The Parmigiani Senfine Concept Features Grasshoppers And Silicon | Quill & Pad

The Parmigiani Senfine Concept Features Grasshoppers And Silicon | Quill & Pad

Did you realize that grasshoppers are the harassers of the creepy crawly world? They are known to single out more modest bugs, in any event, compelling ants to do physical work for their benefit. What’s more, now and again they have genuine animosity issues.

Grasshoppers have even been known to grab and hold insect sovereignty recover to guarantee compliance with their requests. In any event the grasshoppers in the 1998 energized Pixar film A Bug’s Life did. Also, I’m almost certain it was logically accurate.

Okay, I’ll concede that was only a stratagem to intrigue you somewhat more in grasshoppers. Yet, I guarantee that in the event that you read on I will convey some intriguing pieces of information about grasshoppers in my own way.

In doing so I will get a wide range of geeky about a new(ish) escapement idea that Parmigiani Fleurier , Vaucher Manufacture , and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM for short) have been creating in the course of the most recent decade. The gathering has at long last delivered an encased idea called the Senfine.

Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

The name is fairly proper since the thought for this escapement idea came as an approach to decrease grating and definitely expand the force save of the normal watch.

Meaning “unceasingly” in Esperanto, the word Senfine confers the arrangement that it should keep going forever (we’ll get to that) and that it should make the controller more isochronal, which means each beat of the equilibrium takes the very same measure of time.

Take this into thought: the first purpose behind making the Esperanto language was a craving to make a general language that was a simple and inconvenience free route for individuals around the world to communicate with one another. The decision to utilize a word from that as-great as-outdated yet beautiful language appears oddly fitting.

Close up glance at the dial side of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

But enough about the name, we should take a gander at the Senfine idea, where it came from, what it does, and why it is likely one of the more significant horological creations of a mechanical sort in my lifetime.

The Senfine idea is the continuation of a development brought about by Pierre Genequand, who filled in as a physicist for CSEM prior to resigning in 2004. His involvement in adaptable joints and their frictionless properties is the place where the virtuoso grew, developing into where the Senfine idea is today.


The reason for the whole idea relies on the advances made in silicon manufacture procedures over the most recent few decades. Silicon has some unbelievable properties, not the least of which relates to its inalienable strength and flexibility.

Even however silicon can be an exceptionally unbending metalloid, when the particles are coordinated specificly or combined with different components, various properties can be achieved.

Dial side perspective on the movement of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

A combination of versatility, inflexibility, and super low grinding surfaces is normally the objective for components produced for watch movements. However, by and large the parts are intended to be substitutes for conventional components that were initially planned and designed to be enhanced for their unique mechanical properties.

So Genequand began once again without any preparation, and gratitude to his practically complete absence of information about watches and watchmaking he figured out how to build up a framework around the inborn properties of silicon and his insight into adaptable joints.

It ought to be expressed that he plainly must have had an idea about the idea of the mechanical watch to have thought to improve the guideline framework. Notwithstanding, the outcome was an instrument that exploited the adaptability of a slim silicon cutting edge and the very smooth surface that cycles like Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) can accomplish. This is the place where the grasshopper I discussed comes back in.

Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

Since Genequand was curious about watchmaking strategies and the complexities of various escapements, he planned dependent on the properties of silicon and incidentally concocted a framework astoundingly like the exemplary John Harrison grasshopper escapement.

But it isn’t, by definition, a grasshopper escapement, and the subtleties will make that unmistakable given that there are practically no conspicuous “watch” parts save two or three.

From the oscillator, out

Beginning at the genuine heart of the framework we have a gold equilibrium; this is the first of two recognizable components that have been flipped completely around. The gold equilibrium is essentially a ring that is connected to a considerably more complicated and cutting edge silicon component going about as a turn/hairspring.

Dial side perspective on the movement of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

The gold equilibrium ring is squeezed over the focal silicon component to shape a somewhat wonky equilibrium get together alluded to as the oscillator.

Clever names aside, in that oscillator get together four inserted gold loads go about as whimsical planning loads. These loads are scaled down rings held into the oscillator get together gratitude to minute highlights that give a spring cut like attachment.

None of this would be truly conceivable without the cutting edge creation methods accessible today.

As I referenced, the silicon place component for the oscillator gathering goes about as a turn/hairspring. This is accomplished by covering and befuddling (however not contacting) manage arms, which permit the oscillator to wind a limited quantity with what is known as a virtual pivot.

