Swatch Group And Audemars Piguet Develop A Breakthrough HairspringWritten by Melissa Kong
No, it’s not silicon.
Just when we thought the Swatch Group couldn’t surprise us more (what could be more startling than their shock exit from Baselworld?), they go ahead and delight the watchmaking world with a brand-new invention, developed in collaboration with Audemars Piguet—Nivachron.
For use in the hairspring, Nivachron is a non-magnetic compensating alloy made with a titanium base (which already tells you it’s super light) and offers a significant reduction in the residual effect of magnetic field on a movement. Developed to optimise anti-magnetism of the watch calibre, Nivachron is also impervious to temperature fluctuations, meaning the watches it’s used in will be able to function well in any weather conditions.
But what about the industry’s darling, silicon? While it also boasts anti-magnetic properties and doesn't need lubrication, not to mention being light, and unaffected by extreme temperatures, some watchmakers we spoke to did not like how brittle the material is, making assembling and servicing a very fragile affair. The metal-based Nivachron looks to address those issues.
This development couldn’t have happened at a better time, especially when questions have been raised for a while about whether the industry had stopped innovating (vintage reissues, anyone?). It’s also heartening to see vital collaborations on such a scale between big players in watchmaking. Now, let's see which movements and brands get first dibs - and when.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".