Let's get complicated

October 23 2013

Mechanical timepieces make me happy. I own a couple and even fiddle with some of the mechanisms. I have screwdrivers, tweezers, and a spring bar tool. It's a very rewarding hobby.The primary function of a timepiece is only to display the current time- hours, minutes, and sometimes seconds. Make it easy to use and simple to read. Anything extra is called a complication. For example, a date or a moon-phase indicator may be added to a watch. My favorite complication is the chronograph.

Chronos=time, Graph=writer. King Louis XVIII liked horse racing and commissioned a gizmo to be made that could tell who won and by how much. The contraption that was built drew a line on rotating disks, the shortest line won. This evolved into today's chronograph. A writing on time.

The primary function of a chronograph is to time of an event. Basically, it's a stopwatch- Seconds. Minutes. Hours. Start. Stop. Reset. It's a power-hungry add-on built for specific use-cases, like timing a race or pasta. It draws power from the mainspring, so it has to be lightweight so as not to effect the primary function of telling time. The accuracy requirements can also be very stringent- some chronographs can time an event to 1/10sec, and faster. The time and the chrono should display without conflict. It's a beast built to run in very tight constraints.

I've recently been working on a fairly large project for work; my part is larger than I am accustomed. My little mechanical buddy has been there to keep me focused on the larger project while building out our piece. Next time, we can talk about the GMT function on a watch, I'm going on a trip.

Have a great time today. :)

Robert Reed
[email protected]
Pleasanton California USA Earth

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