Half-oscillations (also known as “beats” or “vibrations”) per hour. Two half-oscillations produce the familiar “tick-tock” of a mechanical watch. Together, two beats comprise one oscillation.
Display of the time by means of a pair of hands. The relative positions of the hour-hand and minute-hand combine to indicate the current time.
Two-armed connective lever between the gear-train and balance. The anchor conveys energy to the balance.
A watch whose mainspring is wound by the motions of the wearer’s arm. These motions cause an oscillating weight (rotor) to turn. The rotation of the rotor tightens the mainspring. Invented by Abraham L. Perrelet (circa 1770).
The balance works in combination with the balance-spring to regulate the rate of a mechanical watch. The precision of its construction decisively determines the precision of the timepiece. The annular balance can be defined as a statically poised “oscillating wheel.” In classical watch-movements, the balance oscillates at a pace of 5 beats per seconds (18,000 beats per hour).
To improve the precision of the rate of modern wristwatches, the frequency of the balance has typically been increased to 19,800, 21,600, 28,800 or even 36,000 beats per hour. The speed of the balance’s rotations (at 28,800 beats per hour) corresponds to that achieved by the wheels of a locomotive travelling along a railroad track at a speed of approximately 140 km/h.
A balance is used in all high-quality mechanical watches. Modern Glucydur (an alloy of copper and beryllium) balances have a hardness of 380 Vickers. This allows them to be excellently riveted, poised and finely regulated.
(Nivarox) The “soul” of a mechanical watch. This narrow, ribbon-shaped strip of metal helps to ensure that the balance swings to and fro at a regular rate. Lengthening or shortening the balance spring alters the duration of the balance’s beats.
Holes drilled to accept the pivots of the gear-train. In fine wristwatches and pocket-watches, as well as in larger clocks, the bearings are specially fitted with jewels to minimize the friction encountered by the pivots of rapidly turning organs such as wheels and pinions.
Simple (and simpler) timepieces make do with simple holes drilled into the plates, bridges or cocks. Over time and lacking adequate lubrication, these holes can widen. In this case, watchmakers who are capable, willing and properly trained can install brass or bronze settings.
Ring affixed together with the inset watch-glass to the middle of a watch-case. Typically snapped on, the bezel is always screwed to the case in every Chronoswiss watch.
Bluing occurs when the surface of a steel component oxidizes upon exposure to heat. A dark blue color can be achieved at temperatures between 290º and 310º C.
A precious stone polished into a rounded shape but lacking facets.
An auxiliary mechanism, usually located directly beneath the dial, to support with watch’s chimes, calendar functions or chronograph functions.
A technical term designating the form and or size of a movement and usually also specifying the type of movement. The movement’s diameter is often expressed in lignes. One ligne (1’”) = 2.256 mm.
A unit of measurement specifying the amount of gold in an alloy.
The carat scale ranges from zero to 24. Fine gold, which is nearly 100% pure, is described as 24 carat. The case of an 18-carat gold wristwatch has 750 parts per thousand of fine gold, together with various other metals mixed into the alloy (e.g. copper, brass, silver, etc.). A carat is also a unit of weight: one carat is 1/24th of a kilogram of fine gold, or 41.66 grams. The purity of the gold alloy is stamped into the surface of the case with a punch.
Central European Time. Germany and other Central European countries introduced CET on April 1, 1893. Time in this time zone is one hour ahead (+1) of word or universal time as defined by the mean solar time at zero degrees of longitude, the meridian which runs through Greenwich, England (Greenwich Mean Time).
Chamfered edges on the steel parts are characteristic of the finest watches. Chamfering is performed either mechanically with a pantograph or traditionally by hand with a file along the part’s edge. The angle of the chamfer is 45 degrees.
= double-handed = fly-back. Chronoswiss also makes fly-back chronographs (patented construction).
A precision timekeeping instrument which has passed an official 15-day series of tests at an official testing site (C.O.S.C.).
Its average daily rate must be between –4 and +6 seconds in five positions. Its daily deviation of rate must not exceed 2 seconds; its greatest daily deviation must not exceed 5 seconds. All would-be chronometers are tested at three temperatures: 20º, 4º and 36º Celsius.
