Velociphile's Journey into Watches

Adhoc stuff about wristwatches. The technology of horology, escapements and patents to the industry and the market. Try me in Japanese or Chinese

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More Bitchin' from The Kitchen: IWC 80110 Durability ?

Let's set the scene. The ubiquitous Valjoux (ETA) 7750, which is, one way or another, the base of the IWC 80110, uses a tilting pinion strategy to operate the chronograph centre seconds. The tilting pinion in the 7750, # 8086 in the schematic below, is carried by the tilting pinion arm and is continuously driven by the fourth wheel (# 224). As the chronograph function is only designed for occasional use, the lack of jewels present in this driveline to provide centre seconds (# 8000) is not an issue.

Sadly, the IWC 80110 use the same 'nasty' design for the indirect centre seconds via pinion transfer as described above as can be seen here. The key issue is that in the 80110, the pinion is fixed (as opposed to tilting in the 7750), and rotating several times a minute, (8 so I'm told), forever. (Peter CDE's article showed the whole movement.) So, have IWC at least jewelled the bearings?

So, it looks like, "Yes," but with a caveat. For comparison here is the kind of thing IWC have avoided:

Above, is a standard 7750 pinion carrying arm and the jewelless bearing - eughhhh. I mean imagine spending $7200 and getting that...... Fortunately IWC have done the right thing and jewelled the transfer pinion top and bottom and the centre seconds wheel is jewelled at the top. What is not clear is whether it is jewelled at the bottom or retains the standard 7750 plastic bearing shown below:

Several years ago, Michael Friedberg (official IWC forum moderator) asked the technical director at IWC if the JLC-base in the Mark XII was superior to the ETA base in the Mark XV because the JLC movement had more jewels. He responded,
"...jeweling is not necessarily better --sometime they cracked and the design issues were far more complicated than that. ......metal bearings sometimes (but not always) were sturdier and that it often didn't matter since they would be replaced during routine servicing."

Hmmm, metal bearings make sense (and such bushes are used by some manufacturers) in areas of high torque load and low speed, but with very low torque levels and high rotational speeds (in the parts we're referring to, i.e. counting seconds) we want low friction and hard wearing; the properties provided by ruby.


  • At November 03, 2005, Blogger luger said…

    I inadvertently broke the link you had to my piece on the 80110. I also revised it a bit. This is the new (direct) link if you are interested.
    York kind courtesies are always appreciated, Lou

  • At November 03, 2005, Blogger Speedmaster said…

    Velociphile, what happened to all of the original comments associated with this post? I can't see them any longer. ;-(


  • At November 03, 2005, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Lou, I fixed the link, thanks.


  • At November 04, 2005, Blogger luger said…

    Did you see that Mr. Friedberg in a post begun as "80110 design question.... - Stuart Mogell 31.10.05 20:03:31 (4)" opined that your post “possibly involved ‘a rush to judgment’, [and] was intended as critical without having all [the] facts and wasn't intended as constructive.” As always, your kind courtesy and consideration are greatly appreciated, Lou.

  • At November 05, 2005, Blogger Velociphile said…

    Yes, that'll be on the 'official' IWC forum I believe. LOL ;-)



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