The balance wheel is the regulatory organ of a mechanical watch, which is expected to deliver a consistent frequency with a tolerance of as little as 0.001 percent. With so much at stake, why complicate things by altering a pure and simple geometric shape? Why reinvent the wheel? Here Ryan Schmidt presents five balances that reinvented the wheel.
About Ryan Schmidt
Ryan Schmidt is the author of 'The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches.'
He is a dual US/UK citizen, currently living in New York City. Over the last ten years he has travelled the world in various professional roles with a global data company, a media conglomerate, and a world-leading auction house. During this time he has cultivated a distinct enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, mechanical wristwatches.
Ryan can be followed on Instagram at @iamcalledryan and @wristwatchhandbook. For more information about his book, please visit www.thewristwatchhandbook.com.
Entries by Ryan Schmidt
The components of a mechanical watch movement are little more than a series of springs and wheels, held together by plates and/or bridges. No matter the configuration, complication, or finish, the ensemble is secured by the humble movement screw. So, it’s a pleasant surprise that several watchmakers have boldly ventured beyond the thread and the slot to reimagine the movement screw.
The balance wheel is the regulatory organ of a mechanical watch, which is expected to deliver a consistent frequency with a tolerance of as little as 0.001 percent. With so much at stake, why complicate things by altering a pure and simple geometric shape? Why reinvent the wheel? Well, here are five balances that definitely did reinvent the wheel.
The click spring is one of the smaller components of a mechanical watch, but it is of enormous importance. Ever wondered why the crown doesn’t retaliate furiously and unwind every time you crank it? Without the click spring, a wound mainspring would immediately – and explosively – uncoil like a raging viper in a hat box.
Why watches? Ask what makes a watch enthusiast tick and the idea of the “soul” of a watch might well feature in the response – the idea that something elevates the watch from a cold object of engineering to something of greater import. Here Ryan tracks “soul” down and gets contemplative on its nature along with some very special imagery.
Last week from the calm air that often precedes the SIHH storm, Greubel Forsey released a single thunderclap that rumbled across the horological community. And even more impressively, what created the loud bang was so minuscule as to be invisible to the naked eye. Welcome to our musings on the Mechanical Nano!
Marketing material for the modern mechanical watch almost always includes a description of the the movement’s frequency. You may have even sensed that the higher the frequency, the more accurate a movement gets. But is this entirely true? Find out here.