C3H5N3O9 is quite a weird name for a watch brand, unless you’re a chemist, than you’ll know that it’s the molecular formula of nitroglycerine. When the creative minds from MB&F and Urwerk sit down together to let their imagination go wild, the results are bombastic. The Experiment ZR012 is their latest creation, inspired by the Wankel engine, resulting in the first watch to use epicycloid indications.
When C3H5N3O9 – the molecular formula for nitroglycerine – launched Experiment ZR012 last year, nobody, including MB&F and Urwerk, the partners behind the project, had any idea of what might happen. C3H5N3O9 was (and is) an experiment in the real sense of the word and nothing similar had been attempted before.
As it turned out, the experiment was a fantastic success and the reception (and demand) was beyond all expectations.
Experiment ZR012 by C3H5N3O9 features Wankel engine inspired hour and minute indications in an asymmetrical zirconium case with articulated and compound lugs.
At first glance the time appears to be indicated by centrally rotating triangular rotors; however, the triangles are actually Reuleaux polygons; they rotate eccentrically rather than centrally and track complex epitrochroid curves rather than circles. The system was inspired by the Wankel engine, which features orbital Reuleaux polygon rotors rather than the reciprocating pistons that power the majority of our cars and machines today.
C3H5N3O9 is a platform created by Felix Baumgartner, Maximilian Büsser, Martin Frei and Serge Kriknoff to experiment with concepts, ideas and creations without the inherent limitations of a luxury brand.
Indications: Experiment ZRO12 indicates hours and minutes with two Wankel engine inspired eccentric rotating Reuleaux polygons (triangular-shaped rotors). Hours are indicated by the lower rotor along the front of the ‘dial’, while minutes are indicated by the smaller upper rotor.
Epitrochoid curves: Time is by the tips of the Reuleaux polygon rotors tracing epitrochoid curves. To create the complex shape of the hour and minute epitrochoid curves with the high precision required 180 separate points were plotted. There is tolerance of just o.2omm between the triangular rotors – the special shape is actually called a Reuleaux polygon – and the hour and minute marked epitrochoids surrounding them.
Complication: The Reuleaux polygon (triangular-shaped) rotors are eccentric, i.e. not mounted directly to the central ‘crankshaft’ and they demand considerable time, skill and patience to set up correctly in assembly process. To ensure extremely high precision adjustment the fixed wheels can be rotated slightly (then re-fixed) to allow fine adjustment and synchronised precision between the hour and minute indicators.
Case: The Experiment ZR012 case is made from zirconium, which is derived from the mineral zircon. Visually zirconium is similar to titanium and is highly resistant to corrosion.
The case dimensions are 55mm x 44mm (excluding lugs). The articulated rear lug and compound front lug wrap ergonomically around the wrist and ensure a high level of comfort.
Power reserve indicator: Turning Experiment ZR012 over reveals the power reserve indicator. The movement has autonomy of 39 hours and is wound by a large screw down crown.
Experiment ZR012 is an edition of 12 pieces in zirconium and 12 pieces in black zirconium.
Hours and minutes are indicated by two Wankel engine inspired Reuleaux polygon rotors tracing epitrochoid curves
Dimensions without lugs: 55mm x 44mm
Case and lugs: natural zirconium or black zirconium case with titanium lugs. The black zirconium will be available in the second half of 2013
Number of case components: 60
Compound front lug, articulated rear lug
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment both sides
Water resistance: 30m – 100’ – 3atm
Strap and buckle: Brown calf leather strap. Titanium and white gold folding buckle.
Movement dimensions: 32.65mm x: 41.35mm: 11.55 mm
Number of components: 328
Number of jewels: 42
Power reserve: 39h
Balance frequency: 28’800
Finishing: satin finishing, sandblasted, circular graining on movement, black PVD treated components, black ruthenium treated components
Number of plots to create epitrochoids for hours and minutes: 180
Tolerance between hour and minute indication rotors and inside of epitrochoids: 0.20mm