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Mechanical Watch FAQ V1.0
By The TimeZone Community Compiled by Ed Hahn

Here's my initial cut at a mechanical watch FAQ. As you can see, it's largely a pointer to many of the fine articles contributed to the forum by the community over the years. That being said, if there are any errors on this page

tself, they are the fault of the compiler (i.e. me) and not the fault of the other contributors.

Legalese: This FAQ is intended to be informative, and is not intended to supersede any manufacturer's nstructions for service or operation of watches. No warranty is expressed or implied. Really, I wouldn't kid you about this.

Please send additions / corrections to ehahn@alum.mit.edu.

Questions answered in this FAQ

Part 0: What is in this FAQ?

Part I: Watch / Movement basics

1.1 What is a mechanical watch? 1.1.1 What is the difference between a movement, ebauche, and caliber 1.1.2 What is a "hack" seconds feature? 1.1.3 What does "17 jewels" mean? 1.1.4 Why do they use synthetic ruby? 1.1.5 Are more jewels better? 1.1.6 What is shock protection? 1.1.7 What is the "T", "T‹25", and the lower-case Greek sigma on my dial mean? What is a MecaQuartz? What is an Accutron? What do I need to do to keep a mechanical watch running for a lifetime? Why should I get a mechanical watch when a quartz watch is so much cheaper and more accurate?

1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5

2.1 What's the difference between a "manual" and an "automatic"? 2.2 How does an automatic mechanism work? 2.2.1 Are the Seiko Kinetic / Autoquartz therefore automatics? 2.3 What is a watch winder, and do I need one?

Part II: Brands & Accuracy

3.1. What is the best watch made? Is it [insert brand here]? 3.2 How accurate can I expect an [insert brand here] to be? 3.2.1 What does "adjusted" vs. "unadjusted" vs. "regulated" mean?

Part III: Features

4.1 What is a chronometer? What is a chronograph? 4.2 What is a Rattrapante? 4.3 What is a Flyback? 4.4 What is a Column-Wheel? 4.4.1 Are Column-Wheel chronographs better than other types? 4.5 What was the first automatic chronograph movement? What is a complication? What's a Reserve de Marche? What's a Perpetual Calendar?

5.1 5.2 5.3

or PE-CVD mean? What does Gold-Filled mean? What are some other materials used as watch cases? How do I remove scratches from my watch? This FAQ sucked! Where can I get better answers? 6.1 8. nor will it tell you where to get the best deal on a Rado. some of which are not verified. t is not a buyer's guide. or even how the TimeZone Forum works.2 8. There is a short discussion of watch brands and accuracy (mainly to dispell the belief that the two are strongly linked). all errors on this particular page are mine. PART I: Watch / Movement Basics What is a mechanical watch? 1. it does not talk about many other important issues. Also. it does not concentrate on any particular brand (other than as examples).1 A mechanical watch is a device for keeping time. mineral. Furthermore. what does that mean? What do PVD. and sapphire crystals? How do I remove the scratches from an acrylic crystal? If a watch is advertised as "18K". such as how the watch industry works. Mechanical watches typically can run for about 40 hours on one full winding of the mainspring. they are sometimes easier or .1 7. I also have tried to add a bit of spice and atmosphere o the discussion. with a few designs available with up to 8 days.5 What's a Tourbillon? What's a Repeater? Part IIII: Materials Should I be concerned about radium on a vintage watch dial? How about Tritium? What's the difference between acrylic. or even 10 days. CVD. (Like animals. where appropriate. and I will correct them if you point them out. but otherwise. which uses the energy from a wound spring.4 5. the Illustrated Glossary of Watch Parts is the definitive guide to see schematics of parts in their natural habitat. of power reserve. Finally.5.1 7.3 9. of how a watch works can be found in the Horologium article "The Anchor Escapement". with photographs.2 10. it may be useful to peruse a diagram of watch parts residing in the TimeZone archives to familiarize yourself with the lingo. to better communicate some of he ideas in here. It differs from the typical quartz watch in that it uses purely mechanical components to keep time. A more in-depth technical explanation.2 8. please let me know if this is a faux pas. plan to upgrade the FAQ from time to time with illustrations.1 Part 0: What is in this FAQ? This FAQ is intended to cover the basics of watches and movements themselves. While it is based on the contributions of many sources. and keeps time hrough the highly regulated release of that energy through a set of gears (the wheel train) and an escapement.1 9.

An ebauche is typically understood to mean a "raw" or unassembled. ETA. Some watch companies will purchase an ebauche from a major supplier. and encase it with their own or even contractorsupplied cases. from very raw parts to fully finished movements complete with Geneva stripes and other decoration. and add custom components like an upgraded escapement assembly . even if it is completely assembled. Therefore.where the watch company claims to use "in-house" movements when the movements are in no way designed or manufactured internally. Other companies purchase ebauches. Finally. not ncluding the case or dial itself. much like how Carroll Shelby. What has changed is he use of high technology and modern materials in the design and manufacture of watches. when the crown is pulled out o the time-setting position. A.e. finish he parts). They even have a subsidiary. Many times.1. and titanium nitride cases. This debate is summed up quite nicely in the article "When a Valjoux] 7750 ain't a 7750 any longer" by Time Flies and a host of regulars. the company will rename the caliber as its own to reflect the modifications and finishing of the movement vs. or it can be hidden . electrospark erosion in the manufacturing. that can perform custom finishing and even modifications to he basic movement. collectively they are an obsession shared by the enthusiasts on TimeZone. on TZ it is common to see the word ebauche used to refer to any third party movement. to allow for more accurate synchronization between two watches. engrave their company's name and other information onto them. modify parts of the movement. there is by no means a single level of quality that one can ascribe to an ETA movement . Soprod.to create what might be called a custom version of hat movement. and assemble it with standard parts to create a higher quality-controlled movement than the stock eady-made movement. Even with the fusion of CAD/CAM. and the art of handweaking movements for optimum performance. including brakes on the third or ourth wheel. bridges) and sometimes parts of the wheel train and other moving parts. polish and decorate the parts (i.there are basic versions all the way up to fully finished ones. including the major structural components (plates. can provide a wide variety of inishes on its products.1 What is the difference between a movement. thus causing the movement to stop. finish them to a high standard. In the most common type of hacking watch.where the company acknowledges that the movements are not of heir own design or manufacture. attention-to-detail in finishing and assembly. A caliber is the collective name given to a series of movements of the same design.) The basic design of mechanical watches has not changed very much in the past fifty years. John Davis has seen other methods used to stop the movement as well. or BMW's "M" division re-engineer existing automobiles to produce something with higher performance and exclusiveness.2 What is a "hack" seconds feature? This. Many watch companies will purchase complete movements from a major supplier such as ETA or Lemania. This practice can be up-front . AMG. an ebauche. an unmodified stock movement.1. a lever is moved which contacts the rim of the balance.more difficult to see in the wild. which is responsible for keeping time. 1. the pinnacle of watchmaking s still an expression of elegance of design. Lange & Sohne have produced a watch that stops the balance when the crown is pulled out and automatically . finished individual mechanism contained inside the case of the watch. and a caliber? A movement is the completed. t should also be noted that the largest supplier of ebauches in Switzerland. 1. AFAIK. is a military term referring to watches that stop the second hand. A mechanical watch is an anachronism. unfinished movement. There is often a debate on whether a particular company is being deceptive in renaming a movement based on an outside supplier as an in-house caliber. it is the ultimate refinement of "low" technology.

Ruby is used because it is an extremely hard and provides a slick surface for the wheel pivots (and other steel components) to operate on. as these are the movement parts that experience the large forces or relatively high speeds of the mainspring or escapement. 1. which are:         1: Impulse jewel (the part of the balance wheel assembly which receives a kick from the escape lever) 2-5: Balance staff pivot bearings (two pairs .e.5 Are more jewels better? Not necessarily. they are cheap (~$0. the steel wheel pivots would very quickly grind away the bridge and plate material until the wheels came out of alignment. (see my article in TZ Classics on the coefficients of friction for various materials.4 Why do they use synthetic ruby? Ruby is technically known corundum. most manual wind watches will have a standard complement of 17 ewels.. And they look nice. such as the motion works (i. wearing long. In the inexpensive watch of yesteryear. the IWC Il Destriero Scafusia (claimed o be among the most complicated wristwatches manufactured) has a total of 76 jewels to accommodate the ime.1. and is a crystallized form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3).they are used as the bearings for the wheel trains and in high wear parts such as the escape lever and impulse jewel. hour and minute wheels). and tourbillon functions . calendar .. Other components. and the movement would crash to a halt. if you're really interested. there is a constant force applied to the pivot of every wheel in the wheel train. Only those pieces of the movement which are between the mainspring and the escape wheel are candidates for eweling. For example. to prevent excessive movement of the balance staff). trace impurities are added to change the color .in combinations of one pivot jewel (i. These jewels are functional .1.. Ruby is significantly better than steel in handling the forces involved. repeater. usually shock protected) 6-7: Escape lever pallets (one pair) 8-9: Escape lever pivot bearings (one pair) 10-11: Escape wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 12-13: Fourth wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 14-15: Third wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 16-17: Center wheel pivot bearings (one pair) Note that automatic winding movements. rattrapante chronograph. jewel without a hole outboard of the pivot jewel.3 What does "17 jewels" mean? Higher grade watches have traditionally used a jeweled movements.1.to help facilitate setting against an accurate time reference. jewel with a hole to receive the axle (pivot) of the wheel) and one cap jewel (i. In a mechanical watch. With modern production methods. perpetual calendar.e. and movements with additional functions such as chronographs and calendars.moves the second hand to the "0" position . Some really high-grade or ultra-thin movements will add a few extra jewels to further protect against any wear.e. It should also be noted that any other color of corundum (including clear) is known as sapphire. can up the total number of jewels tremendously. but even these top out at 21-23 jewels.and this is a manual wind watch.02 each). corundum is white in color. a typical hand-wind movement today will have only 17 jewels as a full complement. As noted above. he pivot holes may have been provided with hardened metal bushings. which means that jewels (originally natural uby. A lower-end movement from before 1970 would typically use 5 or 7 jewels. 1.to red in the case of rubies. which is applied by the wound-up mainspring. this end of the market has pretty much been taken over by quartz. now synthetic ruby) were actually used in the movement. and providing a nice low riction surface suitable for both high-load as well as high-speed motion. Nowadays.) Without any jewels. In pure form. 1.

