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Continuous vs. Running Minute Counter Chronos

October 18 2006 at 3:51 PM
jkingston  (no login)

Well John and I got into it a few days ago about whether continuous running minute counters on chronographs represent a simplified solution when compared to jumping minute counters (and here I am using the term to mean chrono minute counters that move as the chrono hand passes 60. I do not mean necessarily instanteous counters such as are found in the Datograph).

I had occasion to lunch with one of the "Deans" of watch design in the Vallee de Joux this past week and posed that exact question. The answer was simply unequivocal: continuous running minute counters are held in lower esteem than jumping counters. They are vastly easier to build, vastly easier to design. Moreover they depart from classic design. And as I was carrying a copy of the Patek movement (the 5960 chrono base) it was easy to see how much more simple the design is.

So I stand by my guns.

Jeff

 
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ei8htohms
(Login ei8htohms)
AP Discussion Group

is that an Appeal to Authority I hear?

October 19 2006, 4:34 PM 

Hi Jeff,

First off, I'm not sure we were discussing "whether continuous running minute counters on chronographs represent a simplified solution when compared to jumping minute counters".

Wait, let me step back. First off, I'm not sure why you insist on incorrectly identifying semi-instantaneous minutes counters as jumping minutes counters. There are already perfectly appropriate and proper names for both semi-instantaneous and jumping minutes counters and your insistence on confusing the point by misusing the terms is completely baffling.

So, I'm not sure we were discussing "whether continuous running minute counters on chronographs represent a simplified solution when compared to [semi-instantaneous] minute counters". Actually, what I was discussing was the assertion that a continuous minutes counter was "cheaper". To tell the truth, I don't even object to the idea so much as how it was phrased and the extent to which it misleads more than informs. Would it be equally fair to condemn the Blancpain in comparison to a Breguet Type XX because it a vertical clutch design is cheaper than a traditional horizontal clutch?

A vertical clutch is undeniably a simpler way to manufacture a chronograph (why do you think Seiko chose a vertical clutch design in 1969 (and met with such great success with the design I might add!)?), but it's also more functional and reliable in a host of other ways, making the statement that it's "cheaper" a little absurd even. This is basically what I was objecting to in the first place.

For some reason I find it a little difficult to engage in a debate with the second-hand comments of anonymous watch gurus. It's even more difficult when their comments are paraphrased out of context, but when they seem seem to make sweeping generalizations about the esteem in which a design detail is held, well, I'm just about stumped. Not completely however, so lets take a look at the comments as relayed.

"Held in lower esteem." Whatever. Let's move on.

"They are vastly easier to build, vastly easier to design." Hmm, I don't generally fault designs that are easy to build or design on that basis alone, and I'm guessing this anonymous "Dean" doesn't/didn't either. We can only assume that he/she was exhibiting the general tendency to believe that more expensive and classical solutions are more appropriate in very expensive watches. It's a position that does have some merit IMHO although it is pretty hard to defend in the specifics and, if taken as a guiding principle in design, results in some very bizarre evolutions and elaborations as far as engineering is concerned.

"Moreover they depart from classic design." Whatever. We are talking about vertical clutch chronographs, so let's not pretend that we're discussing classical watchmaking exactly or that this is a particularly relevant point in context.

I don't suppose you bothered to ask him/her about his/her feelings about the specific movements in question did you? It would be interesting to hear how he/she might've felt about the implication that the Patek Philippe movement is inferior to the Blancpain.

So let's grant that a continuous minutes counter may be less expensive to build than a semi-instantaneous minutes counter (bearing in mind that I believe that this statement is true in some specific instances but not instructive in the least as a generalization). It is also arugably more reliable (simpler designs generally are, you know, as a generalization), less parasitic to the mechanism where running precision/consistency is concerned and much better suited to being run continuously. Patek has made it clear that they intend for many of the wearers to run the chronograph continuously to use the sweep second hand for running seconds, so this makes the continuous minutes counter make a lot more sense for this reason alone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of continuous minutes counters, especially when they are housed in a sub-dial. I find them much more difficult to read (excepet when they are centrally located with a much larger minutes track) personally. That said, I applaud the recent trend in movement design towards increased reliability and robustness above all and I think that was the guiding principle behind the continuous minutes counter in the Cal. 28-520. At least I absolutely refuse to allow that saving a few pennies was Patek's major motivator in that design decision in particular.

