THAT IWC PLATINUM MARK XII BY WALT ODETS The Mark XII is one of my favorite watches–utterly straight forward and perfectly proportioned. I did a Horologium series on it, which included swapping out the original caliber 884 for a more nicely finished caliber 887. I then came across a... Read more
THOSE WONDERFUL PIGUET CHRONOGRAPHS BY WALT ODETS In 1987, Piguet first released a remarkable chronograph, the ultra-thin, hand-wound caliber 1180. With a total height of only 3.95 millimeters, it was the thinnest chronograph caliber every produced. A classic column-wheel design with some very novel design twists, it was also... Read more
JESSICA’S CORNAVIN DOLPHIN by Walt Odets In 1974, my friend Jessica was living in New York and working as a waitress in an average coffee shop on Canal Street. It was here that she came across the first–and last–horological love of her life, her Cornavin Dolphin. Out on the... Read more
THE VALJOUX 7750 CHRONOGRAPH BY WALT ODETS If there is a single movement ubiquitous in modestly-priced contemporary chronographs, it is the Valjoux 7750. Introduced in 1974–five years after the famed Zenith El Primero automatic–the movement has been supplied in both 21,600 and 28,800 beat versions. It uses an automatic-winding module... Read more
FUNCTION OF THE ESCAPEMENTIN DETAILBY WALT ODETS The following series of six drawings explains the entire cycle of the escapement and is worth detailed study. The series is taken from “Practical Watch Repairing,” by Donald de Carle, N.A.G. Press, Ipswich, Suffolk, 1969 (unfortunately currently out of print). Read more
  A COMPARISON OF THE KEYLESS WORKS IN A PATEK AND A LANGE BY WALT ODETS There has been much discussion about the relative qualities of the Lange and Patek. Both are obviously very finely made watches.  I have also felt that there are certain failures of craft in the Lange... Read more
THOSE WONDERFUL PIGUET CHRONOGRAPHS PART 2 BY WALT ODETS MINUTE AND HOUR ACCUMULATORS The vertical clutch design offers another benefit difficult to obtain with a conventional switched intermediate wheel. As illustrated left, the upper center wheel pinion carries both the heart cam (1) and a plate with finger (2).... Read more
TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART ONE by Walt Odets In the 1970’s, I was a pilot flying printing plates, bags of canceled checks, and the occasional dead body, also in a bag. People wanted their magazines and definitely wanted their money. And some died away from home, and their... Read more
THE VALJOUX 7750 CHRONOGRAPH Part 2 BY WALT ODETS   OTHER FEATURES OF THE TOP PLATE The Valjoux 7750 uses a sturdy and convenient semi-fine rate regulation device.  The index (right, 1) is moved to adjust the daily rate of the watch.  Attached to an eccentric screw (2), this... Read more

