The Weird Origin of ‘Chronometer’ and What It Means for Watches Today

Humpty Dumpty famously says, in Alice In Wonderland, that words are nothing more than pieces in a game, where you can change the rules any time you want. “When I use a word,” he says, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” To which Alice replies, tactfully if skeptically, “The question is…whether you can make words mean so many different things.” In all of watchmaking there’s probably no word that this applies more to than “chronometer,” which first burst on the scene in 1714 – or so many people think – and has been shape-shifting ever since.

Now, you don’t have to spend much time around fake watches before you figure out pretty quick that a chronometer is not a chronograph. The latter, of course, is basically a combination of a fake watch and a stopwatch; the former, at least nowadays, is a watch which – assuming it comes from an ISO-standards compliant country, which Switzerland is – has been certified by an independent examination board and found to meet certain minimum standards.

That officiating body today is the (in)famous Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, better known to Watch Idiot Savants the world over simply as the COSC. In its current form the COSC has been around since 1973, but prior to that, testing took place at the so-called Bureaux officiels de controle de la marche des montres, which in horological literature are generally more concisely referred to as the BO agencies. There were different numbers of these at different periods in history; one of the oldest, in Bienne, was founded in 1877. It was these agencies that were responsible for providing independent testing of replica watches uk seeking chronometer certification, until they were put under central administration and dubbed the COSC in 1973.

COSC standards for mechanical watches are pretty straightforward. For most watch enthusiasts, the most relevant standard is the one for average daily rate over a 10 day testing period; for a watch to pass, it must maintain an average daily rate of -4/+6 seconds. Rolex used to get flak now and again for calling its watches “superlative” chronometers on the dials, but in 2015, the Crown introduced the new Day-Date 40, along with a new Superlative Chronometer internal certification, requiring a daily rate of -2/+2 maximum per day. In 2016, Rolex announced it would extend this to all Rolex watches moving forwards.

That’s the gist of it for the 20th and 21st centuries. In the 19th century, however, as you go back, you start to see the meaning of the word change as you look further and further back at its usage and evolution.

Above is a key-wound, high-grade pocket watch made by Girard-Perregaux for the English market, dating to about 1860. We looked at the technical features of this watch last January, and one of those features is directly relevant to the history of the term “chronometer” (which you can see engraved on the movement dust cover above – with the English rather than French spelling, as this was an English market watch).

That technical feature is the escapement of the watch, which is what’s called a detent escapement. The detent escapement was, as far as we know, invented by French horologist Pierre LeRoy in 1748, although the first practical version of the escapement was the pivoted detent escapement of John Arnold in 1775. Arnold’s contemporary in England, Thomas Earnshaw, was responsible for developing the version of the detent escapement that came to be most widely used, and below you can see the basic layout of the spring detent escapement, as it’s shown in the 1896 edition of Britten’s Clock and Watchmaker’s Handbook.

It’s kind of fascinating to think, though, that the two earliest known uses of the word came from such different contexts. One was a serious text on the evidence for a divine hand in the structure of the universe. But the other, almost-first use of a word that became synonymous with precision timekeeping, and which represents a major marketing point for every brand that uses it today, was in what may have been a satire.

This replica watch company is the perfect example of why Trump’s ‘Made in America’ initiative is easier said than done

No one knows how difficult it is to manufacture in America like the people who actually do it.

Los Angeles-based workshop fake watches is the perfect example. Its founder, Cameron Weiss, is passionate about reviving US mechanical watch manufacturing.

“Making my timepieces in America is important to me because I am very passionate about watchmaking, and I believe this is the best way to resurrect the industry in the US,” Weiss told Business Insider.

He quickly ran into some issues.

The watchmaking industry left the US a long time ago, taking all the infrastructure that supported it. That means very few fake watches can actually be labeled “Made in the US,” as the FTC demands that products be made with “all or nearly all” American-sourced components to earn that title.

To get around that, Weiss essentially had to develop his own methods to build these parts in the US. He started a new business for parts, calling it Pinion Precision Technology. It produces parts mostly by machine, but there are difficulties there, too.

