A Question of Passion

The Heritage Watch Manufactory produces extremely precise mechanical wristwatches. In order to guarantee the outstanding accuracy and extraordinary longevity that sets these timepieces apart, the company works only with movements that it has itself designed and with very carefully selected materials. It goes without saying that these movements are only to be found in chronometers made by the Heritage Watch Manufactory.

The company, which is privately owned, was founded in the Swiss city of Neuchâtel in September 2010. “We decided on Switzerland for two reasons. Firstly, the seal 100 % Swiss Made is for us a declaration and also a commitment to the highest level of craftsmanship, the very best quality and absolute exclusivity. Secondly, by being located here we can safeguard our quality requirements by direct and immediate contact with every single supplier,” explains Christian Gütermann, Member of the Board representing the owners.

To ensure that every single timepiece incorporates not only perfect materials and workmanship but also the most exquisitely precise adjustment, manufacturing is strictly limited. Christian Gütermann continues: “We build our watches for connoisseurs. For those who, like us, have succumbed to the fascination of mechanical techniques and the true art of chronometry.”

In due deference to this philosophy, the company does not rely on flamboyance for the look of the timepieces, but on understatement — and the knowledge of the genuine aficionado.

Perfectly Conceived

Master watchmaker Karsten Fraessdorf is responsible for the concept behind the Heritage Watch Manufactory chronometers. In recent years he has been repeatedly successful in developing individualistic movements possessing their own unmistakable features for various companies. In the concept developed for the Heritage Watch Manufactory movements he has, after several years of development time, now also succeeded — in setting a milestone on the way to construction of the perfectly precise mechanical timepiece. Following the traditions of the original craft of watchmaking, the speed of the balance is set at 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour. This makes the balance not only considerably more stable and durable, it also consumes less energy. The balance itself is just as much an independent development as are the various fine adjustment mechanisms that permit perfect regulation. For the Tensus model, Karsten Fraessdorf has in addition designed an own constant-power escape mechanism as well as special twin mainspring barrels. He observes that “with these chronometers we have succeeded in redefining our understanding of precision in mechanical wristwatches.”

Innovative Precision Engineering

The extraordinary accuracy of the movements of Heritage Watch Manufactory timepieces are to a large extent due to five precision engineering developments, patents have been applied for. The mass-regulated Vivax balance is at the heart of all of the chronometers. With a diameter of 16 mm and a mass inertia of 126 mgmm², two affixes are used to change the static and dynamic mass inertia, thus keeping isochronous deviation permanently under control. The balance hairspring itself is fitted with the specially developed Tenere fixation system, allowing precise fine adjustment of the hairspring while at the same time eliminating the negative influence of pinning and possible damage. The Sectator mechanism for adjustment of the escapement lever under the balance permits the watchmaker, for the first time ever, to adjust the escapement perfectly. Over and above this, the Tensus model counteracts the problem of decreasing mainspring power inherent in mechanical watches — and the resulting deviations of the movement — with the Sequax escapement and a constant power drive. This innovative escapement supplies the balance with a constant and unvarying supply of power, therefore eliminating fluctuations in the oscillation amplitude. The Pariter twin mainspring barrels used in the Tensus are also of the company’s own design and construction, minimising energy losses due to friction on the bearing surfaces. Following this principle, the power reserve of the Tensus is also designed to be smooth-running due to the incorporation of a differential.

The unprecedented longevity of the timepiece is in part also due to the precision of the movement. This is achieved through the use of cycloid teething only for the gear trains and fully hardened gearwheels and pinions. Moreover, both the independently developed escapement of the Tensus and the Swiss lever escapement of the Magnus display optimised oil retention due to a capillary phase.

Designed-In Provenance

The renowned Swiss product and watch designer Eric Giroud is responsible for the design of the chronometers. Giroud, whose creations have in past years gained numerous awards, followed his own completely unique approach in the design of the Heritage Watch Manufactory timepieces. “The chronometers incorporate the very essence of what watches should really mean — perfect instruments for the measurement of time. And it is exactly this intrinsic essence that one can see and feel in the design,” he explains. This is why the casing design is directly inspired by the protective cases used to shield the valuable movements when entered in chronometry competitions of the past.

The overall appearance is subtly harmonised, and the balanced relationship of satin and polished surfaces achieves a luxurious yet restrained look. This same form of understatement is evident in the dial design. The business-like classic dial faces of the Magnus Classic and the Tensus serve to emphasise the technical finesse of the chronometer. The dial of the Magnus Contemporaine, interpreted in modern fashion, is differentiated by a nuanced interplay of space and volume. The convoluted hands are also distinctively styled, following the curvature of the glass, the hands being styled as quill pens on all models to represent the idea of time to come that is always being created but is yet to be recorded. Every detail of the smoothly finished outward appearance has its origins in Switzerland, and in the Tensus the angularity of the finish has been refined by hand. Eric Giroud notes that “it was important to me that I create the watch not as a self-sufficient piece of jewellery, but as a holistic composition. The technical and visual aspects created here flow into one another
to become a perfect objet d’art.”