Video simply explains how a mechanical watch works


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/21/video-simply-explains-how-a-me.html


#2

If you’re into mechanical watches, check out this great site. This gentleman repairs watches and provides photos and descriptions of the process. Many of the watches are very nice classics.

http://watchguy.co.uk


#3

I’ve been learning a bit about watches in general over the last few years, so this was informative. IIRC, the jewels are garnets, except even the high-end makers use synthetically made versions.
I didn’t watch the second video, this could be covered there but if you didn’t either, one really neat feature not in the first video is that many if not most mechanical movements are “automatic” movements; they are self-winding, which is a really cool and fairly simple solution. A disc the size of the entire case is placed over the back of the movement which acts like a pendulum. Half-or-so of the wheel is cut out of one side, so the weight of the remainder causes it to pivot around the center from the slightest arm movement (e.g. walking, typing) like a fidget-spinner, if you will. The pivot is connected to the main spring in a way similar to the “crown” i.e. the outside knob thing that you use to hand-wind. So there is never any need to hand-wind them unless they haven’t been worn for a while.

Unfortunately–or fortunately, depending on your horological philosophy–a cheap quartz movement is far more accurate than even the finest mech movements. I note that my Timex Weekender, which lists for ~$45 and I bought new for maybe $25 has lost exactly 5 seconds since I re-set it for the “Fall-back” time change maybe a month ago. But mech movements, depending greatly on price, are only a fraction of a second to a few seconds off per day so it’s kinda like “who cares?”, especially considering that mech never needs batteries and quartz is just not nearly as cool, generally.


#4

Glass-backed self-winders are indispensable for use as fidget toys during boring meetings. I have a shelf full of watches next to my bed, the one I grab almost every day for work is the Seiko 5, accuracy be damned.


#5

And here’s my smartwatch, which always shows the correct time. It can handle a multitude of alarms. When I want to brew a tea, I just tell it set a time for 3 minutes. It is a decent flashlight at night. It shows me, depending in my wishes, the time, the sun path, the globe lighted as it is right now or the relative position of the 8 planets. It’s also a voice recorder, when I’m out in the wild and need to make a note or keep hold of a thought I’d otherwise surely forget.

All I have to do is to take it off during the night and place it on its holder and put it on the next morning.


#6

I think the escape wheel evaded my brain focus for a long time


#7

Hey - you made me go and look at my ancient gold Seiko (bought some 30/35+ years ago?) which is self-winding, and it is also a Seiko 5. shamefully, I’d never paid close attention to the face and assumed the ‘5’ was an ‘S’ (for Seiko). Brilliant watch - it keeps perfect enough time given a few shakes of the hand once on the wrist. . My daily watch is a Casio £6 job - utterly functional and dispensable if damaged - but the Seiko is always on whenever something a little smarter is needed.
But references elsewhere say the Seiko 5 is a stainless steel watch. Mine is gold, but does have the same model number as the steel one. Must research some more…


#8

“Seiko 5” refers to the movement (which has improved over the years, so isn’t just one movement), but Seiko has packaged this movement into a dizzying array of watches over the years.


#9

As I have been learning - it’s another internet rabbit hole! :wink:


#10

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