Ad
Ad
Ad
Archive

April 2018

Browsing

Swan-neck Regulator
A high-end regulator pin: Swan-neck regulator. Swan neck, a collet fixing the end of the hairspring, can produce aesthetic effect. Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Chopard has applied swan-neck regulator to their in-house mechanical movements. Swan-neck regulator has three effects. First, it can stick the regulator clip tightly. Second, it can ensure accuracy be adjusted to a satisfying and accurate range. Third, it embodies the heritage of decoration and the culture of watchmaking, and it is also a symbol of the advanced watch. Besides, snail-shaped regulator has been applied to the pocket watch.

Technology Innovation on Swan-neck Regulator
To control vibration period of balance wheel by adjusting the length of hairspring is simple and effective. Swan-neck regulator does well in solving displacement of balance spring holder. Under violent vibration, the malposition of hairspring controlled by regulator clip and hairspring stud will cause the deflection. The puzzle has been overcome. Swan-neck regulator was applied for a patent in Munich, Germany and numbered “EP2290477”.

2. Free Sprung Balance
Free Sprung balance has better stability and isochronism than regulator pin.If I have to look for a flaw, the collocation of free sprung balance and Breguet spring will make the balance wheel higher above 1 millimetre. Free Sprung regulating tool is to adjust vibration period by adjusting wheel weight.It mainly includes Rolex Microstella and Patek Philippe Gyromax.

Patek Philippe Gyromax
When it come to Free-sprung, U-shaped Gyromax weights in gold from Patek Philippe occurs to me. The Gyromax regulating tool has been used for more than 60 years. To rotate the gap toward the central axis of the balance can make the watch go slow. The number of weights is eight generally, and there’re 4 and 6 weights. PP Calibre CH 28-520 has silicon balance wheel with 4 weights in gold. Don’t look down these weights, they can affect amplitude to 180 degrees, practical, reliable, beautiful. On August 18, 1948, Patek Philippe applied for two patents: CH280067 and CH261431. CH280067 is on how U-shaped weights were assembled on the balance. At that time, weights were set in the flutes so that it can reduce air friction. The setting is similar to Chopard’s flyer”variner”. With the progress of technology, the difficulty of processing and manufacturing has been reduced. CH261431 is on the specification design for U-shaped weights.

Rolex Microstella
In fact, Rolex Microstella has a longer history than Patek Philippe Gyromax. During the World War Ⅱ,Rolex applied for a patent No.CHX2239668 which was invented by AEGLER HANS HERMANN, an early partner of Rolex. Rolex ordered movements from him at that time. The edge of the balance wheel was assembled with lead screws and nuts in gold.With the development of technology, Microstella regulating is designed in its interior side. The two patents have 20-year period of validity. After that, any of watch brands can use these patents.

Accuracy of a timepiece is significant. Taking the ship’s clock as an example, accumulative voyage error will reach to 27 kilometers in two months if the clock speed is affected by one second per day. If a mechanical wristwatch daily error is more than 10 seconds, wearers can feel that obviously. What can make a wristwatch work more accurate? To adjust vibration period is the most direct and the most commonly used method, so the adjustment device appear significant and pivotal like an auto gearbox. Fine time adjustment is a critical component to judge the quality of a wristwatch or a movement. For a movement, the same model will be ranked, because it is equipped with different levels of adjustment devices. ETA movements equipped with different levels of balance springs, balance wheels, absorber devices and adjustment devices are divided into the Standard, Elaborated, Top and Chronometer. So are top movements.

What’s the fine adjustment?
A mechanical watch made up of at least more than one hundred components and parts seems sophisticated, but its actual principle is simple. The spring power is transmitted to the escapement mechanism through some groups of gears.The hands are assembled in the gear transmission device, and the rotation speed of the gears must be controlled well if accurate time is wanted. It’s the same as the truth that the tap control the water velocity. The task that controls the rotation speed of central hands falls on the terminal escapement mechanism, balance wheel, balance spring and adjustment device. What can affect the accuracy of a watch? The mechanical oscillator and the vibration period. The balance wheel and the hairspring swing back and forth, and the maximum angle is called peak-to-peak amplitude. How to control the amplitude or vibration period? Two ways. One is to adjust the actual working length of the hairspring with regulator pin, the most common way. The other is to adjust the balance wheel weight.

1. Regulator Pin
Regulator pin is the most commonly used to adjust the accuracy of a mechanical watch. That to truncate the length of the hairspring shorten vibration period drives a mechanical watch go faster. On the contrary, the vibration period get longer as the hairspring is lengthened, so the watch will go slower. The most typical regulator pin is made up of four parts: eccentric screw, V-shaped part on the head of vernier clip, hairspring stud and regulator clip. The way to adjust the length of the balance spring with regulator pin has birth defects. The regulator clip used to control hairspring working length can increase deformation of the balance spring when the spring is working. The part opposite to the regulator clip deforms the most seriously. The deformation will destroy elasticity of the spring, and it will cause instability of vibration. It’s very important for a mechanical watch to keep stable forever. In addition, regulator pin is easy to be affected by the change of spring torque, temperature variation and shock. This is why almost all chronometer movements use weight used on the balance and double-deck hairspring.These wristwatches with eccentric-screw regulator pin are not expensive. Among top watch brands, I’m afraid that only Ulysse Nardin has such watches whose movement are based on ETA models.

