Sunday, July 31, 2011

AP's New Carbon Fibers Material for Their Watch Casing

Audemar Piguet would never stop giving you technical wonders as the Audemars Piguet’s Millenary Carbon One introduced in 2009 is an Example. The case is forged carbon, an ultra-light material developed solely by AP. The middle section of the case is created by placing a set of carbon filaments inside a mold. The wires measuring one millimeter in diameter, is itself composed of several thousand 7-micron carbon fibers held together by a resin wire placed end to end. The wire is approximately 1/3 the diameter of human hair. These thin filaments are equivalent to 22.7 meters of carbon wire and over 100km of carbon fibers.

The mold is then compressed at high temperature at pressures of over 300 kilos per square centimeter. This process results in a material composed of 76% carbon and 24% polyamide. The hardness of 626 Vickers can be compared with the 420 Vickers score for Alacrite, another highly resistant material. The case middle and lugs are made all of a piece. The bezel, crown and pushers are in ceramics. The high-tech materials and manufacturing techniques result in a very light timepiece indeed: the Millenary Carbon One weights just 69.44 grams which is much lighter than gold or steel. Since the case has to be made individually, the unique pattern of the fibre create an uniqueness of the watch pattern. That is one of the selling feature of this watch, Light, Durable, hi-tech and beautiful.

The Carbon One reveals caliber 2884, a completely proprietary movement equipped with a tourbillon, a chronograph, and a 10-day power reserve. Twin barrels actually store enough energy to power the watch for 12 days, but a locking mechanism allows the watch to run only during the 10 days when the power delivery is at the linear consistent region. Each movement is first assembled on a trial basis in order to set it into motion. This stage requires ten days of adjustments. Once the watchmaker is sure that it runs completely smoothly, he takes it apart and cleans the parts before final assembly and casing up. It takes about 15 days to assemble a finished movement, three of which are devoted to the 80-piece tourbillon.

The high-tech theme is not stopped here at case, it continues inside the movement. Eloxed aluminium is used for the bridges and carbon for the main-plate. It’s an isotropic material composed of carbon nanofibres injected at an extremely high pressure of 7500 N/cm2 and at a temperature of 2,400°C in order to achieve a material possessing mechanical, physical, chemical stability and internal stress free in all directions. This amorphous and chemically neutral composite material maintains its dimensions over a broad range of temperatures. Due to its minimal elastic deformation, this carbon provides a highly stable base for the metal elements attached to it. Watch changes it time accuracy on temperature changes due to mechanical expansion or contraction, this main-plate is totally eliminating this concern. Beside, it is light.

The Millenary Carbon One Tourbillon Chronograph were produced in a limited series of 120 pieces

Millenary Carbon One Tourbillon Chronograph

Forged carbon case, black crocodile leather strap
Limited edition of 120

Caliber : 2884 hand-wound with twin barrel and tourbillon
Carbon main-plate
Bridges in eloxed aluminium and blackened steel
Total diameter : 38.40 x 33.40 mm
Casing diameter : 37.40 x 32.40 mm
Thickness : 9.7 mm
30 jewels
336 parts
Up to 240-hour power reserve
Cadence of the balance : 21,600 vibrations per hour
Finishing : all parts decorated by hand.

Forged carbon with black ceramic bezel, crown and push-buttons
Dimensions : 47 x 42 mm
Cambered glare-proofed sapphire crystal
Blackened titanium back fitted with sapphire crystal
Water resistant to 20 meters

Open-worked to reveal the movement
White hour-markers with luminescent coating
Blackened luminescent hands

Hand-sewn “large square scale” crocodile leather with AP folding clasp in blackened titanium

Hours and minutes
Power-reserve indicator

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