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Keyless Watches

Keyless Watches

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Published by Aleksandar
Keyless Watches history
Keyless Watches history

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Published by: Aleksandar on Jul 11, 2009
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07/11/2009

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KEYLESS WATCHESA watch may be made to wind without a key in several ways. One plan is to put a kind of gathering click to the handle knob, which pushes in and takeshold of a ratchet set on the barrel, or the fusee if there is one, and windsit up as you pull the handle out again. But this was very liable to get outof order, and was also objectionable because it pumped air into the watch,which produced condensation of moisture; and the following plan (fig. 78)was invented by a foreigner and adopted by Dent and some other makers: dis a wheel set on a ratchet on the barrel arbor, so that it will only turn the barrel the right way (there is not room to introduce this machinery in fuseewatches of the common size); c in the left hand figure is an intermediateoblique bevelled wheel between d and a pinion b on the handle. It is evidenttherefore that if you turn the handle a the right way you will wind up thewatch, and if you turn it the wrong way you will do no harm.But besides this you can set the hands by the handle; for there is a smallwheel e on the hand arbor with another f by the side of it on a lever fgh, by which that intermediate wheel can be thrown into gear with d as well ase, the lever coming through the side of the watch-case; and then it is clear that by turning the handle either way you can turn the hands. If you haveto turn the same way as serves to wind the watch you do also wind it a little(and therefore if it is fully wound you cannot set the hands that way); butif the other way, then you do not move the barrel, as the wheel d slips onthe ratchet.Another keyless watch, by Mr. Kulberg, described imperfectly in theHorological Journal of April 1869, appears to be now more generally usedthan that just described. I cannot a
ord space here for more than a state-ment of its principle, and a fuller description would be of no particular useto anybody. The wheel d in the last figure is driven by the pinion b in the pendant, without the oblique bevelled wheel, and that wheel d (for setting)drives another, and that other the centre or cannon pinion of the minutehand, in much the same way as in Dent’s when pushed into gear. But thewinding is done di
erently. The wheel d is set on what is called a platform,having a sideway motion something like a remontoire frame in a large clock;and the first thing turning the knob and wheel does is to move the platforma little (when it is not pushed into gear for setting) so as to move itself intogear with the fusee, which it then proceeds to wind. The platform is keptout of the way generally by a spring, so that neither the fusee nor the centre pinion istouched by either of the wheels on the platform.Mr. A. L. Dennison patented another keyless watch, which is fully de-scribed in his Specification, No. 356 of 1872. There are also other methods(see Horological Journal, April 1874). The advantages of these modes of winding and hand-setting are that the watch has never to be opened, whichlets air and dust in, and so the back requires no hinge, which never worksquite air-tight, but snaps on as a separate piece; and also that the inner caseor ‘dome’ is saved.
 