All by way of saying, I stand by my guns as well.

_john






 
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CL
(no login)

John...I'm behind your Guns :-)

October 19 2006, 8:22 PM 

An annomynous GURU told me so
I follow and understand all your reasoning.
Lovesss*CL

 
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jkingston
(no login)

Reasons For The Vertical Clutch

October 19 2006, 8:32 PM 

There are a number of reasons to choose a vertical clutch design.

First I am not going to dissect the original Seiko design. I am working on that task separately.

However, there are several performance reasons to go with the vertical clutch design.

1. The ability to run the chronograph continuously. With "traditional" supplemental fourth wheel/intermediate wheel/center wheel chronograph train designs, the teeth on the center wheel are triangular in shape and very small and fragile. The teeth must be small and of this shape to minimize jumping when the chrono is activitated. However, this leads to substantial wear issues. I can't think of a single chrono of this design where the owner is not specifically advised NOT to run the chrono continuously because of wear. Vertical clutch designs permit constant running of the chrono if the owner desires.
2. Rate keeping. The gear design produces on average around a 30 degree drop in amplitude when the chrono is activated. Thus rate keeping suffers. This does not happen with vertical clutches to anywhere near this degree and again the chrono can be left running with little effect on rate keeping.

3. Start stopping. With gear designs it is a crap shoot how the teeth will land when the chrono is started. Sometimes fate smiles and the peak of one tooth happily lands in the trough of its mate. More often that is not true and the chrono hand will jump as a result. This is simply unavoidable. With vertical clutches, starting is essentially always smooth.

4. Avoidance of needle flutter. Gear designs suffer from fickelness. Chrono second hand movement has a tendency to produce flutter, which is uneven movement. There are two techniques employed to minimize this. Most commonly a spring is tensioned across the chrono seconds hand shaft to apply resistance to it. This has the disadvantage in that reduces amplitude, effects rate and consumes energy. Alternatively the depthing of gear engagement between the center chrono wheel and intermediate wheel is increased. This puts tension into the train and at worst can stop the watch. I cannot tell you how many absolutely top of the line chronos I have seen that suffer from this flutter problem. This does not happen with vertical clutch designs.

So there is much more going on than cost.

Jeff

 
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J.Chong
(Login J.Chong)

Precisely!

October 20 2006, 4:22 AM 

A vertical clutch has functional/performance merit. The fact that it is "a simpler way to manufacture a chronograph" (as John mentioned above) is an additional bonus.

The key here is that something that is simpler to manufacture isn't always worse (as illustrated by the vertical clutch). Similarly, something that is cheaper to manufacture (by virtue of being simpler) is not necessarily worse. Yet the suggestion made is that something that is "easier to build" or "cheaper" is worse or "held in lower esteem". I think it is this suggestion that John takes objection to.

The "Deans" answer gives me the impression that complexity is a good thing in watches. The more parts it has the better. Isn't that the antithesis of good watch engineering? I thought that for a given purpose or design goal, the simplest/least complex design able to achieve that goal is to be preferred.

 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

There is also the often too wide gap between theory and practice. Good points and

October 20 2006, 8:37 AM 

reading of John's points, J.

Thanks,

TM

 
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Ling
(Login hkling)
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John, I agree with you. To me, simpler is better...

October 20 2006, 7:48 PM 

Dr. Ludwig just needs 9 parts to achieve annual calendar function. I think it is a major breakthrough. It is much much cheaper and easier to build. However, it is certainly not inferior to other annual calendar watches which have higher standard of finishing and contain more parts.

Regards
Ling

 
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Marcus Hanke
(Login mhanke)
Brand Forum Moderators

But Dr. L's design is also more difficult to assemble ...

November 10 2006, 6:06 AM 

... or better: to fine-adjust, which leaves the larger share of workload on the watchmaker assembling the watches. Master watchmakers' work hours are more expensive than those of CNC machines producing superfluous parts ...

