What is a Nivachron balance spring?

What is a Nivachron balance spring?

Anyone on the hunt for a new watch may have noticed some watch descriptions mentioning a ‘Nivachron balance spring’. Or, alternatively, you may have seen it written as ‘Nivachron hairspring’. But have you ever wondered what exactly a Nivachron balance spring is, and why it’s important? Today, we aim to dispel any mystery surrounding the Nivachron balance spring as well as introduce our favourite models with it. 

First of all, what’s a balance spring? 

As we have previously covered in our hand-wound and automatic movement guides, there are many crucial parts in any mechanical watch mechanism. 

The balance spring, or hairspring, is one of these essential components. Essentially, it’s a small metal spring wound with around 12 or 15 turns. For a sense of scale, it usually measures around 0.02mm in thickness, which is even finer than a human hair. 

In short, the balance spring is needed to keep a mechanical watch beating at the same steady pace. Part of the oscillating system, the balance spring is attached to the balance wheel. Thanks to its elasticity, this spring causes the balance wheel to oscillate with a resonant frequency. In turn, this regulates the pace of the watch’s hand which keeps them ticking on time. 

However, be careful not to confuse it with the other types of springs in a mechanical movement. For example, the balance spring is different from the mainspring, which is the part that tightens when winding the watch. Where the mainspring stores energy to be used to drive the hands, the balance spring acts as more of a regulatory component. 

So, what is a Nivachron balance spring? And why is it special?

In comparison to the invention of the balance spring itself, which dates back to the 17th century, Nivachron is an incredibly recent technology. 

Introduced in 2018 by Audemars Piguet and Swatch Group, the Nivachron balance spring is a revolutionary type of balance spring made from a titanium alloy of the same name. As a material, the alloy Nivachron boasts many beneficial properties. These include anti-magnetism, resistance to temperature fluctuations, and outstanding shock resistance. 

Of course, all of these properties are incredibly invaluable when it comes to balance springs. Since their job is to regulate the movement of the watch, preventing external interference is paramount to keep the watch functioning accurately. Otherwise, the time can easily be thrown off without the user realising. 

However, the Nivachron balance spring was not the first resistant balance spring of its kind. Sharing many of the same properties as Nivachron, silicon balance springs were previously a popular and resistant choice. But, their main drawback was the hefty price tag accompanying them. Comparatively, Nivachron balance springs are far more affordable, meaning they can be used in timepieces across a broader spectrum of price ranges. 

Intrigued to see some examples and brands that use Nivachron? We have rounded up a handful of our favourites below!

Our Current Favourite Nivachron Watches

Hamilton Jazzmaster Skeleton Automatic (40mm) White Dial / Green Leather H42535810

What is a Nivachron balance spring?

With an intricately cut skeleton dial at its centre, the Hamilton Jazzmaster Skeleton Automatic shows off the brand’s exclusive H-10-S calibre automatic movement. Equipped with a Nivachron balance spring for added protection, this calibre also has an impressive 80-hour power reserve. Encasing the movement is a 40mm stainless steel case, which also provides up to 50 metres of water resistance. 

Surrounding its beautiful skeletonised centre, rose gold tapered indices adorn the dial. To match, anchored to the centre are three rose gold hands. For improved legibility, the indices and two of the hands feature a luminescent inlay.  Finally, topping off the model is a stunning green calf leather strap. Both beautiful and reliable, the Jazzmaster Skeleton Auto is a dreamy all-rounder. 

Tissot PRX 40 205 40mm Powermatic 80 Blue Dial Stainless Steel T1374071104100 / T137.407.11.041.00

Tissot’s PRX line is renowned for its vintage-inspired silhouette. And, with its beautiful 1970s-style block-textured blue dial it’s easy to see why. At its centre, it features three silver-tone hands, two of which have a luminescent inlay for improved night-time legibility. Encircling them are slim baton indices, which match in tone. With the 40mm case integrating seamlessly into the matching bracelet, the watch has a cohesive overall finish. 

But beneath the surface, there’s also lots to be admired. At the heart of the model, a POWERMATIC 80.111 automatic calibre powers the watch. In addition to the benefit of the antimagnetic Nivachron balance spring, it has an 80-hour power reserve and 23 jewels. Moreover, thanks to the model’s robust casing, it’s protected from up to 100 metres of water resistance. So, if you’re not already compelled by the PRX’s retro charm, its reliable movement should definitely sway you. 

RADO Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton R32148162 / R32.148.16.2

What is a Nivachron balance spring?

The Rado Captain Cook also offers the opportunity to see a Nivachron balance spring movement in action through its transparent dial. Upon it, chunky bronze-tone luminescent indices and matching hands stand out against the exposed movement. Foregrounding their colour further, a 43mm rhodium-grey high-tech ceramic case frames the dial. Meanwhile, a ridged edge bronze-tone bezel with a grey ceramic insert sits on top of it. Finally, tying the design together, a high-tech ceramic bracelet secures it to the wrist.  

As visible through the dial and sapphire crystal-enclosed exhibition case back, an automatic mechanical movement beats beneath the surface. Demonstrating incredible stamina, this calibre also has an impressive power reserve of up to 80 hours. Additionally, attesting to its durability, the watch is also water resistant up to 300 metres or 30 bars. With a beautiful skeletonised design and impressive durability, this Rado is the perfect closing contender to our blog for today. 

We hope that this short guide helped you out in learning what a Nivachron balance spring is! But, if there are other questions we haven’t already answered, drop us a comment below and we will be sure to assist.

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