Here at discount watch stores we have always said that a luxury timepiece is more a piece of art than an instrument of time measurement. Yes , of course when you buy an expensive Swiss luxury watch you are buying a top quality, precision built piece, built by master watchmakers but there`s more to it than this.
We all know enough about luxury watches to understand the differences between manual mechanical, automatic mechanical, and quartz, and the crisis the quartz revolution caused the luxury Swiss watch market back in the seventies.
We also understand that the Quartz is generally going to be more accurate than a manual, and digital is more accurate than Quartz, you still with me?
Phew good, because I am getting to my point any second now….
Top Shelf Still Loses Time
If you buy a top shelf Swiss mechanical watch, regardless of how well built and exquisite, it`s going to lose time to some degree or another. That`s just physics, but is there anything to be done about it? I`m not suggesting losing a couple of seconds every year is going to cause significant issues even for the most detail-oriented personalities, but it`s just another little thing to think about right? And it`s also an issue of health.
Simply obsessing about the correct time is only part of the story. If that was the sole purpose there are some options already available to us, such as checking against radio time signals on the World Service over a period of weeks, or visiting a watch repair shop to have expensive equipment test your timepiece.
What if there was some type of tool to help you keep your expensive watch in tip-top shape?
Accuracy Measuring Clip
Geneva-based watchmaker, Frederique Constant, say they have an inexpensive alternative to visiting your local watchmaker, and a way to save time. The answer coming in the form of a gadget called the Accuracy Measuring Clip.
This piece of gadgetry works side by side with your Smart Phone, OS and Android using a downloadable app, and a physical clip that attaches to your watch to measure its performance. If the performance can be measured so can the health, and subsequently the efficient maintenance of the piece.
Why So Important Anyway?
Basically, the accuracy of a timepiece is an important indicator of the overall health of a watch. Like any machine with moving parts, its efficiency is affected by wear of those moving parts, but in particular, in timepieces, the micro-stresses on the balance wheel spring that can cause it to lose strength can be a serious issue.
Equally important is keeping the moving parts lubricated, but this can`t be taken for granted as lubricants can oxidize and degrade over time and need cleaning and replacing.
The Accuracy Measuring Clip works by keeping a running record of the watch`s accuracy by listening to oscillations of the balance wheel to determine the appropriate time to service.
How Does It Measure Performance?
To understand how this gadget works, first, we must go the basics of how a wristwatch works. In larger clocks, we have a pendulum keeping a regular count but in a wristwatch we have the spinning balance wheel keeping a count.
When the balance wheel spins clockwise and then returns anticlockwise, this is called an oscillation. The full back and forth movement creates and oscillation, and a half oscillation is a vibration.
Watchmakers measure these oscillations to describe the performance of the movement. Measuring oscillations per second describes the frequency which they measure in Hertz (Hz) or vibrations per hour (vph).
If you can imagine the balance wheel is not performing correctly due to wear or poor lubrication, this will affect the frequency measurement and signal a need to service.
A Simple Solution
Although this device is very clever, it is really a very simple idea behind it. The Accuracy clip uses a microphone to listen to the timepieces frequency to determine its health. It`s so sophisticated it can measure the accuracy of a watch in a few seconds, with the accuracy of ±0.2 s/day.
The Smart app creates charts that can be saved and stored for later study either locally or in the cloud. The owner can access weeks, months, or years of data to compare readings determine the state of the timepiece.
Importantly, the Frederique Constant Analytics can handle a range of frequencies for almost all watches on the market, so you don`t need to own a Frederique Constant to take advantage of this technology.
Even better news, this little device can be yours from Frederique Constant for around $100.