Regards,
Marcus

 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

The THEORY behind your comments are well noted (and known) with thanks. But...

October 20 2006, 9:37 AM 

Hi, Jeff,

I've long been fascinated (and obssessed by) the often wide chasm between theory and practice; between how things are supposed to work and how they actually work.

I'll let Suitbert, John, and others with bench experience and watchmaking schooling counter point the theory; I'm just a humble hobbyist who happens to understand a little bit of the theory, in theory, and more than a little personal experience with timepieces, accumulated over nearly 3 decades.

1. The ability to run the chronograph continuously. With "traditional" supplemental fourth wheel/intermediate wheel/center wheel chronograph train designs, the teeth on the center wheel are triangular in shape and very small and fragile. The teeth must be small and of this shape to minimize jumping when the chrono is activitated. However, this leads to substantial wear issues. I can't think of a single chrono of this design where the owner is not specifically advised NOT to run the chrono continuously because of wear. Vertical clutch designs permit constant running of the chrono if the owner desires.

This is the widely (universally?) accepted theory, one which makes perfect sense to me and which I have been aware of for decades.

In practice, I know a large number of watchmakers who have looked at hundreds of chronographs, some decades old and many which have had their chronographs continuously running most of that time. In many cases, there was no serious, operation effecting signs of wear.

Does this contradict or undermine the theory, then?

No, not necessarily; it could also have to do with the materials used, how that material was worked and treated, in the past, in different movements, by different brands, which makes the theoretical considerations mostly moot and a matter of internet "chat"

Conclusion? The theory is fine, but be careful of drawing non-sequitor and malapropos conclusions from it, either in praise or in damnation.

2. Rate keeping. The gear design produces on average around a 30 degree drop in amplitude when the chrono is activated. Thus rate keeping suffers. This does not happen with vertical clutches to anywhere near this degree and again the chrono can be left running with little effect on rate keeping.

I'd love to see statistically significant correlation and regression analysis of amplitude to rate keeping.

Of course every watchmaker and advanced hobbyist knows that amplitude is important, and within a certain range, big amplitude is better than small amplitude.

Simple truisms.

Again, in practice, I know of many examples where a timepiece with poor amplitude continues to exhibit incredible timekeeping "stability" (over minutes? hours? days? weeks? months? yes) even if the Witschi is sending off klaxon calls of "red alert! red alert!"

Ironically, this very topic came up recently in a conversation I had with Dr. Fabric Deschanel (Managing Director of Renaud et Papi; I would hope we can all accept HIS and THEIR credentials without too much fuss?) who proudly proclaimed that even with very low amplitude, their new AP modified Robin escapment was very stable and reliable.

Of course, to really think about that comment critically, it indicates the acceptance of the generally accepted theoretical assumption that high amplitude, within range, is good; but makes the practical point that those same practical results are possible with low amplitudes.

Conclusion? take theory with a grain of salt vis a vis how things actually work, and be careful of allowing theory to force conclusions about reality.

"That's not supposed to work; the theory says so!"

3. Start stopping. With gear designs it is a crap shoot how the teeth will land when the chrono is started. Sometimes fate smiles and the peak of one tooth happily lands in the trough of its mate. More often that is not true and the chrono hand will jump as a result. This is simply unavoidable. With vertical clutches, starting is essentially always smooth.

This is one of those "truths" that is so obvious, in theory, that it is hard to discuss, in practice.

Of COURSE if you throw an apple in the air, it will come back down.

But strangely, and I still don't understand why, as the reason is not obvious in the theory, I HAVE seen (and now will try to document) specimen of vertical clutches, including Blancpain chronos using the famous F. Piguet 1185, that DO jump on activation.

Go figure, eh?

Conclusion: see previous

4. Avoidance of needle flutter. Gear designs suffer from fickelness. Chrono second hand movement has a tendency to produce flutter, which is uneven movement. There are two techniques employed to minimize this. Most commonly a spring is tensioned across the chrono seconds hand shaft to apply resistance to it. This has the disadvantage in that reduces amplitude, effects rate and consumes energy. Alternatively the depthing of gear engagement between the center chrono wheel and intermediate wheel is increased. This puts tension into the train and at worst can stop the watch. I cannot tell you how many absolutely top of the line chronos I have seen that suffer from this flutter problem. This does not happen with vertical clutch designs.

