Read WT_2003_06: CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS text version

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

TIME STOPPERS

Chronographs are one of the most popular complications, and although most are powered by a Valjoux 7750, there's actually a multitude of other excellent calibers out there. WatchTime presents some of the more important wristborne stopwatches on the market. BY GISBERT L. BRUNNER

T

he chronograph boom began more than a decade ago and it looks as though its success is nowhere near its end. The decisive characteristic of traditional chronographs is undoubtedly the constructive unity of the movement and a complex cadrature consisting of approximately forty components. Without this cunningly designed guidance mechanism, which can be mounted beneath the dial or on the back of the movement, and the push-pieces that trigger it, it would be impossible to activate the chronograph functions of "start," "stop," and "return to zero." Until the early 1930s, a single push-piece was used to sequentially trigger these three functions. The addition of a second push-piece was a far more practical solution that gradually supplanted the single-push-piece concept as the years went by. A second push-piece makes it possible to interrupt and restart the stop-time sequence as often as you'd like. Specialists describe this process as "additive stopping." Two fundamentally different systems can be distinguished. Classical chronograph calibers are equipped with a column-wheel in a rotary

WatchTime December 2003

mounting. Depending on the maker and the construction of the movement, this elaborate component may have as few as five or as many as nine columns. During each stop-time sequence, the column-wheel rotates incrementally clockwise through a precisely defined angle. When the end of an operating-lever comes to rest atop one of the columns, the latter keeps the former in a raised position. If, however, the end of the lever comes to rest between two columns, gentle pressure from a spring keeps it in a lowered position. Classical column-wheel constructions are elaborate to manufacture and assemble, so in the late 1930s ébauche makers devised a simpler alternative. In this system, a pivoting cam performs the tasks that would ordinarily be executed by the column-wheel. Horizontally coupled gears have traditionally been used to connect the movement and the chronograph. Vertical friction coupling offers another alternative. The Valjoux 7750 has a much simpler solution, an "oscillating pinion" coupling mechanism consisting of a movably mounted staff with two pinions. The pinion mounted on the dial side meshes with the fourth-wheel of the movement. When the "start" push-piece is pressed, the opposite pinion passes through a short arc and meshes with the chronograph's center-wheel, thus creating a connection and setting the chronograph function into motion. Depressing the same push-piece a second time causes this pinion to swing away from the wheel, thereby severing the connection and halting the progress of the chronograph's seconds-hand. Chronographs with integrated constructions should be distinguished from ones that use sandwich-style constructions. In these latter chronographs, a module is typically added onto the dial side of a readymade movement. Flyback mechanisms make it possible to return the chronograph's seconds-hand to zero and instantly restart it without the need for a stop between the two events. A flyback hand thus makes it possible to time two or more events that begin simultaneously but last for unequal lengths of time.

42

A. LANGE & SÖHNE L951.1

Without a doubt, the Datograph with the hand-wound Caliber L951.1 from A. Lange & Söhne ranks among the most exceptional phenomena to hit the chronograph scene in recent years. It has numerous technical characteristics that put it head-and-shoulders above other top models. These superlative attributes include a chronograph operating-lever with a staff that's borne at both its ends and an escape wheel that's borne by four jewels. The large glucydur screw-balance with compensating Breguet overcoil balance-spring oscillates at the leisurely but traditional pace of 18,000 beats per hour, which enables it to stop intervals of time with fifth-of-a-second accuracy. As the first two syllables of the Datograph's name suggest, this model also sports the familiar big date display.

The Movement:

Caliber L951.1, diameter = 30 mm, height = 7.5 mm, 390 individual components; 40 jewels, four of which are in screw-in gold settings; 18,000 beats per hour; chronograph with column-wheel, flyback-hand, and jumptype 30-minute counter.

Datograph

AUDEMARS PIGUET CALIBER 2894

Only 20 Edward Piguet Chronograph Tourbillons have been made.

