sophisticated alloy and the balance springs that will be produced as a result of it entirely fit into a larger strategy pushed by the traditional watch industry to focus on magnetic-resistance in as many of their new watches as possible.
Magnetism hurts mechanical watch movements with ferrous metal parts which are affected by magnetic fields. Being exposed to even a slight magnetic field can magnetize parts of a watch movement (notably the balance spring) and dramatically affect its accuracy for the worse. Exposure to a magnetic field can entirely stop a watch movement’s operation, and it can have long-term negative effects on a watch movement. The good news is that demagnetizing a watch movement is a relatively simple task – though most consumers lack such tools. Repairing magnetized watches requires lots of overall time for watch repair technicians and watch brands would likely prefer those people to be working on more pressing matters related to production. It thus makes economic sense for the watch industry to use technology that reduces a large number of customer service issues. The consumer clearly happens to benefit as a result.
Source: A Blog To Watch