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SIHH is right around the corner in January. As we get closer and closer the leaks get more interesting. This week we heard that Piaget is going to be introducing a watch for the 40th anniversary of their in house quartz movement the caliber 7P. To celebrate, they introduced a new hybrid movement that combines both an automatic and quartz movement in the Emperador. The new caliber is given the number 700P. It uses a normal mechanical going train and is powered by a micro rotor which winds the mainspring. There is a generator who is controlled by a quartz timing package because there is no escapement. The micro rotor is located near the 9 and 10 o’clock on the dial. At the 12 to 2 o’clock position you can see the generator. Sell Watches Boca.
This 700P is very similar to Seiko’s Spring Drive technology. Both movements use a standard mechanical gear train to turn a combination generator/regulating organ. However, this is the first time a Swiss movement has ever attempted this technology. There are, however, movements with a hybrid movement but all of those in the past have had a battery. The 700P uses the movement of the rotor to charge the generator, there is no battery. So just like an automatic watch, it will have a power reserve. Kinetic energy is a must to keep it running, aka moving your wrist.
So how did Piaget come up with the idea for this hybrid movement? Well it’s not as simple as you think. Seiko says they have been developing their hybrid movement since 1971. In 1977 development began and in the years following there were many prototypes produced. However, there are rumors that a Swiss patent was filed in 1972 for the exact same idea. Jean-Claude Berney (et al.) did register a patent for the same idea of a mechanical gear train that is controlled by a quartz timing package. What’s weird about the patent is that it says 1972 but it wasn’t actually filed until 1973 and wasn’t even granted until 1976. What’s even weirder is that Berney himself wrote a paper in which he says he didn’t even come up with the idea until 1978. And to make things ven more complicated Swatch has a patent in 1996 for this that cites Berney’s paper in 1978.
It may be that we never find out who came up with the idea first. A lot of times, because of what’s going on in the world and the advance of technology, two people come up with the same idea at the same time. This is probably what happened in this case. Both companies saw quartz movements taking over for mechanical ones and asked themselves how can we combine the two?
Anyway, the Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P is an absolutely stunning watch. It’s crafted in 18k white gold and features a large 46.5mm case. They are only making 118 pieces and it will retail for just over $70k.