Mechanical Marvel: Bernhard Lederer’s Much Talked About Chronometer Won the Innovation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève - Lifestyle Asia

“This Innovation Prize is a magnificent motivation for us to keep pushing boundaries!”

At the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix ceremony held last week at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva, Bernhard Lederer was bestowed the highly coveted Innovation Prize for his Central Impulse Chronometer.

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“It is a great honor for us to receive this award in one of the competition’s most prestigious categories, the one that rewards innovation and the continuing quest for precision that drives us watchmakers,” Lederer, the brand’s founder and CEO, said in front of an audience of more than 1,500 people. 

Described as a “watchmaker’s lifelong quest for excellence,” the Central Impulse Chronometer has been talked about in the past few years, with a prototype being launched last year. 

“My intention is always to try to get off the beaten track, to take watchmaking creations to new dimensions, to present outstanding watches that convey a particular vision of watchmaking,” says Lederer, who has been a member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants since its founding in 1985.

Available in two limited series, the timepiece is a high-performance chronometer with a revolutionary escapement. It is housed in a white gold case with a diameter of 44 mm and a thickness of just 12.2 mm. Two almost imperceptibly domed crystals, front and back, accentuate the watch’s slim silhouette.

Its dial is distinguished by a double opening. This original window on the exceptional mechanics underlines a resolutely artistic vision of passing time, marked by two synchronized hands progressing in opposite directions. 

Two intertwined circles forming a double eight-shaped opening in the dial convey a symbolic message of harmony, infinity and rebirth, even luck and prosperity for other cultures. 

Within it, the caliber 9012 presents a unique three-dimensional architecture, the product of several years of research. These included the system that gave the part its name, a new high-performance double-pulse escapement called the Central Impulse Chronometer.

Technical mastery

Drawing on nearly 40 years of experience and his workshop located in Saint-Blaise near Neuchâtel, Lederer deepened the work that George Daniels had initiated with his Independent Double Wheel Escapement. 

Daniels, himself, took over the work of Breguet. Lederer and Daniels have had imany interactions in the past. And the former began to rethink a few of the latter’s works, adapting them to a wrist watch. 

For this, the Central Impulse Chronometer escapement is of a different design. It incorporates two independent escape wheels, each connected to its own barrel. These wheels work alternately with a unique anchor. 

Two escapement wheels at the end of two separate cogs are installed, each with its own 10-second winder. By making the two escape wheels independent of each other, Lederer “frees” them. 

This sophistication also lies in the fact that the two second hands, each connected to an escapement wheel, shows no deviation from one another. The precision of each watch is attested by a chronometer certificate.

One of the innovations of the Central Impulse Chronometer is the use of titanium components instead of steel. Restarts become faster with this material, and therefore become less energy intensive. 

This means that the impulse given by the escapement wheel to the balance is optimized and disturbances reduced. Energy is transmitted from two barrels by two independent gear trains, each reserved for one of the two escapement wheels. 

Eye on design

Behind the technical mastery,Lederer is also keen on each of his designs. The Central Impulse Chronometer is no exception. 

The round 44 mm white gold case presents smooth and elegant lines. Its fine polished bezel maximizes the opening on the dial, with two windows piercing above the seconds hands. 

On the caseback, a second sapphire crystal, domed and chevroned, is identical to the front crystal. It offers a wonderful view of the architecture of the caliber 9012, three-dimensional, symmetrical, oblique and openwork. The barrel, gear, winding, escapement and balance bridges are all skeletonized and feature slender geometric shapes.

The Central Impulse Chronometer’s technical excellence and strength of design are underscored by accomplished craftsmanship and exceptional finishes. The model is available in white gold in two limited series of 25 pieces each, one with a dark blue dial and with a rhodium-plated dial.

“All of us at Lederer Watches and our partners around the world share in this recognition, which comes at a time when our brand is experiencing a tremendous revival,” Lederer continued in accepting the award. 

“Besides demonstrating that our capacity for creativity and excellence has remained intact and is more vibrant than ever, this Innovation Prize is a magnificent motivation for us to keep pushing boundaries!” he concluded.

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