Posts tagged timepiece

Meet the Tudor Pelagos Blue — Just in Time for Summer

Earlier this year in BaselWorld, Tudor introduced its in-house-made movement and unveiled the new North Flag Tool watch. Now, just in time for summer, we welcome the new Blue Pelagos Diver, housing the same movement. This represents the brand’s first ever Manufacture movement, the MTS621. The new Blue color scheme for the dive watch, along with blue bezel and blue rubber strap, reinforces the brand’s emblematic color for dive watches since the 1960s. The dive watch is COSC-certified chronometer and is crafted in a 42mm titanium case with a steel case back, and bezel with blue matte ceramic disk. It is water resistant to 500 meters.

Understanding the Three Most Popular Types of Watch Movements

In watchmaking, there are essentially three different types of movements, also called calibers. And, of late, there are also solar powered watches, but that is a different story. Here, we bring you a brief look at exactly what a watch movement is and how the three most common types differ.

Essentially, the watch movement consists of all the parts that power the watch, track the time, and provide the power for added functions. Some of the most complex mechanical watches with additional functions also have specialized modules built onto the base caliber. But we will stay with the essentials herein. There are two types of calibers that are totally mechanical and do not incorporate batteries: Automatic and Hand Wound.

Hand Wound Mechanical Movements

Essentially a hand-wound — also called manual-wind — is one in which the wearer must manually wind the watch via the crown. By winding the crown, the mainspring inside the watch is coiled tightly via a gear train that leads from crown to spring. As the spring slowly unwinds, it releases its energy, powering the watch. Of course, the system is much more complex than that. Inside the mechanics, a balance wheel and spiral work to keep energy released by the spring consistent and accurate. The key with this type of movement is that one must remember to wind the watch or the energy will deplete and the time indications will need to be manually reset before winding the watch again.

Automatic Movements

A mechanical watch with an automatic movement (also called a self-winding movement) works in a similar method. However, in this type of movement, a few additional parts come into play. Each caliber in an automatic movement is fitted with a rotor that moves when the wearer moves his or her wrist. That movement automatically powers the rotor (sometimes referred to as an oscillating weight), which winds the mainspring. The watch is powered as long as it is being worn, and the power in that watch will last – when taken off and sitting still in a box or on a dresser – for a designated time period. That time period is called “power reserve” and different watches are equipped with varying amounts of power reserve.

Quartz Movements

A quartz movement is not powered by mechanics, but instead by a battery. Quartz watches were first developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and came into true serial production in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Quartz watches use a tiny piece of low-frequency quartz crystal (silicon-dioxide) that is chemically etched into shape in an integrated circuit, and that serves as the oscillator. A nearby battery sends electricity to the quartz crystal through an electronic circuit. The quartz oscillator then vibrates quickly and with precise frequency (32,768 times/second) in response to the electronic charge. The circuit counts the vibrations and generates regular electric pulses of one per second to drive the motor that turns the hands. There is no need to turn the crown or set the watch after the first time. However, in quartz watches, the batteries will die and need to be replaced.

Have You Ever Wondered Why Jewels Are Used Inside Watches?

We have gotten a lot of questions from customers about why rubies are used inside watches as part of the watch movement, so we thought it was high-time we address the issue. Essentially, when a mechanical watch movement is said to have a certain number of jewels in its composition, those jewels are predominantly synthetic rubies created especially for watch movements and used as bearings to reduce friction.

Being strong and hard, they help to ease friction, and thereby, wear and tear amongst the mechanical parts. The advantages of jewel bearings include accuracy, small size and weight, predictable friction, good temperature stability, and the ability to operate over the course of decades, as they don’t break down.

These rubies are synthetically developed utilizing aluminum and chromium oxide that undergoes a series of heating, fusing and crystallizing processes. Because the material is mass-produced, it does not have the extremely high intrinsic value of natural rubies. The number of rubies used in a mechanical watch varies depending on the complexity of the movement. The more moving parts there are, the more rubies are used. A typical fully jeweled time-only watch has 17 jewels, but some watches can utilize many more.

