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Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos Clocks

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One of the oldest unachievable romantic goals in mechanics is the creation of a perpetual machine. That is, a machine that would work in perpetuity without need for human intervention. Physics has long confirmed that such a machine is impossible, due in part to the fact that, while energy cannot be destroyed, any attempt to recycle it typically results in some loss, e.g., friction, heat, and other natural phenomenon. 

But what if I told you that in watchmaking, Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) has created one such machine, a perpetual clock that works without any intervention from the owner and will keep accurate time “forever” with  minimal maintenance. It’s called the Atmos clock and has been an object of such passion and success of the Le Sentier brand that it’s a common gift from the Swiss government in diplomatic settings and situations. And JLC has continuously produced the famed clock since 1921. Let’s explore why you also should want to add an Atmos clock to your collection.

Brief history

It’s been a long time dream in mechanics to create a perpetually working machine and thus also a perpetual clock or watch. That is could one create a time mechanism that once it was filled with energy was so efficient that it would not require any more as it could recycle the existing energy and use it again and again. 

 

Of course, Physics quickly showed this is not possible since it takes energy to keep a watch working in increasingly more so as the movement dissipates the captured energy. But could one use the environment to recapture or add more energy to the system? That’s exactly what the JLC Atmos achieves in a very elegant fashion. 

Atmos technology

The Atmos technology is in one word: amazing. It’s almost the ideal solution to the elusive perpetual movement dream. Essentially, JLC created a movement that is so efficient in its escapement that once wound, it can go on telling time forever. The trick is that while the clock uses some energy to move the hands and dates and moon indicator, the movement is automatically re-wound (gathers new energy) by an ingenious mechanism that takes advantage of the difference in temperature where the clock is located during the day.

The trick to the Atmos clock is that during the day, the temperature in most places (due to the sun or other reasons) will vary, even slightly. And this variation, or gradient in temperature, can be used to affect materials or better gases that will expand and contract depending on the temperature difference experienced. Using this natural phenomenon, JLC created a way for the movement to be rewound automatically. And because the movement is extremely efficient, 60 million of Atmos require 15 watts of energy, while also being very accurate, the JLC Atmos remains a reliable perpetual clock that one can use effectively at home or in an office.

Models

JLC currently makes three models of the Atmos clock. This also includes over the years, a few specialized and limited edition models. Let’s explore each category of Atmos clock in a little bit more details.

Classic

The classic model is simply hour and minute. It is built in brass and glass. It includes what constitutes the core Atmos movement. Requiring just X degree in temperature variation to be able to accumulate enough energy for 2 days. It comes in nickel and yellow and rose gold plated variations. It’s the simple clock you’d want to have at home or in your office to tell you the time and never have to worry about.

Classic with Moonphase

The next model includes a moon phase which as always for this complication is an emotional addition rather than one with direct utility. And true to the manufacturer's expertise and savoir faire, the moon is accurate to one day in over 3,000 years. And as per many watches or clocks that keep track of the moon, you also have the month and the day. So a partial calendar. It requires adjusting every other month, but a small excuse to interact with the clock monthly.

Special editions

Over the years, JLC created a few special Atmos models by collaborating with different artists. In particular and still in limited production, is the Atmos 568 clock Marc Newsom edition which uses a complete rounded glass enclosure to better show the special clock in all its grandeur and glory. The glass is also hand-blown in Baccarat crystal and represents the ultimate enclosure for the beautiful rare mechanism it protects.

Atmos Clock as Gift

As mentioned before, the Atmos clock is such a great encapsulation of the Swiss patrimoine that the Switzerland government has a well known history of gifting Atmos clock to dignitaries. Indeed, it’s a special object that lasts a lifetime and is useful in any room. It’s also the perfect gift for watch aficionados who have an extensive collection and are perhaps in need of something different.

The Atmos displays JLC’s incredible achievement in watchmaking with over 1,242 movement calibers, with over 400 patents, in over 187 years. JLC’s nickname as the “watchmaker’s watchmaker” is well deserved and shown in plain sight with every Atmos clock. Get one today to complement your collection or to complete the collection of a loved one. It’s an unbeatable and perpetual gift.

 

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