The watch began life in the early 16th century, when the very first pocket watches emerged and it took a few hundred years until the timepiece became wrist-mounted. By the 1940s, wristwatches already contained jewels and, in this article, we offer an insight into the inner workings of a wristwatch.
Let’s start from a modern timepiece, something from the late 1980s, which is already the product of 300 years of development; when a new watch is being designed, computer software is an essential aspect of the design, enabling very precise components to be made that work in harmony within the mechanism.
Watchmaking is a highly skilled profession and even in these days of automation, some watches are still put together by hand. Leading brands such as Cartier and Rolex have always focused on excellence, and their products are a shining example of micro-engineering at its best. A luxury vintage watch must be serviced on a regular basis and this can only be done by an approved professional, someone who has the training to service the timepiece. If you would like to view the most exquisite vintage watches Sydney collection, or even selections originating from other popular locations, the online antique dealer has you covered.
The use of jewels in watches was a real game-changer. The hardness factor of precious stones is perfect for places where components make contact, reducing friction and removing the need for replacement parts. Diamonds, sapphires and rubies are hard enough to withstand the constant wear and tear that the device receives during normal use.
Pivot Points In The Gear Chain
Tiny jewels are inserted at all pivot points in the gear change. Some watches have more than twenty jewels in the movement, making these timepieces more valuable. These precious stones are extremely difficult to shape at the micro level and complex machines are used to shape jewels for watches.
Self-winding (automatic) watches use the movement of the watch to keep the springs wound, yet there are a lot of watches that require winding, especially antique and vintage watches. Spring development went as far as it could by the 1960s and if you acquire a luxury vintage watch, the delicate movement is still working as it was intended, keeping very accurate time, even after 50 years.
When all of the components have been made, they are all finely inspected by quality control and any inferior components are rejected. There is no room for error with the complex inner-workings of a watch, with zero tolerance. Only when the watchmaker has all the separate components does he begin the assembly, which starts with the main plate, with wheels and springs added, the skilled craftsman gradually assembles the mechanism.
Once the watch is wound and running, it is then subjected to a series of tests that include constant vibration and simulation of other stresses that a wristwatch would experience. If there are issues, the design team would put their heads together and find a solution; eventually, another model would be assembled and the tests would be repeated.
Once a watch has passed quality control, it is carefully packaged, along with the user manual, the certificate of authenticity and the maker’s warranty.