How can a good watch not be allowed to walk properly? Is it caused by the magnetic field?

- Mar 28, 2019-

1. Development of Antimagnetic Technology for Clocks and Watches




As a counterattack, clock designers start from two aspects to resist the magnetic field. The best choice, of course, is to use materials that will not be magnetized by the magnetic field to make the spindle pendulum and other systems in the watch. In fact, for more than a century, they have been trying to find better materials, alloys, sophisticated proportions, and special crafts for yarn pendulum. But these materials are not free from the frame of iron-based alloys. Indeed, these iron-based alloys are very suitable for hairspring, except for non-diamagnetic ones. It is not easy to subvert the metallurgical industry. So the second step is to retreat. The designer of clocks and watches takes retreat as an advance. Since we can't make the yarn pendulum wheel and watch parts antimagnetic, I will add an antimagnetic shield. Interestingly, the best material for protective shield is pure iron. Due to the low hardness of pure iron, it is called soft iron in the horizon. Iron listens too much to the words of the magnetic field. It is too easy to be magnetized. When the magnetic field disappears, it will quickly demagnetize. It's like adding a "magnetic rod" to the building. If you have a magnetic field, look for me first.




In the past few decades, if watches have special requirements against magnetism, such as air watches, such as diving watches, the preferred solution is to wrap the core in a soft iron box. Even if the calendar window is sacrificed, there will always be a perforated axis, so there will always be magnetic leakage into the core. And if the magnetic field is too large, the soft iron will not be able to catch.




In recent decades, soft iron box antimagnetic technology has also encountered a very depressing problem for watchmakers - you know how delicate the watches you made, I also want to know. So watches become more and more transparent. At first, the back penetrated, let people appreciate the yarn pendulum and escaping system, and later even the dial penetrated. It's really impossible to make iron transparent.







2. Subversion - Silicon hairspring




The breakthrough came from silicon, a common substance that could never be seen again. If calculated by weight, silicon, which ranks 14th in the periodic table of elements, is the eighth largest element in the universe. It ranks second in the earth's crust, after oxygen. However, it was not until 1823 that man saw pure silicon, and it was not easy to purify this active element.




Pure silicon is dark grey with a magical metallic luster. In terms of various properties, this semiconductor nonmetallic material is very similar to metal, its melting point is similar to iron, its thermal conductivity is good, its hardness reaches 7 degrees Mohs, which is much higher than most metals, and its high hardness makes its elasticity excellent. Silicon has a very small density, less than a third of iron. More importantly, it has no ferromagnetism.




If you use it as hairspring, elasticity is no different from traditional metal hairspring; lighter, with less driving force, you can make the clockwork energy storage watches longer; no! Fear! Magnetism! Goodbye, soft iron dark box.






3. The ultimate handicraft in the Silicon Age




Simple to say, silicon is not the traditional metal material we are familiar with, smelting, processing, wire drawing, winding, these traditional watches and clocks industry processes, in front of silicon, big eyes, small eyes.




Innovation is breaking the traditional comfort zone. Metal material is the comfort zone of traditional watch industry. However, if a watchmaker goes out of his comfort zone, he will find that the world has changed.




Since the second half of the 20th century, human society has entered the Silicon Age. Semiconductor industry represented by silicon has turned the face of human society upside down. There was a time when the watch industry experienced this trend. Cheap but accurate quartz watches used to make skilled watchmakers insomniac. Quartz is the crystal of silicon dioxide.




A false alarm. Quartz watches did not drive mechanical watches into museums. The magical aura of fine mechanical structure shines even more. It is conceivable that traditional cousins despise silicon at some point.




So somebody will break the comfort zone and move on.




In 2008, Omega released Si14 silicon hairspring. It is based on deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) technology in microelectronics industry, which makes the processing accuracy of hairspring up to an order of magnitude. The surface of the processed yarn is specially treated to make it not only antimagnetic, but also to achieve a perfect balance of strength and thermal stability. In addition to silicon hairwire, Omega also uses anti-magnetic and non-magnetic materials for pendulum, grab fork, coaxial wheel, impact wheel and other components. If we want to innovate, we need to be thorough.




This allows the core's level of magnetism protection to rise directly from Gauss to Tesla, which can still travel in time and seconds under the strong magnetic field of 1.5T Tesla.




And this time, there's no soft iron box, you can see what you want. Silicon age technology makes machinery more magical and aesthetic.




The magnitude of the magnetic field in daily life sets a new standard for wristwatches with foresight and innovation. It is expected that such a threshold can stimulate later generations to show their abilities and promote the progress of clock technology.