So.g. and the lower-case Greek sigma on my watch dial mean? These are optional industry markings.2 What is a MecaQuartz? A movement described as a "mecaquartz" is actually a quartz movement that contains many mechanical components. See section 6.7 What do the "T". 1. A "mecaquartz" movement as that term is commonly used is not a quartz movement with a mechanical charging . one will occasionally encounter a quartz movement with jewels in it . there was a "jewel craze" about 50 years ago.mechanisms. An example is the Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Caliber 631.1. It would not do for an accidental bump to interfere with the watch's ability to keep time due to damaging of the balance pivots.1. found next to the inscription 'Swiss Made' on some watches. but also mechanically drives a chronograph function (see 4. This gives a slight amount of give .meaning that a plate containing the chronograph works is grafted onto a basic timekeeping movement. and thus arguably do not need jewels. Shock protection is usually only applied to the balance because the high speeds and regular motion they are designed for . many of which are in constant motion. it becomes critical for the add-on module to add as little "drag" as possible . Seiko Flight Computer.6 What is Shock Protection? As is fairly obvious. and winding train are not under this constant stress. BTW. These factors combine to make for a lot of broken pivots. except it spells out that less than 25 milliCuries of radioactive material is used. The "T‹25" means the same thing. where manufacturers. under the belief that the public thought more was always better. 1. with four separate motors). instead of being rigidly held.this kind of design goal leads one to small. extremely hard pivots. Some chronograph movements used today (including the ETA 2894-2) are modular in construction . with most of the weight concentrated at the rim of the balance. Most of these jewels were not functional in any way.g.1 for more information about Tritium. Automatic winding movements will add about 4-8 jewels to help most efficiently transfer the relatively small rotor orces into winding the mainspring. or where the chronograph hands are individually driven by separate motors (e. The lower-case Greek sigma means that the markers are made of solid gold. 1. watchmakers include "shock-protection" in their watches in the form of a tiny spring that holds the balance staff jewels in place. a mechanical watch is made up of numerous tiny parts. and the results looked ludicrous to an informed eye. below). The "T" means that tritium (a low-level radioactive substance) was applied to make the hands and/or markers glow in the dark. "T‹25". Since the original timekeeping movements were not always designed with this in mind. where the chronograph functions are either digitally displayed in an LCD window (e.which may indicate use of ewels for their low friction properties.not enough to disrupt the operation of the watch for more than a moment. but enough to prevent the balance pivots or cap jewels from damage. which uses a quartz movement to drive not only an analog hour/minute/second display.they technically aren't really necessary because a quartz wheel train is not constantly under stress.especially for chronograph movements and perpetual calendars. Richard Paige has a short article on the details of how a shock proof system works.1. Breitling Aerospace). Another factor has to do with how the watch is constructed . There is a discussion of jeweled quartz movements in the archives. which signify what the markers on the dial are made from. This differs from a typical quartz chronograph. came up with 75 or even 100 jewel movements. As a historical note.

With the development of modern synthetic lubricants. Any water that gets inside a mechanical watch will wreak havoc with the precision mechanism inside. and thus time regulation.3 What is an Accutron? The Accutron is an electrically driven movement developed in the early 1960's by the Bulova corporation. The typical rule of thumb is to have the water resistance (i. Mechanical watches are good enough for most people's everyday lives. Virginia. nor does it require painstaking skill and precision in assembly.4 What do I need to do to keep a mechanical watch running for a lifetime? Within reason. dirt. Accutrons were the first major advance using electronics in timekeeping technology over mechanical watches. especially if used for sports or diving. most manufacturers recommend a servicing every four or five years. "On Companionship and Soul in . However. a mechanical watch can always be brought back into good time keeping. Walt Odets has provided Some Basics In Handling the Crown. How a Watch is Tested For Water Resistance" by Richard Paige and James Dowling. and caseback) of a watch checked every year or so. and hat the mechanism is free from dust. Here is an Accutron homepage. which has a lot of good information about history and theory of operation.2. the Accutron used a mechanically resonating system very much like a tuning fork to keep a constant vibration rate. Walt Arnstein has written a technical analysis of quartz vs. which may appear to be costly. since the crown is often the only means by which the watch owner can adjust/abuse the movement inside he case. Instead of having a mechanical balance wheel. unlike a mechanical watch (which vibrates at 10 Hz or less) or a modern quartz watch. Finally. 1. and they call to our emotional side. it does not need to be as finely finished. such as the Seiko Kinetic or Swatch Autoquartz (see 2. Rather than continue.e. and their second hand is driven at such a high requency that it truly appears to move continuously. Accutrons have a distinctive audible hum when operating. Your typical inexpensive quartz is usually good to 0..system. Craftsmanship. the integrity of the seals in the crown. especially the anchor escapement and escape wheel which are typically made of steel. I'll let Mycroft explain. and moisture. and "Cost of Servicing a Watch" by Walt Odets give much more detail about how these maintenance steps are carried out. But mechanical watches are not about achieving the ultimate in accuracy. and radition are all part of the allure.1.5 Why should I get a mechanical watch when a quartz watch is so much cheaper and more accurate? Yes. 1. it is important to periodically service a watch to ensure that the components are well-lubricated. below). The Horologium contains great dissection of the Bulova Caliber 214 Accutron movement. he is much more eloquent. for the rest of the mechanical movement. aesthetics. Because the wheel train of an analog quartz watch is not under constant stress rom a wound mainspring. A good mechanical watch can typically be made no more accurate than 2-3 seconds per day.5 seconds per day or better. and a jeweled movement can last for generations. mechanical watches. and why servicing. a quartz watch is cheaper and more accurate than a mechanical watch. and was a precursor to the quartz revolution of the late 60's. bezel. For an in-depth analysis. 1. is in fact a very involved process when done correctly and worth the nvestment.

and wear it every day. All automatic watches have an overwind protection mechanism of one sort or another.it is mostly a convenience. One caveat about automatics . under the theory that the mechanism would only be accessed infrequently. On some watches. the mainspring. Finally.people liked the look and easy accessibility of the crown. there is no definite performance advantage to an automatic .2 How does an automatic mechanism work? All self-winding watches work on the principle of converting arm motion (kinetic energy) into the winding of the mainspring (potential energy). since frequently worn automatics are usually at or near a full state of wind most of the time. which is wound at the central arbor of the barrel. n fact. and is reported to be one of the more tricky things to get right during a watch service because of the special lubricant needed to ensure proper operation. This rotary motion is then geared down to wind the central arbor of the mainspring. a faint click can be heard when this happens.1). this s can be an increased inconvenience when the watch is reset. these seem to be more expensive watches). With few exceptions (oddly enough. It should be noted that this overwind protection is critical to avoid damage to the watch. and would only need to adjust the time to compensate for drift and at changeover to daylight/summer ime and back.if you have more than one watch that is worn regularly. a modern production JLC as in used in the International Watch Company (IWC) Portugieser Automatic (scroll to the bottom of the article).1 What's the difference between a "manual" and an "automatic"? An "automatic" wristwatch is a mechanical wristwatch with a self-winding mechanism. a modern ETA/Eterna system as used in an $85 Swatch Automatic. (In fact. this is performed by a half-disc of metal weighted at the edge called a otor. Usually. it cannot be heard. since he watch will be worn consistently enough to stay wound . on others. an automatic would be a good choice. 2. as a manual-wind watch that is wound consistently once per day can be weaked so that the day to day variation is very small. With some calendar mechanisms. the automatic winding advantage is lessened . annual calendars. and any of these combined with moonphases (see 5. using the crown. f one were going to own only a single watch. usually every day.the automatic may stop if not worn often enough. to prevent breaking the mainspring once fully wound. one does not have to wind the crown periodically to keep the watch running. The Horologium contains several articles about different types of automatic winding systems. including a vintage JLC/Vacheron automatic. Walt Arnstein has written an in-depth article about the Physics of the Automatic Watch's Winding System. one may get he impression that they can be adjusted to be more accurate and consistent over the course of many days. This turned out to be a marketing flop . there are a series of detents along the outer edge of the barrel that allow a stiffly constructed mainspring part called the bridle to slide along when an attempt o overwind is made. Instead. Justin Time and Walt Arnstein have supplied some general advice about how to start an automatic movement when fully unwound. In other words.the owner would never need to manually wind the watch. This.3 for more information about calendars). and an innovative bi-directional system from the IWC Caliber 8541 (now used in the new . although they may include other complications like chronographs (see section 4. In short. most manual wind watches have simpler calendars. which spins when the wearer's arm is accelerated unpredictably (that is. several early automatic movements dispensed with the crown and moved the time-setting mechanism onto the back. perpetual calendars. when moved normally in the course of everyday life).Watches" 2. to operate continuously. A "manual" or "manual wind" watch must be wound by hand. most commonly seen watches with more than a simple date window use automatic movements his includes "triple date" calendars.) For this reason. is not necessarily the case. In a typical system. is not rigidly attached to the outside of the barrel.

if the overwind mechanism is constantly used for hours at a time (i. That way. and not have to eset the time or calendars. 2. it's not as easy as it sounds. The upshot of all this is that most consumer watch winders with programmable winding are expensive . the lubrication of the mechanism is worn out faster. mechanical watches are considered luxury items. The Seiko Kinetic and ETA Autoquartz movements are quartz movements. they use a rotor system similar to those used by automatics. There is also a series of forum posts by several authors dealing with micro-rotor watches. This leads to increased inconvenience if calendars and moonphases must be eset.WC Cal.1. but close. n practice.3 What is a watch winder. and do I need one? As noted in section 2. Jack Freedman (who sells winders) has written a well-balanced article on whether we need watch winders. collectors who have more than one automatic watch may have "difficulty" keeping any one watch going continuously. Furthermore. All of this means that manufacturers for the consumer market must not only make their winders mechanically oolproof to avoid damaging watches. this device should be simple and cheap. while an automatic watch has an overwind protection mechanism o avoid damage to the movement. which then moves the watch enough to keep it wound when not worn on the wrist. as the maker assumes that they would be used in a watchmaker's shop. A solution has been invented . and to let he watch sit.due to the small number of people who would actually want one. PART II: Brands & Accuracy . a mechanical automatic can only store as much power as contained in the mainspring . However. The quartz movement then draws current from the capacitor as if it were a battery. You should decide whether they are worth it based on whether you feel inconvenienced resetting your automatics occasionally.e.winders are not a necessity.2. the winder must be designed to have an adjustable number and direction of turns per day. they are a convenience. n any case.which is usually only 40 hours or so for most automatics. This means that watch winders must be designed to only make so many turns per day.the automatic watch winder. Finally.often costing several hundred or thousand dollars. but they often construct the winder comparably to a jewelry box. While cheaper professional models exist. In theory. The idea is quite simple: strap the automatic watch to a motor.1 Are the Seiko Kinetic / Autoquartz therefore Automatics? Not quite. since automatic winding mechanisms vary from watch model to model. which is then used to charge a capacitor. 5000). which means watch winders are doubly so . First. these often do not come with programmable settings. t should be noted that the latest generation of autoquartz movements can store enough power to run the watch or several months (or even years in the case of the Seiko Auto-Relay). 2. and whether they are worth it o you as a luxury item. one can choose to wear any watch at any time. as illustrated with photographs in this separate article by Hans Zbinden. rather than the unpredictable movement of the human wrist). Last word . though constant turning. The difference is that the rotor's motion is converted to electricity.

