Philippe Dufour says that people come to him because
he creates watches that cannot be found elsewhere. "I'm obliged to innovate"
he says pragmatically. But do not feel sorry for him. The challenge to
create the world's first double escapement wristwatch was seized gladly.
The aim of the double escapement is to compensate for errors in the rate
of the watch, produced by the effect of gravity on the regulating organs.
In this sense, it challenges the existing champion, the tourbillon device,
invented by Breguet in 1801. Philippe Dufour's double escapement has proved
already to be effective. Compared with the tourbillon, it possesses the
additional quality of retaining all its efficiency when reduced to the
dimensions of a wristwatch. The key to the concept is a complex dif-ferential
system, positioned, with the two escapement mechanisms, on the fourth
wheel. The two balance wheels operate completely independently of each
other. The differential system averages out the differences between them,
and thus reduces the potential error in rate by half. The differential
system alone, without the regulating organs, has twenty-one parts, twice
as many as the tourbillon. And yet the entire assembly is only 30 mm in
diameter, and 4 mm high. It fits neatly into a 34 mm watch.
How may the Duality be recognised? This master of
complications says that, aesthetically speaking, he likes simplicity.
For the Duality this means a smooth, finely polished case in yellow gold,
rose gold, white gold or platinum. A silvered dial carries Dauphine-style
hands pointing to raised hour markers and Arabic numerals. A distinctive
feature of the dial is the unusual placing of the small seconds-hand at
half-past seven, reflecting the layout of the movement. The strap is in
top quality, hand stitched crocodile leather.