Setting the minuscule rubies into the designated movement holes is a tedious task, done using tweezers and microscopes. When a mechanical watch offers a skeleton movement, or has a transparent sapphire caseback for viewing the movement, the rubies are an entrancing portion of the design. Today, some top luxury brands are utilizing silicium parts to reduce friction, as well as reduce the need for too-frequent servicing of watches.

3 Simple Tips for Taking Care of Your New Mechanical Watch

Purchasing a luxury watch can be an exciting time — whether it’s your first watch or your fifth watch. Once home, however, you will need to properly take care of your watch to give it a longer and healthier lifespan. While all watches need regular professional servicing, following these few tips can help you get the most from your new investment.

1. Clean It. Everything you do while wearing your watch causes it to come into contact with dirt, dust, perspiration and even a few splashes of water while washing your hands or doing the dishes. The best thing you can do for your watch is a simple cleaning. When you take it off at the end of each day, wipe it down using a soft cloth to remove grime. If your watch has a metal bracelet, you can use a soft cloth and warm water to clean it, but be careful not to get too much water near the case. Even if you have a water-resistant watch, it's best to clean it after swimming, as chlorine and salt can be abrasive. Also note that leather straps may require special care and cleaning.

2. Know the Basics of Winding. If you own a mechanical watch it is important to follow the brand’s instructions about when and when not to wind it, and in which direction. Some complex watches cannot be wound at certain hours, when the mechanics inside are making their own calculations and adjustments. It is also important to remember when setting the watch to move the hands in a clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise.

3. Have it Serviced. As mentioned above, mechanical watches require regular servicing — just like a car. The gears and wheels must be oiled, and that oil can dry out over time. The watch needs to be carefully opened, examined, re-oiled, cleaned, have new gaskets put in to replace old gaskets and be retested for water resistance. Most brands suggest this be done every five to seven years.

Cars, Watches and the Daytona 500

This past weekend, the Daytona 500 took place in Daytona Beach, FL, though certain favorites didn’t make it to the final run, including Kyle Busch, who broke a leg and foot in a hard crash during the Xfinity Series race on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Nonetheless, the race was exciting – with Joey Logano speeding to victory in the 57th Great American Race. Logano is the youngest winner in the history of the Daytona 500 at just 24 years old.

All of the excitement with this race, and others coming into the season, reminds us of the precision mechanics it requires to build these performance engines and the patience and fortitude of the drivers. It is a field not unlike the world of precision mechanics under the hood of a watchcase.

In fact, as more watch brands recognize the synergy between precision mechanics of timepieces and automobiles, they are getting more involved in the world of motorsports. From actually taking title roles as Official Timer of certain races to sponsoring teams, drivers and rallies around the world, watch brands are on top of the fast-paced world of automobiles.

Rolex, for instance, has been intimately involved in auto racing since 1935, and solidified its position in the sport in 1959 when it began its association with the Daytona International Speedway. The brand continues to sponsor the Rolex Daytona races, as well as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion every year in August, among other automotive activities. The brand’s iconic Daytona watch is the one most associated with automotive sports.

Similarly, Tudor is the Entitlement Sponsor of Tudor United Sportscar Championship races. This series combines two previously separate races — the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am Road Racing — under one umbrella managed by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). The TUDOR Grantour Chrono Fly-Back watch has a strong tie with the world of auto racing, as it allows consecutive time intervals to be measured rapidly via the on-the-fly chronograph reset and instant restart function.

TAG Heuer has long been involved in the world of auto racing – dating back to the Pan-American races. The brand is actively involved in the fully electric FIA Formula E Championship, World Rally (with Sebastien Ogier joining as a brand ambassador), is the Official Watch Partner of Nissan NISMO, and sponsors the TAG Heuer Premier Motor Racing Exhibition, which kicked off in Kuala Lumpur in January. The brand creates both the Monaco and Carrera watch lines that honor this sport and that have become renowned around the world for their race-inspired design and top-quality craftsmanship.

We are proud to carry these brands and others with auto-inspired themes. Stop in any time to see them.