How to easily clean the watch bracelet at home

We all know that in the summer the skin of the hands sweats a lot. As a result, the sweat pollutes and oxidizes the bracelets and necklaces, so it is very important that they are cleaned at least once a week. Sweat oxidizes both steel bracelets (any metal chain) and those made of gold and pla!num, changes the color of the metal and thus it looks old and worn. The bracelet and necklaces (any jewelry metal) can be cleaned at home, in which case you can use special cleaning agents such as Shinezy # 1 clean spray. Or you can simply use warm water, soap and brush (must be so% not to damage the metal).

Method of cleaning:

1. Shinezy # 1 clean spray is a strong non-toxic spray that is sprayed all over the bracelet and le% for about 1-2 minutes. A%er that, you can use a so% brush for hard-to-reach cleaning areas or wash the bracelet thoroughly with warm water. Dry the bracelet with a dry cloth, then you can use a metal polishing cloth for a perfect shine.

2. Preheat water and add a few drops of liquid an!bacterial soap to it. Then, ONLY immerse the … Continue reading...

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WITSCHI Q TEST 4100 review and manual operation instructions

The Q Test 4100 has all the capabilities for a professional and efficient watch repair service.

It is also an indispensable instrument for the watch laboratory, quality control and the retail store.

The design goals for the Q Test 4100 were functionality, compactness and ease of use. Highly sensitive signal sensors and selective filter circuits provide a trouble-free captation of the watch signal.

The Q Test 4100 features:

Accuracy measurement for any type of quartz, turning fork and mechanical watches.

Module power supply with variable voltage.

Test of minimum operation voltage.

Measurement by integration of the average consumption.

Continuity and insulation tests.

Tests magnetic pulses and measures coil resistance of analog watches.

Test watch batteries under load.

Tests alarm buzzers & LCD displays.

WITSCHI Q TEST 4100 was produced in the 80’s and is still used today by many watchmakers around the world

Buy WITSCHI Q TEST 4100 manual operation instructions

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MB&F + L’Epée 1839 : announcing TRINITY

Our 13th table clock co-created with L’Epée 1839 arrives just in time for the Geneva Watch Days: announcing TRINITY!

Three legs;

three-sector dial;

three insect-like eyes;

three-layered movement;

three protective shields;

three limited editions.

And to top it all off, Trinity follows T-Rex in what will become a trilogy called “Robocreatures” – the fruit of a three-way collaboration between MB&F, L’Epée and designer Maximilian Maertens.

Trinity launches in neon red, neon green and neon blue – 3 editions of 50 pieces each.

Retail price is CHF 22,500 + VAT; now available at our eShop https://shop.madgallery.ch/products/trinity

You’ll find the detailed press release, the video and all the pics in our Press section.

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How many dial makers were used by Rolex for the series 16500?

Rolex employed four different manufacturers: Singer at La Chau-de-Fonds for lacquered and galvanised classical models, Beveler in Geneva for lacquered and galvanized dials and also some short series of jewelry models; Stem in Geneva for their creations in semi-precious stones, mother of pearl and pave brilliants, Lemrich in La Chau-de-Fonds,

On the dials of the series 16500, the 12 is replaced by the logo and is surmounted by the inscription giving the specifics of the watch. The Rolex logo is identical for all dials even though they were produced by four different manufactures. The rings of the totalizers are available in the least two sizes, narrow or wide fonts and writing position changes.

At the end of the 1980s the process for affixing the name Rolex and the technical characteristics change. The transferring plate is no longer hand-engraved, instead an acid process is used with allows a better quality even in the slightest details.

For the Cosmograph (series 16500), Rolex offered a vast choice of colors and iconography.

The inscriptions appear in a variety of ways since Rolex always looked for ways vary their position so as to obtain a graphically perfect dial.

For the classic models, the background … Continue reading...

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Different types of buttons in Rolex Daytona

In this short article, we want to show you the different button models of Rolex Daytona. They are divided into four generations, the first of which is the simplest for the model.

References 6239, 6241,6262 and 6264 have pump 24-P3 push buttons. For these references, one sometimes also finds replacement pressure-proof screw-down push buttons, possibly fitted during a maintenance service in order to improve the water-tightness of the case.