I haven't specifically looked for this problem in vertical clutch executions, as I have the chrono hand jump phenomenon, so I won't comment. Again, the THEORY presents no problem, for me.

Like my experiences with adjustment and fit and finish issues with Blancpain watches, I was happy to keep my personal experiences to myself. Afterall, despite MANY (too many) problems I've personally experienced with sample numbers more than probably 95% of the general population (6 tourbillon variations, 3 repeaters, more than 20 more "basic" models, and these are just the ones I own/have owned for some period of time, and don't include pieces I know about or had brief experience with) I am/was still very much in love with the brand and their designs and products. And, I appreciate Blancpain's diligence in correcting the problems (though I know they too wish, like I, the problems didn't occur in the first place)

But when I read some of the claims and statements being made about and for Blancpain in the recent threads, I find it unconscionable to not counter point it with my personal experiences.



I really hope that presentations, especially conclusions and "truths," at least here on ThePuristS, are a bit more "real" and a bit more "balanced."

It's okay not to be perfect!

TM


 
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ei8htohms
(Login ei8htohms)
AP Discussion Group

a few comments

October 20 2006, 4:52 PM 

Hi Thomas,

You raise some interesting questions and certainly a lot of food for thought. I'll take a stab at one or two at least.

1.) Regarding the pointy tooth problem in traditional chronographs, I personally don't have the experience to know how much of an issue constant running is. Traditional chronographs with banged up teeth on the chrono wheel and/or the intermediate wheel are quite common, but I'm pretty sure more often than not the damage is done by watchmakers rather than just running/wear per se. I think there is some potential for damage from starting and stopping also, but the very fine tooth profile on soft metal gears is just asking for trouble on the service side. A watchmaker that is not quite careful (with the chrono wheel in particular) can do a lot of damage without even being aware of it.

I have serviced a reasonably large number of traditional (horizontal clutch) chronographs, but frankly other problems quite swamped any wear issues with the pointy teeth that might've caught my eye otherwise. I rather suspect (as you sort of hint) that much more is made of this issue as a point of discussion as it relates to vertical clutch chronographs than it really warrants from a practical standpoint.

2.) The amplitude drop is dependent on a host of factors and the vertical clutch is but one of them. The extent to which it is critical to running consistency is dependent on many other factors also (as you mentioned). There are vertical clutch chronographs that lose 30 or more degrees of amplitude with the chrono engaged on average due to their design but the Piguet 1185 generally loses very little amplitude or sometimes even picks up a little depending on the condition of the lubricants, etc.

There are some horizontal clutch chronographs that lose very little amplitude when the chronograph is engaged also, due to a friction coupled minutes counter. The Lemania chrono movement that serves as the base for the Ebel 137 and Breguet 582 is one of these. Depending on the particularities of the compound cannon pinion that drives the minutes counter, the movement can lose very little amplitude when engaged because it's just a tradeoff of one type of friction (the minutes counter clutch) for another (the friction in the chrono gears and tension spring for the chronograph wheel). The hour counter on most "traditional" chronographs is a similar friction clutch issue, but being driven directly by the barrel you don't really see any evidence of amplitude variation due to it being "on" or "off" (the hour counter specifically I mean).

Of course, the extent to which amplitude is critical to timekeeping depends on a number of variables relating to the escapement, hairspring and balance particularly. The Piguet 1185 is a movement that is served well by attention being paid to amplitude since it runs at a low beat rate with a smallish balance and a flat hairspring. Pairing it with a vertical clutch mechanism with little amplitude loss on activation is propitious (or at least prudent) I suppose.

