While I am sure everybody would think it would take a few more years, before we would see the first commercial result, of the many years of research that went in the ID-ONE and the ID-TWO, Cartier surprised the group of journalist, last month, at the ID-TWO presentation in la Chaud-de-Fonds, by presenting also the first commercial watch, that benefits from the technology in regulation and lubrication free ID-ONE;
THE ASTRO TOURBILLON CARBON CRYSTAL, in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
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When one realises, that from the ‘Fine Watch Making Collection’, the Astro Tourbillon
(that was released last year), was Carole Forestier’s  favorite, it will not come as an surprise, that this is now the watch that, will officially be introduced at the 2013 SIHH in Geneva, as the first escapement adjustment-free and lubrication free tourbillon, that will be commercially available for the more serious watch connoisseur.
The main reasons for selecting the Astro Tourbillon as the watch to do the premiere were;
Rebounds of a Tourbillon carriage
– Mechanical strength
– Lightness
– Durability
– Aesthetic
This new ‘Astro Tourbillon Carbon Crystal’ will be released in a Nobium titanium case,
a lightweight and non-magnetic alloy, that resists corrosion, scratches and shocks and will have the carbon escapement of the ID-ONE, that will not need lubrication or adjustment at all!The tourbillon bridges and escape wheel are build in carbon crystal and made by DRIE,
which makes parts with an extreme high standard. DRIE technology (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) is a technique that makes it possible to produce micro mechanical components with an extreme precision, besides that it lends itself particularly well for carbon crystal.To ensure maximum performance of the escape wheel, all the teeth are crafted with the utmost precision. Compared to the carbon escapement, even very good ordinary escape wheels, are much less reliable. Since the carbon crystal is so hard, smooth and well finished it does not need any lubrication.These carbon crystal components reach ultra-precise tolerances, to a thousandth of a millimeter, i.e. one micron, and have extremely smooth surfaces. Qualities like this are essential for the escape-wheel and the mono-bloc anchor, which dispense their life essential impulses, with maximum efficiency and……..don’t forget, I can’t say it too much, no need for lubrication! This smoothness is essential in the Astrotourbillon carbon crystal since the lack of lubrication means the teeth of the escape-wheel dispense six precisely timed motive impulses per second to the mono-bloc anchor. These impulses maintain the continual swinging of the oscillator.Other parts that do not need lubrication are the steel tubes,php
All the pivots are made out of tungsten carbide and are housed in steel tubes that are,
like in the ID-ONE, ADLC coated. ADLC is a superior form of DLC which is known as “amorphous diamond-like carbon” coating. ADLC was first used on parts in the ID-ONE and later on as a coating on the cases of the Santos 100 and Santos Dumont Skelette. It has proven to be imperishable.
I have the black Santos myself and unlike ordinary PVD, the ADLC coating does not show any scratch at all, after years of almost daily wear.
Hardness is another important factor.
Carbon crystal exceeds 10.000 Vickers. Bearing jewels become superfluous.
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Extreme hardness is only one aspect in the spectrum of horological innovations.
Carbon crystal is not only transparent and non magnetic, it is also very light.
The escapement-wheel must be momentarily halted and instantly reaccelerated, six times per second, so every milligram of weight, that can be pared away results in significant energy savings. So producing the escape-wheel and the anchor in was done to bring the weight down as much as possible.
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The same counts for the tourbillon’s rotating cage. Carbon crystal is used as the material for the elongated bearing plate and for the three bridges which bear the balance staff, the shaft of the pallet and the shaft of the escape-wheel (respectively).Thus, the whole Astrotourbillon cage achieves an impressive lightness of an unbelievable 0.46 gram, and that’s including the platinum counterweight!
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By choosing the ‘Astro Tourbillon Carbon Crystal’ as the first commercial watch, to be launched with this high-tech technology, Cartier did select a watch, that will really benefit enormously from all the new technique and new materials used in this watch.
CASE:
Niobium titanium 47 mm Rotonde de Cartier case
Circular-grained crown set with sapphire cabochon
Alligator strap
Adjustable folding clasp in 18-carat white gold.
Water resistant to 30 m / 100 ft / 3 bars
MOVEMENT:
Manual mechanical movement 9460 MC
Adjustment-free and lubrication-free escapement
Tourbillon with axis at the center of the movement
Carbon crystal tourbillon bridges, anchor and escape-wheel
Tungsten carbide escapement pivots
Number of jewels: 17
Power reserve: 50 hours
Diameter: 40.1 mm
Thickness: 9 mm
Number of pieces : 195
Frequency: 3Hz i.e., 21’600 oscillations/hour

Since in general, the service on a tourbillon is pretty complicated and labor-intensive,
it has a higher price tag than other watches like a chronograph or a time only watch.
If the service on these tourbillon movement can now be reduced to hardly none, the sky will be the limit, for future tourbillon owners.

Official presentation January 2013.

Love Ring

 


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