Brand: Rolex
Model: cal. 3135
Diameter: 28.5mm
Thickness: 6mm
Vibration Frequency: 28,800 MPH
Jewel: 31 pieces
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Function: instantaneous jump date, hour-minute-second
Balance Wheel: four-arm alloy balance
Weight: 4 pieces (2 adjustable weights included)
Hairspring: Parachrom balance spring
Shock System: Kif shock absorber device
Known Models: Submariner, Sea-Dweller, Deepsea, Yacht-Master, Datejust, Datejust II

Rolex Submariner divers watch ref. 116610LV-97200 with Calibre 3135

Cal. 3135, a self-winding mechanical movement is entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Like all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3135 is a certified Swiss chronometer, a designation reserved for high-precision watches that have successfully passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests. Due to stable and accurate performance, it has win widespread praise from other watch brands in the industry and customers since it was launched formally in 1988. After 30 years of development, Cal. 3135 is still the king of automatic movements, a Rolex basic movement which is used most widely in Rolex watches for now. Here I analyze its strength and weakness in details.

Calibre 3135

STRENGTH
Most of Rolex Date men’s watches are equipped with Cal. 3135, for example, Rolex Submariner green watch reference 116610. Some of Rolex ladies’ watches for small diameter are equipped with Cal. 2235 self-winding movements. The difference between cal. 3135 and cal. 2235 is the size, the diameter of cal. 2235 is 20 mm.

Cal. 3135 consists of 195 components and parts, as far as I know. Based on cal. 3035, cal. 3135 has more stable and excellent performance after optimized. The balance cock is developed from single fulcrum to double-pivot structure.

From the pallet, the escape wheel and three wheels, we can easily get the information that the diameter and teeth of each wheel are the same, so that the escapement can greatly reduce power consumption.

The eleven components and parts make up a self-winding system. The red gears with TEFLON treatment has excellent resistance to wear, corrosion and friction.

Two yellow gold gears above will be used to stop the balance wheel when the crown is pilled out.

In addition to delicate design, the accuracy is also affected by materials. Parachrom balance hairspring made of niobium and zirconium and oxygen-containing alloy is applied to Cal. 3135, offering greater resistance to shocks and to temperature variations. Its architecture, in common with all Oyster watch movements, makes it singularly reliable.

WEAKNESS
There isn’t a flawless and perfect thing in the world. Its weakness isn’t known by many people. If the watch with cal. 3135 gets good maintenance, there won’t be big issues. Generally, the end of the automatic axle is easy to be frayed. The issues come along as the abrasion comes out. The long-term abrasion will lead to increase the gap. Slowly, the wheel loses normal balance, then the plywood will be scratched. The worse status is that the coating has lost its color. So regular maintenance is necessary.

Many have been clear about IWC supply movements and one family of self-made movements. Next, the rest in use will be shown below.

Cal. 51XXX / Cal. 52XXX
Cal. 51XXX and cal. 52XXX are two good models of the 50000-calibre family, featuring seven days’ power reserve. The old version cal. 51XXX has 21,600 VPN. The second generation Cal. 52XXX was introduced in 2015, with a bidirectional Pellaton pawl-winding system. Two barrels provides seven-day power reserve. The indexless balance with a frequency of 4 hertz (28,800 beats per hour). As a model in 51XXX-calibre family, cal. 51111 applies to the Pilot’s 7-Days. Cal. 52110 and cal. 52010 are basic movements in 52XXX-calibre family, and their extended versions apply to the Pilot’s watches and the Portugieser Family. Cal. 52850 is added to the calendar display on the basis of basic movements. Cal. 52610 with calendar display patented by IWC, moon phase and four-digit year display is a representative movement with calendar display. Cal. 52615, an extended version, has South-North moon phase.

Cal. 52610

Cal. 59XXX
Cal. 59210 is a basic movement of high-end movement 59000-calibre family, manufacture mechanical movement with manual winding. It provides eight days’ power reserve. The basic versions include cal. 59060, cal. 59230, cal. 59215, cal. 59220 and cal. 59210. The advanced versions are cal. 59360, cal. 59800 and cal. 59900. Cal. 59360 with column wheel has date display, 60-minute timer and power reserve indicator. Cal. 59800 with moon phase. Cal. 59900 with tourbillon is a grand complicated version. 59XXX-calibre family includes different movements with different functions from the basic movements to complicated movements. The Portofino Family collection with cal. 59XXX has been the high-end products. In future, it’s possible the calendar versions will came out.