It should be noted though that most vertical clutch chrongraphs suffer from floppy fourth wheel syndrome when NOT engaged. Basically, most designs put the vertical clutch right in the center of the movement and in the power train. When the chrono is disengaged, the fourth wheel (sometimes called the seconds wheel, which transfers power from the third wheel to the escape wheel) is free floating in the middle of the clutch mechanism. It's held in place by the geometry and set-up of the clutch mechanism as snugly as manufacturing tolerances will allow, but the nature of it floating on a post rather than running between pivots makes it inherently less stable. Basically, it kinda flops around a little bit, resulting in less than ideal consistency of power flow. This evens out quite a bit when the chronograph is engaged though, possibly another good reason to run the chrono all the time in such a design.

3.) I've got to agree with Jeff that this is a point where vertical clutch designs absolutely excel in comparison to transfer wheel mechanisms. Just ask anyone with a PanoGraph. Watching the chrono seconds hand jump backwards when activated is pretty irritating to some folks. You're absoltuely right though that vertical clutches are not fool-proof in this regard though. If the scissor jaws for the clutch are damaged, misaligned, worn or otherwise out of whack, they can either release the clutch in an uneven fashion or at a funny angle that can cause a little jump when starting or stopping. It's not common in my experience, but it certainly can happen. It does mean something's wrong though.

4.) A fluttering chrono second hand is generally less of a problem with vertical clutch chronographs, but only necessarily so if the clutch is in the center of the movement (and carrying the chrono hand directly). Otherwise a tension spring is generally used on the chronograph wheel as it is on traditional chronographs. A fluttering second hand though is usually a sign that something is wrong (the tension spring being inadequately tightened most often), so it's not exactly a weak point of the design IMHO. I suppose the combined issue of amplitude drop and/or fluttering chrono second hand hand could be taken as a design weakness however since they are related phenomena.


----------------


Obviously Jeff is focusing on the design strengths of vertical clutch chronographs while completely ignoring some of their weaknesses, but as every engineer knows, there are no perfect solutions, only tradeoffs. In my experience, the biggest weaknesses in most vertical clutch designs are service related. It's easy for a watch enthusiast to think, "Well, that's the watchmaker's problem, what do I care?" but let me assure you that if you enjoy wearing a mechanical watch, the watchmaker's problems are your problems. Unless you enjoy sending your watch back and forth to the service center or watchmaker several times per overhaul that is.

For instance, the vertical clutch itself is a complicated, compound component that is generally considered to be unserviceable. It's also quite expensive (relative to other movement components). As such, any particularly conscientious service center is apt to change it at every service and pass along the cost to the customer. If you can't service the component to insure that the friction surfaces are in good condition and the lubrication is fresh and tidy, you can't know when it will fail, so you're asking for trouble if you simply set it aside and reinstall it (as is sometimes recommended).

Another problem with many vertical clutch designs is that the clutch and chronograph mechanism is so deeply integrated into the movement that you can't even run the base movement (to test its functionality) without assembling most if not all of the chronograph mechanism. This means that if a problem does arise after reassembly, it might be much more difficult to diagnose since you can't isolate the power train from the chronograph and vice versa. And woe be unto you (as a watchmaker I mean) if you discover a problem with the barrel at this point. You'll be re-cleaning the whole damn movement, chrono bits and all.

The latter problem is annoying (excessive integration reduced serviceability), but one that can be lived with IMHO. It encourages VERY thorough analysis and observation during disassembly and that's always a good practice for watchmakers to embrace. Occasionally some problem will still arise and piss you off, but those are the breaks with heavily-integrated, non-watchmaker-friendly designs.

The former problem however is more than annoying IMHO. It's really a matter of some philosophical debate whether or not a high end mechanical watch movement should have unserviceable components in it at all, but when they are big, expensive, absolutely critical parts, it starts to give me the willies. I can't help but envision a bleak future for the movement where scores of non-working or less desirable watches are canabalized for parts to keep the others running. Anyone see any good running Pierce chronos on the market lately? I didn't think so.

_john


 
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Jack Forster
(Login JackForster)

You know this whole thread makes me think that. . .

October 20 2006, 5:08 PM 

. . .it's actually pretty great that John and Suitbert and Jeff and Thomas went at it over this issue- it produced a lot of great information all around and for anyone who takes the time to really sit and think over and digest the huge amount of information in this thread, much of it from either very experienced connoisseurs or from watchmakers with tremendous writing skills as well as tremendous technical acumen, they'd really learn a lot about everything from chronographs to how watchmakers view service issues. The whole thread has been a great service to the community and IMVHO is a wonderful resource. Thanks gentlemen!