Self-winding watch.—Napoleon I. had a watch which wound itself upas he walked, by means of a weighted lever with a slight spring under it,which danced up and down at every step, and had a click taking into aratchet on the barrel.Pedometer.—A similar lever may be made to drive a train like a watchtrain, but without any escapement, and then it in fact counts the number of your steps and indicates them on a dial. You can adjust it for the number of steps which you usually take in a mile, and then it measures the distance youwalk, in a rough and approximate way; but it ought to be understood thatit is really nothing but a step-counter, and unless it is properly adjusted,and you are walking at the rate for which it is set, it is worth nothing for measuring distances accurately.Stop watches.—It is sometimes convenient to have the means of mark-ing a short interval between two observations with a watch, or to mark theexact time of an observation without looking o
the thing you are watch-ing. Several contrivances have been invented for this, most or all of theminvolving some kind of duplication of the seconds hand. In one there are twoseconds hands on concentric arbors connected by a very weak spiral spring,and when you push in a pin one of them is stopped, while the other willgo on for some seconds without the connecting spring having force enoughto stop the watch. But this is clearly objectionable, and a better plan isto have the two hands or their arbors connected by a sort of eccentric or heart-shaped piece acted on by a spring which brings them together againeither forward or backward, through whichever is less than half a revolution.Several watches of di
erent constructions, on this split-seconds plan were ex-hibited in 1851, and others have been invented since, called ‘chronographs,’and other names.One of them is of this kind, so far as I can describe it here. Pushing ina pin for a moment drives on a ratchet wheel with a few square teeth half a tooth-space; and that raises (as we may say) a spring lever, which carriesa pinion with a disc or ‘roller’ on it (which is always going with the train)into frictional contact with another disc on the arbor of the extra secondshand, which is thus set going with the train. Pushing in the pin a secondtime drives the ratchet wheel another half space, and so lets the lever fallagain, into a space between two teeth, and takes the discs out of contact,and might leave the hand standing at whatever point it has reached: whichmight be useful for some purposes, but is not in fact done; because it is of more consequence to have the hand returned to 0, and you can look where ithas reached before returning it. That is done thus:—the second movement of the pin also brings a ‘jumperspring to bear on the heart-shaped piece whichis fixed on the hand arbor (as before described), and so sends it backward or forward to 0 according as it is left before or after 30 sec., or half way roundthe dial.In watches of this kind, at least in some shown to me by Lund & Blockleyof Pall Mall, the stop-seconds hand is central, which gives it the benefit of the full size of the dial, and enables the space of each ordinary minute
 
to be subdivided into fractions of a second corresponding to the time of vibration of the balance. For this reason also a single beat escapement, likethe chronometer or lever-chronometer or duplex, is not so good for thesesplit-seconds as a double beat one, such as the lever or horizontal or theold vertical, in which the scapewheel moves equally for every beat of the balance, and not only for alternate ones. The falling of a small time-ballin a suitable frame (see p. 115) is easily made to push in the pin the firsttime, and when you take up the watch afterwards you see by the di
erence between the two seconds hands how much it is before or after Greenwichtime.There is also another perfectly di
erent plan, which enables you to makea mark on the dial at the exact time when you push in the pin at the timeof observation. In fig. 79, DD is the dial of a large watch, with the secondshand EAB in the middle: the hand is double, and the lower piece of it endsin a little spoon with some thick ink in it and a hole in the bottom throughwhich a point from the upper hand EAB can pass and make a mark on thedial. That hand is pulled down very suddenly by a lever DPC which slipsover a stop of a shape di
cult to describe, being pushed in by the knob K,and is immediately thrown out of contact again with the link AC, by meansof which it pulls down the hand.Dials of watches and of small clocks are either made of gold or silver (which soon tarnishes) or of copper covered with enamel, which is a kind of glass. Such dials with black hands are more distinct than any other kind,and if the black figures are burnt in with black enamel, the dials would beeverlasting and never want painting. I noticed the absurdity of gold hands ongilt dials before, at p. 96. Some of the public clocks in Paris have enamelleddials, which are far more expensive than white glass ones would be.Watch cases.—I am not aware that there is anything else of a rudimen-tary character, or belonging to the principles of watchmaking, which requiresnotice. Minute details of watchmaking can be learnt by nothing but expe-rience; whereas clockmaking is easily learnt by any person of mechanicalability. Case-making is not horology, and I have nothing to say about it,except that the cases of what are called hunting watches, which fly openwith a spring when you press the handle, cannot be so close against air anddirt, as those which snap tight together. Persons who are afraid of breakingtheir watch-glasses, may be tolerably safe with ‘half hunting watches,’ whichhave only a small and strong glass in the middle of the cap, which may thenfit tight, and need never be opened except when the hands want altering.The closeness of the case makes a great di
erence in the time a watch willgo without cleaning. They generally want at least cleaning about every twoyears; though very good ones, with all the escapement work jewelled andwell-made, will go 4 or 5 years with no material variation of rate, which Ithink may be regarded as one of the greatest triumphs of mechanical art.At the same time it should be remembered that letting either watches or clocks go too long without being cleaned and oiled is very bad economy; for 

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