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Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement – some history and facts

crown comfort
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Friends,

 

There has been some recent discussions here in the forum on the Constant Escapement and claims on by whom it was developed as well as speculations that the CE is not going to be further developed.

 


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Let me be clear, I will not participate in any future speculations as the future by nature is not determined and there are always events that can change even the most solid plans. But as far as plans are concerned, GP does plan a future for the CE and there are developments ongoing. Whether we will already see something new at SIHH 2019 is to be seen and back to the “future” discussion.

 

But let’s go back in time.

 

The idea of a Constant Escapement using the inherent tension of a bent sheet/string is the brainchild of Nicolas Déhon. He had that idea when he was working for Rolex and a study was started but was soon stopped. When Nicolas Déhon joined GP he proposed the idea again to Gino Macaluso. Gino saw the potential in the idea and gave Nicolas the go ahead for an R&D project to work on his CE idea. That was around back in the year 2000. It took around 8 years of development for the first ticking prototype in 2008. During that time, Nicolas solely worked on that R&D project.

 

There were a total of 6 patents filed in Switzerland and it is a common rule that a patent bears the name of the inventor (Nicolas Déhon) and the company (Girard-Perregaux).

 

In 2013 production of the first series of the Constant Escapement started. I have personally been to the R&D Labs and witnessed some of the work. Not only required Silicon as a new material (it is now used by a number of Maisons) new machinery and processes, the Constant Escapement also required exclusive development of new tool. For example, traditional watches are regulated with microphones, for the CE this was not working, it required an optical tool to be developed for that.

 

This GP Constant Escapement mechanism is not an evolution/innovation but rather a true invention/revolution that was not attempted before, hence it is a patented invention. It touches and improves the 4 fundamentals of mechanical watchmaking:

  • Source of Energy (Main Barrel/Spring)
  • Transmission of the energy (gear train)
  • The release of the (constant force) energy (Escapement)
  • The regulating device (Balance wheel and spring)

 

I guess the GP Constant Escapement mechanism is at a level of invention as maybe the new Zenith monoblock oscillator, which one you find more visually pleasing and fascinating to watch, I leave up to you. I know which one I would pick.

 

At the end, I do want to come back to the “future” without speculating about it. As of today, Nicolas Déhon is working again on the CE mechanism. There are a number of goals GP wants to achieve and I feel confident that this will bring us new and exciting Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement watches in the future.


Best,


CC

Comments:
traineract November 5th, 2018-05:38
Thanks for sharing When the CE came out, it was really quite an innovation. Really happy to see that
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crown comfort November 5th, 2018-07:29
Thanks. In fact, it is still a unique solution that stands out.  
traineract November 5th, 2018-08:38
Oh yes cc Do you recall during the release of this ce, was silicon already a novel or widely adopted material? I recall the use of silicon that time was quite forefront
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crown comfort November 5th, 2018-13:15
It was still a very new material at that time.  
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KMII November 5th, 2018-05:45
Thanks for sharing the background on the CE, CC! A truly fascinating piece of technology when seen live and I hope it will continue to be developed - such diversity is certainly welcome
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crown comfort November 5th, 2018-07:30
Thanks K, I think this mechanism has a lot of potential and I hope for exciting things to come.  
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amanico November 5th, 2018-06:25
Here is the Rolex idea...  ... 
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crown comfort November 5th, 2018-07:31
Thanks Nicolas for those photos, it clearly shows the original idea and how much effort was between this initial project and the final watch.
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amanico November 5th, 2018-07:50
Indeed. Like you, this is something I am following very closely. With the hope to own one, one day!  
cory November 5th, 2018-08:18
+1  
0-10-10

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Baron - Mr Red
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Identifying future classic Rolex from the 1990-2018 era - Part 6/6: Rolex Submariner 168000

Baron - Mr Red
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The Rolex Submariner 168000 represents a different style of addition to the “future classic” concept. The 168000 is, in fact, essentially identical to the Submariner 16800 that had been produced in very high numbers. The 168000, however, differs in two very specific ways that make it one of the rarest production Submariners ever made. Not “THE” rarest, but certainly one of them.


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