If the watch performs within the predefined tolerances, it earns the right to be designated as a chronometer and receives a rating-certificate (bulletin de marche).
Worldwide registered trademark.
“Chrono” = mechanical watches;
“Swiss” = all components are manufactured in Switzerland. Founded by Gerd-R. Lang in 1983.
Cocks are fitted with bearings in which the lever, balance or wheels pivot. A cock is affixed at only one point by means of so-called “feet.”
A button which can be turned to wind the watch, to adjust the positions of its hands, to adjust its date display, etc.
Indication of the date may be either analogue by means of a hand or digital by means of a printed disk.
The hand or ring rotates once about its own axis every 31 days. Each night (near midnight), the dial-train (motion-work) propels them one increment further along. In mechanical watches, the date display requires manual adjustment at the end of each month which has fewer than 31 days. Adjustment is usually performed either by depressing a push-piece in the edge of the case, via the crown and dial-train (rapid adjustment via forward or backward motion of the hand between circa 10:00 p.m. and midnight). or with the help of a special rapid adjustment button situated directly atop the winding-crown. This button brought into its intermediate position and turned until the date display shows the correct date.
Daily deviation between 0 and +15 seconds. These are the tolerances accepted by Chronoswiss.
The time is expressed in the form of numerals.
A convex pane of transparent material (usually artificial sapphire) covering a watch’s dial.
French term for an incomplete watch-movement lacking its escapement and/or mainspring.
One thing should be carefully considered: information about the degree of water-resistance is based on momentary measurements and is not guaranteed to be valid for the lifetime of the watch. Manipulations on the case, aging of the insulating material or severe variations in temperature (e.g. ending a sunbath with a plunge into cold water) can allow water to penetrate into even the most water-resistant watch case and can necessitate costly repairs.
The recommendation in the owner’s manual, which suggests that water-resistant watches should be competently checked once each year, ought to be taken seriously.
French term for escapement.
A colored or transparent layer of vitreous material which protects or decorates its metal substrate. From a chemical point of view, enamel is a special type of glass which can be colored white by mixture of antimony, zircon oxide, titanium dioxide or colored other hues by mixture of other coloring agents.
The glassy material melts at 1,200º Celsius and is subsequently quenched. The resulting grains are ground to a powder together with coloring agents. Finally, the enamel is either brushed or sprayed, or else the object is dipped into an enamel bath, so that the well-cleansed metal substrate is completely covered with enamel, which is then heated in a special kiln to between 800º and 900º Celsius.
Energy from the mainspring is conveyed through the gear-train to the escapement, which further conveys this energy to the oscillating system (balance, balance-spring) of a watch. It consists of the escape-wheel and its pinion, the lever with its two pallets, the fork of the anchor, the guard-pins and the table-roller with the ellipse and the safety-roller. The two rollers are attached to the balance-staff and move to and fro in harmony with the beats of the balance. Swiss lever escapement.
The escapement of a mechanical wristwatch performs extraordinarily demanding work: if the frequency of the balance is 28,800 beats per hour, then it allows the gear-train to advance 691,200 times every 24 hours. Within four years’ time, this amounts to more than one billion impulses which are conveyed through the escapement. This work is six times more grueling than that performed by the human heart.
A common but erroneous opinion is that fine regulation can lead to greater precision. The fact is that an ordinary regulator (index) can be used to exactly regulate a watch, although this task requires a great deal of manual dexterity.
A complete calendar showing the current day, date and month. Manual adjustment of the date and month are required at the end of each month which has fewer than 31 days.
A frequently used, rib-like decoration applied to bridges and cocks of fine watches. Engraved prior to galvanizing, the pattern remains visible afterwards. Geneva waves are typically found only on the components of high-quality watches.
All Chronoswiss Sirius watches are equipped with transparent backs made of sapphire crystal.
After the invention of self-compensating balance-springs, the glucydur balance replaced the bimetallic compensating balance. It is made from an alloy of copper which contains approximately 3 percent beryllium, the admixture of which gives the metal a golden hue.
The simpler nickel balances are silver in color. It has has a hardness of 380 Vickers, compared to 220 Vickers for a nickel balance and 180 Vickers for a brass balance. Thanks to its greater hardness, the glucydur balance can be excellently riveted, poised and finely regulated and is immune to oxidation.