Jack

 
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SuitbertW
(no login)

Categories.....

October 20 2006, 2:57 AM 

Hi Jeff,
as much as I can understand the desire of "categorizing" all and everything, I've to admit that I find it largely misleading in most if not all cases.

Staying "on topic", continuous ves. semi instantaneous vs. "true" instantaneous minute counter design:
  • Tradition?
    Using terms like "classic design" should happen only within a certain context, IMO. Simply putting it the way you tried, it's misleading in my oppinion. Many very fine movements of the past, among those many from highly regarded "top houses" and movement manufacturers in some cases had continuous minute counter designs. At the same time it would of course be correct to say that at a certain time the semi instantaneous minute counter was considered some sort of "industry standard". In fact traditionally speaking there was a large variety of minute counter designs, and among any specific group more or less sophisticated versions of course.
    "Departing from classical design" ? No, way Almost any known design has it's traditional predecessors and could be considered "classic". Maybe continuous running minute counter could even be more "classic" - I think it may even be the older design.

  • "Easier to build"?
    Again, there are almost infinite ways to go within any specific "group" of designs and attributing something like "vastly easier to build" with one specific "group" of designs is oversimplifying and thus misleading.
    There are incredibly simple semi instantaneous minute counters as there are relatively straight forward and simple continuous running minute counters. It simply depends how it's realized.

  • "Easier to design"
    As said, historically there are very simple designs of both groups. I'd guess if one would think about a competition of the "most simple design possible" and you'd exclude central minute counters - maybe semi intsantaneous would even be the more simple solution (especially taking intoaccount possible tolerances for production).
    In some cases even the true instantaneous minute counter can be the "easier to design and build" solution (in cases it would have to be added to an existing base movement for example)!



Coming back to your initial comment and comparison between the Piguet cal. 1185 and Patek Phlippe's cal 28-520:

"And as I was carrying a copy of the Patek movement (the 5960 chrono base) it was easy to see how much more simple the design is."

And earlier, in the thread which started this discussion:

"Second, take Blancpain's more sophisticated jumping minute counter and substitute a cheaper constant running minute counter."

I've to admit that I'm at a total loss here and I seriously can't believe you're serious here
Here's an exploded view of the Patek minute counter part:



As always I remain open to any other oppinion, view or correction, but in this case I would even disagree with A.L. Breguet personally (if he'd make that point, what I actually don't believe ).
Any single part in the Patek design is, more complex, harder to produce and most likely more expensive.

I don't have a good picture or even exploded view of the Piguet movement at hand, perhaps you've one? That certainly would help the larger community to understand the difference.

I sincerely hope we'd be able to sort out the technical aspects from the rethorical ones - it certainly would help to understand.

Best regards
Suitbert









 
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SuitbertW
(Login wsw_de)

Some examples.....

October 20 2006, 6:45 AM 

just to illustrate some more "traditional" continuously running minute counter designs.
More "classic" is hardly possible, I think - Gourdain stop watch/clock from the middle of 17 hundreds, 60 sec and 10 minute counter:



Vacheron & Constantin grand comp, doens't really look cheap either



PP rattrapante with 60 minute and 12h counter (comptes tous):


Picture courtesy of Antiquorum


PP minute repeater chronograph rattrapante, also with continuous minute counter...


Picture courtesy of Antiquorum


Of course it would be easy to also show some very classy and classic watches with semi instantaneous minute counter designs, but I wanted to show how this design is embeded in watchmaking history.
So, constantanuously minute counter per se = less sophisticated, depart from classic design doesn't make sense to me.

Best regards
Suitbert



    
This message has been edited by wsw_de on Oct 20, 2006 10:01 AM


 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

Thanks very much, Suitbert; the broad sweeping generalizations presented in this and the

October 20 2006, 8:54 AM 

previous thread, motivated by agenda or not, tends to be more misleading than truly educational. For me, this is one of the critical differences between "pure" academic learning and promotion / marketing driven learning.

