Thursday, August 11, 2011


How to read a tachymeter watch bezel

A watch is a small timepiece, typically worn either on the wrist or attached on a chain and carried in a pocket, with wristwatches being the most common type of watch used today. They evolved in the 17th century from spring powered clocks, which appeared in the 15th century. The first watches were strictly mechanical. As technology progressed, the mechanisms used to measure time have, in some cases, been replaced by use of quartz vibrations or electromagnetic pulses and are called quartz movements. The first digital electronic watch was developed in 1970.
Before wristwatches became popular in the 1920s, most watches were pocket watches, which often had covers and were carried in a pocket and attached to a watch chain or watch fob. In early 1900s, the wristwatch, originally called a Wristlet, was reserved for women and considered more of a passing fad than a serious timepiece. Real gentlemen, who carried pocket watches, were actually quoted as saying they would "sooner wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch". This all changed in World War I when soldiers on the battlefield found using a pocket watch to be impractical, so they attached the pocket watch to their wrist by a cupped leather strap. It is also believed that Girard-Perregaux equipped the German Imperial Navy in a similar fashion as early as the 1880s, which were used while synchronizing naval attacks and firing artillery.
Most inexpensive and medium-priced watches used mainly for timekeeping are electronic watches with quartz movements. Expensive, collectible watches valued more for their workmanship and aesthetic appeal than for simple timekeeping, often have purely mechanical movements and are powered by springs, even though mechanical movements are less accurate than more affordable quartz movements. In addition to the time, modern watches often display the day, date, month and year, and electronic watches may have many other functions. Watches that provide additional time-related features such as timers, chronographs and alarm functions are not uncommon. Some modern designs even go as far as using GPS technology or heart-rate monitoring capabilities.
A movement in watchmaking is the mechanism that measures the passage of time and displays the current time (and possibly other information including date, month and day). Movements may be entirely mechanical, entirely electronic (potentially with no moving parts), or a blend of the two. Most watches intended mainly for timekeeping today have electronic movements, with mechanical hands on the watch face indicating the time.
Compared to electronic movements, mechanical watches are less accurate, often with errors of seconds per day, and they are sensitive to position, temperature and magnetism. They are also costly to produce, require regular maintenance and adjustment, and are more prone to failure. Nevertheless, the craftsmanship of mechanical watches still attracts interest from part of the watch-buying public. Skeleton watches are designed to leave the mechanism visible for aesthetic purposes.
Mechanical movements use an escapement mechanism to control and limit the unwinding and winding parts of a spring, converting what would otherwise be a simple unwinding into a controlled and periodic energy release. Mechanical movements also use a balance wheel together with the balance spring (also known as a hairspring) to control motion of the gear system of the watch in a manner analogous to the pendulum of a pendulum clock. The tourbillon, an optional part for mechanical movements, is a rotating frame for the escapement, which is used to cancel out or reduce the effects of gravitational bias to the timekeeping. Due to the complexity of designing a tourbillon, they are very expensive, and only found in "prestige" watches.
The pin-lever escapement (called the Roskopf movement after its inventor, Georges Frederic Roskopf), which is a cheaper version of the fully levered movement, was manufactured in huge quantities by many Swiss manufacturers as well as Timex, until it was replaced by quartz movements.

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