February 13, 2015
by Kenny Yeo
1. Stripping down the Sistem51
At Baselworld 2013, Swatch presented to the world the Sistem51 watch. It might be a simple time-only mechanical watch, but it is a true engineering marvel. Not only it is made up of just 51 components, it also has only a single screw! Furthermore, the entire production, assembly and adjustment of the watch is completely automated. This means it is built without human intervention at all. To understand how Swatch achieved this, a watchmaker stripped a Sistem51 watch down. Here’s what he found.
Source: Europa Star
2. Technical Notes: Column wheel vs. cam actuated chronographs
Though simple to understand and operate, the chronograph is in fact one of the trickiest and technically complicated complications for a watchmaker to undertake. Consider this: although the chronograph has been in existence since the early 1800s, it wasn’t until 1969 that we saw the first automatic chronograph. That’s less than 50 years ago! And to put it broadly, all chronographs can be put into two categories – column wheel and cam-actuated. This refers to the mechanisms that actually start a chronograph’s timekeeping function. What are they and how do they work? And are column wheel chronographs inherently superior to cam-actuated ones? The answers to all these questions and more can be found here.
Source: Wound for Life
3. Montblanc SIHH 2015: Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum Comparative Review
SIHH 2015 is over and one of the new watches that I’m most excited about is Montblanc’s Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum. Not only is it a true worldtimer, but the way it is executed – the main dial with the sapphire cutouts and the day/night disc – is really quite remarkable once you consider its price. It is also well-sized and the operation of its worldtimer complication seems easy enough. If you are as excited about this watch as I am, here is an in-depth look at it and how it compares against other world timers on the market right now.
4. If you thought of buying a Patek Philippe…
Service and repair is an aspect of watch ownership that is often overlooked when one purchases a watch. This should be an important consideration. Obviously, not every watch needs to be sent back to the brand to be serviced or repaired, but consider the instances where a certain part needs to replaced and only the brand has it. You have no choice and are effectively held ransom by the brand, who is now free to quote whatever price it deems fit. Take, for instance, the case of this particular vintage Patek Philippe. It needs quite a bit of work and you are right to think that sending it back to Patek Philippe is going to cost a bomb. What is most surprising, however, is the amount being quoted by a competent third-party watchmaker. Make sure you are seated, the discrepancy will shock you.
Source: Watch Guy
5. Found – Heuer’s Very First Automatic Chronograph
1969 was a very important year in horology. It was the year that the first automatic chronograph was released. Although Zenith’s El Primero is widely accredited as the world’s first automatic chronograph movement, Heuer was arguably the first to actually sell watches outfitted with their automatic chronograph movement, the Caliber 11. However, no one had actually seen any of these Heuer watches, which appeared in catalogs from 1969. Until now, that is. This is the story of how Heuer’s very first automatic chronograph, the Chronomatic Autativa, was found.