References 6240, 6263, 6265, 6269 and 6270 have pressure-proof screw-down buttons (1964 Rolex patent). There are three generations of pressure-proof screw-down push buttons: the first with knurled buttons, nicknamed “Milerighe” by collectors, fitted on reference 6240 and only initially on the references 6263 and 6265: the second and third with fluted buttons of the 24-P301 and 24-P302 type for references 6263, 6265, 6269 and 6270.

It is important to note that during maintenance services, Rolex often used to replace knurled “Millerghe” buttons by factory-mode spare-part fluted buttons, which were more user-friendly. Rolex uses the expression “pressure-proof screw-down push buttons” to refer to its water-resistant screw-down push buttons.

Rolex Daytona parts – You can found dials, bezels, buttons, crystals, crowns and etc.

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Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC

At first glance the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC looks like a chronograph, with two pushers on the right side of the case. But here the pushers don`t activate a stopwatch but instead control a time-zone function. This is unique in the watch world. The Porsche principle has been integral ever since the founding of Porsche Design Timepieces AG in Solothurn, Switzerland, in 2014. Watch research, design and production are all under the company`s own control while consistently maintaining a direct link to the sports car manufacturer and the engineers at Porsche Motosport.

Caliber 04.110 is based on a Sellita SW200, with the addition of an exclusive Dubois Depraz module and distinctive Porsche Design finish.

This symbiotic relationship is often seen but has never been as clearly defined and direct as it is today. The first Porsche Design watch came onto the market in 1972 – the year Proffesor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche founded the Porsche Design lifestyle brand with the vision of extending the Porsche legend beyond the limits of the automobile. For the father of the 911, it was clear that based on the dashboard of the car, this watch had to be a chronograph with a black dial. … Continue reading...

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The Delicate Sound of Thunder – MB&F World’s Fastest Triple-Axis Escapement

MB&F`s new Legacy Machine Thunderdome features a world-first, proprietary tourbillon device and also marks the first collaboration between watchmakers Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen.

The heart of the latest piece in Bussser`s popular Legacy Machine series is the so-called TriAx tour-billon mechanism designed by Coudray, developer of, among other standout high complications, Jeager-LeCoultre`s Gyro-tourbillon. It replaces the traditional but more cumbersome system, which links one tourbillon cage with each rotating axis, with a three-axis, two-cage configuration that allows for maximum visibility of the tourbillon escapement`s beating heart – all under a large domed sapphire crystal that gives the model its cinematic, sci-fi nickname. Off-center at 6 o`clock is an analog subdial with Roman numerals on which the watch tells the time with two blued hands.

To control the rate of energy escaping from the movement`s barrel, MB&F and Coudray opted for a so-called Potter escapement, named after 19th century watch-maker Albert H. Potter, which is notable for its use of a fixed escape wheel rather than the more common, mobile wheel.

This combination of a fixed wheel within a tri-axial mechanism, has never been used in watchmaking before. It allows for higher rotational speeds for the cages – the … Continue reading...

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Steel Watches A 20th-Century Phenomenon

Of all the materials used to make watches, steel is unique in its ability repeatedly transcend its lowly status.Watches made from gold, platinum, ceramic, carbon composites and titanium fetch higher prices new, yet new steel watches from high-end brands remain impossible to get, while vintage steel watches continue to top auction house records.It’s downright counterintuitive. Understanding why vintage steel watches have become so valuable is a bit easier than grasping why new ones command prices well above list on the secondary market, but, as we will see, the two phenomena are intertwined.

Stainless steel didn’t become a commercially viable material until early in the 20th century. Europeans led the way, eventually developing corrosion-proof steel alloys. How ever, few watch manufacturers had the tools to effectively machine this incredibly hard material, and finishing steel was still a nascent artform. Even into the early 1960s, less expensive watches were typically made from bass and then plated in chrome. Steel watches remained the thing of military contracts and highly specific tool watches, like divers, pilots’ chronographs and GMTs, as well as waterproof expedition-ready timepieces. Furthermore, most of the steel watches made before the 1970s were not fashionable. The mid-20th century was a time … Continue reading...

