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Where have I seen...

April 15 2012 at 3:26 PM
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technoguy 
from IP address 65.55.67.205

this before?

Recently on ShopNBC's cable watch shows I'm seeing a "Traveling Tourbillon" watch being sold by Constatin Weisz. This watch is being hailed as "unigue" (such an overused word nowadays!) and consists of a mechanical movement which contains an open heart dial showing its balance wheel and a subdial for the seconds located on the dial. As the watch runs, the entire dial including the seconds subdial rotates through 360 degrees every hour. The hour and minute hand, however, continue to show the time normally. It was stated that the movement's main plate and barrel remain stationary inside of the case while everything else rotates. The price is $800 USD plus shipping.

Yes, technically, it is a tourbillon and it does "travel", but I'm sure I've seen something like this before. Wasn't there a member here that had a collection of pocket watches from the early 20th century that did bascially the same thing. I think they were referred to as the "Poor Man's Tourbillon" or something like that.

Anyway, looks like the "low" cost tourbillons from Chinese movement manufacturers are starting to catch on, but the prices need to come WAY down to make them affordable for the average watch buyer in today's economy. That, I predict, will be happening in the next few years.


technoguy


531317_10150750959748769_62008783768_9689366_2103987629_n.jpg

 
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Michael Morrill

71.181.207.216

Very attractive though!

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April 16 2012, 12:17 PM 

I think I caught that one late night too. Didn't see a post here, but it has probably been done before!

 
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82.41.208.90

Pretentious Twaddle - -

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April 16 2012, 3:40 PM 

- - for folks with more money than sense, IMO (which is NEVER humble happy.gif as you all know!)

It's interesting, but introduces an unecessary set of complications that, for the extra cost involved, is unlikely to produce a discernable effect on the timekeeping of such a piece. The 80/20 rule springs to mind - to produce a 20% improvement in timekeeping say from +/- 10 secs a day to +/- 8 secs a day, - will add 80% to the costs of the piece.

But if it floats your boat - - - - - - wink.gif

e~gards

Mel

Frae Edinburgh, Bonnie Scotland

http://www.timekeepers.me.uk
Affordable and Everyday Watches

http://www.sequencedance-online.co.uk
My other hobby - Sequence Dancing

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technoguy

65.55.67.206

Nowadays...

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April 16 2012, 7:35 PM 

with modern manufacturing techniques, there really is no need to use a tourbillon movement to improve the accuracy of a wristwatch. I managed to time my dearly departed Invicta automatic "Pro Diver" until its accuracy was WITHIN one second per MONTH! I did this by hand without relying on an electronic timing machine. The watch maintained this accuracy for almost three years until its cheap Japanese Miyota automatic movement finally ground to a halt one day.

The only justification I can see for these mechanical toubillons is that they look COOL! LOL!

Practically every time I see them come up for sale on ShopNBC, they all sell out even though the prices range from $700 USD up to $1400 USD for the automatic versions. They are, apparently, avidly sought after despite the prices (Swiss version are in the tens of THOUSANDS of USD!)

Even though I am still "disenhanted" with mechanical movement writstwatches, I think I might make an exception for one of these Chinese tourbillons IF the prices come down enough. I've always wanted one.

On thinking about the Constatin Weisz "traveling" tourbillon, I see a problem with it. Because it takes an entire hour for the dial to complete a single rotation, it appears to be just another open heart dial mechanical watch which one can obtain for under $100 USD. It would have been REALLY cool if those Chinese horological engineers could have figured out some way to make the entire dial (except the hour and minute hands, of course) complete a single rotation every MINUTE! Now that would have been very noticeable and certainly "unique". Oh well, maybe that will be next.

There are even tourbillons in existence that use TWO balance wheels whose staffs are oriented at right angles to each other. These correct for Center of Mass eccentricities of the balance wheels in all three dimensions. The Swiss versions are in the HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars USD, but the Chinese versions are currently only in the thousands of USD. I expect to see these pop up in future cable tv watch show presentations as the number of "tourbillon collectors" out there continues to increase.

Now it would really be nice if they could figure out a way to eliminate the need to service mechanical watch movements entirely. I do believe that this might be possible, but it would require special "pre-treatment" of the movement before it left the factory.


technoguy

 
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Jack from Philadelphia

74.109.52.128

My understanding is...

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April 16 2012, 10:31 PM 

that a tourbillion is really irrelevant in a wristwatch movement because the variations in position to which the watch is subjected tends to correct for variation due to gravity. It is helpful for a pocketwatch that sits in a single position for an extended period of time.

 
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technoguy

65.55.67.183

Yes, the...

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April 18 2012, 1:30 AM 

modern wristwatch undergoes far more changes in orientation than a pocket watch ever does. However, the orientation of the plane of the wristwatch movement's balance wheel tends to be a blend of horizontal and vertical depending on such things as one's occupation, the amount of time the watch is worn, how the watch is stored when not in use, etc. In the horizontal orientation, balance wheel Center of Mass eccentricities are not that important, but a tourbillon could help a bit with the vertical orientations as when the watch in on one's wrist and his arm is hanging down at his side.

Modern balance wheels, even cheap ones, are supposedly now balanced by computer which uses a laser to etch away tiny amounts of metal from their rims until then are nearly perfectly balanced. I have found this to be true. The problems that then tend to cause error are due to changes in temperature of the hairspring and, of course, lubrication / gear train wear issues. To make a maintenance free mechanical watch will require that these issues be addressed.

That is why I am wondering if it might be possible to make a maintenance free mechanical watch by, right after the movement is assembled, first removing the balance and letting the gear train run "dry" at high speed for a short period of time (no more than, say, one minute). This would cause accelerated wear of the wheel to pinion teeth contacting surfaces until any excess metal was removed and they were then more perfectly fitted to each other. After this initial "wear in" phase, the movement would then be thoroughly clean in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove the resulting grit from the wear in phase and would then finally be ubricated with a high quality silicone based lubricant. The goal would be to create a timepiece which, once finally put into continuous service, would be able to run for DECADES without any further significant wear and consequent loss of accuracy.

Is it possible? I wonder if anybody has ever tried this?


technoguy

 
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90.41.150.93

never seen more handsome toubillons

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April 19 2012, 7:44 AM 

regardless of price.

 
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