Diamond encrusted watches use world's smallest mechanical movement
Fancy Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre has released a couple of new squillion-dollar, super tiny timepieces – the Snowdrop and the Bangle – featuring a 91-year-old mechanical movement that's still the world's smallest.
The miniature, hand-wound Calibre 101 mechanism, which debuted all the way back in 1929, weighs just a hair over one gram (0.035 oz), and measures just 14 x 4.8 x 3.4 mm (0.55 x 0.2 x 0.13 in). At the time, brain surgery was still 15 years away from graduating to the "ice pick lobotomy" stage, so presumably people with hands that steady needed something productive to do with them.
It certainly doesn't need to be much smaller to function as a watch; indeed, you'll probably need to keep a magnifying glass handy to make sure you're not going to miss The Bachelor. So in the intervening 91 years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has continued to make the Calibre 101 movement, and nobody's managed to make one smaller. Thus, it's not only the smallest watch movement in the world, but one of the oldest to still be in production.
The company has now designed two new homes for this itsy-bitsy thing, in the Snowdrop and the Bangle. The former festoons two gold bands with some 904 diamonds totaling 20.9 carats, and the latter encrusts an asymmetrical wristband with 996 diamonds totaling 19.7 carats.
Amusingly, the Snowdrop looks like a bangle to me, and the Bangle looks a bit more like an octopus tentacle in the close-ups. Either would do nicely for a nice night out at the local Hooters or a rap video shoot. Jaeger-LeCoultre plans to restrict manufacture to just a few dozen a year "to grace the wrists of exceptional women," so here's hoping my Nanna finds one in the post soon.
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