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Author Topic: Odd device  (Read 1483 times)
Alptraum
Guest
« on: April 23, 2009, 05:31:01 pm »

This is mostly aimed at our resident expert, HAC. I saw this..

online, and I know that you people will almost certainly have seen it before, but I simply cannot fathom any possible practical use for it, besides as a feat of engineering. Any ideas?
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HAC
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HAC_N800
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 05:50:31 pm »

The escapement in a mechanical watch is affcted by what is known as "positional error", which is basically the effect of gravity on the escapament mechanism. What this means is that a mechanical watch will run at slightly difefrent rates depending on the position (attitude) of the escapment, (i.e dial facing up, vs dial facing downm, or crwon facing up, vs crown facing left).  A watch can be adjusted to correct for some positional error (usually done to 4 positions, dial up, dial cown, crown up, crown down), but due to the many angles a watch goes through on the wirst, its almost impossible to completely counter positional error. A tourbillon of the ordinary type (rotates in one plane only) is designed to help counter positional beat error. They GyroTourbillon is an extension of that premis, in that it rotates through two axes of motion. Theoretically, this should compensate for any positional error.

Having said that, how much is positional error?  It can be as much as 6-10 seconds per day when measured between positions (ie statically measured, not as worn). In a really well adjusted watch these errors average out, so that the over all rate per day may be very good. Indeed, the COSC Chronometer spec calls for  a rate between -4 and +6 seconds overall.
Most COSC certified watches (eg Rolex, Omega, etc) run in the one to four seconds error range per day. The Gyro Tourbillon, from what I have read, cuts positional errors donw to under 2 secinds per day regardless of position. That should make a more accurate watch overall..

That's the theory, but also remember that the high end watch companies also try to out-do each other with these high end features. I know that the next step after the original Gyro Tourbillon, was to and an equation of time complication to it (that shows the difference between the "Sun" time, and "clock" time..)  All this adds up to great marketing, and in most cases, some of the advances worth their way down into the consumer models. Case in point, Omega's coaxial escapement movement, started off as an exclusive item, but now is pretty much the way of all Omega movements..

Hope that helps, and you have to admit, its a pretty stunning piece of horological engineering..

Cheers
Harodl
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You never know what lonesome is , 'til you get to herdin' cows.
Alptraum
Guest
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 06:25:59 pm »

Thanks for the answer HAC.
But surely even though it does rotate, it rotates due to the rotation of the escape wheel, not with the orientation of the wrist. Thus, if your wrist is in a position that would cause disturbance with a fixed escapement, so the gyrotourbillon will actually put itself through these positions instead of giving itself a chance to avoid it.
The coaxial escapement also doesn't seem to have a point, raising the question of whether it is a marketing gimmick like you have said some of these are, although I suppose it could make a miniscule difference with tolerances (i.e. instead of exposing the anchor to the same inaccuracy twice, it is only done once per rotation), but the modern precision of manufacture makes this obsolete.
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HAC
Steam Theologian
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HAC_N800
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 06:48:09 pm »

You raise good points, but remember that the gyrotourbillon is constantly rotating through two axes. In theory, this negates the positional errors due to the angle of the watch on the wrist. (in practice, though, tourbillons are not that much more accurate than a well made and adjusted "ordinary" escapement. As an example, my ref 114270 Rolex consistently runs at +2 per day, worn, and +3 if stored in the watch box (dial up). Personally, I'd agree that the benefits of a torubillon are exaggerated claims, given how the watches will be worn (or not) most of the time. It is still some pretty amazing engineering, though, and excellent eye-candy, as well

The Co-axial escapement has two main benefits, both of which are beneficial to Omega. One, its actually slightly cheaper to manufacture. Two, it has far less friction than a conventional escapment, which means less need for lubrication, and thus longer times between services, as well as a better overall mean rate. The coaxial design also allows for a mean amplitude varaition of less than 6%, as compared to a tradtional escapement, which can have a variation as high as 10-12%.

Cheers
Harold
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