The third wristwatch in Audemars Piguet's Tradition d'Excellence collection, which debuted in 1999, offers distinctive visual contrasts. The name Jules Audemars has traditionally been associated with classically circular cases, while the name Edward Piguet represents the more nostalgic rectangular shape. Inside the case are a tourbillon, a newly developed chronograph with centrally axial and precisely jumping 30-minute counter, a column-wheel, and an innovative coupling mechanism made of titanium. A sector-type power-reserve display at the "10" counts the rotations of the barrel. The patented "dynamograph" display is beside the "2."

The Movement:

Shaped caliber 2894 (36.8 x 30.4 mm), height = 8.9 mm, diameter of tourbillon cage = 12.4 mm, 21,600 beats per hour, 37 jewels, handwound, ca. 70-hour power reserve; chronograph with column-wheel, innovative coupling mechanism for shudder-free start, centrally axial 30-minute counter; power-reserve display, and dynamograph to indicate the current amount of torque.

December 2003 WatchTime

43

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

BREGUET 550

The watch industry doesn't always make life easy for ladies, especially in the chronograph division, where man-size watches dominate. But this is not the situation at Breguet. Owned by the Swatch Group, this exclusive and traditional brand tempts the tender gender with a comparatively petite, sporty, yet nonetheless elaborate "time-writer." The watch is made possible by a caliber developed by Nouvelle Lémania, an ébauche smithy and a sister company of Breguet. The Caliber 550 holds the distinction of being the world's smallest automatic chronograph.

The Marine is a lady's chronograph from Breguet.

The Movement:

Breguet Caliber 550, based on a Lémania 1050, debuted in 1997, diameter = 23.9 mm, height = 6.0 mm, 38 jewels, 21,600 beats per hour, ball-borne rotor winds mainspring in one direction of rotation, ca. 45-hour power reserve, chronograph with column-wheel, 30-minute and 12-hour counters.

BREGUET 554.2 T

Abraham-Louis Breguet conceived and built the world's first tourbillon, for which he received a patent in 1801. Two centuries later, wristwatches with tourbillons are enjoying unprecedented popularity. Among the most popular are ones crafted in the ateliers of the company that bears the old master's name. To put a crowning touch on this rate-stabilizing "whirlwind," the artful watchmakers at Breguet have combined it with a chronograph mechanism to create an ensemble that's known by the name Breguet 554.2 T. Meticulously executed decorations further embellish this handwound caliber.

Chronograph with tourbillon from Breguet.

The Movement:

Breguet Caliber 554.2 T, diameter = 27.5 mm, height = 6.74 mm, 25 jewels, one-minute tourbillon at the "12," 18,000 beats per hour, hand-wound, 50-hour power reserve, chronograph with column-wheel, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, an annular subdial calibrated in seconds surrounds the tourbillon's rotating carriage.

The chronograph assembly with its column-wheel

44

WatchTime December 2003

BREGUET 533 NT

If a chronograph is good, then a chronographe rattrapante is even better. The additional mechanism mounted atop the movement makes it possible for a flyback chronograph, for example, to measure lap times while continuing to clock a race or to separately time the duration of two events that begin simultaneously. Not without good reason, this type of stopwatch is generally acknowledged as the ne plus ultra of the chronograph genre. The prices for such thoroughbred timekeepers tend to be significantly higher than those charged for ordinary chronographs. After all, the additional pincer mechanism inside them demands a high degree of constructive cunning and The Movement: Nouvelle Lémania Caliber 2393 or Breguet dexterous craftsmanship, so 533 NT, diameter = 27 mm, height = 7.3 mm, flyback chronographs have 23 jewels, 18,000 beats per hour, handalways been a rare breed. The wound, ca. 47-hour power reserve, chronoLémania Caliber 2383 ranks graph with column-wheel and 30-minute counter, the flyback mechanism (mounted on among the rarest of the movethe back of the movement) has pincers and an ments used for high-class, handadditional column-wheel. wound, flyback chronographs.

Breguet Classique Chronograph with Flyback Hand.

CARTIER 045 MONOPULSANTE

The Tortue Chronograph from the late 1920s is one of the most avidly sought vintage watches from the house of Cartier. The Monopulsante (one-push-piece) is a single button that triggers all three of the chronograph's functions, and is built into the watch's crown. The renaissance of this stopwatch demanded much more than merely a reissue of Louis Cartier's case and dial designs. The new Tortue Chronograph would never have succeeded without a sufficiently small and slim caliber, so Cartier commissioned THA, a specialist in Switzerland's Jura region, to develop an exclusive chronograph movement. After five years of development, the baby was born and christened with the name, or rather the number, 045.

