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Omega Watches Make History with Co-Axial Escapement
Omega’s introduction of the co-axial escapement changed the way watches have been made since its invention in 1999.
In 1999, Omega made a huge impact on the watch industry by introducing the very first co-axial escapement. The introduction has been considered one of the most significant advancements within the watch industry since the invention of the lever escapement. After English watchmaker George Daniels invented the co-axial escapement, the first mass-produced watch incorporating the new feature was distributed to the public in 1999. The way the co-axial escapement functions, it uses virtually no lubrication. Because of this, it eliminates one of the shortcomings that are present with the traditional lever escapement. By utilizing radial friction instead of sliding friction at the impulse surfaces, the co-axial escapement helps reduce friction. As friction is reduced because of the co-axial escapement, theoretically the watch should last much longer. In addition, you will find that your watch maintains its accuracy and precision over time. Another benefit to the co-axial escapement is the smaller lift angle and the increased arc of free vibration of the balance wheel. Because of this, there is a greater part of the total arc that is conducted free of interfering contact with the pallet lever. The original escapement has proved to be reliable and durable over the past two centuries. It was designed by a British maker Thomas Mudge and was eventually refined by the Swiss. Although it has served its purpose, the one downside to the conventional escapement is that the design relies so heavily on sliding friction. The sliding friction serves as the escape wheel impulse surfaces sweep over the pallets to power the balance. By having sliding friction in your watch, lubrication is needed. Lubrication continues to be a weak point to the lever escapement, and because of this George Daniels wanted to eliminate sliding friction. By utilizing radial friction, Daniels was able to eliminate sliding friction and thus eliminate lubrication. Many Omega timepieces have the co-axial escapement in them now since being introduced to it in 1999. At the Basel Watch and Jewelry Fair in 1999, Omega introduced a new watch for the Deville line that was a chronometer-rated limited edition watch. This was the first watch that included the co-axial escapement that was being sold for under $150,000. Today, there are many watches that use the co-axial escapement. Omega has ventured out and their innovativeness was well felt with this invention. It was a remarkable achievement by Omega and has contributed to an already successful history within Omega timepieces. Copyright (c) 2007 Patrick Bedford