This implies that the two checking arms make a rotational movement around a point in space that is basically a similar without fail. This virtual turn is so named on the grounds that there is no design around which it turns and no characterized turn hub; it is just pivoting in the way best fits with the calculation of the oscillator arms.

This highlight makes three significant contrasts between the Senfine’s equilibrium and a standard one.

First, it dispenses with rubbing from the equilibrium staff and gems since it turns in mid-air; second, it takes into account a bigger measure of movement in the oscillator (in left, right, up, and down bearings) saving it from knocks and wounds, or more awful, a wrecked equilibrium staff; and, at last, it restricts the revolution from around 300 degrees in a conventional equilibrium wheel down to 16 degrees complete amplitude.

This is where you let out your espresso and shout, “Plentifulness of sixteen degrees!!”

Holy moly!

Yup, the complete sufficiency is just 16 measly degrees, very nearly multiple times not exactly every one of those wild and free equilibrium rolls out there.

Heck, that is less turn than happens constantly hand in 60 minutes. In any case, the oscillator get together isn’t the solitary thing liable for that plentifulness; the sufficiency is a factor of numerous different parts of the Senfine controller idea. What’s more, it is the following component that makes the bug comparison.

Close take a gander at the charming circuit-board-like, ultra high-beat controller of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

The oscillator get together is associated by means of a common nearly focal mount with the bed fork component likewise made of silicon. This component really doesn’t take after a grasshopper despite the fact that it makes an activity that is suggestive of the bug’s movement. In the event that it needed to locate a superior shape comparison, it sort of takes after a whip arachnid, which is really cool on the off chance that you ask me.

Back to how it works.

The oscillator gathering is mounted to the bed fork component making a virtual turn shared by the bed fork. This implies the bed fork likewise wavers to and fro, something that ought to appear to be quite natural to any WIS out there.

The degree of the swaying of the bed fork is restricted twoly. In the first place, directly over the bed fork in the general get together is a silicon hairspring-like part that actually restricts the wavering gratitude to its two long, slight edges and two pins that reach out of the bed fork. This part is the isochronism compensator.

These pins push on the springs with every swaying, accepting a resistance to focus much the same as a winding injury hairspring however considerably more effective and compact. This part additionally can be drawn nearer and farther from the virtual turn, subsequently shortening or extending the spring arms and changing the beat pace of the oscillator. Thusly, exact changes can be made to the high 16 Hz frequency.

View through the presentation back of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

The second way the swaying is restricted by the bed fork is in its mating with the break wheel. Much the same as different beds, and also to the grasshopper escapement, the bed fork has two arms that alternatingly lock on the departure wheel teeth.

Unlike most escapements, however, and simply like the grasshopper escapement, the arms are never completely out of contact with the wheel. While one is moving in to snatch the following tooth, the other is flexed in contact and diminishing its flex to permit the getaway wheel to pivot somewhat to bolt with the other arm.

Friction is the enemy

This is the place where the whole framework begins to get additional geeky. The way that the bed arms are consistently in contact with the departure wheel, in addition to the way that the oscillator moves just 16 levels of absolute adequacy, all with virtual turns, guarantees that erosion and motivation powers are brought to almost zero.

Since there are neither rotate staff nor gem direction, the entirety of the grinding characteristic to an equilibrium get together vanishes. That is one of the significant purposes of energy misfortune in an escapement framework, and here it has been completely eliminated.

The next components comprising adding to loss of energy in an escapement framework are the drive powers and coming about rubbing from the equilibrium striking the bed fork each swing to open the escapement.

Since the two components are mounted together and offer a similar virtual rotate, the whole drive power there is wiped out. The solitary motivation power left in connection is the isochronism compensator spring that restricts the turn to 16 degrees, however the power on the cutting edges of that component is straightforwardly direct, which decreases any sliding contact to almost nothing as well.

View of the rear of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch movement

Silicon in its single gem structure (which is the thing that we have here) consummately moves energy with incredibly little energy dissemination because of hysteresis or loss of energy yield because of shifting power input.

This implies that the silicon edges of the oscillator gathering, the bed fork, and the isochronism compensator permit energy to course through the framework with practically ideal paces of transfer.

Combined with the affinity of silicon to never experience the ill effects of weakness, the framework ought to have billions or even trillions of operational cycles without breakage or wear.