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A very British story

The Double Impulse Chronometer, the first wristwatch completely made in England in more than half a century, has thrust the old firm Charles Frodsham & Co. into the spotlight.

-Charles Frodsham & Co. makes the most interesting chronometer wrtistwatch you have never heard of. The above statement is anachronistic, especially at a time when social media has given every brand a pulpit to preach to the choir. But then Frodsham, which can claim to be the oldest continuously trading firm of marine chronometers in the world today, has never really believed in putting itself out there. “We are not a brand, we don’t do social media. We have no PR and marketing. We let other people do the talking on our behalf,” says Richard Stenning, who along with his partner Philip Whyte run the firm today after having bought it in the mid-1990s. While you can appreciate the discrete manner in which they go about their business, as soon as their first wristwatch – the Double Impulse Chronometer – broke cover last year, literally anyone who had more than a passing interest in fine watchmaking and horological history was talking about it. “We didn’t quite realize the impact that it … Continue reading...

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The Chopard Manufacture builds a multitude of different movements — from simple calibers for two-handed watches to chronographs, innovative minute repeaters and grand complications such as the L.U.C All-in-One.

Chopard is famous for jewelry, watches and accessories such as fragrances, writing instruments and sunglasses. Women particularly like Chopard’s Happy Diamonds – watches and jewelry with diamonds that “dance” freely between two panes of transparent sapphire. But not everyone is aware that Chopard has been a full-fledged watch manufacture since 1996. Chopard’s outstanding watchmakers have mastered nearly every horological task from simple movements to grand complications.

In 1963, the Scheufele family from Pforzheim, Germany, took over the Geneva-based manufacturer, which had been founded in 1860, and expanded it into an internationally successful brand with its own boutiques. Caroline Scheufele is currently responsible for women’s watches and jewelry, while her brother and co-president, Karl-Friedrich, takes care of men’s watches and the manufacturing of movements in Fleurier, Switzerland.

Two buildings, each dedicated to its own specific function, stand in Fleurier in the Canton of Neuchatel. The Chopard Manufacture produces the fine L.U.C calibers, which bear the initials of the cmpany’s founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard and are manually decorated according to the traditional rules oh haute horlogerie. Across from that building stands the Fleurier Ebauches factory, where Chopard manufactures its own movements for the brand’s somewhat less costly collections, such as the Classic Racing, … Continue reading...

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LVMH Watch Week Dubai All Eyes on the Octo

The Italian “Jeweler of time” started the watchmaking year ahead of Baselworld with several strong new releases. Watch Time traveled do Dubai for a first look.

– LVMH’s inaugural Watch Week took place from January 13 to 15 at the Dubai Bulgari Hotel. While the brand will still release a majority of its 2020 novelties in Basel (April 30 to May 5), the watches shown on the Persian Gulf coast are already another strong commitment of the brand to horological innovation, with the Octo Finissimo Automatic in stainless steel being one of the year’s highlights (and undoubtedly also the most requested version of the record-breaker). Here are some of the novelties that were shown.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in Sandblasted Rose Gold – The most elegant interpretation of the record-breaking watch from 2016 yet. The new Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in rose gold (Ref.103279) is the latest edition of the record-breaking Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater in titanium that first debuted in 2016 and led the foundation for a new approach to mechanics and complications. The minute repeater, one of the most complex of all horological complications, now comes in sand-blasted rose gold with matching dial. The hour markers and … Continue reading...

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Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Atmos clocks – Running On Air

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Atmos clocks, whose ingenious, near-perpetual mechanical movements are driven by air temperature changes, have been pushing the boundaries of horology and design since the 1930s.

– Before wristwatches came pocketwatches, and before pocketwatches came clocks. All the venerable watchmaking maisons owe some debt to the clockmakers who paved the way for their portable, micromechanical wrist timekeepers, and some of them have even produced clocks of their own at some point in their history. Even today, you can find some of the biggest names in luxury wristwatches displayed on wall clocks in watch boutiques and airports – almost all of those clocks powered by electronic rether than mechanical means. However, there is one historical Swiss watch manufacture still actively engaged in mechanical clockmaking in the 21st century – applying to this ancient art the same care and meticulous craftsmanship that it devotes to its wristwatches.