Cartier Tortue Chronograph

The Movement:

Caliber 045, diameter = 11 lignes, height = 3.8 mm, 22 jewels, hand-wound, 21,600 beats per hour, small seconds subdial at the "9," chronograph with column-wheel, one push-piece triggers all three chronograph functions, 30minute counter, chronograph's seconds-hand stops time with 1/6th-of-a-second accuracy.

December 2003 WatchTime

45

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

CHRONOSWISS C.125

Mr. Chronograph, a.k.a. Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, patented the name Chronoscope for this creation, which is his most recent and perhaps most original invention. Patent protection wasn't without good reason: as was also true for the early chronographs built during the first decades of the previous century. Here too the cadrature (which was developed in collaboration with a young watchmaker named Andreas Strehler) is mounted directly upon the front side of the specially processed plate of the self-winding caliber C.122 Regulateur. The chronograph's three functions are guided by a column-wheel and triggered via a single pushpiece that's integrated into the crown. The column-wheel is coaxial with the staff of the continuously running seconds-hand on the small subdial above the "6." A tip of the hat to modernity is embodied by the ball-borne chronograph center-wheel.

Operating-lever spring

The Chronoswiss Chronoscope

Braking-lever spring Friction spring Clutch spring Brake-lever Flyback heart Oscillating pinion Chronograph center-wheel Eccentric Operating lever Column-wheel Flyback lever Flyback-lever spring Operating-lever spring

The Movement:

Caliber C. 125, based on a Caliber C. 122 or an Enicar 165, diameter = 11 lignes (26.8 mm), 21,600 beats per hour, rotor winds mainspring in one direction of rotation, 40-hour power reserve, chronograph with column-wheel, no counters, regulator-type arrangement of hourhand on subdial below the "12" and small seconds-hand on subdial above the "6."

EBEL 137 LE MODULOR

Ebel's former owner Pierre-Alain Blum was years ahead of his time in 1981. Despite the doldrums that were besetting the mechanical watch genre at the time, Blum kept the faith by creating a self-winding mechanical chronograph. He found a movement that made his dream come: a Zenith El Primero that had been languishing in Zenith's attic. Blum launched his chronographic beauty in 1982. A perpetual calendar mechanism was added to this already highly successful model in 1985. Blum collaborated with Nouvelle Lémania to develop a new chronograph in 1990. The result of their cooperative labors is the Caliber 137, a.k.a. Le Modulor. The automatic movement is built in a traditional integrated fashion. Ebel delivers each one with an official chronometer certificate.

1911 Chronograph with Le Modulor.

The Movement:

Caliber 137, diameter = 31 mm, height = 6.4 mm, 27 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, rotor winds mainspring in both its directions of rotation, eccentric alternator polarizes the rotor's motions, ca. 48-hour power reserve, chronograph with cam, 30-minute and 12-hour counters. Now that Lémania has terminated deliveries to établisseures that don't belong to the Swatch Group, this movement is available only from Ebel and Breguet.

46

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

EBERHARD & CO. EB 200

The watchmakers at Eberhard & Co. have opted for a very unusual linear arrangement for the subdials on the face of the Chrono 4. Four subdials are lined up side by side from the "8" to the "4." A 30-minute counter starts the row at the far left, followed by a 12-hour counter and a 24-hour subdial. The lineup concludes with a continuously running small secondshand at the "4." Unfortunately, the 24-hour display is directly coupled to the train, so it cannot be reset to serve as an indicator of the time in a second time zone. Registered for patent by Eberhard & Co., the caliber on which this innovative construction is based is a self-winding ETA 2894-A2.

Chrono 4 from Eberhard & Co.

The Movement:

Caliber EB 200 (based on an ETA 2894-A2), diameter = 28.6 mm, height = 6.1 mm, 53 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, self-winding via a ball-borne rotor, circa 42-hour power reserve; the chronograph mechanism is modified by Eberhard, mounted on the dial side of the movement, equipped with a cam, and supports 30minute and 12-hour counters; continuously running seconds-hand on far-right subdial between the "3" and "4," additional 24-hour subdial, date window at the "12."

