For 325 years, pocket watches and their later cousins, wristwatches, have derived their pendulum-free time-keeping ability from the balance wheel/escapment mechanism (which takes advantage of isochronism, same as a pendulum), an invention attributed to British horologist Robert Hooke (erroneously credited to Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens until the discovery of a missing manuscript in 2006) in the 17th century.

But something momentous has happened recently that marks the start of a new era of watchmaking. Zenith has unveiled a new mechanism but with 30 fewer parts, a much higher frequency, lower amplitude and a longer spread of consistant power delivery, meaning even higher accuracy. Zenith’s new Defy watches employing the new Caliber ZO 342 movement are around €30,000 currently but as time goes by the price of movements are expected to go down to around €1000 each and will begin to rival quartz watches for accuracy, for the first time ever.