Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas

The Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Ref. 1770MM45.10.D.B expertly blends seemingly disparate elements to form a harmonious whole. Furthermore, this timepiece, imbued with a high quotient of ingenuity, reinforces the maison’s reputation for enlightened horology.

This detailed review of the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Manufacture_Royale_1770_ Micromegas_wrist - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

As a resident of a small, quiet village in Lancashire, I find the occasional trip to my nation’s capital confers much excitement. London, the famous metropolis which attracts hordes of tourists, brims with culture and history. Moreover, its restaurants and retail stores are among the finest anywhere.

Navigating the underground, negotiating congested pavements and simply coping with the frenetic pace of the city proves manageable for a few days. However, permanent residence in London would probably prove too exhausting for me, a middle-aged Northerner who balks at the extortionate price charged for a cup of coffee in the capital.

Conversely, I have visited several remote enclaves of the United Kingdom and delighted in the quiet, calming tempo. The verdant views of a secluded rural retreat can soothe the most anxious soul. Moreover, a few days consuming home-cooked food, made with locally sourced ingredients, provides a fitting accompaniment to any romantic break. However, I freely admit that spending prolonged periods in the back of beyond would swell my waistline and ultimately lead to the onset of boredom.

Therefore, it would seem that secret to a harmonious life is to optimally blend the presto pace of city living with the adagio beat of country life. Those individuals in the know, choose to achieve this favourable balance by dwelling in a city ‘crash pad’ during the week and then escaping to an idyllic, rural ‘pied-à-terre’ for extended weekend relaxation.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_side - ESCAPEMENT magazine - horology website by Angus Davies

By blending two seemingly disparate rhythms, a synergistic outcome is likely. Indeed, I am reminded of this fact whilst cradling the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas in my appreciative hands.

The name Micromegas is a compound of the words ‘micro’ (small) and ‘megas’ (large), referencing two tourbillon cages positioned in the lower portion of the dial. One cage makes a full revolution every 6 seconds, while its neighbour completes one revolution every 60 seconds. The two regulating organs are connected by a ‘torque stabiliser which receives energy from the barrel. The regulating organs are therefore in direct contact with the source of the power’. This specification detail mitigates energy loss. Moreover, by linking the two tourbillons, which rotate at different speeds, any errors affecting either regulating organ will be averaged, hence aiding precision.

The notion of a two-speed double flying tourbillon, a first in watchmaking, is a perfect illustration of the innovative and enlightened horology that emerges from Manufacture Royale’s atelier in Vallorbe.

The dial

A grey coloured sea, adorned with Geneva waves, provides a charming dial canvas on which time is artistically depicted. The golden open-worked hour and minute hands provide minimal visual obstruction of the detail beneath and impart a lustrous, warm appearance.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_dial - ESCAPEMENT magazine - hands-on watch reviews by Angus Davies

Spanning the dial is a stylised curved plate which proclaims the watch company’s nomen. In addition, this plate accords delineation between the northerly section of the dial and the large aperture in the lower portion of the dial which accords sight of both tourbillons at play.

Admiring the two tourbillons in motion proves hypnotic. The left hand flying tourbillon is comparatively busy, rotating 10 times every minute. Indeed, its frenetic tempo reminds me of a London resident sans coat, avoiding rain showers in April. Alternatively, the right hand flying tourbillon makes one full revolution every 60 seconds, moving with a slow gait, like a visitor to Devon who has consumed too many cream teas.

Each tourbillon is equipped with a silicon escape wheel, adding a soupçon of purple tone to the mechanical landscape.

Viewing both tourbillons from above reveals three, double-spoke arms, each terminating with a hexagonal form. The six-sided shape is employed ubiquitously throughout the Micromegas.

A chapter ring, consisting of small white dots, graces the upper dial area from 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock.

The dial vista, despite exposing much mechanical complexity, proves a handsome exemplar of clear communication.

The case

The case of the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas is presented in 18-carat rose gold. Its construction is fascinating. The bezel is notched, coquettishly toying with ambient light and, as a result, producing interesting shades.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_case - ESCAPEMENT magazine - Watch reviews by Angus Davies

Brancards are affixed to the round profile of the case with screws, framed with hexagonal bolt-like appendages. They extend beyond the case, forming curved lugs that draw the strap close to the case.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_crown - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_caseband - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch articles by Angus Davies

An exhibition case back reveals the Calibre MR04, the in-house self winding movement.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_caseback - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

The movement

The frequency of the balance spring fitted to each tourbillon is different. The ‘Micro’ rotates 10 times per minute and has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz). On the other hand, the ‘Megas’ rotates once per minute and has a frequency of 21,600 vph (3Hz). Clearly, the idea of a tourbillon is to negate gravitational errors by rotating the escapement within a cage and, in so doing, aid precision. By combining two tourbillons, both working at different speeds, the accuracy is further enhanced.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_movement - ESCAPEMENT magazine - horological news by Angus Davies

Another welcome attribute of the Calibre MR04 is its incredibly long power reserve of 80 hours. Whilst some watches may run autonomously for longer periods, tourbillons tend to quaff more energy. Furthermore, the prodigious power reserve of this movement is even more impressive as two tourbillons should, in theory, consume greater energy. However, I should not be surprised by the profound talents of this movement as I have toured this Swiss watch company’s extensive and impressive production facilities.

Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas_movement2 - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch reviews by Angus Davies

The technical feats of this watch could lead me to overlook the finishing of the movement which would be a glaring omission on my part as the finissage is exceptional. On one hand, traditions are respected. For example, the mainplate is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, the open-worked oscillating mass and bridges are beautifully beveled and numerous screws gleam with a wondrous shine. Conversely, ‘conventional jewels are replaced by ceramic ball bearings’, again revealing an avant-garde approach to watchmaking when technically beneficial. Rest assured, close inspection of the movement reveals sublime execution and justification for the various approaches taken.

Closing remarks

The Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas is an eye-catching timepiece that commands attention. Its 45mm rose gold case sparkles with style whilst comfortably embracing the wrist.

The double flying tourbillon is a triumph of engineering and manifestly demonstrates the Swiss maison’s technical proficiency. However, to merely focus on the mechanical virtuosity of this watch would be to overlook its many other attributes.

Examining the movement reveals matchless finissage. Furthermore, the peerless polishing is not restricted merely to the Calibre MR04, but extends to the fascinating case with its blend of satin-finished and polished surfaces. Indeed, this watch combines several seemingly dissimilar elements. For example, the case employs a mixture of linear edges and curving forms that fuse together to form a harmonious appearance.

‘Harmonious’ is a word I frequently utter when discussing the Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas. Observing the two-speed double flying tourbillons shows that a mix of fast and slow tempos can lead to a harmonious life, vindicating the actions of those city dwellers who escape to the countryside each weekend.

Technical specification

  • Model: Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas
  • Reference: 1770MM45.10.D.B
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 45mm; height 11.8mm; water resistant to 30 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes.
  • Movement: Calibre MR04; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800vph (4Hz) for the Micro and 21,600vph (3Hz) for the Megas; 26 jewels; power reserve 80 hours
  • Strap: Brown alligator leather strap presented on a gold folding clasp
  • Price: CHF 165,000 (RRP as at 14.6.2016)

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