Wheel Train Bridge

The Horologium September 16, 2002

THE WHEEL TRAIN BRIDGE BY WALT ODETS   The wheel train bridge carries the upper pivots of the center wheel (usually), third wheel, fourth wheel, and, sometimes, the escape wheel. The JLC bridge (1A) shows first-class finish. In addition to the sturdy construction and very fine machining, which provides... Read more
VINTAGE VACHERON BY WALT ODETS What has four wings, flies only in circles, and always wants to land back on your wrist?  For one thing, a Vacheron &  Constantin wristwatch from about 1940.More properly, the Vacheron shown right has, not wings, but triple-tiered teardrop lugs.  It is a classic... Read more
THE PATEK PHILIPPELIGHT-WOUND CLOCK by Walt Odets Nearly a half century ago–in 1950–Patek Philippe began marketing an extraordinary invention, the “light-wound” table clock. The clock required no regular winding and, after full charge, was capable of running in complete darkness for a year. Furthermore, Patek claimed a very impressive... Read more
TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART 2.1 THE CONCEPT OF TIMING by Walt Odets Having switched the original Mark XII caliber 884 for a caliber 887 (see “Tweaking the Mark XII: Part 1“), I spent in excess of 50 hours tweaking the escapement of the 887 to see if I... Read more
DON’T ASK ME WHY THEY CALL IT THE TIME CUBE By Walt Odets Can we talk?  Is there anything about this automatic watch winder (right) that reminds you of a cube?  Are there eight days in the week?  Sixteen months in the year?  One hundred and two years until... Read more
THE OMEGA CO-AXIAL:AN IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT By Walt Odets At the 1999 Basel Watch and Jewelry Fair, Omega announced a new watch for the DeVille line: a chronometer-rated, limited edition watch. Although based on the Omega caliber 2500, an ETA 2892 derivative, the watch would, remarkably, be supplied with a... Read more
  VINTAGE VACHERON PART 2 BY WALT ODETS  The bottom plate of the caliber 452 is finished as handsomely as the top plate.  The screwed cap jewel plate for the lower balance pivot is visible at 8 o’clock.            The keyless works exhibits  classic Swiss design.  But note the... Read more
THE A-B-C’S OF WATCH FINISH by Walt Odets The subject of watch “finish” is often cited as important, and often given as the explanation for the high cost of a watch that runs at no more consistent a rate–in the short term, at least–than other watches at a fraction... Read more
TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART 2.2 BASIC PRINCIPLES OF WATCH ADJUSTING by Walt Odets I have already discussed the concepts of watch timing (“Tweaking the Mark XII: Part 2.1“). In this part of the series, I will discuss the principles used in actually timing a watch. Understanding these principles... Read more
THE ZENITH CHRONOGRAPH BY WALT ODETS Zenith is a company with a history extending back to 1865, and is widely recognized for technical innovation and good quality watches. In 1967, Zenith introduced its arguably most interesting technical accomplishment, the caliber 1724. This movement, by substituting a planetary gearset for much of the... Read more
THE OMEGA CO-AXIAL:AN IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT Part 2 By Walt Odets WORKMANSHIP On first examination of the movement, what is most striking is the quality of the workmanship. While not an exercise in the finest, most time-consuming craftsmanship, this Omega caliber radiates the kind of fundamental quality that Omega has... Read more
  PATEK PHILIPPE’S BREAD AND BUTTER:THE CALIBER 215 BY WALT ODETS   If Patek Philippe has a bread-and-butter line, it is the series of simple, hand wound watches represented by the Calatrava and Gondolo lines. With a few exceptions, contemporary versions of these watches are all designed around the caliber... Read more
DIRECT DRIVE:THE REMARKABLE BULOVA ACCUTRONCALIBER 214 By Walt Odets The very brief technical superiority of the Accutron watch is, perhaps, one of the best known facts about the design.  The Accutron improved immensely upon the early “electronic” watch, which replaced the mainspring with a battery but established rate with... Read more
PART 2 TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART 2.2BASIC PRINCIPLES OF WATCH ADJUSTINGby Walt Odets THE REGULATOR SWEEP The section of the balance spring “swept” by the regulator–the regulator sweep–is critical to the performance of the watch. As illustrated at right, the regulator itself must be moved away from the... Read more
THE ZENITH CHRONOGRAPH PART 2 BY WALT ODETS   THE BOTTOM PLATE The caliber 410 is supplied with a complete calendar, providing day, date, and month, plus moon phase.  While switching functions are conventionally engineered, the quality of finish is exceptional in the context of the cost of the movement.     Details... Read more
THE OMEGA CO-AXIAL:AN IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT Part 3 By Walt Odets ESCAPEMENT FUNCTION The co-axial escapement is considerably more complex than the familiar lever escapement. The Omega iteration of the escapement is what Daniels has called the “extra flat co-axial escapement.” As illustrated below, the extra-flat co-axial escape wheel does... Read more
THE CHRONOSWISS DELPHIS BY WALT ODETS   Chronoswiss is a small company producing a distinctive line of watches. The watches are easily recognized for their wonderfully done guilloche dials, their onion crowns, and coin-edged cases. The company has also specialized in a number of under-the-dial complications, as well as some modestly priced... Read more
LA GRANDE DAME DES AUTOMATIQUES SUISSE:The Patek Philippe Caliber 27-460 by Walt Odets The Swiss have been producing regular-production automatic movements for about half a century.  If there is a single  automatic movement that stands out as the reigning queen of that half century, it is the Patek Philippe... Read more
TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART 2.3 ADJUSTING THE MARK XII/887 by Walt Odets In Part 1 of this series, I revealed the installation of an IWC caliber 887 in the Mark XII and promised to spend some time adjusting the movement to see if it’s performance could be improved... Read more