The Challenge: Longer-Running Mechanical Watch
How can a mechanical watch last longer between winding? ORIENT STAR began by taking a closer look at a key component: the escape wheel, and the advantages of crafting it of silicon. Unlike conventional nickel silver material, silicon is hard, light and non-magnetic, and the smooth surface means less accuracy errors caused by friction. However, its weakness is fragility. By repeated thermal oxidation and removal to smooth the surface, strength and wear resistance were significantly improved. Application of the same high-precision MEMS processing technology at the micron level as used in Epson printheads enabled the production of a shape with springiness that leverages the mechanical properties of silicon. By devising a way to align the center with pinions, creating a rotation slip prevention shape that matches the pinions slit, and fitting the washer, a stronger fitting has been achieved without adhesive. The striking blue color is realized by application of oxide and polysilicon film. The result of this uncompromising quest for improvement and technological collaboration is this unique silicon escape wheel and a new standard of long-running operation, higher precision and beauty for ORIENT STAR.