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Month: July 2013

Six Small Words: Technical

Technical (/ˈteknikəl/) Adj. of or relating to a particular subject, art, or craft, or its techniques.

I was on a well-known UK watch forum the other day; a relatively new member had posted a brief description of his first attempt at regulation (i.e. attempting to improve the timing of his watch). He revealed his surprise at seeing the watch’s movement for the first time, and in particular, at how small it was. Of course, the majority of watch-wearers will never remove the caseback from their watch, nor attempt a spot of regulation, so the opportunity to see the inner workings of a mechanical watch are generally limited, unless your watch has a display back.

Display backs allow the watch to be viewed through a sapphire crystal “window”. One is usually able to see the balance wheel – “the beating heart” of the mechanical watch, as well as bridges, rotors or barrels. One imagines that, of the small minority of watch-owners with a display back, even fewer will be aware of the history of the balance wheel, not the increasing technical advances being made by, for example, the Heritage Watch Manufactury or Greubel-Forsey.

Six Small Words: Intellectual

Saunier

Intellectual (/ˌintlˈekCHo͞oəl/) Adj. Of or relating to the intellect: “intellectual stimulation”; an aspect of something where learning, erudition, and informed and critical thinking are the focus

I was talking recently to a watchmaker about timing, or rather about the different terminal ends applied to balance springs. The question had arisen as a result of a brief discussion of the multiple patents belonging to the Heritage Watch Manufactory. He immediately recited an equation that described the spring, using its length, height, thickness, mass. I nodded. Smiled. And realised that the maths was almost completely beyond me, although the basic principles remained within my grasp. Probably. Given watches are such a passion, it seemed odd that I’d not really delved into the study of watchmaking itself – true horology. I must admit to feeling more than a little inadequate.