Last year in its BaselWorld issue, Europa Star was the first to present a very innovative movement, the EPM01, that was being developed by the Emile Pequignet brand. Our article was entitled “The strength of a dream,” which evoked the passion and determination of one man, Didier Leibundgut. In order to develop his amazing movement, Leibundgut, the owner of Pequignet, gathered together a small but talented team made up of the constructor Huy Van Tran, the watchmaker Ludovic Perez, and the industrial director, Philippe Blanchot.
First presented in the form of a prototype at last year’s BaselWorld, this movement surprised more than one person. Was it such an amazing calibre that it created some jealousy? We might imagine so because, starting this summer, rumours abounded with an unusual persistence and frequency. They wanted people to believe that Pequignet was having difficulties, and it would never be able to produce its new movement.
We are now definitely putting those rumours to rest. After visiting the factory, we can say with certainty that there is no merit in the gossip that has been circulating. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The EPM01 is already in an advanced stage of industrialization. All the plans (more than 200) have been finalized and all the negotiations with suppliers have been concluded. At BaselWorld this year, we will see the first 100 examples of the pre-series, while waiting for the mass production of 3,000 movements during the course of 2010..
An entirely original movement
The EPM01 is an entirely original movement, as much in its global nature, design, and architecture as it is in the great majority of its components (150 original parts). Constructed on a 13 3/4’’’ base plate (encasing diameter of 30.6mm) giving the modest thickness of 5.88mm, this automatic movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour, and its 72-hour power reserve is guaranteed with no loss in isochronism. Even the slightest detail has been considered so that a series of future complications can be integrated into the base plate and to find the best arbitration between torque and friction. Designed from the beginning with a view to mass production, the EPM01 tends towards simplification and a reduction in the number of components while maximizing the reliability of each one. The accessibility of each element was therefore taken very seriously in the piece’s construction in order to simplify assembly and maintenance as well as after-sales service. (Péquignet intends to guarantee the movement for five years.) At BaselWorld, we will see the EPM01 in the form of a watch featuring large date and day, power reserve, lunar phases, and small seconds, with three different cases: sporty, classic, or a limited series. Other variations will follow that will be directly integrated into the base plate such as: GMT with small seconds, in-house tourbillon, integrated chronograph with two counters, large date, lunar phases, and a chronograph tourbillon. The last exceptional ‘detail’ we should mention is the price. In the steel model, the retail price will be less than 5,000 euros. This represents an unrivalled price/quality ratio. It would only be necessary to add more to the decoration—which is already rather good—for this piece to be in the category of Haute Horlogerie. Don’t miss it at Baselworld!
1. Winding system and stem
Original winding system consisting of a shape memory alloy pawl spring and an innovative mechanical subset ensuring precision, reliability in all correcting functions (large date and large day), as well as time setting and winding in both directions by a single crown.
In addition, this devise allows for the manual-winding system to be disengaged when the oscillating weight is moving, thus limiting possible damage due to rubbing. In spite of the presence of an automatic system, a Breguet tooth system, that winds backwards, ensures smooth winding and is a pleasure to touch.
2. Large date
Large double window, date and day with instantaneous jumping. Combination of characteristics that is, it seems, unique in the world for its precision and easy handling.
3. Balance spring
Large high-inertia balance to ensure precision, regularity, and resistance to perturbations under normal operation or hypothetically with the addition of complications. Adjustment of the operation using compensatory screws. Frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour, assuring reliability and longevity. Exceptional visibility of the balance spring as well as the pallets and the pallet wheel. Mobile in-house balance spring holder with blocking plate to protect against shocks. Cross-wise balance cock for better positioning and rigidity. Available also with a Breguet spring.
4. Large barrel
Power reserve guaranteed for more than 72 hours (actually 100 hours), with only one large barrel. Barrel spring winding via the drum, distribution of force by the axis of the barrel between two jewels assuring the linearity and regularity of the driving force, guaranteeing more than 72 hours of power reserve. The result is exceptional isochronism: in the vertical position at 72 hours, the amplitude is 220°!
Visually, the alignment of the large barrel, large bridges, and the balance along the axis of symmetry of the movement, assures the exceptional identity and beauty of the movement.
5. Automatic system
Original device consisting of a small number of parts ensuring stable and reliable operation. Winding in both directions, with reversers and without springs. Since the open-work single-block tungsten carbide oscillating weight moves in its channel, everything is in the same plane. The automatic module can be removed without interrupting the operation of the movement.
6. Power reserve
Original system for the power reserve driven by a simplified differential via one component and an exclusive mechanical development different from the traditional friction indenting or any other known system.
Source: Europa Star December-January 2010 Magazine Issue