Over the course of 175 years in Glashütte, Germany, some of the noblest elements of fine watchmaking were invented, including the flying tourbillon, the duplex swan-neck fine adjustment, and the three-quarter plate, setting these Germanic masterpieces apart from the venerable art of Swiss watchmaking. Here Sabine Zwettler explains 12 magnificent decorative and technical elements of the Glashütte art of fine watchmaking.
The balance wheel, the critical regulatory organ of a mechanical watch, 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.
Adding a few diamonds to a watch: how hard can that be? As it turns out, stone setting is a lot more difficult than many appreciate. Diamond-setting watches requires the expertise and craftsmanship of about half a dozen highly skilled craftspeople, each a master of their craft.
Joshua Muchow became somewhat informed about gemstones and related techniques in studying for the jewelry-heavy Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève categories we discuss annually. This new information has sparked a significant amount of passion for the topic, leaving him wanting to share some of what he’s learned about one of the most beautiful sides of haute horology: gems and their settings.
Timepiece repairs can be expensive and often take a long time, so you generally want to avoid damaging a watch. Here, John Keil lists five common things you may not be aware of that can damage a watch and how to prevent them.
Joshua Munchow talks about steel here, the metal that made the world! Watch cases and other movement components are commonly made from certain stainless steels, 304 and 316L being the most frequent. It also happens that some brands hold exclusive rights to use specific alloys in the production of its watches. Here’s what you should know about steel.
Close to 120 years after Abraham-Louis Breguet patented the tourbillon, master watchmaker Alfred Helwig (1886-1974) created a “flying” tourbillon at the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte. The flying tourbillon became somewhat characteristic of Glashütte and lives on in a few very special watches today. Who was Alfred Helwig? Find out here.
Humans have long had a fascination with the depths of the ocean, striving to go ever deeper, ever further, and ever faster by pushing the limits of the human body, technology, and advancing modern science. But like all things, we are often faced with limits. Enter the helium escape valve.
Hairsprings are miniscule. Generally no more than one centimeter in overall diameter when coiled, they are roughly 50 microns thick and 150 microns wide. Tiny they may be, but insignificant they are not. In fact, they are so significant that Rolex refers to them as “the guardians of time.” But what do silicon hairsprings bring to the table? Watchmaker Ashton Tracy explains why he went from skeptic to fan.
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.