Moreover, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Atmos clocks – a mainstay of the Le Sentier-based company since the 1930s – are neither electronic nor traditionally mechanical, but something else entirely. While building wrist – borne timepieces remains Jaeger-LeCoultre’s primary vocation, the company continues to release, year after year and often in limited numbers, new variations on the Atmos, an … Continue reading...

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Bright Future

Seiko’s new Prospex LX collection introduces sports watches that go beyond the simple passion for a professional dive watch. The version we tested has a rarely seen compass bezel that makes it well suited for extreme outdoor activities.

-We admit it – an overview of the Seiko Prospex collection is not easy. It spans many different price ranges, including an entry-level dive watch with a solar-powered movement (SNE441, $395) and the PADI Special Edition version (SNE435, $395), or a mechanical model with Caliber 6R15 (SpB079,$850) and the Special Edition Twilight Blue with the same movement (SPB097,$1,150). The newest version of the dive watch from 1970, the Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-creation Limited Edition SLA033, with automatic movement 8L35, is priced at $4,250.. And the dive watch from the new LX line, SNR029, with Spring Drive Caliber 5R65- winner of top honors in the Diver’s Watch category at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve-costs $6,000. With the LX line, Seiko is expanding the Prospex collection to include watches that go beyond professional diving. The name was inspired by the Latin word lux (which means light), and alludes to way light is reflected on the case’s highly reflective surfaces. The LX line … Continue reading...

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Abercrombie & Fitch 1958 Manual Chronograph

Dimensions 37mm x 14.5 mm X 43.5mm

Prominent figures who patronized the Abercrombie & Fitch Company in its excursion goods days include Amelia Earhart, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable,Teddy Roosevelt,John Steinbeck,and Ernest Hemingway.
Their vintage catalogs are a mine of quality, useful items,from canoes, to tents, to shotguns,to fishing rods, and of course, watches.This watch has exactly the same case as the early Seafarer and a very similar dial and is a great looking three-register, twelve-hour Compax Chronograph. A real beauty, the kind of watch that epitomizes vintage. Steel case with circular brushed domed screw-on back, high-domed crystal, and long-faceted luga. This type of case was used by Heuer, LeCoultre, and Ulysses Nardin for their register “sports” type watches-sport meaning pilots, sailors, and horsemen.

The movement is the venerable valjoux 72 nickel-plated three register twelve-hour movement. Signed “Abercrombie & Fitch Co Switzerland serial 453306”. The case interior is signed “ED Heuer & Co, SWISS”. This watch has been fitted with a Heuer Vintage Crown. Now on to the wondrous dial:vertically silver scored with gold-plated rivets in the corners aged to perfection. Signed again : “Abercrombie & Fitch” with “Made in Switzerland” below the register at six p.m. The handset is gold-plated … Continue reading...

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Rolex Submariner 5508 1962 Automatic Movement

Dimensions: 38 mm x 12 mm x 42 mm

I bought this watch from my watchmaker, who bought it from the original owner. The military serial number on the case back is from the Royal Navy and signifies where the owner signed on: it was either Portsmouth or Plymouth, which was confirmed by the MOD when I called them. (They do not normally do that, but the person I was speaking with was archiving casualty reports from 1962 at the time and confirmed the military service number was correct for the time period.)

As with my father’s watch, which he wore in the Scots Guards, all personal items worn on duty, such as watches, had the owner’s service number engraved on them. This is the nicest Rolex Submariner “non-crown guards” watch and is in amazing condition. It has a gloss gilt original untouched dial with an exclamation mark at six p.m with “SWISS” marked below the six p.m marker.

There is minor blemish at five p.m, but apart from that a very nice specimen. The hands have been replaced during a service, as originals would be gilt like the dial; the bezel was possibly replaced, as originals are chromed brass. … Continue reading...

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How the escapement functions

When energy is stored in the mainspring, by winding, the train wheels begin to turn. This energy is carried from the barrel through the center,  third and fourth wheels to the escape wheel, turning the escape wheel in the direction of the arrow shown in Fig. 1.

