The tiny, delicate, nearly impossible-to-create hairspring is the one of the biggest advances for modern scientific technology there is. Here Joshua Munchow takes a dive into the muscle of the beating heart of most mechanical watches: the hairspring.
About Joshua Munchow
I am the resident “nerdwriter” for Quill & Pad. I revel in the complicated aspects of watchmaking thanks to a lifelong love of gears and clever mechanisms. With a background in model-making, machining, and dissecting anything I could as a child, I bring a natural technical curiosity to my writing.
My day job with a design firm as technical development lead (in other words, head prototype-maker guy) gives me a thorough understanding of how things are supposed to work. Combining this with a healthy dose of geekery in numerous subjects sometimes results in interesting word explosions that are all me – like “awesomazingatude.” You may have already seen these “wordinations” on watchuseek.com, where I began my writing career thanks to founder Ernie Romers.
We are living in the modern race to the thinnest, and as records are set we have a bumper crop of incredibly thin watches that prove this competition may not be over yet. To celebrate the awesomazingness of these watches, Joshua Munchow has compiled a list of the top 10 thinnest mechanical watches, including a pair of historical pieces.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 6007A marks a physical and spiritual shift for the brand, and may be one of the most un-Calatrava Calatravas of recent memory. Joshua Munchow takes a look at what makes this model an outlier and also why it simultaneously doesn’t come from left field.
The latest updates to the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième focus on new aesthetic combinations mixed with a reduction in case size from 43 to 41 mm. Joshua Muchow likes them all, but has fallen hard for the Titanium Grey variation and explains why here.
The time-only Romain Gauthier Micro-Rotor already seemed like it was built around the concept of ‘simplify, then add lightness’ as it was pared back to the essentials while still maintaining the Gauthier flair. Now the Insight Micro-Rotor Squelette doubles down on the concept and continues to add even more lightness everywhere thanks in great part to open architecture that has been skeletonized, laying the inner workings bare. But there’s more to it, and Joshua Munchow explains all of it here.
One viewing of the Parmigiani Fleurier Hippologia in action is enough to confirm that its two horses’ gaits seem completely fluid and natural. The Hippologia displays two horses, a mare, and a foal taking a stroll around a Lalique glassware cabinet enclosing the highly complicated automaton and eight-day clock movement. This is an object that needs to be seen to be believed.
Many people believe resonance to be very rare, when in fact every single timekeeping device (yes, even quartz) is a resonant mechanism. But clocks and watches featuring resonance as we generally understand it in watchmaking are few and far between. In the last few decades, less than a handful of highly skilled watchmakers have taken up the challenge of creating a resonance watch. Here, Joshua Munchow looks at the pros and cons of the different approaches taken by the three leaders in this technology.
Since its beginning, RGM has created dials and movement components to manufacture its watches. Over the years, the brand has expanded its capabilities bit by bit, adding machinery, technology, and personnel in an effort to have greater control over production and to expand its design and engineering options. Follow us on a tour of the RGM workshop in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.
High-end automata today beautifully illustrate that extraordinary engineering can be combined with impressive artistic crafts to wonderful ends. But even in the highest quality examples, the principles of what drives automata are largely the same as they have been for centuries because most are based on very straightforward mechanical principles to create motion. Everything you ever wanted to know about automata is right here.
Joshua Munchow genuinely loves moon phase watches, and here he looks at the most accurate moon phase wristwatches in existence. Their precision is truly out of this world!