Contrary to the underlying trend towards small, rapidly oscillating balances, the innovative watch manufacturer Antoine Martin has accomplished a revolutionary reduction in balance frequency with the new Slow Runner, the first and only wristwatch in the world to operate at 7200 beats per hour, or just one hertz, with all the qualities of a fine precision timepiece. This is not even half as fast as the slowest-running designs currently available in the modern watchmaking industry.
The balance of the Slow Runner - that will be formally unveiled during BaselWorld 2013 - measures an incredible 24 millimetres in diameter.
Observing it through the back case sapphire crystal is simply tantalising. We find this watch extremely interesting. Watch the video below to have a better idea of how it looks.
The philosophy of Martin Braun, the master watchmaker of Antoine Martin, is that fast beating movements and small balances should not be the aim of mechanical timekeeping. Mechanical watchmaking has a higher purpose. And that is decidedly not to step up the pace of the already hectic times we live in. Mechanics should be all about slowing down the passage of time. Bruno Jufer, CEO of the brand explains that the new Slow Runner takes mechanical watch lovers back to essential giving the wearer a completely different experience of time.
This resulting slower, more measured pace is not achieved using an additional gear train, as in conventional one-hertz watches. The experience gained from the existing silicium escapement (HPE), which had proved its worth and was designed in-house by Antoine Martin, proved to be essential to come to this result. In fact, Martin Braun recognised the possibilities for mechanical applications that were opened up by new materials like silicium.
The silicium escapement comes with a silicium balance spring that is much more stable than a classic steel spring. At the same time, a balance with a 24-millimetre diameter builds up so much kinetic energy that small impacts or sudden, extreme movements no longer have any influence on it. When developing the new movement, Antoine Martin did not rely solely on the new high-tech material, silicium, or the unusual dimensions. By making a number of selective design modifications, Antoine Martin's team of engineers significantly improved the movement's isochronism (evenness of the rate). The balance rim of Grade 3 titanium oscillates on a balance bridge with an additional shock absorption system and six cabochon jewels.
The Slow Runner Collection comprises three different models, all in a 42 mm case: the reference SR01.110.1 in stainless steel with silver dial, the reference SR01.100.1 in stainless steel with dark dial and the SR01.710.1 in rose gold.
The hand-wound movement has 92-hour power reserve with display on the main dial. The Slow Runner is water resistant to 50 metres.