The underside of the module

ETA 2894-A2

Sheer size alone doesn't appeal to everyone's tastes. That was a hard lesson learned for ETA, so the giant among ébauche manufacturers gave its voluminous chronograph caliber Valjoux 7750 a smaller companion: the 2894-A2. The basis for this smaller device is the small, slim, self-winding Caliber 2892-A2. The front side of the plate is modified to accommodate the chronograph module so that the entire stop-time mechanism, which includes slideway switching and a date display, adds only 2.5 mm of additional thickness to the movement. This form of construction, of course, has its drawbacks: if the chronograph module needs repair or maintenance, the entire movement must first be removed from the case and the dial (along with its six hands) must be disassembled.

The Movement:

Caliber ETA 2894-A2, based on an ETA 2892A2, diameter = 28.6 mm, overall height = 6.1 mm, 37 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, selfwinding via ball-borne rotor, circa 42-hour power reserve, chronograph mechanism with cam mounted on dial side of the movement, 30-minute counter beside the "9," 12-hour counter above the "6," continuously running seconds-hand beside the "3," date ring rotates directly below the dial.

Bulgari-Bulgari chronograph

48

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

ETA-VALJOUX 7750

Launched during the dreary days of the quartz tsunami in 1973, the ETAValjoux 7750 surely holds the record as the world's most popular chronograph movement. The sheer number of specimens produced makes it somewhat less exclusive, but adds a large measure of reliability. The Caliber 7750 has been joined by several derivatives, including the 7750 CCL (with moon-phase display) and the 7751 (with additional 24-hour display, simple but complete calendar, and moon-phase display). Furthermore, inventive watchmakers have modified the 7750 by adding a flyback-hand, a dual-time display, and other mechanisms. Some particularly dexterous artisans created skeleton versions of the 7750. Current plans call for versions with integrated flyback functions or column-wheels.

The Movement:

ETA-Valjoux 7750, diameter = 30 mm, height = 7.9 mm, weight = 29 grams, 25 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, rotor winds mainspring in one direction of rotation, circa 44-hour power reserve, chronograph with slideway, rocker, 30minute and 12-hour counters.

Porsche Design P10 with Valjoux 7750. Right: the rotor has been disassembled for a more complete view of the Valjoux 7750.

ETA-VALJOUX 7750 TRI-COMPAX

Nasty naysayers claim that ETA's latest movement was developed simply to make it easier to counterfeit Rolex's hotly coveted Daytona by equipping a watch with a similar self-winding movement. Except for the optimized Zenith El Primero used by Rolex, no other similar caliber existed until the Valjoux 7750 rushed in to fill the gap. The original version with the 30-minute counter at the "12" would have instantly betrayed the true identity of the would-be imposter, so the caliber was duly rebuilt. Two gears and several other components were all it took to shift this display to the "3" and create a caliber that could support the classical Tri-Compax arrangement on the dial. ETA now also offers its own chronographs with this arrangement on the dial. 50

WatchTime December 2003

Hanhart's Sirius chronograph

The Movement:

Jaquet 8151, based on an ETA-Valjoux 7750, diameter = 30 mm, height = 7.9 mm, 25 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, rotor winds in one direction of rotation, circa 44-hour power reserve, chronograph with slideway, rocker, 30minute counter at the "3," 12-hour counter at the "6."

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

FORTIS F2001

Fortis celebrated its 75th birthday in 1997 by debuting the first prototypes of a genuine world premiere. The timepiece united self-winding, a chronograph, and an alarm function in a combination that had never before been achieved in the history of mechanical timekeeping. Zurichbased watchmaker Paul Gerber accomplished the developmental work. He began with the tried-and-tested Valjoux 7750 as the base caliber, into which he added a second barrel and a cleverly designed alarm mechanism. In one of its two directions of rotation, the ball-borne rotor winds the mainspring that powers the gear train; when the rotor turns in the other direction, it tightens the spring that stores energy for the striking-work. The alarm signal, which The Movement: can be switched on Caliber F2001, based on an ETA-Valjoux 7750, diameter = 30 mm, height = 7.9 mm, and off, rings for 30 28,800 beats per hour, chronograph with seconds. A particularly slideway, rocker, 30-minute and 12-hour couningenious detail: Gerters, alarm mechanism has its own barrel and is ber added all of these mounted on the dial side of the movement, winding is performed either manually via the additional functions crown or automatically via the ball-borne rotor, without increasing the the alarm is set via the crown and indicated by height of the base a separate hand. caliber.