This means that the rates for a given watch are constantly drifting .. due to the limits of how small components can be. and has less drift in the rate over time. and it gains/loses X seconds per day . 3. case. with the instantaneous rate even in a single position varying constantly. as well as high-end brands like Patek.in other words. when resting in any particular position. and movement say about the skill and care of the watchmakers who made it? Cost . This operation. Consider the following qualities that a watch can have. I've come to the following conclusions: 1. 3. The reason is that a higher quality watch has been adjusted to minimize the variation in error in several positions. Ask any number of people. Just about any current production watch is capable of running overall within 1-2 seconds/day .3.1.you'll get way too many conflicting answers. 2.will the other company's negotiator be unconsciously swayed by the fact that I have a recognizable status symbol on my wrist? (Note . Also. The reason is that. After reading several articles on this subject. the answer to these questions depend almost exclusively on what is important to the person asking them. Don't ask people to make a sweeping judgment about the overall worthiness of a watch . and they will not only differ on the relative importance of these categories.2 How accurate can I expect a [insert brand here] to be? This is truly a Frequently Asked Question. and Lange. 4. It is a relatively simple operation for a watchmaker to adjust a watch that runs consistentlyfast or slow to near zero error. but it has the potential to be more accurate. in that people will post that they have just bought a new WC/Rolex/JLC/Revue Thommen/Omega/etc.what do the dial. even a watch which has a daily error rate of 4-5 seconds/day in any single position can be made to show zero overall drift though the combination of wearing the watch and letting it sit overnight in a particular position to compensate for drift obtained during wear. and find out whether the watch you're ooking for has it. depth gauge. navigation system. In other words. 5. and emergency locator? can it be used as a stopwatch? .the list goes on.although for higher grade movements the amount of drift tends to be much smaller.this includes relatively inexpensive brands like Hamilton and ORIS.is this watch a work of art? does it fit with my personal sense of taste? Craftsmanship . The question of accuracy is more subtle than it appears on the surface. A higher quality watch may or may not be more accurate than a lower quality watch at any given instant in time. forces will act on the components differently when worn on the wrist vs. Who makes the best watch? Is it [insert brand here]? n my opinion. but they will also differ on whether a particular watch is satisfactory in each category! My own personal opinion .can the watch act as a analog or digital calculator? a calendar which never needs setting? keep important phone numbers? can be used when diving to hundreds of meters? double in a pinch as an altimeter.how cheap can I get it for?      . lubricants pool in certain locations.figure out what is important to you in a watch. any of which can be the most important actor in some people's minds:   Accuracy . which is called regulation . while sitting unused n the jeweler's shop.how well does the watch keep time? Features .merely increases or decreases the overall rate without compensating for rates in positions.I believe that this is a legitimate question for some people!) Ruggedness/Dependability .the variations these days are endless! Status .they then ask whether this acceptable for this brand. the conventional wisdom is that a typical new watch needs to be run-in . It takes a couple of months for the lubricants to be .can I wear this watch in combat? can I wear it near strong magnetic fields? will it need a battery replacement at an unacceptable moment? Aesthetics . The stability of a given rate can be quite ephemeral. JLC..

t really is not that difficult to pass the test. and so on. including photos and commentary on the actual adjusting of a watch. face up and crown down). some on the forum would say that this is a bit over-the-top. In addition. An "adjusted" movement. Unlike adjustment. 3. Some manufacturers (Franck Muller. constant time across varying states of wind) and temperature. 2. and over 95% of the watches submitted pass. some Patek Phillipe) adjusts to 8 positions (the above six plus two half-way orientations).. the COSC certificate cannot say anything about how the movement was handled after testing. A chronometer is a watch which has passed a test given by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres. see Mike Disher's article "Reading and Understanding a COSC Certificate". they are ordered as follows: 1. and for the motion to wear away some of the microscopic imperfections that all parts have.e. 5.) Paul Schliesser has written an essay on . dial and hands. which moves the daily rates of all of the positions up or down without intentionally changing the relative rates in positions. Watches can also be adjusted for isochronism (i. in-depth technical article on adjusting. 4.1 These two terms are commonly confused among new watch aficionados. the rate in all positions falls into the range of -4 seconds/day to +6 seconds/day). Traditionally.e. a watch adjusted for 4 positions has been adjusted in positions 1-4. Bottom line . has had some extra care in ensuring that the variance in accuracy between several orientations is minimized. They actually have very little to do with each other. and 6 positions. 5. 6. Watches are typically adjusted to 2. in The Horologium series on "Tweaking the Mark XII". An "unadjusted" movement is a movement where no attempt has been made to ensure that the daily error rate in several orientations (positions) have been minimized across the positions. The COSC is an official Swiss government agency which tests watches to ensure that they fit within a narrow-but-usually-obtainable window of acceptable error (i. Similarly. There is a 3 part. PART III: Features What is a chronometer? What is a chronograph? 4. A "regulated" movement is a when the overall rate of the entire movement (either adjusted or not) is brought into correct absolute timing. For more information on COSC testing and the meaning of the results reported on the COSC certificate.properly redistributed. Several watch manufacturers actually put more stringent tests than the COSC procedures on all of their watch production (the JLC Master Control 1000-Hour series is probably the most well known. a watch adjusted to two positions include positions 1 & 2 from the above list (i. While some watch companies tout their products as having a COSC certificate. 3. Dial Up Crown Down Dial Down Crown Left Crown Up Crown Right For example. 4. "regulated" mean? These are terms to be used in conjunction with the discussion in section 3. "unadjusted" vs. 3. but movements fitted with a emporary case.2. Another factor to consider is that the COSC does not test watches as they are sold in the store.e.2. An in-depth discussion of the above concepts are contained in a discussion on the "confusing language of watch "accuracy" by Justin Time.let a new watch run for about 2 months before taking it in to be re-regulated.1 What does "adjusted" vs. or COSC. this is a simple tweak. therefore.

resetting. and the various parts of the chronograph are controlled by ingers that fall into and out of the spaces between the teeth. the English term is "Split Seconds" (describing the appearance of the second hand when the unction is activated). . or continuous seconds. or double chronograph. Chronographs are of varying usefulness. The column wheel was one of the successful early designs to ensure that none of the above happened. For example. nterestingly.) 4. for example. Examples of chronos with flyback include the Blancpain Flyback Chronograph. where several segments or legs of a route are flown for specific periods of time in sequence. for example. The pushers that control the chronograph rotate this wheel. and restarting leads to a short delay in the beginning of timing the next leg. the German term for this function is "Doppelchronograph". On the dial.how COSC testing is performed. If the second pusher is pressed again. This delay. Mike Margolis has written a short discourse on chronograph scales. while the main second hand continues. In addition to elapsed time. This ensures that each of the chronograph parts is coordinated properly. This is usually done in a mechanical watch through he central seconds hand. (In some older chronos with only one-button for control. When the operator desires to read an ntermediate time. lap times in a multi-lap event o be read off without stopping the chronograph. 4. the split seconds hand "catches up" with the main second hand. and would likely destroy several components. eportedly. three languages describe this function in different ways: "Rattrapante" is the French term for "catch up" (describing the motion of the split hand). large destructive forces would be applied to the entire movement train. and one or more subdials (the regular. and is ready to be used again. he/she pushes a second pusher. and a second to eset the hands to zero when the timing is stopped. An example of this function is on the IWC Doppelchronograph or Breitling Chronoracer (a mecaquartz (!) attrapante). from a few seconds to a few hours.there was no provision to continue timing once the mechanism was stopped. A typical modern chronograph is operated with two pushers: one to start and stop the timing. to allow. with tooth-like battlements. A chronograph is a watch that tells the time of day and also allows the user to time events of short-to-medium durations (i. and the Breguet Type XX Aeronavale. can be a factor in some precision military operations. This is useful or aviation.3 What is a Flyback? A "Flyback" or "Retour a vol" is a function which allows the chronograph to be reset to zero without having to stop he chronograph first (recall that a normal chrono requires one to stop the timing before resetting). chronographs are often fitted with several scales designed to measure other things.4 What is a Column-Wheel? As one can imagine. as they often give the watch a sporty image. one of the second hands stops (the "split" hand). 4. if the reset mechanism was somehow activated while the chronograph was running. If you can visualize the top of a castle turret.2 What is a Rattrapante? A "Rattrapante" is a chronograph with an added second hand. which would at he very least jam the movement. typically). such as pulse rate or units manufactured per hour. is also located on a dial). this is what a column wheel looks like.e. constructing a chronograph is fraught with the potential for inadvertently stopping or damaging the entire movement. the act of stopping. A chronograph is usually started with one pusher. and are an interesting complication to put on a watch. which starts both second hands moving (one superimposed over the other). the sequence of pushes was start-stop-reset .

such as the Valjoux 7750 and various Lemania movements (1874. and (interestingly) a F. The most common movements.1 Are Column-Wheel chronographs better than other types? Tough question .4. common additions such as a day/date window are typically excluded from this definition. the newer. Chronographs of all flavors have been dealt with in Section 4. Both the column-wheel and non-column-wheel version of the Omega Speedmaster were certified for space flight by NASA. This section will discuss some of the more commonly seen (or at least coveted) complications. Interestingly enough.the Zenith El Primero. is an indicator that displays the approximate number of days or hours eft on the current state of mainspring wind. some Lemania and F. and tradition counts for a lot. This story is documented by Ignacio.2 What's a Reserve de Marche? A Reserve de Marche.e. Piguet rattrapante mecaquartz are examples. This is rue for automatics (which may be in any state of wind) or long power reserve watches (such as the Eberhard 8 . 5100). This eaves a wide variety of features that can be either commonly or less frequently found on watches. and the power is removed from the outer rim of the barrel.5 What was the first automatic chronograph movement? The late 60's saw a race among three sets of manufacturers (two Swiss groups and Seiko in Japan) to create the irst automatic winding chronograph movement. Walt Odets dissected a Frederick Piguet column wheel chronograph and an oscillating pinion Valjoux 7750 in he Horologium.Because producing and finishing a column wheel is labor-intensive.1 What is a complication? A complication is defined as a wristwatch function beyond that required for simple hour. This typically cannot be done by a simple gear train. 5. stop. since a watch is wound from the center arbor of the barrel. minute. a cam shaped device that rotates back and forth as the various functions are activated. I suggest that one think about which factors are personally most important in a chronograph.) This allows for reliable operation without nearly as much fiddling and hand adjustment as a column wheel requires. Piguet movements. So . a gear train that can act as a differential is required to read out the difference between the arbor position and the barrel rim position. These days. and the pinion can be built using pieces of stamped metal.much like the question of which watch is the best. and reset (i. 5. Therefore. The most common method is to use an oscillating pinion to coordinate the chronograph start. and make the decision from there. as it lets one know whether a watch is wound before putting it on. On the other hand. This can be a very useful complication. And the non-column-wheel Lemania 5100 has been one of the few mechanical movements to be accepted as sufficiently rugged by modern military forces. 4. non-column wheel movements have certainly proved themselves in a variety of demanding situations. they all succeeded within a few months of each other.much like the question of which watch is best. relatively few column wheel designs are still being produced . More practically. easier method of producing chronographs was needed to keep this complication from appearing only in very expensive watches. or Power Reserve. Certainly column wheels are a traditional method of coordinating the chronograph components. 4. are not of column wheel design. a simpler. and second.