“The biggest challenges of producing a complicated product is that we are machining components at machine shops that have never dealt with watch parts before,” Weiss said. “The finish of our components is more important than other industries like aerospace, as these inconsistencies will affect our product.”

To bring some of the machining in-house, Weiss purchased a lathe machine that can make multiple types of parts for replica watches uk. Weiss even had to develop a new shipping process, as the parts are so fragile they cannot simply be thrown into a box and shipped. He hopes to one day supply American-made parts to other US watchmakers seeking the coveted FTC designation.

“Creating is not easy, and since we are a global economy, it may not fit every industry to make each part of their product here,” Weiss said. “I think it is important not to lose sight of the product. For us, we are focused on creating a timepiece to last generations.

Weiss’ challenges highlight potential obstacles to President Trump’s plan to restore American manufacturing. Trump has declared this week “Made in America week” and has hosted companies from across all 50 states to showcase products that have been made in America.

But beyond discussions, Weiss shows that companies will have to invest significant capital to make ‘made in America’ happen.

Understated but ‘never easy’: Why collectors covet Patek Philippe

The world record holder for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction isn’t a lavishly appointed timepiece encrusted in diamonds or encased in 24-karat gold. Instead, the title belongs to a relatively understated, stainless steel watch made by Patek Philippe in 1943. In November 2016, the watch went for a staggering $11 million to an unnamed private collector, courtesy of the Geneva branch of the Phillips auction house.

But don’t let its simple appearance fool you. Open the watch case, and you will find nearly 200 individual hand-made components working in harmony in pristine condition in a space a mere fraction of the size of the average smart phone. The inner workings are, to riff on watchmaking parlance, very complicated, a trait that has become a company signature.

“Patek Philippe is never easy,” says Sandrine Stern, the brand’s head of creative and wife of Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern. “Never.”
Fostering an understanding of the detailed craftsmanship that goes into every Patek watch is one of the reasons the company has organized “The Art of fake watches,” an interactive, 10-room, 13,200-square-foot retrospective at Cipriani 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan open now through July 23, that aims to, as Stern puts it, “show what is Patek Philippe, in terms of movement and innovation.”

At Cipriani, visitors can learn about a watch’s movement (the technical term for its inner mechanics) and its appropriately named complications — the word for any function a watch performs other than telling time.

A watchmaker at work at Patek Philippe’s “The Art Of replica watches uk” exhibition at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York

Patek Philippe has contributed to advancements of both. The company helped pioneer the chronograph movement, annual calendar and perpetual calendar that accounts for leap years. Guests to the exhibition can observe the craftsmanship that goes into each high-end timepiece, via a handful of artisans working on-site and a virtual reality tour that takes viewers inside a Patek Philippe watch.

The most covetable watches on earth? A look at the upcoming Only Fake Watches Auction

For the competitive collector, the Only fake watches auction is a sort of biennial open championship, a chance to acquire rare and important “pièces uniques” from the top brands without any requirement to build relationships with the brands. For everyone else, both brands and collectors, it’s a chance to do (or acquire) something a little out of the ordinary.

The simple idea is that replica watches uk contribute a one-off piece for auction to raise funds for research into Muscular Dystrophy through the Association Monegasque Contre les Myopathies (AMCLM), a charity that counts HSH Prince Albert II Of Monaco as its patron and was set up by Luc Pettavino, a former managing director of the Monaco Yacht Show.

In its six previous editions, the auction has developed a stellar reputation with the brands, attracting both attention and kudos. It has, perhaps inevitably, split into the replica watches uk that Patek Philippe contributes and the other ones.

Patek set the pace in the first auction with the 5712T, a Nautilus in titanium, a metal that the Geneva company had never used before. The watch went for €525,000, which both made the auction’s reputation and set the pattern for future sales – Patek returns this year with a titanium grande complication, which will doubtless create the usual frenzy.