Considering the escapement as a unit, it can be seen that the escape wheel supplies the power, whereas the pallet transfers the rotary motion of the escape wheel into a back and forth motion of the pallet. The pallet in turn imparts motion to the jewel pin (roller jewel) which causes a vibrating motion of the balance wheel.

Detailed sequence of escapement actions

As the balance wheel swings, the jewel pin is carried back and forth across the center line of the escape wheel, pallet and balance wheel. Line AB in Fig. 2A.

                                                                                                                                           As the jewel pin approaches the center line and when in the position shown in Fig.2A, it enters and strikes the inside wall of the fork slot. During the passage of the jewel pin over the center line, the fork is moved in the direction of the arrow (fig.2B), causing the R pallet stone to unlock an escape wheel tooth.… Continue reading...

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The birth of a classic

To all watch aficionados and admirers of Patek Philippe, this is a reference you will want to remember: Chronograph  Ref. 5170J. It is the ultimate chronograph from the Geneva manufacture, equipped with the very recent movement, the Calibre CH 29-35-535 PS, totally developed and produced in-house by Patek Philippe. A manual-winding, column-wheel chronograph, this new reference replaces the very famous chronograph Ref.5070, based on a Lemania caliber, and well know to all collectors.

The latest in a prestigious line – With this new and remarkable creation, Patek Philippe completes the collection of its own chronographs, a collection that was started in 2005 with the introduction of the thinnest (5.25mm) flyback manual chronograph movement ever made. It was also the first chronograph wristwatch entirely designed, developed and fabricated in-house. Produced in the traditional manner in a limited quantity in the haute horlogerie ateliers at Patek Philippe, this very prestigious movement- with its two column wheels, two push-pieces, the possibility to store reference times, as well as its many other technical and aesthetic features- created a sensation from its first introduction in a series of ten pieces in an Officer style platinum case, the already famous Reference 5959P.

This offer was expanded … Continue reading...

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The Chronograph, an expression of modern times

The chronograph, an ingenious invention of modern times, has taken the measure of human progress for nearly two centuries. The etymology of the word comes from the combination of two Greek roots: chromos (time) and grapho (writing). To write time is also to write a record of the history of the world.

The scientific advances of the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, notably in astronomy, medicine, engineering  and industry, necessitated the measuring of fractions of seconds. In this field, as in others, there were numerous inventors and solutions.  Following unfruitful attempts by John Arnold, Louis Moinet  (1768-1853), a Parisian watchmaker who was also a keen astronomer, invented an instrument that measured sixtieths of a second, which he called a compteur de tierces (“counter of thirds”) . The “third” refers to the third subdivision of the hour on a basis of 60 after the minute and the second, and is used in astronomy.

This counter was produced in collaboration witch a watchmaker from the workshop of Abraham. Louis Breguet in 1815-1816. In terms of its performance, ergonomics and the readability of its dial, this instrument prefigures the chronometric devices to one-fiftieth and one-hundredth of a second created by … Continue reading...

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The Henry Graves Jr.Patek Philippe Minute Repeating Wristwatch No. 97’589

In the world of watches there is no provenance stronger or more desirable than that of Henry Graves Jr. , arguably the most important and prolific watch collector of the 20th century. A provenance to perhaps Patek Philippe’s greatest ever client immediately tells even the casual observer that they are beholding a very special timepiece indeed, one of the best of the best. 

Unknown until its emergence from the estate of Graves’s grandson, Reginald H. Fullerton J., in 2012, the present watch, regarded by world-renowned scholars of Patek Philippe as the most important minute repeater wristwatch, is highly significant in several ways.

First, unlike the majority of Henry Graves Jr.’s purchases from Patek Philippe, which were delivered to him at Tiffany & Co. In New York, the present watch was bought by him, in person, at Patek Philippe’s headquarters in Geneva in 1928. Fur-thermore, this supremely elegant, almost understated minute repeating wristwatch, of large size for the period, was also Henry Graves Jr.’s very first Patek Philippe minute repeating wristwatch and the only one made for him in yellow gold.

Added to this is the historical importance of the watch in its own right as one of the earliest-recorded … Continue reading...