In this way.g. balance wheel) all the way to once every four years. including the varying lengths of months.2 on adjusting a watch for positions.3 What's a Perpetual Calendar? How is it different from an Annual Calendar or Triple-Date? A perpetual calendar is the most developed form of the simple date window on a typical watch. This list of companies. This is argely due to the combined effect of gravity. a pocketwatch worn in a vest will spend the majority of its time in a vertical position.days. and the Patek Philippe 5035.g.000 range.but need to be manually advanced at the end of each (short) month Some would say that the inconvenience in resetting the date on a true perpetual calendar is the main reason for he existence of the watch winder industry. As discussed in Section 3. year. as the escapement of the movement never spends any significant time in one vertical position. escape lever. leap years. which contain month. (sometimes weeks). It keeps track of date.starting price on a tourbillon is roughly in he $50. day. naturally. left. with the result that a tourbillon has become more a statement about the watchmaker's skill rather than having any real performance advantage .Lemania makes several tourbillon movements which are supplied to a number of high-zoot companies.5 What's a Repeater? How is it different from a Sonnerie? .4 What's a Tourbillon? A tourbillon is a holdover from the days of the pocket watch. or later (assuming that an experienced watchmaker still exists then).e. :-) Walt Odets has analyzed the calendar mechanisms in several models of the IWC line. the Breitling Montbrilliant 1461). and escape wheel in a cage. and sometimes even centuries. which only require a user adjustment once every February "triple date" calendars. some perpetual calendars will require an experienced watchmaker open the watch to make an adjustment at AD 2100. Therefore 18th/19th century watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet allegedly decided that. in the crown up. the hairspring shape and attachment point on the balance staff and cock. this solution is very complex. or the new Patek 5100 ten-day reserve). and the regulator pins. Because of he relatively complex rules governing the Gregorian calendar. Lange 1. the overall effects of gravity get balanced out. in even the best watches there are small variations between the different vertical orientations (i. which requires an adjustment on leap year day only. months. The performance advantage is even further nullified by the fact that wristwatches spend a ess predictable amount of time in less predictable positions. is very tightly held. and leap years every four years. for the absolute best accuracy. Unlike a wristwatch. 5. some means of balancing out the effects of gravity in the various orientations was needed. or right positions). Some less complex calendars are also available:    Semi-perpetual calendars (e. a typical perpetual calendar has wheels turning from several times per second (e. so these companies can sell tourbillons without having to spend the development time and money. down. Fun fact . The solution he devised placed the balance wheel. and date .) 5. which then rotated as a unit within the movement as a result of the normal escapement process. However. day-of-the-week. 5. Because of the complexity of the Gregorian calendar. annual calendars (of which the Patek Philippe 5035 is an outstanding example).

don't worry about it.e.000 and up range. the see-through window above the dial) is a kind of plastic. or aluminum .they must be activated by the user. (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours. which is more scratch resistant than acrylic.300 list. which has the advantage of being resistant to shattering. followed by the number of five-minute intervals (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours.A repeater. In my opinion. More ypically. and unlike sapphire.1 What's the difference between acrylic. followed by the number of half-quarter hours (i. 1 chime for passing the first quarter-hour. the mineral crystal seems to be a poor compromise between the two extremes. 2000). Mineral crystals are also somewhat better at shatter resistance compared with sapphire. (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours. followed by quarter-hours. they are in the $20. mineral glass will scratch. A sapphire crystal is indeed made of synthetic sapphire. tritium is being phased out of watch dials. or "Repetition Minutes" is a variety of chiming watch. and sapphire crystals? An acrylic watch crystal (i. scratches in mineral glass are more difficult to buff out.the Kelek five-minute repeater at $5.) Minute Repeaters: Chimes the hour.) Half-quarter Repeater: Chimes the hour. a less powerful radioactive source. and partially due to the development of non-radioactive luminous compounds like Luminova which "hold their charge" of light better. then 1 chime for passing the first quarterhour. Watches which do strike "en passsant" (in passing) automatically are called Petit or Grande Sonneries. then two chimes for two half quarters. when the hazards of radiation were (belatedly) understood. A thorough examination of the issue is contained in Bruce Lulu's definitive article on luminous watch hands. usually through a slide or push button. Repeaters currently come in several varieties. tritium (a kind of hydrogen) has been used. but can be scratched easily. followed by the number of quarter-hour intervals at the current time. At the time of this writing (November. which is a transparent form of corundum. partially due to availability of tritium. with one exception . Note that it would chime three times once getting past 4:22:30) Five-minute Repeater: Chimes the hour. Since them. Mineral crystal is a kind of glass. repeaters do not automatically strike the hour. 7. and six chimes for minutes into the second quarter hour. Unlike acrylic. Radium was used after about 1900 as a means of illuminating watch hands and markers at night.5 minute intervals) past the hour.e. mineral. or minutes in passing . The main victims of radium were the watch dial painters. It was widely used until the 1940's or so. scratches can be easily removed from acrylic. then four chimes for passing 20 minutes past the hour. Unlike a striking clock. The wearers of the watch receive only a small dose of additional radiation per year. who were encouraged to keep a fine point on their paint brushes by licking the brush end. Fortunately. 7.1 Should I be concerned about radium on a vintage watch dial? How about Tritium? And what's this Luminova stuff? The short answer is. followed by minutes (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for hours. much less than the natural background radiation. but don't eat the dials either. Part IIII: Materials 6. quarter. based on the smallest unit of time which they can indicate:     Quarter Repeater: Chimes the hour.) These again are very high-priced items. but not as as good as sapphire.

Rolled-gold plate was another vintage method of plating gold.3% (sometimes marked 583 or 585 in gold hallmarks) 18K = 18/24 purity of gold = 75% (sometimes marked 750 in gold hallmarks) 24K = 24/24 purity of gold = 100%.g. 25 years. This process has been supplanted largely by electrochemical plating and PVD. Other methods include Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).3 What does Gold-Filled mean? How about Rolled-Gold Plate? Gold-filled means gold bars are soldered to a base metal. Rub lightly. When it does finally show through. or 1/24th proportions of gold.e. No wonder it's so expensive. However. or Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PE-CVD). Note that there are also purpose-made polishes for this purpose. it cannot be repaired. except the gold was rolled out flat before being bonded to the base metal. This practice was common until the 1960's. and will resist scratching by most substances short of diamonds. gold is made in several "karats". Pure gold is very soft. This allows the watch to look like a gold watch. Gold-filled cases were originally warranted to last a certain number of years in normal wear . :-) BTW. along with 10K gold) 14K = 14/24 purity of gold = 58. and are somewhat more durable than modern gold plating. 8. (Another fun fact he windows built in to grocery store checkout lines which scan for the bar code on products are often made of synthetic sapphire . Start by buffing a little bit onto a clean cloth over the area of the scratch. 9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37. to make it harder and stand up to daily wear. bracelets sold with solid gold watches are often themselves solid gold . that JLC you were looking at in 18K gold has a case made of real 75% purity solid gold.for the same reasons that watch crystals are!) 7. which I'm guessing you'll never see in watch cases.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and/or UK market watch cases. and end up ruining your watch. if struck sharply and from the correct direction. sapphire crystals aren't very expensive (~$20).1 If a watch is advertised as "18K".) 8.which as you might expect adds significantly to the price. It is extremely hard (Moh's scale 9). Despite the relatively arge size compared with sapphire gemstones. or PE-CVD mean? Physical Vapor Deposition is a method of plating gold or other substances to a thickness of several microns 1/1000ths of a millimeter) over a base metal surface. but it won't last for more than a few years of normal wear. sapphire will shatter. such as Polywatch or Crystal-Kleer Legalese: I cannot be held responsible if you try this for yourself. what does that mean? The term 18K refers to solid gold.2 How do I remove the scratches from an acrylic crystal? Good old-fashioned toothpaste is a good start. Repeat until gone. . So. CVD. This procedure s intended for people willing to take responsibility for their own actions only. The resulting layer of gold is slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. but has been largely replaced by plating processes. then rolled into sheets to give a somewhat higher hickness of gold than any plating method. and rinse with a very slightly damp cloth.) 8.oxide (Al2O3).2 What do PVD.

nickel silver or silveroid (not silver.9. see Mycroft's other article on IWC's Titanium. Pt 950).) n addition. and two pieces of titanium pressed together can "weld" themselves together. Platinum is a very heavy metal.) A certain member of the forum.the hreads can actually rip out of the case if left undisturbed too long. | TimeZone Guidelines and Policies .1 What are some other materials used as watch cases? Aside from the standard gold and stainless steel. Also. as currently used by Porsche Design and BVLGARI.e.e. and gives a shiny white metal appearance. but if you've read this article. I would recommend that you leave them alone . one can even find watch cases made of ceramic (zirconium oxide. Inc. it is often used in 95% purity (i. This latter property is why it is important that watches with titanium cases and backs have the casebacks removed periodically .this is echnically incorrect. enroll in the TZ Watch School © Bourne in Time. Titanium is a relatively light-weight metal. but also because it is used in higher purities and requires more effort to work into a final shape.you don't want to remove any more of the finish than already exists! 10. For gold filled or gold plate. the Archives. For this reason. the Articles from the TimeZone Community. whose real name is Norman. and nickel plated steel. However. Titanium has some interesting mechanical properties: it can "rip" when cut so it is difficult o machine. and read the Public Forum. Don't be afraid to ask a question. with a hardness exceeding that of most steels. but 66% copper. t will feel warmer to the touch .sometimes you'll see claims that titanium "remains at skin temperature" . and 10% nickel). you've hopefully gained a air amount of knowledge. Other case materials which one will run across occasionally (especially on the vintage market) are Sterling Silver 92. as used recently by IWC) and aluminum (used in conjunction with other metals. keeping in mind that a brushed gold/platinum finish will be harder to match than a glossy finish (see the stainless steel article for pointers on matching the pattern. sells a leather patch which people have used to good effect in removing scratches from watches. Jack Freedman's Escape Wheeling. pure platinum is fairly hard and resistant to scratches (similar to hard stainless steel). Walt Odets' Horologium. nickel. Unlike gold. For gold or platinum. Justin Time explains the process for Stainless Steel. 9. which means that it won't carry heat away from your skin as quickly as steel or aluminum (i. check out TZ Classics.2 How do I remove scratches from my watch? Depends on the finish. high-end watches are often made of platinum or titanium.5% purity silver).1 This FAQ sucked! Where can I get better answers? Given this is TimeZone. f you're really motivated to learn more about the mechanics of watches. Several varieties of itanium are available. not only because of its rarity. for more information on Titanium. It also has a poor heat ransfer capability. 24% zinc. raw platinum is more expensive to use. more recently. use the appropriate polish from a jewelry store. any more than a small piece of wood stays at skin temperature). Advanced Forum and Satellite Forums. Coin silver (80% purity silver).

