It’s a surprisingly rare treat to see inside a very expensive and very unique timepiece. Although the video below is a render, it shows almost every important part of this wild watch including something called the chain-and-fusee, a method used for centuries to improve the accuracy of watches by ensuring constant force is applied to the balance wheel over time.
The watch will be shown at Basel, the annual, 10-day marathon watch show in Switzerland. I’ll be bringing a few of the most interesting pieces to your attention.
Before we get into the science of this thing, just understand that the chain you see is handmade and assembled and each link is made of sapphire to (ostensibly) reduce fiction. It’s a fairly basic watch – it has a power reserve function and just tells the time – but the engineering is what’s most important. Expect it to sell for over $100,000 (although I could see this selling for a bit under the $100K mark).
Now for the watch nerdery. The fussee is a spindle attached to a chain that winds the mainspring barrel. The fussee allows the proper amount of force to be meted out to the “transmission” over time because as a spring uncoils it loses a bit of its power. This system, created by Breguet in the late 1700s, has been in use since then.
This new fusee uses a snail cam that unwinds as evenly as the spindle but allows for a thicker, more robust chain and smoother motion. It’s a very minor change but it’s the first time I’ve seen this sort of cam in a fussee watch.
Arguably this is not a cure for cancer or a moonshot, but R. Gauthier is a perfect example of a hardware startup that works in a very rarified sphere. Building a mar rover is cool, but redesigning something that has existed for 300 years is arguably just a tich cooler. At this price, however, you can either feed your family for most of a decade or visit the website for purchasing information.