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Retro Stopwatch – Oris Divers

After the limited edition in bronze , the Oris Divers Sixty – Five is now finally available as a regular production chronograph model. Unmistakably influenced by history , this watch follows the current retro trend ,but offers modern solutions in every detail.-In 1965 Oris launched a divers ‘  watch  that was ultramodern for its time.I had a case that remained water resistant to a depth of 100 meters,a unidirectional rotatable bezel and large luminous numerals.Reissued 50 years later as the Divers Sixty-Five, it proves to be one of this manufacturer’s most successful new models – thanks in part to the still – unflagging popularity of the retro trend.

Based on Oris’s  First Divers’  Watch .The high fidelity reissue of the three – handed watch from the 1960s  was followed  by a retro-modern facelift, various special models – also with innovative wristbands made of recycled plastic – and finally a chronograph. This model too was first released  in 2018 as a limited special edition and, after three – handed watch, was the second Divers Sixty – Five model to be dedicated to Carl Brashear, who became the U.S. Navy’s first amputee diver in 1948 and the first African-American seaman to earn … Continue reading...

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Original or reissue: which should you choose?

Today, you don’t need to be an auction-house “insider” to pick up a few period watchmaking gems. Countless second-hand websites propose original models. So, what should you go for: an original, rare, expensive, mythical yet fragile piece, often inaccurate and for which repairs are likely to become increasingly tricky? Or a reissue, virtually identical down to the finest detail, which you can wear on a daily basis and which will just cost you a fraction of the price of an original and offers proven reliability?

Occasionally, it isn’t that easy to make a choice. Take Zenith, for example. The manufacture has just reissued its El Primero 1969 model, the famous A384. Its components were all digitalized so they could be reproduced, from its 37-mm diameter faceted steel case to its white and black-lacquered tachymetric dial.

The only differences are the sapphire crystal which replaces the acrylic glass, the open caseback which replaces the steel one, as well as the dependable version of the El Primero 400 calibre. All the rest (functions, dimensions, frequency and even the number of rubies) remains the same. Aficionados of close replicas will, moreover, make the connection with Omega: two years ago, the brand released a … Continue reading...

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The distinctly ‘70s chrono’s big cushion case houses the ETA Valjoux 7753 workhorse

Unfortunately, and unlike the 7750, this movement provides no rapid- reset function for the date display via the crown. Instead, the wearer must press a recessed button on the left side of the case to reset the date. This requires a correction stylus or a repurposed tool such as a ballpoint pen or toothpick.

On the other hand, the operation of the crown and push- pieces leaves nothing to be desired. Furthermore, the movement is attractively decorated. Unfortunately, our test watch gained more than 10 second per day, as proven both by the timing machine and the wearing test. Moreover, the small elapsed- minutes hand is not 100 percent vertical in its testing position, but leans a tiny bit toward the left. Fans of retro and sports watches will need to accept this imperfection if they opt for the Heritage 1973. But perhaps they’ll interpret this trivial shortcoming as a beauty mark that reminds them of daring exploits in the glory days of auto racing, when success depended less on technology and engineering and far more on a driver’s passion and charisma.

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Inside Zenith Defy Zero G

The object of this test bench incorporates the latest advances in Zenith’s research as part of its quest for chronometry. The track explored in recent years by the brand’s technical department is head- on response to one of the factors disrupting the movement of watches: gravity. The nature of the problem became apparent from the very beginning of Huygens’ work on the balance- spring and isochronism. In the 17th century, “marine” watchmakers took account of this by affixing their chronometers to gyroscopes in order to maintain them in a constant horizontal position whatever the state of the seas. With the advent of the pocket watch between the 17th and 18th centuries, this solution could not be adapted for obvious reasons of size. It was then that Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon which mixes the vertical positions so as to derive an average rate. By successfully placing the escapement and balance- spring assembly on a gyroscopic system. Zenith addresses the source of the problem, and does so in a clearly successful manner as revealed by our tests.

EXTERIOR:  

One might be tempted to say the question of the exterior is secondary, given connoisseurs’ naturally strong interest in the mechanical characteristics of this … Continue reading...

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Patek Philippe caliber R 27 Q

Reference 3974 – The two complications in which Patek Philippe excels – the perpetual calendar and the minute repeater – come together for the first time in a wristwatch with a self-winding movement.

