Give Me Five! Dead Beat Seconds At Baselworld 2015
Though there are certainly those who may not even see or notice a dead beat second hand, true watch enthusiasts will see the insistent jump of a séconde morte from a mile away – though it is easy to mistake as the second hand of a quartz watch, which moves with a similar motion.
The dead beat complication is clearly visible because the second hand makes a small jump forward once a second rather than appearing to continue on its route around the dial smoothly. The dead beat escapement was invented in 1675 by astronomer Richard Towneley, though it was English clockmaker George Graham who started using it in his precision regulator clocks around 1715. The escapement allowed small time intervals to be measured as the second hand could be stopped while the movement was still running.
The dead beat seconds complication in a modern wristwatch was developed so that the second hand moves in the same way as that of a traditional high precision clock. “Jumping seconds” was, and remains, indicative of a precious timepiece.
This is a fairly rare addition to a watch movement in the modern age. In fact, it is almost never seen. Nonetheless, we found five new watches outfitted with dead beat seconds at Baselworld 2015.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat
The dead beat seconds complication is the main focus, and even the raison d’être, of Jaquet Droz’s new automatic Caliber 2695SMR. This timepiece represents the kick-off to a whole new family at the brand. Which means that it is destined for use in future watches, which makes the considerable investment into its research and development more than worthwhile.
To emphasize its mastery of the technique, Jaquet Droz has placed the dead beat second hand smack the center of the dial almost regulator-style. The result is quite hypnotic: as the eye follows the revolution of the second hand making its little jumps around the dial, one cannot help but be mesmerized.
Quick Facts Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Deadbeat
Case: 43 x 13.79 mm, red gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 2695SMR with dead beat seconds and silicon balance spring
Functions: hours, minutes (subdial at 12 o’clock), seconds (sweep hand); date
Limitation: 88 pieces
Price: 29,000 Swiss francs without VAT
Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière
Despite all its complicated, interesting, and unusual looks, this timepiece “only” displays hours, minutes, and the dead beat seconds in addition to providing an indication of power reserve.
An oversized one-minute tourbillon is visible in a second window, thus sharing the spotlight with the time display and providing the watch with a funky, retro-modern look. It also makes the tourbillon look disconnected from the rest of the movement, which provides another large point of interest.
For the full story of this timepiece’s birth, please read Historic Swiss Brand Angelus Is Back And Presents The Tourbillon Lumière.
Quick Facts Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière
Case: 62.75 x 38 x 15 mm, stainless steel, seven sapphire crystals
Movement: manually wound Caliber A100 with one-minute flying tourbillon separated from the movement, 90-hour power reserve (twin serially operating spring barrels), dead beat seconds
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve indicator on case side
Limitation: 25 pieces
Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon
Arnold & Son has also placed a new timepiece containing its dead beat seconds in the Royal line: the visuals of the Constant Force Tourbillon do not necessarily reflect this, though, as the emphasis is not on the second hand. The visuals actually resemble something that is a bit closer to an historical marine chronometer with the serially operating twin spring barrels providing 90 hours of power reserve visible in the top half of the dial and the double windows containing the tourbillon and the seconds providing balance on the bottom half.
Constant force is achieved in an intelligent way: when the first spring barrel’s output drops below optimal torque output, the second barrel steps in and tops up its energy. Additionally, the tourbillon-outfitted regulating system contains a patented constant force mechanism: the energy provided by the mainsprings located within the two spring barrels doesn’t go straight to the escapement after passing through the gear train; instead, it charges a small hairspring that consistently releases the energy to the escapement once per second, thereby providing it with constant power.
Quick Facts Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon
Case: 46 mm, red gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber A&S5119 with one-minute tourbillon, remontoir, dead beat seconds, and twin spring barrels for 90 hours of power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (dead beat) seconds
Limitation: 28 pieces
Grönefeld One Hertz
Bart and Tim Grönefeld’s One Hertz is the timepiece that really put the fraternal independent watchmakers on the map. Because it is powered by a secondary gear train, it is both independent and dead beat in nature. The large placement of the seconds’ subdial on the front of the watch ensures that the observer looks at nothing else on the dial for a long while. And the positioning underscores the watch’s precision.
Quick Facts Grönefeld One Hertz
Case: 43 mm, red gold or titanium
Movement: manually wound with independent dead beat seconds, all bridges in stainless-steel, function selector, push-set-push-wind crown
Functions: hours, minutes, central jumping seconds; power reserve indicator, function indicator
Price: €60,000 (titanium), €73,500 (red gold)
Leroy Osmior Chronomètre à Tourbillon
Leroy, now based in Le Sentier, is experiencing a bit of a reboot in 2015 with two new very technical timepieces. One of these is the revamped Osmior Chronomètre à Tourbillon, the prototype of which we show you here. The fairly subdued enamel dial reveals little of the complexity the observer encounters upon opening the delightfully guilloche-enhanced hinged case back.
Caliber L100 is an incredibly complex piece of mechanical horology with 953 individual components (about 80 percent of which are manufactured within the Festina group to which Leroy belongs) and several special attributes, including dead beat seconds.
Quick Facts Leroy Osmior Chronomètre à Tourbillon
Case: 41 x 15.26 mm, red gold, palladium-coated white gold, and two-tone
Movement: hand-wound Caliber L100, direct-impulse constant force escapement, chain and fusée, chronometer rating certificate from Besançon’s observatory, 953 components, 18,000 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, dead beat seconds; power reserve
Dial: grand feu enamel