We’re just back from one of the central events of the watch lover’s (and watch journalist’s) year: the Salon International Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, where luxury watch brands under the aegis of the Richemont Group (as well as a few other brands that prefer the relative calm of the SIHH to the rugby-scrum hurly-burly of the Other Watch Fair, BaselWorld) show what’s new and (we hope) exciting for 2012. It’s a whirlwind –five days, literally hundreds of watches, and the near-impossible task of trying to keep everything you’ve seen in mind once you’re home.
Every year, though, there are a few watches that it’s no trouble to recall, and one of the most memorable this year (and one of the most talked about watches among attendees) was the Jaeger LeCoultre Sphérotourbillon, one of JLC’s new complicated watches based on the “Dual Wing” concept. The basic idea behind the Dual Wing watches is to have two independent power sources (essentially, two separate mainsprings.) One mainspring powers the timekeeping gear train and the other is used to supply energy to whatever complication has been built into the watch. The reason behind this construction is simple: a complication has the potential to disrupt the accuracy of a watch by stealing energy, when it’s in use, from the escapement, which requires as constant torque as possible to work well. (Chronographs, for instance, may run at a different rate when the chronograph is switched on than when it’s not.)