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me) and not the fault of the other contributors. . That being said.0 By The TimeZone Community Compiled by Ed Hahn Here's my initial cut at a mechanical watch FAQ.  o ----------------o Visit our Sponsors News & Features o Industry News o Industry Interviews o Celebrity Interviews o ----------------o Adventures of Watchbore o Timelines o Ron DeCorte's Notebook o Carlos' Journal o Time Machine o It's About Time o Time Warped o From the Workbench Resources & Tools o Welcome to TimeZone o Site Map o General Guidelines o ----------------o Search TimeZone o Lost Password o Preferences o ----------------o Calendar of Events o The Horologium o TZ Watch School o TZ Tool Shop o Watch Parts Glossary o Images/HTML on TZ o Vintage Watch Ads o Wristwatch FAQ o 07 Basel/SIHH Archive o 06 Basel/SIHH Archive o 05 Basel/SIHH Archive o 04 Basel/SIHH Archive o Industry News Archive Mechanical Watch FAQ V1. Really.edu. it's largely a pointer to many of the fine articles contributed to the forum by the community over the years. As you can see. they are the fault of the compiler (i. No warranty is expressed or implied.e. Legalese: This FAQ is intended to be informative. if there are any errors on this page tself. Please send additions / corrections to ehahn@alum. I wouldn't kid you about this.mit. and is not intended to supersede any manufacturer's nstructions for service or operation of watches.

1 Are Column-Wheel chronographs better than other types? 4.2 How accurate can I expect an [insert brand here] to be? 3.1. and the lower-case Greek sigma on my dial mean? What is a MecaQuartz? What is an Accutron? What do I need to do to keep a mechanical watch running for a lifetime? Why should I get a mechanical watch when a quartz watch is so much cheaper and more accurate? 1.4 5.1.6 What is shock protection? 1.2 What is a Rattrapante? 4. ebauche.1 7.1.2 5.4. "regulated" mean? Part III: Features 4.Questions answered in this FAQ Part 0: What is in this FAQ? Part I: Watch / Movement basics 1.2 How does an automatic mechanism work? 2.1.4 1.1. and do I need one? Part II: Brands & Accuracy 3.4 Why do they use synthetic ruby? 1.7 What is the "T". and caliber 1.1 5.2.5 Part IIII: Materials Should I be concerned about radium on a vintage watch dial? How about Tritium? What's the difference between acrylic.5 2.5 Are more jewels better? 1.1 What is the difference between a movement.1 What does "adjusted" vs.5 What was the first automatic chronograph movement? What is a complication? What's a Reserve de Marche? What's a Perpetual Calendar? What's a Tourbillon? What's a Repeater? 5.1 What is a mechanical watch? 1.1 What's the difference between a "manual" and an "automatic"? 2.1.1 Are the Seiko Kinetic / Autoquartz therefore automatics? 2.1. What is the best watch made? Is it [insert brand here]? 3. "T‹25".2 What is a "hack" seconds feature? 1.2.1 .2 1. "unadjusted" vs.3 What does "17 jewels" mean? 1.3 1. mineral.4 What is a Column-Wheel? 4. and sapphire crystals? 6.1 What is a chronometer? What is a chronograph? 4.3 What is a watch winder.3 5.3 What is a Flyback? 4.1.

collectively they are an . with photographs. PART I: Watch / Movement Basics What is a mechanical watch? 1. I also have tried to add a bit of spice and atmosphere o the discussion. A mechanical watch is an anachronism. Finally.7. and I will correct them if you point them out. of how a watch works can be found in the Horologium article "The Anchor Escapement". Furthermore. CVD. but otherwise. While it is based on the contributions of many sources. it may be useful to peruse a diagram of watch parts residing in the TimeZone archives to familiarize yourself with the lingo. and keeps time hrough the highly regulated release of that energy through a set of gears (the wheel train) and an escapement.3 9. Also. they are sometimes easier or more difficult to see in the wild. please let me know if this is a faux pas. the Illustrated Glossary of Watch Parts is the definitive guide to see schematics of parts in their natural habitat. or PE-CVD mean? What does Gold-Filled mean? What are some other materials used as watch cases? How do I remove scratches from my watch? This FAQ sucked! Where can I get better answers? 8. to better communicate some of he ideas in here. what does that mean? What do PVD. all errors on this particular page are mine. it is the ultimate refinement of "low" technology. t is not a buyer's guide. plan to upgrade the FAQ from time to time with illustrations.2 10. nor will it tell you where to get the best deal on a Rado. which uses the energy from a wound spring.) The basic design of mechanical watches has not changed very much in the past fifty years.1 8. Mechanical watches typically can run for about 40 hours on one full winding of the mainspring. and the art of handweaking movements for optimum performance. such as how the watch industry works.1 Part 0: What is in this FAQ? This FAQ is intended to cover the basics of watches and movements themselves. with a few designs available with up to 8 days. A more in-depth technical explanation. where appropriate. What has changed is he use of high technology and modern materials in the design and manufacture of watches. electrospark erosion in the manufacturing. it does not concentrate on any particular brand (other than as examples). There is a short discussion of watch brands and accuracy (mainly to dispell the belief that the two are strongly linked). attention-to-detail in finishing and assembly.1 9.1 A mechanical watch is a device for keeping time. some of which are not verified. Even with the fusion of CAD/CAM. (Like animals. the pinnacle of watchmaking s still an expression of elegance of design. It differs from the typical quartz watch in that it uses purely mechanical components to keep time.2 How do I remove the scratches from an acrylic crystal? If a watch is advertised as "18K". it does not talk about many other important issues. of power reserve.2 8. or even how the TimeZone Forum works. or even 10 days. and titanium nitride cases.

1. now synthetic ruby) were actually used in the movement. is a military term referring to watches that stop the second hand. In the most common type of hacking watch. engrave their company's name and other information onto them. which is responsible for keeping time. can provide a wide variety of inishes on its products. the company will rename the caliber as its own to reflect the modifications and finishing of the movement vs. Some watch companies will purchase an ebauche from a major supplier. including brakes on the third or ourth wheel. finish he parts). A. finish them to a high standard. including the major structural components (plates. and add custom components like an upgraded escapement assembly . Many watch companies will purchase complete movements from a major supplier such as ETA or Lemania. that can perform custom finishing and even modifications to he basic movement. or BMW's "M" division re-engineer existing automobiles to produce something with higher performance and exclusiveness.1. Other companies purchase ebauches. They even have a subsidiary.where the watch company claims to use "in-house" movements when the movements are in no way designed or manufactured internally. A caliber is the collective name given to a series of movements of the same design.e. 1. modify parts of the movement. AMG. to allow for more accurate synchronization between two watches.2 What is a "hack" seconds feature? This.obsession shared by the enthusiasts on TimeZone.where the company acknowledges that the movements are not of heir own design or manufacture. not ncluding the case or dial itself.1. AFAIK. Many times. when the crown is pulled out o the time-setting position.3 What does "17 jewels" mean? Higher grade watches have traditionally used a jeweled movements.to create what might be called a custom version of hat movement. Therefore. Finally. and a caliber? A movement is the completed. John Davis has seen other methods used to stop the movement as well. or it can be hidden . 1. there is by no means a single level of quality that one can ascribe to an ETA movement . This practice can be up-front . which means that jewels (originally natural uby. Soprod. thus causing the movement to stop. There is often a debate on whether a particular company is being deceptive in renaming a movement based on an outside supplier as an in-house caliber. and assemble it with standard parts to create a higher quality-controlled movement than the stock eady-made movement. An ebauche is typically understood to mean a "raw" or unassembled. a lever is moved which contacts the rim of the balance. unfinished movement. This debate is summed up quite nicely in the article "When a Valjoux] 7750 ain't a 7750 any longer" by Time Flies and a host of regulars. . even if it is completely assembled. and encase it with their own or even contractorsupplied cases. an unmodified stock movement. much like how Carroll Shelby. finished individual mechanism contained inside the case of the watch.1 What is the difference between a movement. on TZ it is common to see the word ebauche used to refer to any third party movement. polish and decorate the parts (i. 1. These jewels are functional . from very raw parts to fully finished movements complete with Geneva stripes and other decoration.to help facilitate setting against an accurate time reference. bridges) and sometimes parts of the wheel train and other moving parts. ETA.there are basic versions all the way up to fully finished ones.they are used as the bearings for the wheel trains and in high wear parts such as the escape lever and impulse jewel. t should also be noted that the largest supplier of ebauches in Switzerland. an ebauche. Lange & Sohne have produced a watch that stops the balance when the crown is pulled out and automatically moves the second hand to the "0" position .

With modern production methods. jewel without a hole outboard of the pivot jewel.. Some chronograph movements used today (including the ETA 2894-2) are modular in construction .e. can up the total number of jewels tremendously.. they are cheap (~$0. which are:         1: Impulse jewel (the part of the balance wheel assembly which receives a kick from the escape lever) 2-5: Balance staff pivot bearings (two pairs . calendar mechanisms.A lower-end movement from before 1970 would typically use 5 or 7 jewels. As noted above. hour and minute wheels). such as the motion works (i. this end of the market has pretty much been taken over by quartz.and this is a manual wind watch. and thus arguably do not need jewels.1.in combinations of one pivot jewel (i.e. and the movement would crash to a halt.meaning that a plate containing the chronograph works is grafted onto a basic timekeeping movement. Since the original timekeeping movements were not always designed with this in mind.especially for chronograph movements and perpetual calendars. he pivot holes may have been provided with hardened metal bushings. usually shock protected) 6-7: Escape lever pallets (one pair) 8-9: Escape lever pivot bearings (one pair) 10-11: Escape wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 12-13: Fourth wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 14-15: Third wheel pivot bearings (one pair) 16-17: Center wheel pivot bearings (one pair) Note that automatic winding movements. Automatic winding movements will add about 4-8 jewels to help most efficiently transfer the relatively small rotor orces into winding the mainspring. And they look nice. and movements with additional functions such as chronographs and calendars. and tourbillon functions .. 1.) Without any jewels. it becomes critical for the add-on module to add as little "drag" as possible . perpetual calendar.e.to red in the case of rubies. which is applied by the wound-up mainspring. Nowadays. to prevent excessive movement of the balance staff). It should also be noted that any other color of corundum (including clear) is known as sapphire. Some really high-grade or ultra-thin movements will add a few extra jewels to further protect against any wear. wearing long. and is a crystallized form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3). Other components. In a mechanical watch. repeater.1. In pure form. and providing a nice low riction surface suitable for both high-load as well as high-speed motion. 1. if you're really interested. there is a constant force applied to the pivot of every wheel in the wheel train.02 each). Another factor has to do with how the watch is constructed . but even these top out at 21-23 jewels. the IWC Il Destriero Scafusia (claimed o be among the most complicated wristwatches manufactured) has a total of 76 jewels to accommodate the ime. as these are the movement parts that experience the large forces or relatively high speeds of the mainspring or escapement. For example. Ruby is significantly better than steel in handling the forces involved.4 Why do they use synthetic ruby? Ruby is technically known corundum. rattrapante chronograph. Ruby is used because it is an extremely hard and provides a slick surface for the wheel pivots (and other steel components) to operate on. trace impurities are added to change the color . corundum is white in color. most manual wind watches will have a standard complement of 17 ewels. In the inexpensive watch of yesteryear. (see my article in TZ Classics on the coefficients of friction for various materials. and winding train are not under this constant stress. Only those pieces of the movement which are between the mainspring and the escape wheel are candidates for eweling.which may indicate use of .5 Are more jewels better? Not necessarily. the steel wheel pivots would very quickly grind away the bridge and plate material until the wheels came out of alignment. a typical hand-wind movement today will have only 17 jewels as a full complement. jewel with a hole to receive the axle (pivot) of the wheel) and one cap jewel (i.

