Wanted And Found – Mechanical High-End Chronographs For Men
The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up / Down, the Chronograph Reference 5170 fromPatek Philippe and the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph are sample examples for sophisticated chronographs. Get to know the decisive differences in the design and functionality of the luxury chronographs:
Chronograph Of The Luxury Class # 1: A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Auf / Ab
In 1999 A. Lange & Söhne presented an oversized model of the long-awaited hand-lift caliber L951.1 during Baselworld – the predecessor of the caliber L951.6. The Saxon watchmaker had produced pocket chronographs even before the Second World War, but all of them had been delivered from Switzerland. According to Chronologicalwatches.com, to this extent, the watch world had eagerly awaited what the first own chronograph would offer. And she was not disappointed: Newcomer called The “Datograph” stood as the first factory for the typical big date in the eye and so far shifted downwards Extra dials for the revolving second and 30-minute counter.
The movement was – and still is up to today’s art generation – designed in the typical long-Architecture: with three-quarter plate under the chronograph mechanism, bridges and bars untreated German silver, screwed gold mounts and hand-engraved balance cock, including elegant swan-neck fine adjustment. Only the differentiated view shows the clutch rocker which is now stored above the seconds and driving wheel. Clutch and chronocentrum wheel are mounted in bolted gold chronometers.
The control of the chronograph functions is a ratchet wheel. Unlike usual, the reaching of the pushers into the derailleur lever to start and stop as well as zeros and immediate restart of the chronograph (flyback function) are supported in their pivot point both below and above. The heart lever with its two inclination surfaces consists of one piece. What is unusual in this chronograph, the construction of the minute counter jumping executed: Accurate triggering ensure levels worm and – again on both sides mounted – lever with smooth-running Rubingleitfläche. The jumping of the minute counter can precisely adjust the watchmaker. The oscillating frequency of 18,000 half oscillations per hour allows stops to the fifth-second exact.
The current generation of the movement is the 2012 caliber L951.6. It consists of 451 instead of 390 components and measures 30.6 instead of 30 millimeters. Because of a larger feather house, the gait range increased from 36 to 60 hours. The chronograph, which is still regularly due to wear, is now reminiscent of a gear reserve indication at the Sixth.The balance and spiral spring are now produced by the company, and today the course is regulated by six eccentric weights at the unrest. The historical clocking with 18,000 half oscillations per hour, however, has been maintained by A. Lange & Söhne. In order to preserve the traditional look, there is still a rudder on the balance cock with a tail-fine adjustment. With its help, the Lange watchmakers, however, do not adjust the course, but the defect, the time difference between the swinging of the balance. The dial of the 41 millimeter and 66,000 euro expensive Datograph on / off carries a tachymeter scale to measure the average speed. And the division of the second scale is true.
Chronograph Of The Luxury Class # 2: Patek Philippe Reference 5170G
In the circle of this chronograph trio, the caliber CH 29-535 hp, protected by six patents,with 29.6 millimeters in diameter and 5.3 millimeters in height, presents itself as the smallest and flatest movement. The chronograph movement, made up of 269 parts, looks deliberately very conventional: the gear shift control and the horizontal couplingprovide the best insight into the functions of a chronograph. Clutch wheels with a special rolling-off toothing ensure that the chronograph hands are free-cutting, uniform and largely free of vibrations. Obendrein minimizes the start jump.
For Patek Philippe, of course, the mounting of the clutch rocker is concentric to the seconds wheel. The dive depth of the free end of the rocker is adjusted by the slightly eccentrically rotating cover cap on the ratchet wheel.
A positively controlled locking lever ensures that the chronograph pointer and the minute counter stop moving after the stop. If the delicate zero position remains, the long chronograph pointer is subjected to enormous loads. For this reason, the snail has a 60-degree deep bay at the step of the progress of the minute counter. When jumping into the vertical, the elaborate tip of the minute counting lever plunges into the indentation in such a way as to prevent any jogging.
The in-house Gyromax balance oscillates with modern 28.800 half oscillations per hour, which theoretically allows stopping with an eighth-second precision. Despite this, the designers at the dial on the delivered and in this case wrong fifth division of the second scale.
As a result of the relatively small caliber, the diameter of the round white gold housing ofreference 5170G is limited to 39 millimeters. The positioning of the second and the 30 minute totalizer below the middle took place for a good reason. For example, Patek Philippe could use larger calipers for the digital indication of the weekday and months in the related caliber CH 29-535 PS Q with perpetual calendar. The chronograph of Patek Philippe costs 70,250 euros.
Chronograph Of Luxury Class # 3: Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph
As the latest chronograph movement, Vacheron Constantin’s 3300 Handrail Caliberembodies a mix of tradition and modernity. Aspects of tradition are the push-in construction, the shift wheel and the horizontal coupling. The latter, however, also has innovative features: remarkable is the transmission of force from the driving wheel to the chronocentrum wheel. Instead of a clutch wheel, two of them are placed one on top of the other and connected by friction. The teeth of the gold-colored upper are in constant contact with those of the driving wheel. When stopping, the coupling rocker swings towards the center as before. Then, however, the fine toothing of the lower, silver-colored clutch wheel, which can be seen on spokes in the shape of a Maltese cross, engages in that of the chronocentrum wheel with its 240 teeth. Thanks to this constructive art grip, Vacheron Constantin on the other hand minimizes the start jump of the chronograph pointer and reduces the mechanical stress on this assembly.
Contrary to the two competitors, Vacheron Constantin stores the clutch rocker in a similar manner to standard calibres such as Valjoux VZ, Lemania 2310 or Minerva 13.20, which is relatively simple in the bridge of the chronograph switchboard. An eccentric screw regulates the immersion depth of the free end of the coupling rocker in the gap between the switching wheel columns. This was the reason why Vacheron Constantin was not aware of the fact that the bearing of the clutch rocker was not mounted on a separate block concentric to the four-wheel shaft, as was traditionally customary, aesthetically much more beautiful and also practiced with the caliber 3500. “The design of the 3300 uses the friction system , which makes a fine adjustment of the immersion depth of the triangular teeth of the clutch and chronocentrum wheel unnecessary. Therefore, there is no technical or aesthetic need to block unnecessary parts. The calibers 3500 and 3300 are entirely different developments, with different technical approaches.
In the case of the caliber 3300, the friction principle also serves the drive of the creeping 45-minute counter. Among the other features of the chronograph are two locking levers for chrono-center and minute counting wheel as well as two separate heart levers for zeroing of these indications. Moreover, the all-or-nothing assurance employed by Vacheron Constantin, which sets the chorograph mechanism only when the pusher is pressed firmly enough, is also unusual; in traditional designs, on the other hand, the gearing and lever can be activated without the chronograph starting. Finally, an easy-to-use angular gear between the elevator drive and the crown wheel as well as an angle differential for the gear reserve display at six o’clock are worth mentioning.
The balance with a variable moment of inertia and the flat spiral perform 21.600 half-vibrations per hour under a hand-engraved balance, available only in the limited anniversary series. This frequency, however, does not do justice to the graduation of the second scale on the nostalgic dial. Five strokes per second are designed for traditional 18,000 half-oscillations. Due to the distinctive pulseometer scale at the dial edge, it is sufficient to count 30 pulse pulses after starting the chronograph, in order to be able to read their number per minute. Vacheron Constantin also invested heavily in the design of the pillow-shaped rose gold case, which, apart from its size (42 by 52 millimeters) and the sapphire glass floor, reminds of wrist chronographs from the late 1920s. The retro chronograph by Vacheron Constantin costs 70,100 euros.
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