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The Silicon Revolution: Entering a New Era in Watchmaking

Let’s examine silicon and how the world’s best watchmakers use it in their most innovative movements.

It’s no secret that with all the electronic equipment that surrounds us each day, between cellphones, tablets, monitors, TV’s, airport security scans, and more, we are exposed to higher levels of EMFs or electromagnetic frequencies. This is probably the worst thing that ever happened to mechanical watches as we know it since the Quartz crisis. Luckily, luxury watchmakers are using a space age material to combat these forces.

Silicon (also known as silicium) found a new place in watchmaking and has gained momentum in the last decade or so. This material has incredible resilience when it comes to shock and is impervious to magnetic interference. Watchmakers are seeing the value in adopting this versatile material that is lighter yet harder than steel into their engineering. It improves stability, performance, accuracy, and resistance to magnetic interferences and thermal fluctuations. It also can keep its shape forever and never requires any lubrication.

The most common use of silicon in a watch movement is the balance spring or hairspring. The combination of these two parts together is called the oscillator. The hairspring is one of the smallest components in a watch but also is one of the most critical in keeping the watch precise.

The oscillations in the movement depend on the balance spring to stay accurate. The less affected the hairspring is to external influences such as shock and electromagnetic interference, the more precise the movement will be.

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