The oversimplifications of theory and history and terms, and the misguided over-simplistic conclusions that are drawn, often self-contradictory within the same discourse, remind me of nothing more than the earlier (mis-guided) mantra that perpetual calendars are more complex, superior, to annual calendars;
therefore the PP annual calendar, "simpler," is inferior.
Therefore the annual calendars are a consumer cheat.
?!?!?

Slippery slopes occur everywhere, and though we may poke fun, even deride the "more money than passion or brains" consumer who walks into the store and simply asks, without homework, without critical reasoning, "what's the best, most expensive, most complicated watch/car/wine you have?" most of us do this ourselves more often than we probably want to admit.

Thanks to John, Jeff, Suitbert, and all who participated in these threads.

(WARNING: self serving statement upcoming)
Discussions like this reinforce to me why ThePuristS and the standards and goals it has set for itself, is so precious and vitally important to those that have a real interest in sorting the "reality" from the marketing, both within and outside the industry!

 
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ei8htohms
(Login ei8htohms)
AP Discussion Group

great stuff Suitbert, thanks! (nt)

October 20 2006, 4:52 PM 

nt

 
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Jack Forster
(Login JackForster)

Agreed, wonderful, thanks Suitbert! nt

October 20 2006, 5:09 PM 

nt

 
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nickd
(Login NickDownes)
PP Discussion Group

A question, if I may...

October 21 2006, 11:51 AM 

Hi Suitbert,

I shall shamelessly take advantage of you while you're in one of your wonderful mega-informative moods

How many problems with a classic columnwheel chronograph could be solved by overcoming some of the underlying issues of the "control mechamism" - for want of a better word?

Reading Lecoultre's descriptions makes me think of some kind of insane circus act.

The first problem is that one complex surface (the column itself) has to partly control the phasing of the operating (by the slope of the edges), plus to a certain extent control the forces involved by the depth the feelers move under spring pressure. The column surfaces have to be identical for the operation to always be the same.

The actual phasing of the various operations is controlled by the relative positioning of the feelers on the column. Change in the profile of the feelers alters the phasing of the operations.

Has anyone ever attempted to produce a different way of doing it apart from the obvious 7750-type solutions?

For example, I've always wondered if the column wheel could be in layers, with a separate layer for each feeler that would allow their phase and depthing to be adjusted relative to the others.

nick

 
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ei8htohms
(Login ei8htohms)
AP Discussion Group

an interesting idea, but generally the other direction from current trends

October 21 2006, 5:10 PM 

Hi Nick,

I could see such a design being implemented by an independent, where loads of watchmaker adjustability could be seen as a plus, providing the ability to finalize during assembly some aspects of the functionality that might be challenging to dial in otherwise for small scale production runs. Such an approach is rather running the opposite direction from industry trends however, which seem to want to lessen the amount of adjustment necessary during assembly and service.

With the shortage of qualified watchmakers becoming an increasingly significant problem, designing in reliability without the need for much adjustment is a trend that is likely to continue. Vertical clutch chronographs are a good example, with some of them requiring very few adjustments (as few as one for example) while more traditional chronographs can require many more.

_john

 
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Gaz
(Login gazman70k)

A big thank you to all participants of this thread ...

October 23 2006, 4:34 PM 

I have learnt leaps and bounds in this one thread than in any other horological fora on the Internet.

Thank you all for your stimulating and thought provoking points and counter points. ThomasM's discussion on theory vs. reality was particularly interesting, especially when set within a horological context. I can certainly think of many other examples, particularly in the social sciences where theory is only used as a model to study a specific area of social behaviour. Assumptions are made. Models are constructed. Calculations are calculated. Observations are recorded. And behold, we have a special case to explain a small sliver of what we actually observe in reality under specific conditions or assumptions.

And of course, time travel is theoretically possible.

It is discussions like these, done in a gentlemanly fashion, that sets the purist apart. Again, I thank you all for helping me become a little wiser.

Cheers
Gaz

 
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

Thanks, Gaz, yiur comments and additional

October 25 2006, 6:10 PM 

points much appreciated.

TM

 
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