The dial has the traditional layout of Patek Philippe’s well loved perpetual calendars, showing the day, date, month, leap year and the 23 hours
with remarkable carity.
The only aperture in the dial is for the moon phases.

The perpetual calendar is known for its unfailing reliability as it follows the different sequences of long and short months, combining them with the different cycles of leap years, and lunations; dividing the day both into 24 hours and into 12 hours. This beautifully engineered instrument is the pride of Patek Philippe’s watchmakers.

Buried in the 467 parts of the movement is the intricacy of cams and racks that converts the time on the dial into the time you can hear. Patek Philippe’s minute repeaters strike the hours, quarters and minutes on two gongs of special acoustic steel to give a sharp, clear time. The spinning governor which regulates the tempo of the strike is totally silent.

Dial indications – Month and year at 3 o’clock, date and moon … Continue reading...

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Tissot: Defeating The Enemies of Chronometry

Unfortunately, watchmaking has numerous enemies that affect the mechanical heart of certain timepieces, or even damage them irremediably. To combat these, Tissot has introduced a new material in its watch collection: silicon.

Shocks, corrosion, friction, damp, magnetic fields, wear and tear – the life of a watch is not always easy. Contrary to what one might think, they are not comfortably installed on a wrist away from all danger, but each day, come across many situations that are dangerous for the watch, the case, and the movement inside it.

Since the 1930s, Tissot has been working to find innovative solutions to produce timepieces that are reliable and accurate at a reasonable price.

Magnetic fields: enemy nº 1

Don’t bother to try looking for culprits: they are everywhere – and they are invisible! In fact, magnetic fields fill our everyday world, from the fridge that you open to grab a bottle of milk to the handbag with a magnetic clasp where you keep your purse, house keys and mobile phone. So many ordinary objects and actions that, despite everything, have an impact on the life of a watch. Why?

Because “strong magnetic fields can affect accuracy, especially in mechanical watches. They … Continue reading...

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Rolex: King Of The Sky

While the Air-King refers to the historical links between Rolex and aviation, this new model makes a modern statement with a 40-mm case, boldly styled dial, and Rolex’s own “Superlative Chronometer” certification.

Take the silhouette of the Milgauss, add a touch of the Explorer, a golden crown-shaped logo on the dial, a few dashes of Rolex green, and the model’s name printed in italics across its face and presto! That’s how the new Air-King appeared, in all its sleek and alluring glory, at its premiere in 2016. Its exterior shows none of the grand history and interesting anecdotes that accompany this watch and make it one of Rolex’s most popular models. Newcomers to the brand frequently choose this watch as their very first Rolex – not only because of its comparatively low price.

Rolex’s historical literature recalls the pioneering English airman Charles Douglas Barnard who took part in record-breaking flights and air races in the 1920s and ’30s, during the golden age of aviation. Because of the Oyster’s unusual qualities, Barnard hailed it as superbly suited for pilots – and he promised to wear it on all of his future long-haul flights.

Another piece of history involves the pilots in … Continue reading...

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In The World’s Largest Movement Factory

A quartz calibre is produced every second at the Saku factory operated by Miyota. The Citizen Group’s movement manufacturer equips a plethora of entry-level watch brands around the world. We visited the factory, which pushes the idea of man-machine fusion to the limit.

From the bay window we can count dozens of assembly lines, ranging from 50 metres to 150 metres long. We were certainly expecting this when we visited the Miyota factory, opened only three years ago.

But what is particularly striking at first sight is the very limited number of employees working on the lines, all equipped with safety masks that make them blend into this industrial landscape. “One or two operators are enough to manage a production line,” we are told.

The only operation that is still done by humans here is moving components from one hall to another. But not for long: automation of transfers between the four production rooms is in progress, via conveyor belts.

One movement per second

The Citizen Group’s movement brand, which was launched in 1959, now produces some 100 million calibres per year in its various factories. Most of them are quartz calibres. Saku, in Nagano province, is the group’s largest … Continue reading...

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Vacheron Constantin History: Pioneers of Precision

Even in the traditional Swiss watchmaking industry, it’s something truly special when, like Vacheron Constantin, a manufacture can look back on more than a quarter of a millennium. Using new sources, we trace Vacheron Constantin’s unique business history.

