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A sensational prototype introduced in April 2007 underscores this Le Sentier-based manufacture's justifiable position as one of the leaders within a select circle of the industry's highly innovative brands. In the company's new research and development lab ...
A sensational prototype introduced in April 2007 underscores this Le Sentier-based manufacture's justifiable position as one of the leaders within a select circle of the industry's highly innovative brands. In the company's new research and development lab, forty-five engineers, technicians, and watchmakers systematically work with the discovery and development of futuristic materials and methods for use in watchmaking. The first product to spring from this research took two years and is called the Master Compressor Extreme LAB.
The movement of this incredible timepiece needs absolutely no lubrication. In order to guarantee perfect functioning without oil and grease, the correct materials for individual components with compatible friction coefficients had to be chosen; traditional materials are not in the mix. Searching for alternative, suitable materials resulted in a colorful combination of substances. Modern ceramics and a carbon nitride bearing the name Easium play a central role. Easium is temperature-stable, doesn't corrode, and is almost as hard as diamond or tungsten carbide, making it extremely friction-free and resistant to wear. All these characteristics predestined it to be the ideal material for use as bearings.
In order to further reduce friction in the movement's quickly rotating wheels' bearings, all steel pivots and pinions - already finely polished - received additional special surface coatings.
The escape wheel is made of silicon; the pallets - transforming the rotation of the gear train into the pendulum motion necessary to drive the balance - are made of synthetic black diamond. And the technicians used Easium for the shockproof balance bearing of Caliber 988C.
The movement itself, which includes a tourbillon escapement and a special date whose hand makes a big jump across the tourbillon cage between the fifteenth and sixteenth of the month, also includes more new materials: Ticalium (an aluminum-titanium carbide alloy) was used for the flat parts, while the tourbillon carriage is crafted of a magnesium alloy.
The new balance has no balance wheel, but rather bears streamlined satellites made of heavy platinum and iridium at the end of its two arms. The balance spring of Caliber 988C was not only outfitted with a carefully calculated Phillips terminal curve but also burnished at a specially calculated position near the roller. The 'bend' that resulted has a changed microstructure and thus a different elasticity coefficient, ensuring that the balance spring 'breathes' in an absolutely concentric manner.
The oscillating weight of the automatic rotor is also crafted in heavy platinum and iridium, while the carbon rotor body coated with nickel polytetrafluorethylene is not only extremely flat, but also light and attractive thanks to its shape.
Jaeger-LeCoultre registered no fewer than eleven patents for the Master Compressor Extreme LAB, among others for the special case made of carbon fiber and a titanium ring that is outfitted with a bezel made of a silicon-carbon nitride.