That leaves other brands to catch the eye through doing something a bit different and the bar is quite high – a one-off orange dial doesn’t really cut it in this territory. There’s a number of ways around this for brands, but the most successful is to simply embrace the programme, something that Louis Vuitton does with a certain panache.

The house has previously worked with Paul Pettavino (whose condition inspired the whole event) on a collaboration that produced a glorious Night Fever version of the Escale for the 2015 edition. This time there’s a “black and fire” Escale Spin Time that comes with the rather stylish extra of lunch with Michel Navas, Louis Vuitton’s master watchmaker, and the maison’s vice-president, Hamdi Chatti, at the Vuitton HQ in Asnières.

The other way is to collaborate with someone a little different and that’s the approach taken by Agenhor. As a supplier of special movement to the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels and Fabergé, collaboration is what Agenhor does best. Nevertheless, the Only fake watches project with University of Geneva’s HEAD design agency, a 45mm plexiglass sphere containing the company’s new chronograph, is something out of the ordinary.

Equally intriguing is the match-up between Geneva’s most traditional independent house and the city’s most avante-garde: Laurent Ferrier and Urwerk respectively.

Judging by some of the entries, the most effective approach is to find a new twist that’s a little outside of your normal run of things. Hermès and Piaget stand out here as does Fran?ois-Paul Journe, which has produced an entirely new chronograph – what would be absolutely front page news in other circumstances.



Leatherman’s First Fake Watches: A Time-Telling Toolbox

The Leatherman Tread, released in 2015, has small tools hidden in the links of a metal wristband. Screwdrivers, a carbide tip to break glass, and a box cutter are included.

For this fall, the company upgrades the concept and introduces the latest function — a Swiss-made timepiece.

Called the Tread Tempo, it will be available in November. The stainless-steel timepiece with quartz movement offers a touch of luxury at $575, but also keeping function found on the original model.

Instead of a fake watche, a wearer has access to 30 tiny tools. Unveiled at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market on July 26, GearJunkie got an exclusive hands-on review.

Leatherman Tread: Wearable Design

“When you think of wearable technology, what do you think of?” Tim Lyden, a product manager for Leatherman, is speaking to my group. We’re seated for an after-show dinner in Salt Lake City.

Lyden responded with the obvious: fake watches, smart gadgets, and exercise bands like Fitbit. Leatherman, however, views wearable technology differently.

Leatherman customers, Lyden noted, get their hands dirty, fix things, and solve hands-on problems. For them the company hopes to offer a new wearable option.

Leatherman Watch: Tread Tempo Features

From a distance, the Tread Tempo looks like a normal watch. Upon closer inspection, it is ready to fix problems that arise in daily life.

In total, the bracelet has six links and a timepiece. The links have a 3/32″ screwdriver, 6mm hex drive, 4mm hex drive, #3 square drive, #1 square drive, and pozi-drive #3.

The replica watches uk comes with three extra links able to be interchanged. These have an 8mm box wrench, pozi-driv #2, and 11mm box wrench.

A detachable file and screwdriver are on the back of the timepiece. This allows you to remove and add links without an additional tool.

As it is intended for heavy-duty wear, a shock resistant sapphire crystal offers scratch resistance. The timepiece has a unidirectional diver’s bezel with glow-in-the-dark hour hands (for the stainless steel version only).

It comes with a two-year movement warranty, five-year battery warranty, and 25-year band warranty.

All of the tools will get through security no problem at the airport, Leatherman touts.
Who’s It For: Leatherman Tread Tempo

If you find yourself running into small problems, like loose screws, or the need to open boxes without a knife, or simple bike breakdowns, having tools on your wrist can be useful.

If you are replica watches uk junkie, this product will undoubtedly conjure many conversations.

I like to believe there’s a phenomenon of functionality (I’m calling it “Leatherman Vision”) that happens when wearing a Leatherman. Suddenly, more problems arise that stand to be fixed.

Without a Leatherman bracelet on, they wouldn’t cross your mind. You view the world a bit differently.

In the age of “smart” wearable technology, Leatherman marches in a more hands-on direction.