Imagine a power reserve that never ran out; a mechanical watch that remained in everlasting motion. Imagine a timepiece that needed winding a few times a year, rather than several times a week. Finally, imagine a revolution that shattered watchmaking conventions and permanently changed an order of magnitude that seemed inviolable. You will then have a hint of Parmigiani Fleurier's latest project, presented today, as the 2016 SIHH opens its doors – the SENFINE CONCEPT MOVEMENT.
With a name meaning "eternally" in Esperanto, the Senfine movement is powered by a conventional energy source but has a regulating organ that offers unprecedented autonomy. Consider this twice: the Parmigiani manufacture hasn’t increased the energy supply – the size or number of barrels, in the same way someone could double the volume of a car’s fuel tank and boast twice the autonomy in kilometres. No – Parmigiani Fleurier has manufactured an entirely new conception of the watches regulating organ which drops the energy consumption to a fraction of what it is under the watchmaking regulator as we know it.
Based on an invention by Pierre Genequand, a physicist from Geneva, the idea at the heart of the Senfine serves to eliminate all the energy-consuming factors inherent in a classic regulator, replacing them with a system of flexible, frictionless joints in silicon, derived from the aerospace technology. To the watch-savvy observer, the Senfine movement in motion looks like a monolithic structure, oscillating at a reduced amplitude and fuelled by a constant contact grasshopper type escapement wheel. In fact, this silicone structure brings together the balance, balance-spring and pallet fork, merging them as a single entity, which means there are none of the energy-consuming pivots found on a classic regulator. The Senfine regulator is "suspended", oscillating on its virtual axis, under the motion of the pallet fork, with no points of friction and a negligible friction coefficient.
After 8 years of development within its watchmaking centre, Parmigiani Fleurier is presenting the movement’s first concrete outcome which boasts an autonomy of 45 days. But this is just the beginning of the Senfine’s potential. The coming months are paved with further steps to take and challenges to rise to as the COSC norms are met and the entire product environment is defined. Parmigiani Fleurier is opening the sensational work of its Research & Development department to you – starting now. With every passing day, the Senfine draws closer to its completion; and the power reserve it will boast at the end of this journey will be sensational.