The "T‹25" means the same thing. An example is the Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Caliber 631.g. with four separate motors).1. where manufacturers. 1. See section 6. there was a "jewel craze" about 50 years ago. and was a precursor to the quartz revolution of the late 60's. a mechanical watch is made up of numerous tiny parts. extremely hard pivots. but enough to prevent the balance pivots or cap jewels from damage. under the belief that the public thought more was always better. which signify what the markers on the dial are made from. watchmakers include "shock-protection" in their watches in the form of a tiny spring that holds the balance staff jewels in place. This differs from a typical quartz chronograph. one will occasionally encounter a quartz movement with jewels in it .g. many of which are in constant motion. and thus time regulation. It would not do for an accidental bump to interfere with the watch's ability to keep time due to damaging of the balance pivots. instead of being rigidly held. Most of these jewels were not functional in any way. .3 What is an Accutron? The Accutron is an electrically driven movement developed in the early 1960's by the Bulova corporation.1.they technically aren't really necessary because a quartz wheel train is not constantly under stress. As a historical note. below). This gives a slight amount of give . There is a discussion of jeweled quartz movements in the archives. Instead of having a mechanical balance wheel. 1. found next to the inscription 'Swiss Made' on some watches. or where the chronograph hands are individually driven by separate motors (e. below). which uses a quartz movement to drive not only an analog hour/minute/second display. A "mecaquartz" movement as that term is commonly used is not a quartz movement with a mechanical charging system.1. but also mechanically drives a chronograph function (see 4.6 What is Shock Protection? As is fairly obvious. These factors combine to make for a lot of broken pivots. where the chronograph functions are either digitally displayed in an LCD window (e. with most of the weight concentrated at the rim of the balance. and the results looked ludicrous to an informed eye. Shock protection is usually only applied to the balance because the high speeds and regular motion they are designed for . and the lower-case Greek sigma on my watch dial mean? These are optional industry markings. 1. The "T" means that tritium (a low-level radioactive substance) was applied to make the hands and/or markers glow in the dark.1.2 What is a MecaQuartz? A movement described as a "mecaquartz" is actually a quartz movement that contains many mechanical components. came up with 75 or even 100 jewel movements. Seiko Flight Computer.this kind of design goal leads one to small. for the rest of the mechanical movement.2. "T‹25".ewels for their low friction properties.1 for more information about Tritium. 1. BTW. the Accutron used a mechanically resonating system very much like a tuning fork to keep a constant vibration rate. except it spells out that less than 25 milliCuries of radioactive material is used. The lower-case Greek sigma means that the markers are made of solid gold.7 What do the "T". Breitling Aerospace). Richard Paige has a short article on the details of how a shock proof system works. So.not enough to disrupt the operation of the watch for more than a moment. such as the Seiko Kinetic or Swatch Autoquartz (see 2.

e. and a jeweled movement can last for generations. usually every day. The Horologium contains great dissection of the Bulova Caliber 214 Accutron movement. Because the wheel train of an analog quartz watch is not under constant stress rom a wound mainspring. Walt Arnstein has written a technical analysis of quartz vs. . Virginia. a mechanical watch can always be brought back into good time keeping. it is important to periodically service a watch to ensure that the components are well-lubricated. he is much more eloquent. and hat the mechanism is free from dust. using the crown. Mechanical watches are good enough for most people's everyday lives. Craftsmanship. most manufacturers recommend a servicing every four or five years. Any water that gets inside a mechanical watch will wreak havoc with the precision mechanism inside. Your typical inexpensive quartz is usually good to 0.5 Why should I get a mechanical watch when a quartz watch is so much cheaper and more accurate? Yes. to operate continuously.5 seconds per day or better. But mechanical watches are not about achieving the ultimate in accuracy. mechanical watches. and their second hand is driven at such a high requency that it truly appears to move continuously. A good mechanical watch can typically be made no more accurate than 2-3 seconds per day. especially if used for sports or diving. Finally. For an in-depth analysis. The typical rule of thumb is to have the water resistance (i. With the development of modern synthetic lubricants. and caseback) of a watch checked every year or so. Accutrons were the first major advance using electronics in timekeeping technology over mechanical watches. aesthetics. which may appear to be costly. a quartz watch is cheaper and more accurate than a mechanical watch. especially the anchor escapement and escape wheel which are typically made of steel. However. and "Cost of Servicing a Watch" by Walt Odets give much more detail about how these maintenance steps are carried out. "On Companionship and Soul in Watches" 2. Rather than continue. and they call to our emotional side. bezel. How a Watch is Tested For Water Resistance" by Richard Paige and James Dowling. Here is an Accutron homepage. and why servicing. nor does it require painstaking skill and precision in assembly. which has a lot of good information about history and theory of operation. I'll let Mycroft explain. since the crown is often the only means by which the watch owner can adjust/abuse the movement inside he case.4 What do I need to do to keep a mechanical watch running for a lifetime? Within reason.Accutrons have a distinctive audible hum when operating. A "manual" or "manual wind" watch must be wound by hand. 1. it does not need to be as finely finished.1 What's the difference between a "manual" and an "automatic"? An "automatic" wristwatch is a mechanical wristwatch with a self-winding mechanism. the integrity of the seals in the crown. unlike a mechanical watch (which vibrates at 10 Hz or less) or a modern quartz watch. Walt Odets has provided Some Basics In Handling the Crown. dirt. 1. and moisture. In other words. is in fact a very involved process when done correctly and worth the nvestment. one does not have to wind the crown periodically to keep the watch running. and radition are all part of the allure..

the owner would never need to manually wind the watch. one may get he impression that they can be adjusted to be more accurate and consistent over the course of many days. there are a series of detents along the outer edge of the barrel that allow a stiffly constructed mainspring part called the bridle to slide along when an attempt o overwind is made. However. a faint click can be heard when this happens. the automatic winding advantage is lessened . There is also a series of forum posts by several authors dealing with micro-rotor watches. This turned out to be a marketing flop . This. Justin Time and Walt Arnstein have supplied some general advice about how to start an automatic movement when fully unwound. there is no definite performance advantage to an automatic .if you have more than one watch that is worn regularly. 5000). With few exceptions (oddly enough.it is mostly a convenience. The Horologium contains several articles about different types of automatic winding systems. All automatic watches have an overwind protection mechanism of one sort or another. Walt Arnstein has written an in-depth article about the Physics of the Automatic Watch's Winding System.1). a modern ETA/Eterna system as used in an $85 Swatch Automatic. as illustrated with photographs in this separate article by Hans Zbinden. this is performed by a half-disc of metal weighted at the edge called a otor. several early automatic movements dispensed with the crown and moved the time-setting mechanism onto the back. most manual wind watches have simpler calendars. 2. and any of these combined with moonphases (see 5.people liked the look and easy accessibility of the crown. It should be noted that this overwind protection is critical to avoid damage to the watch.2 How does an automatic mechanism work? All self-winding watches work on the principle of converting arm motion (kinetic energy) into the winding of the mainspring (potential energy). In a typical system. One caveat about automatics . which spins when the wearer's arm is accelerated unpredictably (that is. since he watch will be worn consistently enough to stay wound . on others. is not rigidly attached to the outside of the barrel.f one were going to own only a single watch. 2. and is reported to be one of the more tricky things to get right during a watch service because of the special lubricant needed to ensure proper operation. With some calendar mechanisms. when moved normally in the course of everyday life). and would only need to adjust the time to compensate for drift and at changeover to daylight/summer ime and back. The Seiko Kinetic and ETA Autoquartz movements are quartz movements. the mainspring. an automatic would be a good choice. these seem to be more expensive watches). annual calendars. Finally. most commonly seen watches with more than a simple date window use automatic movements his includes "triple date" calendars. is not necessarily the case. a modern production JLC as in used in the International Watch Company (IWC) Portugieser Automatic (scroll to the bottom of the article).3 for more information about calendars). Usually. to prevent breaking the mainspring once fully wound. under the theory that the mechanism would only be accessed infrequently. and an innovative bi-directional system from the IWC Caliber 8541 (now used in the new WC Cal. it cannot be heard. n fact. This rotary motion is then geared down to wind the central arbor of the mainspring. including a vintage JLC/Vacheron automatic. perpetual calendars. (In fact. as a manual-wind watch that is wound consistently once per day can be weaked so that the day to day variation is very small. since frequently worn automatics are usually at or near a full state of wind most of the time.the automatic may stop if not worn often enough. Instead. this s can be an increased inconvenience when the watch is reset. On some watches. although they may include other complications like chronographs (see section 4. and wear it every day.) For this reason. which is wound at the central arbor of the barrel. but close.1 Are the Seiko Kinetic / Autoquartz therefore Automatics? Not quite.2. they use a rotor system similar to those used by automatics. In short. The difference is that the rotor's motion is converted to .

while an automatic watch has an overwind protection mechanism o avoid damage to the movement. This leads to increased inconvenience if calendars and moonphases must be eset. Last word .winders are not a necessity.e. t should be noted that the latest generation of autoquartz movements can store enough power to run the watch or several months (or even years in the case of the Seiko Auto-Relay). the lubrication of the mechanism is worn out faster. one can choose to wear any watch at any time.1. mechanical watches are considered luxury items. While cheaper professional models exist. collectors who have more than one automatic watch may have "difficulty" keeping any one watch going continuously. they are a convenience. and to let he watch sit. navigation system.electricity.often costing several hundred or thousand dollars. a mechanical automatic can only store as much power as contained in the mainspring . That way. it's not as easy as it sounds. these often do not come with programmable settings. the winder must be designed to have an adjustable number and direction of turns per day. In theory. rather than the unpredictable movement of the human wrist). First. depth gauge.which is usually only 40 hours or so for most automatics. the answer to these questions depend almost exclusively on what is important to the person asking them. this device should be simple and cheap. any of which can be the most important actor in some people's minds:   Accuracy . and whether they are worth it o you as a luxury item.due to the small number of people who would actually want one. 2. n any case. as the maker assumes that they would be used in a watchmaker's shop. which then moves the watch enough to keep it wound when not worn on the wrist. Who makes the best watch? Is it [insert brand here]? n my opinion. The quartz movement then draws current from the capacitor as if it were a battery. which is then used to charge a capacitor. n practice.can the watch act as a analog or digital calculator? a calendar which never needs setting? keep important phone numbers? can be used when diving to hundreds of meters? double in a pinch as an altimeter. PART II: Brands & Accuracy 3.the automatic watch winder. The idea is quite simple: strap the automatic watch to a motor.1. Furthermore. since automatic winding mechanisms vary from watch model to model. and do I need one? As noted in section 2. and emergency . This means that watch winders must be designed to only make so many turns per day.3 What is a watch winder. if the overwind mechanism is constantly used for hours at a time (i. though constant turning. The upshot of all this is that most consumer watch winders with programmable winding are expensive . Jack Freedman (who sells winders) has written a well-balanced article on whether we need watch winders. which means watch winders are doubly so . You should decide whether they are worth it based on whether you feel inconvenienced resetting your automatics occasionally. Consider the following qualities that a watch can have. All of this means that manufacturers for the consumer market must not only make their winders mechanically oolproof to avoid damaging watches. Finally. A solution has been invented .how well does the watch keep time? Features . and not have to eset the time or calendars. but they often construct the winder comparably to a jewelry box.