Greenwich mean time.
Greenwich Observatory is located along the meridian of zero degrees longitude. The Earth is divided into 24 time zones. Time is calibrated on Earth with reference to GMT. For example, New York’s local time is seven hours behind GMT (-7); local time in Sydney, Australia is 8 hours ahead of GMT (+8).
A precious metal. In very high-quality mechanical watches, components such as the screws on the balance’s rim, the settings for the jewels, the wheels or even the entire watch-movement may be made of gold.
The art of guilloché is really the art of creating interlaced geometric figures and patterns in metal. This elaborate technique is based on the royal craft of ornamental turnery, prevalent in Europe from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries among the aristocracy. Clever watchmakers invented very
complex machines for guilloché, operated only with raw manpower, to adorn dials and cases.
The complicated procedure, nowadays only mastered by few, brings with it an amazing variety of shapes and expressions. Applying new, yet classic guilloché patterns to cases, dials, components and rotors requires the artists to master a hand-operated rose engine, just like the one in Chronoswiss’ workshop.
A timepiece whose mainspring must be wound daily by manually twisting its crown.
The most commonly used shock absorption for pocket-watches and wristwatches, Incabloc shock absorption can be readily integrated into all calibers.
On watch-movements with an Indirect central second-hand, the impulse which propels the second-hand lies outside the actual flow of energy in the gear-train. Itis often found on calibers which are constructed with a small seconds subdial.
To minimize friction in the most important bearings, jewels are affixed to the anchor pallets and ellipse. Various jewels are the bearing jewels, endstones, pallet jewels and impulse-pins.
A movement with a large number of jewels doesn’t necessary mean that that movement is of particularly high quality. Just the opposite: it is often the case that the dials of cheaper watches indicate that a great many jewels have been set into the movement, thus suggesting that the movement must be of good quality. In such watches, however, the jewels are only rarely placed at locations where they could truly serve some worthwhile purpose.
A precision hand-wound watch requires at least 15 functional jewels: 10 bearing jewels, 2 endstones for the balance, 2 pallet jewels for the anchor, and 1 impulse-pin (ruby pin). An optimal arrangement can be achieved with 18 jewels. In complicated watches (e.g. a watch with automatic winding, chronograph functions or repeater chimes), the minimum number of necessary jewels increases.
The international designation for the rubies or other stones in a watch-movement.
A jump seconds (also dead beat seconds, seconde morte in French) means that the seconds hand of a watch makes one move per second and in the time within two seconds, just "stands still".
The opposite is called the "Sweep second" (Seconde trotteuse in French) which is more common in mechanical watches. Here, the seconds hand moves five times/steps within one second´s time. Since these steps are very small, the human eye can hardly distinguish between one and the next. They are rather perceived as a gradual, very slow flowing movement. That is why the "normal" seconds are called "schleichende Sekunde" as a contrast to the jumping seconds.
A watch-movement in which the hour-hand has been replaced by a disk marked with the twelve numerals that correspond to the hours. A small additional mechanism ensures that this disk jumps ahead 30º at the conclusion of each successive 60-minute interval, thus allowing the next numeral to appear within the aperture cut into the dial.
See phases of the moon.
The mainspring is a long, elastic, spirally wound strip of steel which is used to store the energy needed by a mechanical watch. A mainspring is housed inside a barrel. The mainspring develops its greatest torque when it is fully wound. As the mainspring gradually slackens, the torque declines correspondingly, and this gradual decline affects the watch’s rate.
In watches with automatic winding, the mainspring is continually rewound. This keeps it at approximately the same degree of tautness, thus enabling it to maintain a relatively constant level of torque, which in turn keeps the watch’s rate nearly unvaried. In modern wristwatches, the so-called “Nivaflex” mainspring is the most frequently used type. Nivaflex is a special alloy which remains elastic and resists breakage for a long time.
Strictly speaking, a watch manufacturer can only describe itself as a manufactory when the firm itself produces at least one ébauche of its own. Within the watch branch, a firm that specializes in the completion and encasing of ébauches which it buys from extramural suppliers is generally known as an etablisseur.
