Watch functions. What is the best

The more time passes since invention of watch, the less of gage of this very time we can see. Today, being just precise and reliable is no longer enough for watch to earn customers’ recognition. To be interesting, watch should have some kind of salt: some necessary or just attractive feature, it should be different from others in size, design, any characteristics. Although several standard basic models provide revenue to watch manufacturers, each of them aims to expand their model range.

It is no exaggeration to say that this year passed under the banner of improving manufactured products’ functionality for watch manufacturers.

ETA: on all fronts

This year ETA presented the greatest number of innovations, it offered several lines of new machinery. Although there are no fundamentally new ones among them, they are all very interesting.

2892A2 automatic caliber
2892A2 automatic caliber

On the basis of the most popular 2892A2 automatic caliber, which is actively used by many watch manufacturers (including Russia), there are two further modifications. The first – 2896 – is an automatic caliber with «big date» function. It is really big here – as compared with standard 2892A2, calendar’s window became 2.7 times bigger.

Actually, today «big date» is no surprise already, but this caliber is patented not in vain. 2896 calendar system is specifically designed as to minimize calendar’s impact on watch rate. The same as in other ETA mechanisms, this calendar is «intelligent»: after 31st it shows 1st, not 32nd. With all that going on, accelerated date correction can be executed through usual socket rotation.

Caliber 2897 is the second novelty expanding 2892 family. Here the latter figure is somehow symbolic: in this mechanism indicator range is situated in «7 AM» position. ETA experts expect that addition of popular features of the most demanded mechanical gauge ensures high demand for novelty. The same as base mechanism, 2897 has a calendar.

Both this and 2896 calibers are available in two versions: normal and certified chronometer variant.
ETA responded to watch acceleration with ETA A07.111 caliber. Using the principle of «you may go farther and fare worse» they did not invent something entirely original, but just processed merited 7750: it took all that belongs to chronograph, and was increased in size. Already rather big machinery rose to 16.5 line, calendar disk and automatic winding rotor were adapted to a larger diameter. Well, cheap and cheerful.

The whole quartz family with a temperature-compensated system became another ETA novelty. Although not as strongly as in mechanical watch, temperature still influences accuracy of a quartz mechanism. In Thermoline, depending on temperature, there is electronic frequency adjustment of reference pulses, sent to watch stepping motor. Devices with temperature-compensated system are approximately 20 times more precise, than normal, their error is about 10 seconds per year.

Strictly speaking, a new system is not new: ETA has been producing similar arrangements for several years. But so far, it delivered them only to a narrow range of companies (eg, Breitling). Now same ultra-precise mechanisms are available to any company.

ETA 251-232
ETA 251-232

Announced Thermoline includes 7 mechanisms that differ among themselves in sizes (from 7 3/4-lines ETA 956.152, to 13 1/4-lines ETA E20.341), and features: in addition to «3 pointers + date» models, there is an analogue chronograph (13 1/4’’’ ETA 251.232), two multi-analog-digital chronographs (9 3/4’’’ x 11 1/2’’’ ETA 988.352 and 13 1/4‘’’ ETA E20.341), and two calibers with perpetual calendar function (11 1/2 ’’’ ETA 252.511 and ETA 252.611). All facilities are certified with COSC chronometer, what will increase the cost of watches, in which they are to be used.

ETA 988.333
ETA 988.333

The last of interesting ETA novelties – a series of multi-analog-digital instruments. It includes 4 calibers, which are designed for round and square male and female watches: FLATLINE 9 3/4’’’ x 11 1/2’’’ ETA 988.333, 11’’’ x 11 1/2’’’ — ETA 988.432, 8 1/4’’’ x 9’’’ — ETA 989.331 and 10 1/2’’’ — ETA 989.431. The main feature of the mechanisms is that control over all functions occurs through the stem.