and they will not only differ on the relative importance of these categories. lubricants pool in certain locations. 3. A higher quality watch may or may not be more accurate than a lower quality watch at any given instant in time. In other words. "regulated" mean? These are terms to be used in conjunction with the discussion in section 3.although for higher grade movements the amount of drift tends to be much smaller. the conventional wisdom is that a typical new watch needs to be run-in . and movement say about the skill and care of the watchmakers who made it? Cost .in other words. It takes a couple of months for the lubricants to be properly redistributed. The reason is that a higher quality watch has been adjusted to minimize the variation in error in several positions. 3.can I wear this watch in combat? can I wear it near strong magnetic fields? will it need a battery replacement at an unacceptable moment? Aesthetics .the variations these days are endless! Status .2. even a watch which has a daily error rate of 4-5 seconds/day in any single position can be made to show zero overall drift though the combination of wearing the watch and letting it sit overnight in a particular position to compensate for drift obtained during wear. This means that the rates for a given watch are constantly drifting . The reason is that. The question of accuracy is more subtle than it appears on the surface. After reading several articles on this subject. as well as high-end brands like Patek.the list goes on. case. Don't ask people to make a sweeping judgment about the overall worthiness of a watch .1 What does "adjusted" vs. forces will act on the components differently when worn on the wrist vs. in that people will post that they have just bought a new WC/Rolex/JLC/Revue Thommen/Omega/etc. An in-depth discussion of the above concepts are contained in a discussion on the "confusing language of watch "accuracy" by Justin Time. and it gains/loses X seconds per day . 4. Bottom line . Ask any number of people. which is called regulation . Just about any current production watch is capable of running overall within 1-2 seconds/day . but they will also differ on whether a particular watch is satisfactory in each category! My own personal opinion . "unadjusted" vs. The stability of a given rate can be quite ephemeral.how cheap can I get it for? .2. It is a relatively simple operation for a watchmaker to adjust a watch that runs consistentlyfast or slow to near zero error.figure out what is important to you in a watch.what do the dial.merely increases or decreases the overall rate without compensating for rates in positions. 2. but it has the potential to be more accurate. and find out whether the watch you're ooking for has it.I believe that this is a legitimate question for some people!) Ruggedness/Dependability ..is this watch a work of art? does it fit with my personal sense of taste? Craftsmanship .will the other company's negotiator be unconsciously swayed by the fact that I have a recognizable status symbol on my wrist? (Note . I've come to the following conclusions: 1.. 5. and for the motion to wear away some of the microscopic imperfections that all parts have. while sitting unused n the jeweler's shop.2 How accurate can I expect a [insert brand here] to be? This is truly a Frequently Asked Question. and Lange.you'll get way too many conflicting answers.this includes relatively inexpensive brands like Hamilton and ORIS. 3. This operation. with the instantaneous rate even in a single position varying constantly. when resting in any particular position.they then ask whether this acceptable for this brand. . due to the limits of how small components can be. and has less drift in the rate over time.     locator? can it be used as a stopwatch? .let a new watch run for about 2 months before taking it in to be re-regulated. Also. JLC.

is also located on a dial). some on the forum would say that this is a bit over-the-top. 5. 2. and are an interesting complication to put on a watch. t really is not that difficult to pass the test. therefore. and so on. An "adjusted" movement. 4. or continuous seconds. There is a 3 part. A chronometer is a watch which has passed a test given by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres. A "regulated" movement is a when the overall rate of the entire movement (either adjusted or not) is brought into correct absolute timing. a watch adjusted to two positions include positions 1 & 2 from the above list (i. face up and crown down). and one or more subdials (the regular. but movements fitted with a emporary case. which moves the daily rates of all of the positions up or down without intentionally changing the relative rates in positions. the COSC certificate cannot say anything about how the movement was handled after testing.) Paul Schliesser has written an essay on how COSC testing is performed. In addition. 6. such as pulse rate or units manufactured per hour. PART III: Features What is a chronometer? What is a chronograph? 4.1 These two terms are commonly confused among new watch aficionados. Dial Up Crown Down Dial Down Crown Left Crown Up Crown Right For example. Traditionally. 5. Similarly. In addition to elapsed time. dial and hands. chronographs are often fitted with several scales designed to measure other things. some Patek Phillipe) adjusts to 8 positions (the above six plus two half-way orientations).e. constant time across varying states of wind) and temperature. including photos and commentary on the actual adjusting of a watch. in-depth technical article on adjusting. and over 95% of the watches submitted pass. 3. A chronograph is a watch that tells the time of day and also allows the user to time events of short-to-medium durations (i. or COSC. Watches are typically adjusted to 2. typically). and 6 positions. While some watch companies tout their products as having a COSC certificate. Unlike adjustment. This is usually done in a mechanical watch through he central seconds hand. see Mike Disher's article "Reading and Understanding a COSC Certificate". Another factor to consider is that the COSC does not test watches as they are sold in the store.e. this is a simple tweak.e. They actually have very little to do with each other. For more information on COSC testing and the meaning of the results reported on the COSC certificate.. from a few seconds to a few hours. a watch adjusted for 4 positions has been adjusted in positions 1-4. the rate in all positions falls into the range of -4 seconds/day to +6 seconds/day). Chronographs are of varying usefulness. as they often give the watch a sporty image. has had some extra care in ensuring that the variance in accuracy between several orientations is minimized. Several watch manufacturers actually put more stringent tests than the COSC procedures on all of their watch production (the JLC Master Control 1000-Hour series is probably the most well known. in The Horologium series on "Tweaking the Mark XII".An "unadjusted" movement is a movement where no attempt has been made to ensure that the daily error rate in several orientations (positions) have been minimized across the positions. 3. The COSC is an official Swiss government agency which tests watches to ensure that they fit within a narrow-but-usually-obtainable window of acceptable error (i.e. Watches can also be adjusted for isochronism (i. Mike Margolis has written a . they are ordered as follows: 1. 4. Some manufacturers (Franck Muller.

for example. easier method of producing chronographs was needed to keep this complication from appearing only in very expensive watches. The column wheel was one of the successful early designs to ensure that none of the above happened. some Lemania . A chronograph is usually started with one pusher. can be a factor in some precision military operations. large destructive forces would be applied to the entire movement train. to allow.e. if the reset mechanism was somehow activated while the chronograph was running. and the various parts of the chronograph are controlled by ingers that fall into and out of the spaces between the teeth. An example of this function is on the IWC Doppelchronograph or Breitling Chronoracer (a mecaquartz (!) attrapante).there was no provision to continue timing once the mechanism was stopped. where several segments or legs of a route are flown for specific periods of time in sequence. A typical modern chronograph is operated with two pushers: one to start and stop the timing. and reset (i. the sequence of pushes was start-stop-reset .short discourse on chronograph scales. For example. three languages describe this function in different ways: "Rattrapante" is the French term for "catch up" (describing the motion of the split hand).the Zenith El Primero. On the dial. while the main second hand continues. which would at he very least jam the movement. the German term for this function is "Doppelchronograph". stop. for example. resetting. These days. When the operator desires to read an ntermediate time. relatively few column wheel designs are still being produced . and the Breguet Type XX Aeronavale.2 What is a Rattrapante? A "Rattrapante" is a chronograph with an added second hand.3 What is a Flyback? A "Flyback" or "Retour a vol" is a function which allows the chronograph to be reset to zero without having to stop he chronograph first (recall that a normal chrono requires one to stop the timing before resetting). eportedly. If the second pusher is pressed again. nterestingly. This is useful or aviation. and the pinion can be built using pieces of stamped metal. this is what a column wheel looks like. Examples of chronos with flyback include the Blancpain Flyback Chronograph. the split seconds hand "catches up" with the main second hand. and restarting leads to a short delay in the beginning of timing the next leg. 4. lap times in a multi-lap event o be read off without stopping the chronograph. and would likely destroy several components.) This allows for reliable operation without nearly as much fiddling and hand adjustment as a column wheel requires. the act of stopping. with tooth-like battlements. or double chronograph.4 What is a Column-Wheel? As one can imagine. If you can visualize the top of a castle turret. and a second to eset the hands to zero when the timing is stopped. which starts both second hands moving (one superimposed over the other). constructing a chronograph is fraught with the potential for inadvertently stopping or damaging the entire movement. he/she pushes a second pusher. The pushers that control the chronograph rotate this wheel. 4. a cam shaped device that rotates back and forth as the various functions are activated. the English term is "Split Seconds" (describing the appearance of the second hand when the unction is activated). (In some older chronos with only one-button for control.) 4. a simpler. and is ready to be used again. The most common method is to use an oscillating pinion to coordinate the chronograph start. one of the second hands stops (the "split" hand). Because producing and finishing a column wheel is labor-intensive. This delay. This ensures that each of the chronograph parts is coordinated properly.

Both the column-wheel and non-column-wheel version of the Omega Speedmaster were certified for space flight by NASA. And the non-column-wheel Lemania 5100 has been one of the few mechanical movements to be accepted as sufficiently rugged by modern military forces. This is rue for automatics (which may be in any state of wind) or long power reserve watches (such as the Eberhard 8 days. It keeps track of date. such as the Valjoux 7750 and various Lemania movements (1874. Piguet movements. or the new Patek 5100 ten-day reserve).5 What was the first automatic chronograph movement? The late 60's saw a race among three sets of manufacturers (two Swiss groups and Seiko in Japan) to create the irst automatic winding chronograph movement.1 Are Column-Wheel chronographs better than other types? Tough question . and the power is removed from the outer rim of the barrel. they all succeeded within a few months of each other. This eaves a wide variety of features that can be either commonly or less frequently found on watches. I suggest that one think about which factors are personally most important in a chronograph. year. 5100). and tradition counts for a lot. since a watch is wound from the center arbor of the barrel. This can be a very useful complication. 5. Walt Odets dissected a Frederick Piguet column wheel chronograph and an oscillating pinion Valjoux 7750 in he Horologium. So . and second. leap years. The most common movements. and sometimes even centuries. 5.much like the question of which watch is best. Lange 1. non-column wheel movements have certainly proved themselves in a variety of demanding situations. and make the decision from there. is an indicator that displays the approximate number of days or hours eft on the current state of mainspring wind. Because of . a gear train that can act as a differential is required to read out the difference between the arbor position and the barrel rim position. Certainly column wheels are a traditional method of coordinating the chronograph components. the newer. and (interestingly) a F.2 What's a Reserve de Marche? A Reserve de Marche. Interestingly enough. common additions such as a day/date window are typically excluded from this definition.4. Chronographs of all flavors have been dealt with in Section 4. Piguet rattrapante mecaquartz are examples. 4. On the other hand.3 What's a Perpetual Calendar? How is it different from an Annual Calendar or Triple-Date? A perpetual calendar is the most developed form of the simple date window on a typical watch. day-of-the-week. This section will discuss some of the more commonly seen (or at least coveted) complications. 4.and F. minute. Therefore. months. as it lets one know whether a watch is wound before putting it on. or Power Reserve. This story is documented by Ignacio. This typically cannot be done by a simple gear train.much like the question of which watch is the best. More practically. are not of column wheel design. (sometimes weeks). 5.1 What is a complication? A complication is defined as a wristwatch function beyond that required for simple hour.

and leap years every four years. in even the best watches there are small variations between the different vertical orientations (i. and the Patek Philippe 5035. This is argely due to the combined effect of gravity. the overall effects of gravity get balanced out. a typical perpetual calendar has wheels turning from several times per second (e. a pocketwatch worn in a vest will spend the majority of its time in a vertical position. which requires an adjustment on leap year day only. and escape wheel in a cage.starting price on a tourbillon is roughly in he $50. annual calendars (of which the Patek Philippe 5035 is an outstanding example). and the regulator pins.4 What's a Tourbillon? A tourbillon is a holdover from the days of the pocket watch. . day. The performance advantage is even further nullified by the fact that wristwatches spend a ess predictable amount of time in less predictable positions. naturally. or "Repetition Minutes" is a variety of chiming watch. or right positions).2 on adjusting a watch for positions. The solution he devised placed the balance wheel. repeaters do not automatically strike the hour. usually through a slide or push button. Unlike a wristwatch. Therefore 18th/19th century watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet allegedly decided that.000 range. or minutes in passing . including the varying lengths of months. :-) Walt Odets has analyzed the calendar mechanisms in several models of the IWC line. However. quarter. 5. In this way. balance wheel) all the way to once every four years. some perpetual calendars will require an experienced watchmaker open the watch to make an adjustment at AD 2100.g. which only require a user adjustment once every February "triple date" calendars. with the result that a tourbillon has become more a statement about the watchmaker's skill rather than having any real performance advantage . the hairspring shape and attachment point on the balance staff and cock. down. so these companies can sell tourbillons without having to spend the development time and money. escape lever. or later (assuming that an experienced watchmaker still exists then).e.Lemania makes several tourbillon movements which are supplied to a number of high-zoot companies. Some less complex calendars are also available:    Semi-perpetual calendars (e. Watches which do strike "en passsant" (in passing) automatically are called Petit or Grande Sonneries. As discussed in Section 3. left.but need to be manually advanced at the end of each (short) month Some would say that the inconvenience in resetting the date on a true perpetual calendar is the main reason for he existence of the watch winder industry. Fun fact . some means of balancing out the effects of gravity in the various orientations was needed. in the crown up.he relatively complex rules governing the Gregorian calendar. This list of companies. and date . the Breitling Montbrilliant 1461). as the escapement of the movement never spends any significant time in one vertical position. for the absolute best accuracy. Unlike a striking clock. this solution is very complex. is very tightly held.g. which then rotated as a unit within the movement as a result of the normal escapement process.they must be activated by the user.5 What's a Repeater? How is it different from a Sonnerie? A repeater.) 5. which contain month. Because of the complexity of the Gregorian calendar.

However. 7. 1 chime for passing the first quarter-hour.for the same reasons that watch crystals are!) . Radium was used after about 1900 as a means of illuminating watch hands and markers at night. then two chimes for two half quarters.) Half-quarter Repeater: Chimes the hour. A thorough examination of the issue is contained in Bruce Lulu's definitive article on luminous watch hands. A sapphire crystal is indeed made of synthetic sapphire.e. but can be scratched easily. (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours. Despite the relatively arge size compared with sapphire gemstones. followed by the number of five-minute intervals (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours. sapphire crystals aren't very expensive (~$20).300 list. 7. followed by quarter-hours. In my opinion. sapphire will shatter. Mineral crystal is a kind of glass. with one exception . More ypically.5 minute intervals) past the hour. and will resist scratching by most substances short of diamonds.) Minute Repeaters: Chimes the hour.1 Should I be concerned about radium on a vintage watch dial? How about Tritium? And what's this Luminova stuff? The short answer is. followed by minutes (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for hours. scratches can be easily removed from acrylic. At the time of this writing (November. The wearers of the watch receive only a small dose of additional radiation per year. who were encouraged to keep a fine point on their paint brushes by licking the brush end. then four chimes for passing 20 minutes past the hour. based on the smallest unit of time which they can indicate:     Quarter Repeater: Chimes the hour. if struck sharply and from the correct direction. the mineral crystal seems to be a poor compromise between the two extremes.) These again are very high-priced items. (example: 4:21 would have four chimes for the hours. (Another fun fact he windows built in to grocery store checkout lines which scan for the bar code on products are often made of synthetic sapphire . they are in the $20. and sapphire crystals? An acrylic watch crystal (i. tritium (a kind of hydrogen) has been used. when the hazards of radiation were (belatedly) understood. then 1 chime for passing the first quarterhour. don't worry about it. scratches in mineral glass are more difficult to buff out.1 What's the difference between acrylic.Repeaters currently come in several varieties. Unlike acrylic. the see-through window above the dial) is a kind of plastic.e. and unlike sapphire. Note that it would chime three times once getting past 4:22:30) Five-minute Repeater: Chimes the hour. and partially due to the development of non-radioactive luminous compounds like Luminova which "hold their charge" of light better. and six chimes for minutes into the second quarter hour. 2000).the Kelek five-minute repeater at $5. Part IIII: Materials 6. Fortunately. It is extremely hard (Moh's scale 9). followed by the number of half-quarter hours (i. a less powerful radioactive source. followed by the number of quarter-hour intervals at the current time. Since them. The main victims of radium were the watch dial painters. much less than the natural background radiation. but not as as good as sapphire. partially due to availability of tritium. which is more scratch resistant than acrylic. mineral glass will scratch. but don't eat the dials either. mineral. or aluminum oxide (Al2O3). which is a transparent form of corundum. Mineral crystals are also somewhat better at shatter resistance compared with sapphire.000 and up range. which has the advantage of being resistant to shattering. It was widely used until the 1940's or so. tritium is being phased out of watch dials.

to make it harder and stand up to daily wear. Start by buffing a little bit onto a clean cloth over the area of the scratch. Repeat until gone. bracelets sold with solid gold watches are often themselves solid gold . then rolled into sheets to give a somewhat higher hickness of gold than any plating method. Platinum is a very heavy metal. 9. it is often used in 95% purity (i.5% purity (sometimes seen in vintage and/or UK market watch cases. that JLC you were looking at in 18K gold has a case made of real 75% purity solid gold. :-) BTW. This allows the watch to look like a gold watch. So.2 How do I remove the scratches from an acrylic crystal? Good old-fashioned toothpaste is a good start. Unlike gold. 25 years. Rub lightly.e. Pt 950). what does that mean? The term 18K refers to solid gold. which I'm guessing you'll never see in watch cases. gold is made in several "karats". This process has been supplanted largely by electrochemical plating and PVD. This practice was common until the 1960's. but it won't last for more than a few years of normal wear. such as Polywatch or Crystal-Kleer Legalese: I cannot be held responsible if you try this for yourself. For this reason. or 1/24th proportions of gold. and end up ruining your watch. except the gold was rolled out flat before being bonded to the base metal.e. Gold-filled cases were originally warranted to last a certain number of years in normal wear . but also because it is .1 If a watch is advertised as "18K". However. or Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PE-CVD). Rolled-gold plate was another vintage method of plating gold.3% (sometimes marked 583 or 585 in gold hallmarks) 18K = 18/24 purity of gold = 75% (sometimes marked 750 in gold hallmarks) 24K = 24/24 purity of gold = 100%.3 What does Gold-Filled mean? How about Rolled-Gold Plate? Gold-filled means gold bars are soldered to a base metal. but has been largely replaced by plating processes. it cannot be repaired. 9K = 9/24 purity of gold = 37. and gives a shiny white metal appearance. CVD. raw platinum is more expensive to use. Other methods include Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).g. Note that there are also purpose-made polishes for this purpose.) 8. or PE-CVD mean? Physical Vapor Deposition is a method of plating gold or other substances to a thickness of several microns 1/1000ths of a millimeter) over a base metal surface.2 What do PVD. along with 10K gold) 14K = 14/24 purity of gold = 58. The resulting layer of gold is slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. pure platinum is fairly hard and resistant to scratches (similar to hard stainless steel). 8. not only because of its rarity. No wonder it's so expensive.7. high-end watches are often made of platinum or titanium. When it does finally show through. Pure gold is very soft.which as you might expect adds significantly to the price. This procedure s intended for people willing to take responsibility for their own actions only.1 What are some other materials used as watch cases? Aside from the standard gold and stainless steel. and are somewhat more durable than modern gold plating. and rinse with a very slightly damp cloth.) 8.

Advanced Forum and Satellite Forums.sometimes you'll see claims that titanium "remains at skin temperature" . as used recently by IWC) and aluminum (used in conjunction with other metals. Several varieties of itanium are available.1 This FAQ sucked! Where can I get better answers? Given this is TimeZone.this is echnically incorrect. Titanium is a relatively light-weight metal. Also. Coin silver (80% purity silver). I would recommend that you leave them alone . check out TZ Classics. For gold filled or gold plate.2 How do I remove scratches from my watch? Depends on the finish. 9.) A certain member of the forum. which means that it won't carry heat away from your skin as quickly as steel or aluminum (i. any more than a small piece of wood stays at skin temperature). more recently. It also has a poor heat ransfer capability. as currently used by Porsche Design and BVLGARI. for more information on Titanium. but 66% copper. and two pieces of titanium pressed together can "weld" themselves together. This latter property is why it is important that watches with titanium cases and backs have the casebacks removed periodically . Inc. f you're really motivated to learn more about the mechanics of watches. use the appropriate polish from a jewelry store. Walt Odets' Horologium. t will feel warmer to the touch . nickel silver or silveroid (not silver.the hreads can actually rip out of the case if left undisturbed too long. whose real name is Norman. | TimeZone Guidelines and Policies v . and nickel plated steel. Titanium has some interesting mechanical properties: it can "rip" when cut so it is difficult o machine. and read the Public Forum. nickel. Jack Freedman's Escape Wheeling.used in higher purities and requires more effort to work into a final shape. keeping in mind that a brushed gold/platinum finish will be harder to match than a glossy finish (see the stainless steel article for pointers on matching the pattern. the Articles from the TimeZone Community. but if you've read this article. see Mycroft's other article on IWC's Titanium. one can even find watch cases made of ceramic (zirconium oxide. enroll in the TZ Watch School © Bourne in Time. and 10% nickel).e.5% purity silver).you don't want to remove any more of the finish than already exists! 10. 24% zinc. sells a leather patch which people have used to good effect in removing scratches from watches. with a hardness exceeding that of most steels.) n addition. Other case materials which one will run across occasionally (especially on the vintage market) are Sterling Silver 92. Justin Time explains the process for Stainless Steel. Don't be afraid to ask a question. you've hopefully gained a air amount of knowledge. For gold or platinum. the Archives.

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