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Academy Christophe Colomb

"Gravity Control" gyroscopic module

Stemming from five years of intense development, this complication represents one of the major landmarks in 21st century watchmaking: the gyroscopic module named “Gravity Control”, a revolutionary system patented by Zenith. It is certainly no coincidence that the Academy Christophe Colomb Équation du Temps won the 2011 “Best Complicated Watch Prize”, the star category in the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix which is the most highly coveted international award in the watchmaking world.


Working on the principle that maintaining the regulating organ in a horizontal position results in the best possible balance amplitude and thus generates enhanced timekeeping precision, Zenith devised a self-regulating gyroscopic module designed to ensure that the regulating organ and balance are permanently kept in this position.

A technical feat unique in the world bearing the Zenith signature
A tribute to the brand’s history and origins, the “Gravity Control” gyroscopic module is inspired by the marine chronometers that Zenith used to produce and from which it has borrowed the principle of gimbal suspension that served to correct the variations in rate resulting from the pitch and roll of a ship.

Calibre El Primero 8804

Academy Christophe Colomb

Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane

Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane

Calibre El Primero 8804

Calibre El Primero 8804

Later, when the first pocket watches appeared, this system that was far too bulky for a timepiece measuring just a few dozen millimeters was jettisoned in favor of the tourbillon. On a pocket watch, as on a wristwatch, the tourbillon corrects the vertical positions by equalizing them out along four vertical axes every minute. Inclined or multi-axis tourbillons establish more positions, even if they are only briefly held in the horizontal position and merely correct the sum of several errors induced by wrist movements.

The ultimate guarantee of precision for a wristwatch thus consists of equipping it with a constant horizontal escapement that surpasses tourbillon mechanisms. That is exactly the feat accomplished by Zenith with its “Gravity Control” gyroscopic module. A feat unique in the world, especially since Zenith has pushed the limits of complexity still further by making its Academy Christophe Colomb movements beat at the exceptional frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour.

With its Gravity Control gyroscopic module,
Zenith has pushed the limits of complexity even further

The gyroscopic module involved the development of unusual parts, of which the making called for the creation of no less than 60 new tools. The number of miniature elements that must then be assembled is truly impressive, since the sphere alone is composed of 175 parts. Such an exceptional technical challenge could never have been met without the mastery of a Manufacture uniting the full range of watchmaking capabilities under one roof. A fine example of how a perfectly symbiotic relationship between skills and workshops devoted to technical matters, design, R&D, materials, Fine watchmaking, prototype making, casing-up and decoration combine to make the impossible happen.

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