Sunday, April 23, 2006

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic and Master World Geographic

I'm impressed so far by the new Geographic and World Geographic revealed first on ThePuristS by Jaw. The 'harmonisation' process JLC are going through is very sympathetic to the original Master series. A comparison of the two is shown below:

I haven't done the analysis yet, but I would bet that the revised hand positions on the new Geographic follow the Golden Ratio - unlike the old model. In fact it feels remarkably like the RDM dial.

Note that the World dial is rotated... and gives a completely different feel which I find less appealing. The Geo hasn't got the WOW factor of the Patek 5130 esque World dial, but is probably all the better for it. The new Geo also stands at a reasonable 40mm dia and the World 41.5mm.

But, I'd really like to see JLC pump up the water resistance from 50m. Then it really could be a fit and forget sauna-jacuzzi-proof travel watch on bracelet. With a black dial and an alarm it would be even more practical/readable. I guess one day we may get the Geomemovox. Very happy with the Master series harmonisation process so far.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grand Réveil Fantasy

Not happy with the washy outy silver hands on silver dial of the MGR? Me neither! We should ask them to do a black dial (currently only available on the Pink Gold version, although not shown on their website):

What an improvement! Now all they need to do is make a bracelet for it......

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

43200 vph: The Spring's the Thing

Seiko's 43200 vph movement made me think a little more (deeply?) about the whole issue of the trade-offs and raised some questions in my mind.

Being the geeky sort I created a little spreadsheet calculating the power of the oscillating balance and the energy store in the spring. As usual the old Rolex calibres are in the lead (based on my limited data set of balance wheel intertias - yes, I collect them; note to self, get out more in 2006) being 15 mgcm2 beasts and of course they oscillate away at the benchmark 28800 vph. Now assuming a given amplitude (may I?) we can compare the power delivered to the balance wheel/hairspring as a function of its inertia and frequency (cubed).

In relative units, if we make a Rolex 3135 100,
A JLC autotractor with a balance of 14 mgcm2 at 28800 vph gives us '93.3'.
A RM003 with a 10 mgcm2 at 21600 vph is '28.1'.
A JLC 8 day wheel of 3.8 mgcm2 going 28800 vph is '25.3'; a quarter of the power of the Rolex.

And of course, we can see how an 8 day movement can be delivered more easily with a lower power consumptive balance. Which brings me to the next step: the gas tank, the spring. So, we take the power reserve and power consumption multiplied together to give us the required energy store size, the size of the gas tank the size of the spring barrel(s).

Again taking the examples, we have Rolex '100' runs for what, 50h. So we'll call that '5000'.
The JLC autotractor = 93.3 * 50ish = 4665.
RM003 = 28.1 * 70 = 1967.
JLC 8 day = 25.3 * 192 (9 days?) = 4863.

So arguably despite all the fuss about twin barrel etc, in fact the energy stored in the spring pack of a Rolex 3135 could have powered the JLC 8 day. Hmmm.

So naturally, with a spreadsheet you can begin to perform some what ifs and investigate some truly marvelous and preposterous scenarios. What you notice however, and that dawns on you as obvious in retrospect is that for a given spring pack energy storage value, dividing it by the number of days reserve gives you the 'power budget' to expend in your balance combo; be it small wheel with higher vph or big wheel slower vph.

If we assume that the spring in the new ND58 43200 is comparable to the Rolex (and why not?), then with the 42 hour P.R. we can see that at 43200 vph, Seiko would have a 5.3 mgcm2 wheel (quite small). Returning to the above analysis, the ND58 would score '119' beating Rolex by ~20% on balance power! And of course, it's naturally at the expenseof power reserve (42 versus 50 ) for the same notional spring performance. (i.e 119*42= ~5000). So let's go further. Who's got the biggest most impressive spring? Well, to cut a long story short AFAIK from my data, the Freak is right up there. It powers a 7mgcm2 balance at 28800 for 168h (am I right?), so if we take that baby what do we get? Well if opt to stay at 42h power reserve to maximise out balance power, we can have a 8.3 mgcm2 balance at 43200 vph. Now that, ladies and gents, would be a '187' relative to the '100' for the Rolex. I believe it would be possible to do something quite signficant with the accuracy and stability of a watch with such a high power balance operating at such a high frequency. Here's hoping for further developments.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

At last, a 6 Hz movement. 43200 vph is here!

We've talked a lot about pushing watches to ever higher beat frequencies in the pursuit of accuracy here, here, here and I've been waiting for when anybody would push for a higher frequency movement and finally YES! Announced here, the styling may be one thing, but I am so pleased to see a movement like this this year. Do NOT expect the Swiss to follow...... this ND58 movement from Seiko Instruments beats faster than anything!

Now we just need that warranty -now where did I put it? ah yes...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Jaeger-LeCoultre at SIHH 2006

Well I haven't got a lot right so far... but I did predict that JLC would adopt a lubrication free escapement. Unfortunately, as expected, it's in the (unobtainable...) 75th Reverso. Here's hoping it's rolled out to the rest of the range as soon as.

What happens if you like the new Master World Geographic as much as I do? Well, we may be fighting it out over the last of the 1500 stainless and 500 pink gold ones only ever to be made... apparently.

So, back on to the edge of the seat for the rest of this week's announcements, Reverso Compressor notwithstanding.

Last out again, Magsy heads for home still pondering how to Compressor-up the Reverso. We shall see. Picture from the forthcoming book 'Jaeger-LeCoultre - Portraits de Manufacture.' Ian Skellern's article about it is here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Basel 2006: Sinn's Quiet 142 Release

Whilst various horrorlogical devices are revealed at Basel 2006, Sinn quietly continue to get on with the business of making real useful stuff.... Initially receiving a poor reception on the various fora, my view of the new 142 St II is pretty positive. Although departing from its Sinn 140 origins, and I'm not a fan of the integral bracelet, I think that opting to put a Dubois Depraz module on probably one of the finest volume production base movements is no bad plan. Ok, we have arguably awkward button height (the module is dial side) and they have bizarrely opted to put the bezel crown low. Display back is also pointless really, it's not like you can see the chrono bits.....

But, remember this is the solution effectively offered in something like the miles more expensive GP Laureato EVO chronograph and retains the essential central sweeping minute counter. I'm much happier that this is happening than the 7750 adapted by Sinn to have a central minute counter (SZ01) got in ('delayed' according to Sinn sources). I'm sure it will finish up there in the end, which to me makes this version all the more interesting in its suredly short term life (too expensive to do for long) and kind of a bargain. We'll all be looking back at this version with teary eyes when that 7750 version appears let me tell you. Let's hope there's a Ti AR one ASAP. Recommendation: Buy!

New one on the left, old one on the right: