An increase in frequency of the oscillator leads to real improvements in the performance of the balance. The running of the watch thus benefits from increased precision and stability.
In 2010 Breguet introduced the Type XXII reference 3880 ST, with a frequency of 10 Hz, reinterpretation of the legendary Type XX, which above all embodied a high-precision achievement. Resulting from its research into high frequencies aimed at a closer and more stable measurement of time, it was the first and only series-made mechanical chronograph with a movement of 10 Hz.
This technical feat was made possible by the use of silicon, which served to lighten the weight of the mobile escapement components and to reduce the lubrication constraints linked to such high frequencies. The watchmakers of the Manufacture Breguet have developed the Type XXII, with silicon balance spring, lever and escape-wheel, whose movement has a frequency raised to 10 Hz or 72,000 vibrations per hour, capable of marking off 20ths of a second.
This increase in the frequency of the oscillator also led to a real improvement in the operation of the chronograph. The way in which the seconds hand moves is visibly modified: it performs a complete rotation in 30 seconds and since the increase in frequency influences the duration of the tiny jumps made by the hand, the latter appears to be gently sliding around the dial.
This softer motion is combined with higher resolution and a more accurate display. Each second being divided into 20 fractions makes it possible to measure time by this same unit, meaning to the nearest 20th of a second. Thus, the trigger and the reading of the chronograph are twice as accurate.
In addition to the display characteristics, the increase in frequency above all enhances the rate precision and stability of the watch by improving the performance of the balance-wheel.
This work undertaken on high frequency thereby offers the prospect of new applications beyond the realm of chronographs.