The Fortis B-42 Pilot's Chronograph with Alarm.

FRÉDÉRIC PIGUET 1185

The 1987 debut of the Caliber FP 1185 was jointly initiated and artfully staged by Blancpain's CEO Jean-Claude Biver and Frédéric Piguet's owner Jacques Biguet. The world's smallest and slimmest self-winding chronograph was developed by Frédéric Piguet's head design-engineer Edmond Capt and his team. This highly reliable device performs with a precise rate that remains admirably accurate even when its chronograph function is switched on. Even better, the caliber can be expanded and combined with other complications. Originally available only from Blancpain, the FP 1185 can now be heard quietly ticking inside watches made by other brands.

The Movement:

Caliber 1185, diameter = 25.6 mm, height = 5.5 mm, volume = 2.5 cubic centimeters, 304 components, 37 jewels, wound by a central rotor, 40-hour power reserve, 21,600 beats per hour; chronograph with column-wheel, vertical friction coupling, 30-minute and 12-hour counters; the F185 debuted with a flyback function in 1996, date display inside a little window, small seconds subdial above the "6."

Blancpain 2100

52

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

FRÉDÉRIC PIGUET 1186 WITH FLYBACK-HAND

The same principles of construction that were valid for the Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1185 were also applied to the Caliber 1181, which debuted in 1988 as the world's smallest flyback chronograph. The Caliber 1186 followed one year later in 1989. Here again, the device set a new world record: for the first time in watchmaking history, a chronograph rattrapante had been equipped with a self-winding mechanism. Although numerous competitors expressed their interest and were eager to contribute to the costs of development, JeanClaude Biver and Jacques Piguet kept their cards close to their chests. Not until 1994 was the caliber made available to other watch brands.

The flyback mechanism is switched on

The Movement:

This flyback version of the 1185 relies on a classical construction with pincers and columnwheel. The construction is so cleverly designed that the flyback-hand doesn't sap additional energy from the movement. The piggyback "catch up" hand is controlled via a push-piece at the "10." Forty hours of power reserve, 21,600 beats per hour, height = 6.9 mm, 361 components, 38 jewels. Also available as the hand-wound 1181: height = 5.35 mm, 294 components, 30 jewels.

Blancpain Ref. 1186-3427-55 in platinum

GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL CALIBER 60

The trailblazing PanoRetroGraph from Glashütte Original debuted on the market right on time for the Y2K watch fair in Basel, Switzerland. The first part of its name ("Pano") alludes to the panoramic date display beside the "4." Above it, the three arcing tracks of the sectoral 30-minute counter comprise the "Graph," i.e. the "time-writer" with columnwheel and flyback mechanism. The truly innovative element of the Caliber 60 consists of the "Retro." Indeed, the PanoRetroGraph fires its retro rockets in an unprecedented fashion. Thanks to a complex switching device, this chronograph can count intervals of time in two directions: forward and backwards. A tiny hammer strikes twice against its resounding gong to announce that the countdown has reached zero after a freely selectable interval of 30 minutes or less has elapsed.

PanoRetroGraph from Glashütte Original

The Movement:

Caliber 60, diameter = 32 mm, height = 7.2 mm, hand-wound, circa 40-hour power reserve, more than 350 components, 55 jewels, screwed settings, 28,800 beats per hour, chronograph column-wheel, 30-minute counter, flyback mechanism, and pre-selectable countdown function.