The exception to this rule are brands which encase movements that have been made exclusively or expressly for those brands. One such movement, for example, is Chronoswiss’ caliber C.122, an automatic movement formerly used by Enicar. Finally, there also exist modifications of standard calibers which have been developed and executed by commission from various etablisseurs.
Timepieces which are powered by a mainspring and whose oscillating system runs on a purely mechanical basis, e.g. balance or pendulum.
Type of glass which contains minerals and is used for watch-crystals. Advantage: harder (5 on Mohs’ scale) and thus more resistant to scratches than artificial glass (e.g. Plexiglas). Disadvantage: liable to shatter if sharply struck.
A disk rotating beneath an aperture in the dial imitates the successive phases of the moon.
A complete watch-movement (including plates, bridges, gear-train, steel parts, etc.) but without the escapement, balance-wheel, balance-spring, mainspring, dial and hands.
Upon request, a movement-blank is available either with or without inset bearing jewels. It is finished in accord with the standards of quality upheld by its maker. Because elaborate production facilities are required to manufacture a movement-blank., only a few specialized manufacturers develop and make them.
A special alloy used for balance-springs. N. doesn’t rust, is immune to magnetism, and scarcely reacts to changes in temperature.
The moon progresses through its various phases, which depend upon the relative positions of the sun, moon and Earth. The moon’s phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, third quarter and return to new moon) comprise one lunation. One lunation is approximately equal to 29.5 days.
A very rare and costly precious metal. More than 300 kilograms of ore must be mined to yield a single gram of platinum. By comparison: only 100 kilograms of ore must be mined to yield one gram of gold.
Platinum melts at a higher temperature (1,773º C) than gold (1,063º C.) or silver (960º C.). It is harder, tougher and heavier than other metals used in jewelry.
Special tools and techniques are necessary to work platinum. Most Platinum is used in a very pure alloy (950) which contains 950 parts of platinum per 1,000 parts (i.e. 95% pure platinum). A platinum watch-case weighs about 35% more than a corresponding case made of 18-carat gold.
These play an important role when a watch’s rate is adjusted. Unlike pocket-watches, wristwatches are worn in many different positions Pocket-watches usually remain in a hanging (crown up) or lying (dial up) position.
Precision wristwatches are usually adjusted in five different positions: “crown left,” “crown up,” “crown down,” “dial up” and “dial down.” If the watch is to be designated as a “chronometer,” then the precision of its rate must be monitored during a 15-day ordeal at an official testing site (operated by the C.O.S.C.). In each of the five positions, its average daily rate must be between –4 and +6 seconds; its average deviation of rate must not exceed 2 seconds; its greatest daily deviation of rate must not exceed 5 seconds.
All watches are tested at temperatures of 20º, 4º and 36º. If it passes the chronometer test, the watch is given a chronometer certificate.
Maximum interval during which a mechanical movement continues to run after its mainspring has been fully wound.
The precious metals gold, platinum and silver are typically used for the cases of wristwatches.
Gold is generally used in alloys designated as 333/1,000 (8 carat), 375/1,000 (9 carat), 575/1,000 (14 carat) or 750/1,000 (18 carat). Admixture of other metals (e.g. copper) determines the alloy’s color. Either 21, 23 or even 24 carat gold is used, for example, in rotors.
Platinum with a purity of 950/1,000 is particularly prized because of its understated color.
The ticking timepiece numbers among the oldest and most precise mechanical machines. A movement which deviates from the official norm time by 30 seconds per day (one day = 86,400 seconds) performs with an arithmetical error of merely 0.035%. In other words, its precision is 99.965%.
Officially certified chronometers achieve far higher levels of precision and may deviate from perfect performance by less than 0.005%.
A component which activates or deactivates a particular function. On watches with hinged covers, it is pressed to open the cover. The stopwatch functions of a chronograph are started, stopped, and returned to zero by means of a push-piece. The chimes on some repeaters are triggered by a Push-piece.
Precision pendulum clock which was formerly used to test smaller timepieces. Distinguishing characteristic: off-center hours subdial.
A hand moves to indicate something (e.g. the hour or the date) along a segment of a circle (calibrated, e.g. from 1 to 12 or from 1 to 31). When the hand reaches the end of the calibrated scale, it rapidly jumps back to its original position and resumes its forward motion.