Cal. 59360

Cal. 89XXX
The core technology of IWC focuses on long power, chronograph, perpetual calendar and tourbillon, since most of in-house movements features those above. Now, cal. 89361, one of core in-house chronograph movement, widely applies to the main collection. An absolute widely-used chronograph movement in all IWC movements. With the functions are added to the basic movement, many complicated movements came out. Cal. 89900 with tourbillon chronograph. Cal. 89630 with four-digit year calendar chronograph. Cal. 89801 with month-day-date display chronograph. Cal. 89760, a GMT chronograph movement. Cal. 89365, a new model based on cal. 89361, is an automatic winding chronograph movement. These in-house movements proves researchment and development capabilities of IWC.

cal. 89361

Cal. 89760

Cal. 98XXX
Cal. 98XXX, manufacture mechanical movement with manual winding. Its basic model is cal. 98300, a revised version of cal. 98295. It’s also called the “Jones Arrow” movement, which applies to IWC Vintage watches in order to honor Florentine Aristo Jones, the U.S. founder of IWC. There are mainly two models-cal. 98900 with tourbillon and cal. 98950 with minute repeater system in 98XXX-calibre family. They’re grand complicated movements.

IWC Portugieser Chronograph Watch with cal. 98950

Cal. 94900
As one of the most complicated movements in IWC, cal. 94900 has both constant-force tourbillon and astronomical display. IWC Portugieser Sidérale Scafusia IW5041-01 is equipped with cal. 94900.

cal. 94900

IWC has far more movements than those. Due to the replacements of old and new movements, the old models are used rarely, for example, 80000-calibre family. Judging from in-house movements, IWC shows its capability on modifying, developing, processing movements. Cal 69370 and cal. 69375 fill in the gaps of self-made entry level chronograph movements. IWC will release entry level automatic movements with hour, minute and small second hands. Hence, IWC in-house movements will form a strong team.

IWC is a reputable wristwatch manufacturer with good sales. When it comes to IWC, IWC Portugieser Chronograph watch and Portugieser Automatic 7-Days watch occur to our minds. But, I’m going to introduce IWC movements instead of IWC wristwatches. As we all know, the movement determines the value of a watch, and the more advanced the movement is, the more valuable the wristwatch is. IWC watches all have nice appearances, and IWC has kept trying its best to develop in-house movements to break away from supply movements. After all IWC has been fallen behind Rolex, Omega, Panerai on the development of self-made movements.

IWC has made clear that it owns 60% in-house movements, and the rest comes from ETA and Sellita. What’s more, the two companies produce universal movements according to the demands of IWC, even the accuracy of these movements reaches up to 0/+7 error. From the in-house movement project and the new-built watchmaking factory, we know that more and more self-made movements will come out.

Existing movements
The existing movements of IWC include Cal. 30XXX, Cal. 35XXX, Cal. 51XXX,Cal. 52XXX, Cal. 59XXX, Cal. 69XXX, Cal. 75XXX,Cal. 79XXX, Cal. 80XXX, Cal. 89XXX, Cal. 94XXX, Cal. 98XXX.

Supply Movements
Cal. 30XXX (ETA)
The models are based on ETA movements. Cal. 30110 and cal. 30120 left, and they’re based on ETA 2892-A2. IWC Pilot’s watch Mark XVIII is usually equipped with Cal. 30110. The Aquatimer Family watch limited edition is equipped with cal. 30120.

IWC-Pilots-Watch-Mark-XVIII-Petit-Prince-Lifestyle

Cal. 35XXX (Sellita)
IWC often uses Cal. 35XXX based on Sellita SW300-1. IWC Cal. 35111 is equivalent to ETA 2892. Models with three central hands of the Portofino Family, Da Vinci Family, Ingenieur Family and Pilot’s Watches are equipped with cal. 35111. Cal. 35750 moon phase is uesd in the Portofino Family. Cal. 35700 GMT Day & night is used in the Portofino GMT watch.

IWC Ingenieur Family W125

IWC-Pilots-Watch-Mark-XVIII Special Edition with cal. 35111

Cal. 79XXX (ETA 7500)
IWC Purtugieser Chronograph watch is equipped with the IWC movement based on ETA 7750. IWC repolished ETA 7750 well. To this day, IWC Portugieser Grande Complication watch Ref. IW377601 limited of 250 pieces is sold for $ 283,000 USD. It is cal. 79091. The basic model cal. 79320 applies to the Pilot’s watches, the Aquatimer Family. The upgraded version cal. 79420 was added to split second chronograph parts on the basis of ETA 7750. The Portugieser Chronograph watch with cal. 79350, a simple edition is one of the most popular Portugieser Chronograph watches.

IWC-Portugieser-Grande-Complication-watch Ref. IW377601

Cal. 75XXX(SW 500)
The only Cal. 75320 with three sub-dials and calendar display left to be used in Portofino Family.

The above is that all basic supply movements of IWC. IWC has developed in-house basic movements to replace some of supply movements gradually since 2016.

Self-made Movements
Cal. 69000 (Basic version)
Cal. 69XXX includes two versions, cal. 69370 and cal. 69375. Cal. 69370, 33 jewels, 46 hours of power reserve, self-winding chronograph movement with date introduced in 2016. It features an automatic pawl winding system. IWC Ingenieur Family W125 with Cal. 69370 is limited to 750 pieces. Cal. 69375 applies to the Ingenieur Family. The Portugieser Chronograph collection and the Pilot’s Chronograph watches will be equipped with Cal. 69375 in future.