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
FORM FOLLOWS FORM:THE CARTIER TANK BASCULANTE BY WALT ODETS Cartier is not a company that leaps immediately to mind for technical achievement in the field of horology. Louis Cartier, heir to the family jewelry firm founded in 1846, was, however, a design pioneer in luxury goods, including the wristwatch. Although never a movement manufacturer,... Read more
The Omega DeVille Co-Axial Part 4 BY WALT ODETS LUBRICATION Upon first examination, the escapement of the Omega Co-Axial offered one great surprise. The impulse (small) escape wheel appeared to be heavily greased (right). Because the primary objective of the co-axial design is to eliminate lubrication at impulse surfaces... Read more

The Motion Works

The Horologium September 16, 2002

THE MOTION WORKS by Walt Odets The motion works, as the name implies, is the mechanism that gives motion to the hands of the watch. In other words, it is the motion works that translates the unwinding of a mainspring, the rotation of a gear train, and the reciprocating... Read more
FROM THE HOUSE OF HAPPY DIAMONDS:THE CHOPARD L.U.C. CALIBER 1.96 By Walt Odets   In an age when horology seems often  more about marketing than about authentic product, and many Swiss manufacturers would have the horologically knowledgeable remain ignorant of the innards of their timepieces, there is an occasional,... Read more
SECTION 2 TWEAKING THE MARK XII: PART 2.3 ADJUSTING THE MARK XII/887 by Walt Odets 7. The dial-up rate did, as expected, increase more than dial-down, but the spread between the two was still too large. Now, the dial-up amplitude was also dangerously high (threatening knocking with any activity),... Read more
FORM FOLLOWS FORM:THE CARTIER TANK BASCULANTE PART 2 BY WALT ODETS THE MOVEMENT Perhaps unexpectedly, the Tank Basculante is not simply a “jewelry watch.” It contains a first-grade movement.  Illustrated left, the movement is nothing less than a Frederic Piguet caliber 6.10.   A diminutive 6.5 lignes (15.2 millimeters) and... Read more
ANATOMY OF AN $85.00 WATCH: THE SWATCH AUTOMATIC by Walt Odets  The Swatch Automatic reminded me almost immediately of an episode from the Columbo television series of the early 1970’s, and of a scene that only a watch idiot savant would remember. Peter Falk, playing the habitually disheveled, cigar-smoking... Read more

The Keyless Works

The Horologium September 16, 2002

THE KEYLESS WORKS by Walt Odets Those without a sense of the history of the mechanical watch probably do not know that were it not for the innovation of Patek Philippe in 1841–with the invention of the “keyless works”–we might still be winding and hand setting our wristwatches with... Read more
THE AUDEMARS PIGUET CALIBER 2870 BY WALT ODETS In 1986, Audemars Piguet released a new caliber that, at the time was a remarkable technical achievement. This is the Caliber 2870. Not only was this the first production tourbillon with automatic winding, the tourbillon was also the smallest ever produced:  a... Read more
WHAT IN THE WORLD ISA JELLY FISH 344527460? BY WALT ODETS  I have written about the Patek caliber 27-460, which is nothing less than one of the two or three finest automatic movements ever to leave the hands of Swiss manufacturers.  It is an exquisite movement, built to the... Read more
THE LOVELY BLANCPAIN 1106 GETS A NEW BACK BY WALT ODETS For a company making a mere 4,000 or so watches a year, Blancpain and partner, Piguet, are producing a remarkable range of watches. With the notoriety of the chronographs, and particularly the successful Flyback, some of the more... Read more
IT’S A DUNHILL – SORT OF by Walt Odets Dunhill began in the late 19th century as a maker of luxury horse tack, quite literally for the carriage trade. But the advent of the automobile rightly caused Alfred to rethink things, and today Dunhill is widely known as a... Read more
THE AUDEMARS PIGUET CALIBER 2870 Part 2 BY WALT ODETS THE TOURBILLON With the exception of it’s (now relatively common) titanium cage, the tourbillon of the 2870 is conventional in design.  As illustrated (right ),  the cage (1) is screwed to a base plate (2).  The base plate carries ... Read more
TO BUDDY FROM FRITZI:A GRUEN VERITHIN BY WALT ODETS Albert “Buddy” Gondee must have been quite a guy–or at least Fritzi must have thought so.  On some important, unknown occasion around 1920, Buddy received an 18 K Gruen VeriThin from Fritzi.  The Gruen undoubtedly served him well for many... Read more
THE LOVELY BLANCPAIN 1106GETS A NEW BACK PART 2 BY WALT ODETS I have recently begun using a new Bergeon Lathe B, purchased through Bob Frei of the TimeZone Tool Shop. Swiss made, this is a very traditional watchmakers lathe of excellent precision and versatility. The feel and aesthetics... Read more
PURELY PERSONAL MUSINGS ON A LANGE SAXONIA by Walt Odets I had dinner a few nights ago with a very funny friend who used to be a watchmaker and now hopes to never handle a tweezers again for the rest of his life. And, oh yes, before dinner I... Read more
THE ROLEX EXPLORER REF. 14270 by Walt Odets Among the watches in Rolex’s current production, the Oyster Perpetual Explorer (Ref. 14270, but known popularly as “The Explorer 1″) stands in the lower-middle segment of the stainless steel line: a COSC certified center-seconds caliber 3000, without date, retailing for approximately... Read more
TIMING RESULTS ON FIVE HIGH-GRADE WATCHES BY WALT ODETS Much has been made–perhaps too much–about the “accuracy” of mechanical watches.  There are very few of us who actually rely on a watch to be accurate to within a second or two a day.  For my personal use, a watch... Read more
THE ANCHOR ESCAPEMENT by Walt Odets   When we speak today about the escapement of a wristwatch we are, almost invariably, referring to the double roller Swiss anchor escapement. It is the development and refinement of this escapement which, in the nineteenth century, vaulted the Swiss into an indisputable... Read more
THE JAEGER LECOULTRE MASTER ULTRA THIN: A STUDY IN SIMPLE EXCELLENCE by Walt Odets A diminutive 5.4 millimeters across its thickest section, the Jaeger LeCoultre Ultra Thin looks no more than two millimeters on the wrist. Perhaps that low profile is one reason it is so often ignored by... Read more
THE ROLEX EXPLORER REF. 14270 PART TWO (CONTINUED FROM PART ONE) by Walt Odets ISSUES OF QUALITY The timer performance of this caliber 3000 is noteworthy not only for the excellent figures but for the fact that such figures are possible from a movement in the poor condition that... Read more
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