To accomplish this retrograde motion, the hand is linked, either directly or via a lever, to a small spirally shaped and stepped cam. When the hand reaches the end of its scale, one end falls over the step of the cam, thus instantly returning the hand to its starting position.
An oscillating mass which turns freely and without restriction about its own axis in an automatic watch. Depending on the construction of the self-winding mechanism, the mainspring can be tightened by the motion of the rotor in either one or both of the rotor’s directions of rotation.
There are central as well off-center rotors; the latter are also known as “microrotors” or “planetary rotors.” Central rotors turn beneath and across the full disk of the movement; off-center rotors are integrated within the plane of the movement.
Scratch resistant, transparent, manmade sapphire used for watch-glasses. It has a hardness of 9 on Mohs’ scale of hardness. Only a diamond (10 on Mohs’ scale) is harder.
One-86,400th of a day. Since 1967, the second has been defined as the time required for 9,192,631,770 electromagnetic vibrations in the electron shell of a cesium atom. The second is the basis for time measurement in Germany.
System to protect the delicate and very fragile pivots of the balance-staff against breakage. The bearing jewels and endstones for the pivots of the balance-staff are elastically affixed in the main plate and the balance-cock.
In response to a severe shock, they “give” either laterally or axially. A watch with shock absorption ought to be able to survive a fall from a height of one meter onto an oak floor. Furthermore, after the fall, the watch’s performance must not suffer any significant deviations in rate.
A watch-movement whose plates, bridges, cocks, barrel (and sometimes also) rotor have been punched, sawn or milled to create fretwork, leaving behind only as much material as is absolutely necessary for the organ to perform its appointed task. This removal makes it possible to peer through the Skeleton movement.
On fine watches, skeleton-work is done by hand or partly automatically with the aid of a pattern and a pantograph. A Skeleton movementis an embodiment of the high art of watchmaking.
An alloy of steel, nickel and chrome. It is resistant to rust, extremely tough and antimagnetic but difficult to work with.
A detached escapement for small timepieces in which the teeth of the escape-wheel widen like wedges as they progress outwards, thus distributing the lift on the escape-wheel and the lever with its two jeweled pallets.
Written on the dial or engraved into the watch-movement, it specifies the provenance of the timepiece as a “Swiss wristwatch.”
Nowadays, some timepieces proudly and legally display the words “swiss made” on their dials, but do not actually deserve to be labeled as such. These watches benefit from a revision in the laws governing the use of the phrase “swiss made”, which now specifies that a watch may be described as “swiss made” if its movement is Swiss and its assembly, encasing and final monitoring were all performed in Switzerland.
Genuinely Swiss movements are those in which at least 60% of the value of the components (not including the costs of assembly) is comprised by parts which were actually made in Switzerland. All Chronoswiss watches are marked with the phrase “swiss made” as a guarantor of their quality.
A scale on the dial of some chronographs which enables the wearer to calculate average speeds. To do so, a standardized distance of one kilometer or one mile must be traversed.
At the start of the standard stretch (e.g. at a milepost beside a highway), the chronograph function is switched on. When the wearer reaches the end of the measured distance, he or she switches the chronograph off. The chronograph’s hand then points to the average speed (in km/h or mph) with which the standard distance has been traversed.
The case, winding-crown, push-pieces and crystal are so constructed as to be able to resist penetration by dust or water. A pressure of 3 atmospheres is equivalent to a pressure of 3 kg/cm² and corresponds to the pressure experienced by a watch submerged to a depth of 30 meters below the water’s surface. A water-resistant wristwatch (étanche) should be rechecked and serviced annually to preserve its impermeability to water.
As one travels eastwards or westwards from zero degrees longitude (the Greenwich or “prime” meridian), one’s local time deviates from GMT by one full hour for every 15º traversed. This world time system was first introduced by Canada and the USA in 1883.
The dials of watches with World time indication display the time in two or more time zones. To accomplish this, it is necessary either to put several watch-movements inside a single case or else to add an additional mechanism. (A so-called “heure universelle” can simultaneously show as many as 24 different times.)
World time wristwatches were first made in the 1930s. They are particularly popular with long-haul pilots, as well as with businesspeople who frequently make long-distance telephone calls from one time zone to another.