The creative and extremely talented watchmaker Martin Braun, now CEO of Antoine Martin SA, debuted an incredibly unique and inventive caliber back in 2013. This caliber was the first to introduce a true slow running rate (hence the name) of only 7,200 beats per hour, or 1 hertz. This movement was designed to take a slower, stable pace, which is meant to reflect "slowing down the passage of time". This in-house AM36.001 hand-wound caliber has taken a new outlook on mechanical watchmaking with a unique outlook on how to express and enjoy time.
For many years watchmakers strived to achieve high frequencies in order to obtain more accurate results on their timepieces. For Martin Braun, the development of the Slow Runner was something that reflected on the nature of life and the necessity to slow things down in the hectic fast paced times we live in. Doing this in a movement is not easy, and to do it in a fashion that can still keep time in a stable manor is even more difficult. Through using silicone materials and a design of optimal performance at this slow rate, the Antoine Martin Slow Runner has achieved what they strived for in the AM36.001.
You can see that the AM36.001 uses an impressively large 24mm balance wheel, with an even more impressive giant hairspring. The trick to getting this slow rate movement to work best is actually in this large balance and hairspring. The size was not the original design plan, but through research and design modifications, was determined to be the best for performance. The balance rotates once in each direction per second, which will advance the second hand on the dial twice per second. Because the wheel and spring moves so slow, one can imagine that the movement would be extremely inaccurate and easily affected by shock and position. Through these design modifications, these problems are resolved by the use of silicium (silicone) for the hairspring which is produced with extreme precision in order to optimize performance due to its exact shape. The other contributing factors include using two weighted screws for fine adjustments as opposed to a "+/-" lever, as well as having the balance wheel rotate on a balance bridge with an additional shock absorption system with 6 jewels. Another attribute to its resistance to shock is that when in motion, the 24mm balance wheel builds up so much kinetic energy, that it becomes far less affected by small impacts or extreme motions. All of these factors contribute to the evenness of the rate.
The case size for the three variations is 42mm wide and 14.55mm thick, housing the 36mm x 8.6mm hand-winding AM36.001 caliber. The movement uses 199 components and has 23 jewels found throughout. I mentioned that the hairspring is made of silicium, but there are three other vital parts using the material. The escapement wheel, pallets, and impulse pin are also made of silicium. This allows for less use of lubricant on the most active parts on the movement (though they are slow), as well as being made more precise, making them lighter and smoother. All four components of silicone in the escapement come together as what is known to be the "High Performance Escapement" or HPE.
The regulator type format of the dial allows for a massive presence of the seconds hand sub dial at 6:00, making it very clear to see the nature of the movement, advancing the second hand twice per second, or once per direction of the balances rotation. The hour and minutes display is located from the 1:00-3:00 area, overlapped by the sub seconds and displaying the time legibly. The date wheel maintains a position at 3:00 as it would on most timepieces, and a power reserve display located near the 10:00 area. The power reserve on this piece is going to be 92 hours off of one barrel due to the low frequency of the movement. Please note that these pictures are preproduction samples from last year, that do not display the appropriate PR length.
Aside from the unique design and functionality of the Slow Runner's movement, it pays close attention to other details such as finishing. All parts are polished and chamfered, with one of the most easily visible parts being the balance bridge. The steel bridge itself is beveled but also done in a distortion free mirror finishing. It is one of the first things that catches your eye about the caliber and this technique is certainly appreciated more because it is so visible. The mainspring barrel can also be seen below the balance wheel. One could easily note the unique shape of teeth of the gears. The winding train uses "wolf tooth gearing", which creates a smoother motion when transitioning from gear to gear. Overall, this movement is satisfying in many ways. It has a unique and beautiful look, very well finished, is hypnotizing to watch when running, and is using great materials for optimal performance.
The Antoine Martin Slow Runner comes in the three different variations as pictured.
Two of the models use a stainless steel case and 3 fold deployment clasp, one with silver dial and blued hands (SR01.110.1), and one with black dial (SR01.100.1). Both in stainless come on a black Louisiana alligator strap and retail for $22,500.
The 18k rose gold model comes with silver dial, rose gold hands and deployment clasp, dark brown Louisiana alligator strap and retails for $39,500.
As always, f you have any questions regarding Antoine Martin, please call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.