When Jean-Marc Vacheron founded his business in 1755, the world had not yet begun to feel the icy, metallic touch of the Industrial Revolution, whose dawn lay a few years ahead. The craft of watchmaking still proceeded at its accustomed, leisurely pace.

Approximately 800 horological craftsmen were active in Geneva at this time. Geneva, together with the Neuchâtel – Le Locle region and the Vallée de Joux, were the cradles of the watchmaker’s art. The watchmakers were called cabinotiers in honor of the well-lit “cabinets” on the top floors of the houses in Geneva’s Saint-Gervais neighborhood where they worked. Their tasks were assigned to them by établisseurs, manufacturers who bought and assembled all the parts needed to produce complete watches. Under the steady scrutiny of a master watchmaker, as many as eight cabinotiers labored in each atelier.

According to accounts of the time, a typical cabinotier was an artist, a learned man and a bohemian all rolled into one. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who … Continue reading...

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Audemars Piguet: Manufacture d’Horlogerie de Precision

Audemars Piguet is manufacturer of ultra-luxury Swiss watches and is celebrated for its precise movements and exquisite, opulent designs. It was founded in 1875 in the village of Le Brassus, at the heart of the historical haven of complicated horology named the Vallée de Joux.

Since the beginning, the brand has taken immense pride in manufacturing some of their brilliant time pieces in this village. Currently, they have acquired two more production sites, one specializing in the development of complex mechanisms in Le Locle, named Audemars Piguet Renaud et Papi, (APRP) and a case-making company based in Meyrin-Geneva, Centror.

The company was started by two visionaries, Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, who were ambitious to develop and craft timepieces equipped with complex mechanisms. They established their workshops in Le Brassus, in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, the cradle of fine watchmaking, and Audemars Piguet was born. Even today, all their watches are produced in-house using traditional old-fashioned techniques, and every piece is painstakingly created in a non-automated process.

Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of haute horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. After producing the world’s thinnest watch in 1946 … Continue reading...

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Inside Rolex

The very private Swiss watch giant opens the doors of its new Geneva facility.

Rolex has always had a Garbo-like sense of privacy. With no very good reason to court the media, or even allow them through its doors, it chugs happily along, selling its roughly three-quarters of a million watches a year, which bring in some 2 billion Swiss francs (this is an estimate; the company, needless to say, does not reveal sales figures). As the world’s biggest luxury watch brand, with a sterling image that never fades, Rolex needs publicity like Garbo needed more fans.

So recently, when Rolex invited us to visit its facilities in Geneva, to actually go inside them and see real Rolex employees making real Rolex watches, we didn’t think twice.

Rolex’s Geneva facilities are in the final stages of a massive, eight-year-long construction and renovation project. Its aim is to bring together the many manufacturing operations, some 19 in all, that were once spread out in and around Geneva. In the late 1990s, when a wave of consolidation swept over the watch industry, Rolex began to buy up many of its suppliers in order to gain greater control of them, creating what the … Continue reading...

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Watchmaking Materials

Historical materials and “new materials”

Ever since the dawn of mechanical watchmaking, its base materials have been copper alloys and ferrous materials. As evidenced by the astrarium completed by Giovanni de Dondi in 1386, the combination of iron or steel pinions and brass wheels appeared early on for tribological reasons.

Watchmakers realised from the outset that the materials required to build the first horometers with a mainspring (records of which date back to between 1365 and 1400) had to meet the increasingly numerous and complex imperatives of implementation (cutting, forming, machining), operation (elasticity, resitance to friction, abrasion and ageing) and environment (such as a low factor of thermal expansion in the case of temperature fluctuation, or resistance to corrosion).

Clocks and watches which they could never have lasted more than 700 years. Empirical in its early days, the art of metalworking progressively became a subtle and complex chemistry that watchmaking turned to its own advantage, just as it did the progress of science and knowledge.

In recent years, new materials such as titanium or aluminium-based alloys, silicon and Liquidmétal® have made their debut on the horological stage. Around the turn of the new millennium, the larger size of watch cases … Continue reading...

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