54

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL CALIBER 61

The second knockout punch in Glashütte Original's one-two chronograph combination celebrated its premiere in the spring of 2002. Here too, everything operates mechanically and has been made in Germany. After it became apparent that only a select circle of well-heeled connoisseurs would be able to acquire a PanoRetroGraph, Glashütte Original took a small step towards the democratization of the watch by introducing the PanoGraph. As the name clearly states, it lacks the exclusive "retro" (i.e. the countdown) function. In all other respects, however, the Caliber 61 can has the same functions and features as the 60, including a panoramic date display and a chronograph with flyback-hand, 30-minute counter, and column-wheel.

The Movement:

Caliber 61, diameter = 32.2 mm, height = 7.2 mm, 41 jewels, seven screwed settings, 28,800 beats per hour, hand-wound, 42-hour power reserve, swan's neck regulator for the index, chronograph with 30-minute counter, classical column-wheel and flyback mechanism.

The Glashütte Original PanoGraph

JAEGER-LECOULTRE 859

On this Janus-faced chronograph, the front dial of the pivoting case presents the time of day and the date, as well as a little display at the "5" that indicates whether the chronograph, situated on the rearward face, is currently switched on or off. Flipping the case over reveals the chronograph second-hand, which speeds indefatigably forwards in eighth-of-a-second increments. Compared to that opulent indicator, the semicircular 30minute counter at the "6" seems rather modest, but a closer look reveals that this one has the special appeal of retrograde capability, i.e. when it reaches the end of its arc at the conclusion of the first half hour, it instantly returns to zero and resumes counting the next 30-minute interval.

Reverso Gran' Sport chronograph

The Movement:

Caliber 859, dimensions = 28.75 mm x 23.3 mm x 4.62 mm, 371 components, 37 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, hand-wound, ca. 45-hour power reserve; chronograph with column-wheel, retrograde 30-minute counter, and off-on display for the chronograph function.

56

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

LÉMANIA 1873

One of the most important chapters in the history of the chronographs began on September 29, 1964, the day Omega received an order for a dozen Speedmaster chronographs from NASA, which the space agency required for "test and evaluation purposes." Omega's twelve serially produced timepieces outdid their competitors in an arduous comparative ordeal and earned the right to journey into outer space on the wrists of U.S. astronauts. Neil Armstrong was wearing one of these chronographs when he became the first human to set foot on the moon. Had he glanced at his Speedmaster, it would have confirmed that his historic "giant leap for mankind" occurred at 2:56 GMT on July 21, 1969. During the highly dramatic Apollo XIII mission in 1970, when an explosion crippled the onboard electronics, "the world's only wristwatch with a roundtrip ticket to the moon" helped its courageous wearers to find their way safely back to Earth.

Omega Speedmaster Professional ("Moon Watch").

The Movement:

Nouvelle Lémania Caliber 1873, diameter = 27 mm, height = 6.87 mm, 27 jewels, 21,600 beats per hour, handwound, ca. 45-hour power reserve, chronograph with cam, 30-minute and 12-hour counters.

OMEGA 3313 COAXIAL

Omega's brand-new, self-winding Caliber 3313 is based on the Broad Arrow Caliber 3303 that launched in 2001. When the engineers at Frédéric Piguet began designing this new chronograph movement in 1996, they were already thinking several steps ahead. Their innovative thinking manifested itself in the form of the coaxial lever escapement, which is the brainchild of English watchmaker George Daniels. Thanks to an entirely new construction of the impulse-supplying element, this escapement so drastically reduces friction that there's no need for lubricants. Eliminating the need for oil simultaneously preempts the deleterious effect which lubricant viscosity exerts on the amplitude of the oscillating system.

The Movement:

Caliber 3313, diameter = 27 mm, 28,800 beats per hour, self-winding via centrally situated and ball-borne rotor, 55-hour power reserve; chronograph with column-wheel, coaxial friction coupling, the mechanism which supports the 30-minute and 12-hour counters is situated on the back of the movement. Omega DeVille chronograph

58

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

PATEK PHILIPPE 27-70

Understatement has always been a guiding principle at Patek Philippe. This canon is unpretentiously evident once again in the Ref. 5070 chronograph, which encases the very fine hand-wound Caliber 27-70. This caliber comes from Nouvelle Lémania, but has been modified to bring it up to Patek Philippe's superlatively high standards. The column-wheel, for example, is given a small and elaborately polished cover plate. The chronograph-bridge and the coupling between the movement and the cadrature are designed to recall bygone days. The profile of the gears is reworked to optimize torque. This reworking alters the translation ratio and lengthens the power reserve to 60 hours, which is roughly 10 hours longer than the power reserve offered by the already very fine Lémania 2310.