The almost ideal surface condition of silicon when made utilizing DRIE innovation contributes significantly to the practically nonexistent erosion. Each piece of silicon is reaching another piece of silicon and the entirely smooth (down to the nuclear level) surfaces don’t consider something besides nuclear powers to contribute friction.

Well, ideally in any case. The framework actually will have some contact and the surfaces are not completely awesome, essentially nearly perfect.

That implies erosion actually happens and it should be determined in to the plan, yet the sum is so little and for the most part constant because of the way that silicon is so steady. The contact of the framework will not increment, at any rate where those components are concerned.

The mechanics of almost perfect

As these components cooperate, they have such close resistances and are so finely built that the framework is inalienably touchy to stuns. The more slow the speed and the bigger the components, the more prominent that risk.

Increasing the speed from the most punctual 4 Hz models up to the current adaptation beating at 16 Hz (115,200 vph) assisted an incredible arrangement with this, yet certain plan perspectives should have been tended to by changing math and adding security features.

The math was adjusted dependent on complex computations and reproductions, however the wellbeing highlights were a touch all the more precisely clear. In the first place, the bed fork arms that cooperate with the getaway wheel have watchmen to restrict the degrees of flex one or the other way. This gives a touch of confirmation that the movement of the arms will be uniform and that should a stun happen they won’t twist excessively far and snap. These components actually are fairly delicate because of how slim the silicon gets, yet whenever kept in an adequate scope of movement they should work nearly indefinitely.

Parmigiani Senfine idea watch

Next, the arms and watches themselves are set between another arrangement of gatekeepers, more like edges, that are added above and beneath the break wheel to hold the arms back from sneaking off one or the other way because of a vertical stun to the framework. This keeps up that the arms can go all over because of stuns in a limited way, however will consistently give the appropriate bolting and opening of the break wheel.

Finally, the whole controller framework is mounted in a bunch of plates that look like circuit sheets yet are a long way from them. These plates are made of steel and finely cut utilizing a wire EDM cycle to make a plate with exceptionally controllable flex qualities. These plates likewise can be customizable for arrangement and guideline purposes.

Due to the exceptionally complicated state of these plates, the controller framework can move up to .05 mm in the virtual rotate of the oscillator gathering, giving a stun obstruction comparative in idea to the standard stun gem frameworks, however substantially more controlled.

The expansion of these wellbeing highlights over the improvement of the framework has expanded the framework’s protection from stun by in excess of multiple times over the previous models. No figures were offered with regards to what power this may liken to, yet the architects at CSEM were initially amped up for stun opposition of 20 G, so we could figure that a stun obstruction of 2000 G may be conceivable. That is well inside the 500 G to 5000 G range that watches can encounter daily.

View through the presentation back of the Parmigiani Senfine idea watch


So what precisely does the entirety of this excessively cool tech get you? In the first place, it makes a component working more intimately with material properties than any mechanical framework in a watch. It empowers excessively high accuracy rate control with incredibly quick beat rates, multiple occasions quicker than the business standard high-beat escapements of 5 Hz (36,000 vph).

It decreases rubbing and wear on the controller framework where grinding assumes the greatest part in timekeeping exactness and force hold. Along these lines, the rate is substantially more steady and the force hold leaves the domain of estimations in hours or days and moves towards weeks and months.

In the current arrangement the force hold with a solitary barrel is 45 days, and in the Senfine idea with twofold barrel it drifts around 70 days. That implies you would just need to wind your watch around five times each year. That is comparable to extremely enormous clock components and is directly on the cusp of accomplishing quarterly watch winding.

Add a miniature rotor to the movement and the force save for all intents and purposes becomes a pointless number since chances are you would wear the watch at any rate a couple of times each year and the almost frictionless controller would keep it going in the months in between.

I don’t actually have the foggiest idea how to communicate that I was so eager to see this idea in a working watch. I had found out about the Genequand escapement a couple of years prior, yet this at long last carried it to reality for me.

I was so energized when previously shown the framework that I took over from one of the real architects endeavoring to portray the piece to me and began attempting to depict it to him! Diversion resulted, obviously, however in the end I was left surprised, intrigued, and extremely energized for the eventual fate of things to come from Parmigiani and the Senfine concept.

Parmigiani Senfine idea watch on the wrist

A enormous thank you to the people from Parmigiani and CSEM who endured my whimsical merriment and still set aside the effort to clarify the framework and give me however many messy subtleties as they could. This was really a feature of my year up until now, and we aren’t finished with the first quarter.

To get familiar with the Senfine idea, please visit senfine.