Experts talking

Every time, the "Experts talking" column develops a different case.
The author's aim, as connoisseur and authority about the matter, is to help you to understand the subject by making these informations comprehensible and digestive.
Presently: Complicated watches

Already available
- Autoquartz
- Chronograph or chronometer
- Shock-absorber
- Water-resistance

- The Swiss watch production
- Material and finishes for watch cases

- Watch Professionals I
- Watch Professionals II
- Watch-cases
- Sapphire crystal
- Boîte et bracelet
- Bevelling and finishes...(I)
- Bevelling and finishes...(II)
- Bevelling and finishes...(III)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IV)
- Bevelling and finishes...(V)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VI)

- Bevelling and finishes...(VII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(VIII)
- Bevelling and finishes...(IX)
- Bevelling and finishes..(X)
- The Tourbillon
- Observations on top-of-the-range mechanical watches I
- Observations on top-of-the-range...II
- Observations on top-of-the-range...III
- Observations on top-of-the-range...IV
- Stricking watches
- The Screws (I)
- The Screws (II)
- The Screws (III)
- The Screws (IV)
- The Screws (V)
- Chronometry

- at present


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The author

Having acquired an educational background in economics and literature, Caroline Sermier fell in love with watchmaking right from her arrival at Renaud & Papi.
Her current responsibilities as head of the communication department allows her to blend a taste for writing with her fascination for complicated watches, and particularly for the finishing and decorative details on top-of-the-range luxury watches.

24. Observations on top-of-the-range mechanical watches (II)


2.4. Complications
Technical criterion : the additional mechanism must have a minimal influence on the precision of rate (chronometry) of the watch. The complication may be integrated within the movement or entirely independent (a module fixed to the base movement).

Complications or additional mechanisms may be divided into three groups :
a) time displays, b) astronomical data and c) useful functions.

2.4.1. The different types of complications
Time displays :
Technical criterion : whatever the display mode, no discrepancy, however temporary, is tolerated.

-Display through windows or apertures
- Independent seconds
- Minute repeater
- Grande sonnerie

b) Astronomical indications
Technical criterion : Handling and read-off of information must be easy.

- Simple calendar
Perpetual calendar
- Moon phases
Equation of time
- Sunrise and sunset times
- Almanac indications (position of heavenly bodies)

c) Useful functions :
Technical criterion : access to functions must be user-friendly
- Alarm
- Chronograph
- Fly-back hand
- Jumping seconds
- Time zones
- Indication of state of winding of going-barrel

Note : this list is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of complications considered as such within the watchmaking sector.

3. Aesthetic criteria :
3.1. General considerations
Appearance must in no case be viewed as compensating for technical deficiencies, nor must it impede the smooth operation of the complication ; nonetheless, it is essential to define aesthetic guidelines right from the conception of the movement.

One may speak of aesthetic currents, distinguished by various styles (eg : Breguet style, Geneva style, Vallée de Joux style, English style…)



The beauty of a mechanism depends on the harmony and consistency of the styles chosen : Below are some examples of spring-heels in different styles.

Note : these style references are not intended to establish a rule ; they are based on straightforward observations.

The virtual lines linking the visible parts (screws, jewels) owe nothing to chance ; on the contrary, they represent an additional constraint for design-engineers. Opposite : an example of the bridge styles in the Vallée de Joux. The no. 7 type curvatures are characteristic of Audemars Piguet.



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