Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rolex Wears Out After Seven Years Shock

Hot on the heels of Walt Odets' legendary controversial review of the Rolex Explorer, The Rolex Submariner Cal. 3135 by Andrew Babanin makes interesting reading.

Disappointing design in a watch that expensive? You betcha!

Andrew notes,
"Rolex still does not use ball bearings (to support the winding weight) even in its top calibers. Instead, there is a plain sleeve bearing, and proper oiling is critical. When the lubricant evaporates or migrates, the metal axle experiences wear against the jewel. In the picture above, you can notice a rut left by the jewel. If Rolex had designed an automatic device based on ball bearings (like in most modern automatic devices) - the watch would be more reliable."
I expect an approach like this in a cheap calibre like my Lemania 5100 based Sinn 157. Every time I see a Rolex apart or reviewed like this, I am left unimpressed. Clearly you need to stay right on the recommended service schedule and there is little margin for error. It's interesting to note that as technology is implemented to improve the escapement service interval, (e.g. co-axial, or coatings) other areas of the watch potentially need to be upgraded to cope. Omega are now talking about ten years between service, and clearly need and have a superior design of winder to Rolex.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Grandpa's Watch Visits Chris Heal's Spa (Chealwatch)

Previously introduced here, from 1937/8 by A L Dennison in a silver full hunter case, Grandpa's watch has had a broken mainspring for more than thirty years.

The before picture. Dirty, tired, hair under the glass and not running.

With nearly 70 years of wear and grime built up, it was time to go to hospital

The after picture. Gleaming, clean and tick-tocking like only a slow beat pocket watch can.

Thanks Chris

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Omega Cal 321 / Lemania 2310 2320 Schematic

1 Start/stop push piece
2 Main operating lever
3 Main operating lever click
4 Main operating lever click spring
5 Column wheel
6 Column-wheel jumper
7 Fourth chronograph wheel (driver)
8 Intermediate chronograph lever
9 Intermediate chronograph lever spring
10 Intermediate chronograph wheel bridge
11 Intermediate chronograph wheel
12 Centre chronograph wheel
13 Brake lever
14 Brake-lever spring
15 Minute-counter finger
16 Intermediate-counter wheel
17 Intermediate-counter lever
18 Intermediate-counter lever spring
19 Minute-counter wheel
20 Minute-counter wheel jumper
21 Minute-counter wheel jumper spring
22 Chronograph bridge
23 Return to zero push piece
24 Seconds heart cam
25 Minute-counter heart cam
26 Return to zero hammer
27 Return to zero hammer spring
28 Return to zero hammer locking pin
29 Locking-pin spring
30 Eccentric post for intermediate chronograph lever
31 Eccentric stop for intermediate chronograph wheel/centre chronograph wheel
32 Eccentric stop to adjust minute-counter finger engagement depth

Regulating Your Own Watch - A Handy Tip

It always seems a shame that it's very often pot luck on getting a watch that's close to its potential as a timekeeper. As an accuracy freek (although slightly reformed), poor regulation is still a pet peeve of mine. For example, it seems ridiculous that Omega bother to provide the co-axial movement with excellent potential for long term stability, but then don't bother to regulate it remotely well.

I'm not going to talk about adjustments for a watchmaker to consider just the brute force regulator shove..... Anyway, so to the handy tip. If you're not going to wear the watch in normal use, the best position to leave the watch in for a while (or if you're lucky enough to have access to a 'Witschi' you can see instantly) to see how your changes are doing is as follows:

8 o'clock high (8H) lent back (dial up) 30 degrees.

This has been found to be the best representation of position a watch finds itself in most of the time in normal use.

Popping the hood and tweaking the 321 in my CK 2998-6.
What an incredible movement in the flesh, - must fit a display back soon....

Oh, and try not to do it wearing a fluffy jumper.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Big Watch Cases a Missed Opportunity?

Discussions with Professor Birkin threw up a very interesting point. With such big cases available now is anyone actually taking advantage of them to pack in more complications or adopt larger systems for improving accuracy that need more space?

The answer, it seems, is a resounding "No."

Why not? Well, it gives me the impression that big watches aren't here to stay so no one is going to invest in movements that they couldn't subsequently package into 36-38 mm cases.......

JLC Join Coloured Dial Bandwagon. AMVOX1 R-Alarm

Jaw does it again with the first pictures of the AMVOX1 R-Alarm. You've gotta love him, he's always right there! Read his launch preview here.

I thought it was only thoughtless and unimaginitive watch makers that were releasing different colour dials as something special; people like Doxa and Omega. Whoah, Doxa and JLC in them same sentence... (well nearly). What's going on? Be thankful for small mercies, they're limited to 150 pieces in platinum and 500 in Titanium.

A missed opportunity for a change from good but old calibre 918. When can we expect to see Autotractor benefits in the 'Memovox' range I wonder? Now a whopping and unnecessary 44 mm it'll look daft on all but a few people.

Technical Specifications:

Automatic mechanical movement, Jaeger-Lecoultre calibre 918, crafted, assembled and decorated by hand, 260 parts, 28,800 vph, 45 hour power reserve.

Hours, Minutes, central seconds, date, alarm, rotating flange

Design modelled on car speedometers, satin-effect, circular, luminescent raised figures, applied hour markers, luminescent alarm indicator, guilloche centre and inspired by the colours and design of the Aston Martin DBR9)

Luminescent calypso

44mm diameter, concave sapphire crystal, hardness No9,Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin engravings on the base, 1000 hour control test, 50m water resistance.

Aston Martin seats matching grained bridge of wier obsidian black calfskin, the leather used to upholster Aston Martin cars, fitted on the right with a special mechanism to facilitate changing straps, Folding buckle In Platinum or Titanium.

Friday, June 03, 2005

JLC Chronograph Controversy - Case Closed (well, for the mo'....)

You remember this one? The whole, crikey, that new JLC chronograph looks like the FP1185..... well, we've become a bit stuck as there have been no further comments on this issue, but I did remember firstly, it was reported back from the Aston Martin & JLC event at the end of April in the US:

"There have been threads suggesting the new movement is based on the 1185 Piguet. I was told the movement is JLC. While some parts may look similar ...... because of function, they would look similar on any column wheel control movement."

And this was almost word for word the tack taken when it came into conversation at the Aston Martin & JLC London event. So there you have it, phew, finally that little mystery solved....

P.S. Oh I forgot to mention that it also been commented, no, more emphasised "how good the FP1185 is." (I have to wonder really hard about why that would have been mentioned at all...? hmmm, why?... Sorry not making any sense. Probably because my tongue is so far in my cheek).

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mystery Astronauts' Mesh Bracelet

The Astronauts' Choice:

What does a heroic pioneering spaceman do relaxing (training) between missions when he doesn't need his Speedy strapped on with Velcro to his spacesuit? Well, he sticks it on a Jacoby Bender mesh.....

Now I want one!

More on Speedmaster CK2998

Some people have been asking for more pictures of straight lug Speedies and if you haven't seen them or found them via Google(!) you should check out Per
Kristiansen's watch collection website in particular for the guided tour of his CK2998-5. Chuck Maddox covered (and hosts) some pictures of Pär Wallström's. This amazingly preserved watch is on his blog here.

To give you a taster of what it looks like (these are a couple half size)

Amazing condition....