The Movement:

Caliber 27-70, based on a Lémania 2310, diameter = 27.5 mm, height = 5.57 mm, 24 jewels, gyromax balance, Breguet overcoil balance-spring, 18,000 beats per hour, hand-wound, ca. 60-hour power reserve, chronograph with column-wheel and 30-minute counter, Geneva Seal.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5070

POLJOT 3133

Glashütte, Germany's watch production facilities were one of the spoils of war that accompanied the Soviet Union's victory in 1945. During the postwar years, the Soviets shopped for precision machinery and tools in Switzerland with which to make calibers whose production was later discontinued due to lack of demand. Among the imports was the Poljot Caliber 3133, built between 1969 and 1978 on the basis of the handwound Valjoux 7734, a Swiss caliber that was then being made in Le Bioux. The Russians modified this Swiss item by changing the shape of its cocks, balance, and bearings. The Poljot Caliber 3133 first appeared in public in 1982, when a photo of this caliber was printed on the cover of the catalogue of the First Moscow Watch Factory. Production had been resumed in 1975.

A Poljot pilot's chronograph from the 1970s

The Movement:

Poljot Caliber 3133, based on a Valjoux 7734, diameter = 31 mm, height = 7.35 mm, 23 jewels, hand-wound, 43-hour power reserve when chronograph function is switched off, 37-hour power reserve with chronograph switched on, chronograph has slideway and 30-minute counter.

60

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

ROGER DUBUIS RD 28

Roger Dubuis began his first job as a watchmaker immediately after he graduated from watchmaker's school in Geneva, Switzerland in the late 1950s. He took the daring step into a freelance career in 1980, opening a small atelier where he repaired and restored older watches and designed new ones. Dubuis' extraordinary ability to successfully complete even the most difficult developmental tasks brought him to the attention of a watch aficionado named Carlos Dias. The two men joined forces in 1995 to found Sogem SA, which occupied itself and its founders with the creation and production of watches under their own brand name. Since the spring of 2002, the Roger Dubuis company has done business in a new and brightly-lit building in Meyrin, a suburb outside of Geneva. It was here that Dubuis' own chronograph caliber, the RD 28, was born.

Single-push-piece chronograph from Roger Dubuis

The Movement:

Caliber RD 28, diameter = 10 lignes (24.25 mm), height = 5.05 mm, 225 components, 25 jewels, hand-wound, Breguet overcoil balance-spring, 21,600 beats per hour, monopulsante chronograph (one pushpiece triggers all three functions) with columnwheel and 30-minute counter beside the "3," Geneva Seal.

ROGER DUBUIS RD 8230

Chronographs with shaped movements are rare in the history of the wristwatch, but chronographs with shaped movements and eight days of power reserve are absolutely unprecedented. The elaborate synthesis of the two has now been achieved by Roger Dubuis' manufacture in Geneva. The device was conceived, designed, and manufactured entirely in Dubuis' own ateliers. This interesting opus technicus bears the nofrills name 8230. The product itself is lavish indeed, with a stop-time mechanism mounted on the backside of the shaped base caliber (RD 82). The remaining power reserve is shown by an additional display on the RD 8220 version (without chronograph function) and on the RD 8230. Calibers RD 82 and 8231 lack this additional display.

The Movement:

Caliber RD 8230 (based on an RD 8220), 13 lignes (13.45 mm), height = 7.6 mm, 315 components, 28 jewels, hand-wound, ca. 216-hour power reserve, 21,600 beats per hour, power-reserve display above the "6," monopulsante chronograph (one push-piece triggers all three functions) with column-wheel and 45-minute counter beside the "3." Chronograph with eight-day movement, Cal. RD 8230

62

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

ROLEX 4130

The launch of the new, patented Caliber 4130 entitles Rolex to claim genuine manufacture status in the chronograph field. The developmental team's members kept their gaze focused far into the 21st century, yet never forgot Rolex's experiences in the chronograph genre. Wherever qualitative aspects were at stake, they clung to tried-and-tested solutions. All in all, the 4130 makes do with significantly fewer components. Progressive thinking is evident in the vertical friction coupling, which ensures that the chronograph's seconds-hand begins its motion smoothly and without a shudder. Also new: the exclusively movement-side mounting of the mechanisms for the counters.