RONDA: bet on a «big date»

Growing demand for watches with «big date» could not leave the second largest Swiss watch manufacturer – Ronda – indifferent. This year it announced immediately two lines of mechanisms, and such fashionable enhancement became the main check. The first line – a series of quartz chronographs developed on the basis of Startech 2000, includes 3 models: 5050.C (day, date in «6 o’clock» position, high-speed chronograph’s point that allows noting intervals up to 1/10 second), 5050.B (the same, but without day of the week), 5040.B (date in «12 o’clock» position). Two more calibers do not have «speed» hands: 5020.B and 5010.B (this size is very simple – it has no sidebar second hand).

Ronda 4120.B caliber
Ronda 4120.B caliber

The second series – multifunction watch with «big date». These are 4120.B caliber (big date, small second hand, alarm clock) and 4210.B (big date, second time zone on the secondary face, located in «6 o’clock» position).

Ronda experts emphasize that in these mechanisms, as well as ETA, the date is changed correctly and will not show «00» combination, under any circumstances. Ronda is very proud of the fact that some calibers can be called «world premieres» in terms of functionality: 5050.C, 4120.B.

All mechanisms have same size (diameter – 28 mm, height – 4.4 mm), which gives watch manufacturers an opportunity to produce a wide range of models in one case.

Ronda strengthens its position in the upper segment of quartz mechanisms due to issuance of Startech 5000 and Startech 4000 series. All new calibers will be made only at Swiss Ronda factories: in Lauzene and Mendrisio.

ISA: all for sports

Increasing popularity of sports watches is one of the most notable trends in watch fashion. It is therefore not surprising that every year an offer of various chronographs is growing. This year, almost all manufacturers got chronographs. In the last issue we talked about a series of VD multifunctional chronographs from TMI. The above mentioned 5050 series from Ronda relates to same «sport» mechanisms. Based on ETA 2004-1 device, Ronda developed 2094 caliber – automatic chronograph, designed for men’s and women’s watches. This is one of the most compact chronographs in the world: its diameter is 23.3 mm and height – 5.5 mm. In addition to standard functions, the caliber has a «date» calendar in «4.30» position with fast adjustment with the help of the head.

However, in recent years sports watches show the trend of displacement of interest from sporting-looking models to watches, which features are adjusted to the needs of some particular kind of sport. The most striking example of mechanism’s development in this direction is 8270 ISA caliber.

ISA 8270
ISA 8270

To date, this is probably the most functional yachting chronograph: quartz mechanism with alarm function and a set of special features required for sailors. Unlike athletics, where all runners start at the same time, in sailing participants start at certain time intervals. A countdown timer is the most important distinction of regatta watch from conventional chronograph. In ISA 8270 a yachtsman can set the length of time between launches (from 1 to 10 minutes). The watch will count down this interval, giving a beep every minute. In the last 10 seconds, the signal will be occurring every second, so that a yachtsman could not miss the moment of launch. And right after start up, chronograph will be automatically switched on, capable to observe the race of up to 96 hours. Dimensions of a new caliber (diameter of 25.6 mm, height – 4.6 mm) allow using it in watches of various sizes.

New Players

In addition to the five most powerful and well-known companies that specialize in machinery manufacture, a lot of new players appear at watch market. It is difficult to find a serious watch brand that would not said about one or two calibers’ development or release in Basel. There appear new companies willing to supply their arrangements for sale.

Thus, while Basel exhibition, they presented a French company Technotime. This company, using a part of France-Ebauches inputs and staff, plans to begin a series of new mechanical calibers’ delivery in autumn. The two announced calibers – 731 (13 1/4, two rollers, action radius of 120 hours) and 741 (chronograph with column wheel) were originally developed as a base for companies that want to equip them with their own complexities. With the prices of 280 and 330 francs, respectively, they must become competitive to ETA 7750. There is information on several more companies, preparing for the launch for mechanism production. Thus, the world of mechanisms becomes more and more varied.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *