A closer look at what makes a time­piece tick

MVMT - - Con­tents - Words Sean moss adeg photo pi­aget

Com­ing to terms with horol­ogy’s most com­pli­cated words

1 Ro­tor

Most au­to­matic time­pieces use a larger ro­tor but Pi­aget’s Em­per­ador Coussin Tour­bil­lon uses a smaller ver­sion. The weighted ro­tor winds the main­spring by turn­ing on a pivot, mov­ing based on the user’s move­ment through­out the day.

2 barr el

The bar­rel holds the main­spring. When the ro­tor spins, en­ergy is trans­ferred to the main­spring that is wound up and coiled. A click (which is how you get the sound) stops it from un­rav­el­ling back­ward. En­ergy is re­leased to your gear train as it un­winds.

3 gear train

A gear train’s job is to trans­fer en­ergy from the main­spring to the es­cape­ment. By mul­ti­ply­ing the out­put ro­ta­tion with more wheels (like the gears on a biy­cle), a watch can run longer. The train also di­vides time into hours, min­utes and sec­onds.

4 es­cape­ment

An es­cape­ment in­cre­men­tally man­ages the re­lease of power from the main­spring. An es­cape wheel moves in steps thanks to a pal­let fork (work­ing with a bal­ance spring) that al­ter­nates be­tween stop­ping and re­leas­ing the wheel.

5 tour­bil­lon

A tour­bil­lon (not found in ev­ery watch, mind you) holds the bal­ance wheel, bal­ance spring and es­cape­ment in a cage. This cage con­stantly ro­tates to counter the ef­fect of grav­ity on the isochronal prop­er­ties of the bal­ance wheel and spring.

6 bridges

Bridges are pieces of metal at­tached to the base­plate via screws to hold wheels and var­i­ous parts of the move­ment in place. Bridges are an im­por­tant fac­tor in shock re­sis­tance, and need to be placed cor­rectly to main­tain ac­cu­racy.

7 base­plate

The base­plate is what ev­ery­thing even­tu­ally sits on. The fin­ish­ing or dec­o­ra­tion on this part of the move­ment is of­ten a great in­di­ca­tor of a watch­maker’s level of pres­tige, with the higher end brands putting plenty of ef­fort in this depart­ment.

8 dis­play

The minute and hour hands are the core of a time­piece. They tell you when you’re late or when there’s just enough time to grab a quick beer be­fore your date. If th­ese are miss­ing on your time­piece, you’ve ei­ther paid too much or it’s out of your league.

9 crown

Used to ad­just the time and dates, the crown can also be used to wind man­ual time­pieces. In­stead of a ro­tor, a crown stem winds the main­spring when turned. It’s also, a great way to pass the time in the morn­ing when you’re hav­ing your cof­fee.

10 case

It’s what holds your en­tire time­piece to­gether. From stain­less steel to plat­inum, the choice of ma­te­rial in your case is an im­por­tant one. Fac­tors such as weight, wa­ter­proof­ing and scratch re­sis­tance are just some to con­sider.

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