The Movement:

Rolex Caliber 4130, diameter = 30.5 mm, height = 6.5 mm, 44 jewels, freely swinging Breguet overcoil balance-spring, 28,800 beats per hour, ca. 72-hour power reserve with chronograph switched off, ca. 66-hour power reserve with chronograph switched on; chronograph with column-wheel, vertical friction coupling, 30-minute and 12-hour counters; C.O.S.C. chronometer certificate.

Rolex's new Cosmograph Daytona

ULYSSE NARDIN 38

The first wristwatch chronographs appeared around 1910, and with their debut the victory march of this practical function was unstoppable. On these early chronographs, a single push-piece sequentially triggered each of the chronograph's three functions (start, stop, and return-to-zero). Additive stopping wasn't possible yet. This additional complication first became possible in the early 1930s with the advent of two-push-piece chronographs. Ulysse Nardin pays homage to the epoch when wristwatch chronographs were still in their infancy with its Monopulsante chronograph. As the name implies, the lone push-piece of this watch is integrated into, and coaxial with, the crown.

The Movement:

Caliber UN 38, diameter = 24 mm, height = 4.2 mm, 21 jewels, 21,600 beats per hour, handwound, 45-hour power reserve, chronograph with column-wheel and 30-minute counter.

Ulysse Nardin's Monopulsante

64

WatchTime December 2003

CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

VENUS 175

The Venus ébauche manufacture was founded in 1924 and received the patent on its first chronograph in 1933. This device provided the foundation for Venus' successful specialization in the crafting of devices that could measure brief intervals of time while continuing to accurately show the correct time of day. Five base calibers comprise Venus's palette of chronographs. Designated by three-digit numbers, they are Calibers 150, 170, 175, 179 (with flyback-hand), and 188. Fifteen other calibers evolved from this group of five. Venus was obliged to discontinue production altogether in 1966. Although the enterprise no longer exists, the legendary Caliber 175, which Venus produced from 1940 until the end in 1966, lives again thanks to remaining specimens of the caliber which have been augmented with new components crafted by Jaquet in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Venus 175 Telemeter from Jacques Etoile

The Movement:

Original Venus Caliber 175, diameter = 31 mm, height = 5.7 mm, balance oscillates at a pace of 18,000 beats per hour, chronograph mechanism with column-wheel (seven columns) and 30-minute counter, two-push-piece construction makes possible additive stopping.

ZENITH 400 EL PRIMERO

When Zenith christened its automatic chronograph movement with the name El Primero and proudly introduced it to an audience of journalists and horological specialists in the spring of 1969, the manufacture could rightly claim to have achieved a major victory. The first of its kind, this movement is equipped with a centrally axial, ball-borne rotor. This innovative attribute, of course, couldn't make the device immune to the ill effects of the nefarious quartz revolution. With heavy hearts, the people at Zenith discontinued production of the El Primero in the mid 1970s. After allowing it to doze like Sleeping Beauty for more than a decade, Zenith made a wise decision in 1986: they kissed the princess, awakened her from her slumber, and revived the caliber whose name means "The First."

The Movement:

Caliber 400, diameter = 29.33 mm, height = 6.5 mm, 280 components, 31 jewels, 36,000 beats per hour, rotor winds mainspring in both its directions of rotation, approximately 50hour power reserve with chronograph switched on; chronograph with column-wheel, 30-minute and 12-hour counters.

Zenith's Chronomaster

66

WatchTime December 2003

Information

WT_2003_06: CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS

15 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

912251


You might also be interested in

BETA
WT_2001_05: COMPARATIVE TEST: ROLEX COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA OLD VERSUS NEW
WT_2003_06: CONTEMPORARY CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS
WT_2003_02: CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENTS, PART ONE