Friday, January 29, 2010

New Shoes for Breitling's Colt GMT+ [Perpetuelle]

I contributed another article over at the Perpetuelle Blog today about Breitling's latest accessory. Click on their logo below to read!

Thanks for checking it out! More of my contributions to Perpetuelle coming soon!

Gun Control...Horology Style

Right out of a James Cameron sci-fi war epic comes the Armatix .22; a firearm that can only be operated when it is within a specific range to the wristwatch that accompanies it. Designed as a safety feature, a green LED on the back of the gun shows when it is receiving a wireless signal and can be fired. If someone not wearing the watch grabs hold the LED turns red indicating the gun is locked. The technology was developed by the German firm Armatix, it is produced in limited edition and can be had for about $10,000 [7,000 Euro]....ouch!

Someone please design a nicer looking watch for this thing.

Photos courtesy of Bryan William Jones

It's certainly an interesting avenue of firearm safety that could be explored further, and it certainly shows promise in potential use by police departments. That said I can already think of a couple of problems such as; what if the offending person happens to obtain the gun and is aiming it at the watch wearer at point blank range? [sure it may be unlikely, but stranger things have happened] Only time and further development will tell.

EDIT 2/1/10: I've since learned that the gun comes in several variations of pistol, and that the watch actually has a fingerprint ID pad so only the allowed operator of the pistol can activate the system to work. The watch can also save a couple of different officers so the gun can be swapped during a shift change.

It's only a matter of time before Hublot jumps on this and announces a new version of their "Big Bang" line. ;-)

I was first made aware of this through an article by Aaron Rowe over at

Monday, January 11, 2010

...Plus the Kitchen Sink

"Master of Complications" manufacturer Franck Muller announced today the completion of what appears to be the world's most complicated watch to date. After 5 years of development the Aeternitas Mega 4 is comprised of 1483 components and boasts a total of 36 complications 25 of which are clearly visible. The first piece was actually presented to an American collector in November of 2009, Franck Muller has been looking forward to putting the Mega into limited production and have been dotting the T's and crossing the I's since it's first delivery. The watch will make its debut to the press on two occasions via the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie [WPHH] exhibitions at Frank Muller's famed "Watchland" site in Genthod from January 17th through the 23rd and again on March 17th through the 27th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Just in case you want to go and kick the tires a little. For those interested in putting an order in on the Mega 4, it will cost you 2.7 million dollars [US] for the privilege of owning one. If you are worried that your hefty investment won't yield a watch for a lifetime, the Mega 4 also contains a 1000 year calendar before it needs to be reset, which of course means it will keep the correct day/date display [even over leap years] as long as the watch remains powered. I would imagine [and hope] there are some other perks provided by Franck Muller for throwing that kind of money their way...maybe a nice cleaning cloth, or perhaps a nice key chain.

Along with several Franck Muller pieces, the exhibition will be showcasing all of the brands that full under the umbrella of Franck Muller including watches from; Pierre Kunz, ECW, Rudolphe Montres & Bijoux, Barthelay, Backes & Strauss, and Martin Braun.

So, I can already hear you asking me; "Well what are all of the complications, Craig?" you're going to make me list them aren't you...You are, I can tell. Here is a numbered list of every complication the Aeternitas Mega 4 has.

1. Day/Night Display
2. Grand Strike
3. Small Strike
4. Silence
5. Minute Repeater
6. Westminster Carillon on 4 Gong
7. Programming of Grand strike-Small strike function with a waterproof push piece & display on the dial.
8. Programming of Strike Silence function with a waterproof push piece & display on the dial
9. Lifting-lever mechanism of the strike when in hand setting position
10. A mechanism which prevents the start of a new strike if the precedent is not to the end.
11.Transmission mechanism to the hammer which permit the adaptation to the different shape of the gong.
12. 3-Day power reserve
13. Power reserve indicator
14. Strike power reserve indicator
15. Tourbillon carriage
16. Automatic winding with a micro rotor
17. Perpetual calender
18. Display of days
19. Display of months
20. 999 year calendar
21. Chronograph
22. Equation of time function
23. Indication of the secular yea.....

...Ya know what? It does a lot of stuff, and I'm not going to list them all. Don't worry, I hit the important ones ;-) .

Click on image for more detail

All of this is packed neatly into an 18 karat white gold case that measures a width of 42mm, a length of 61 mm and is a whopping 19.15 mm thick! That's a rather impressively small size for a watch packed with so many parts and functions.

It's quite a feat for Franck Muller to create what they have, and I would think its fair to say that the Aeternitas Mega 4 definitely puts them a big leap forward in being the "Master of Complications", as they so boldly proclaim.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guerrilla Watchmaking: Making a Bezel Pearl

As I have mentioned previously here; in my free time one my hobbies is amateur watchmaking. I am currently trying out the pretty popular TZ online watchmaking course [Level 1] and am enjoying it quite a bit. It's a hobby that helps if you have loads of patience [something I don't always have], but it's also a hobby that can breed patience if you allow it to.

One of the goals with The Escapement was to occasionally post articles about my trials with traditional watchmaking, along with other projects I get myself into

I am happy to welcome you to the first post in what I like to call the "Guerrilla Watchmaking" series.

I should first state that NOTHING compares to having a trained professional work on your best watches, and I highly recommend that if one of your prized pieces needs work, you should have it looked at by a qualified watchmaker. Then again...I'm not the boss of you, if you feel confident in your skill...go for it! You'll notice that every watch I work on is not a luxury piece, and probably has little to no value...except to its owner. Working on these types of watches really helps build confidence and proper tool function.

Over the Christmas holiday my brother handed me an old ESQ 3-hand quartz watch that was simply not working. He stated that the battery had been changed several times with no luck. I told him that I could try a movement swap if he wanted me to, he agreed. The movement swap was pretty standard the Ronda quartz movement was cheap to replace and the work went by without a hitch...and I'm happy to say it's running like a champ now.

The other thing I noticed on the watch was that the luminous bezel pearl was missing, and there was a gaping hole that just looked weird. After doing some searching around various watch forums [no, this is not a technique I developed] I was clued into a way to make a new bezel pearl for very little money using epoxy resin. I asked my brother and he gladly told me to go ahead and try it.

Here is a quick tutorial on what was done, and its results:

  • Clear drying epoxy resin [5 minute setting so you can work with it]
  • White acrylic paint [like model building paint]
  • Luminous powder [I got a small vile from for about $3]
  • Old bracelet pin tool, or a paper clip stretched out would work
  • Book of matches [my mini paint brush: optional, use what works for you]
  • Masking tape

- The first thing I did was tape off the area where I wanted to make the new pearl. My brother [his watch] agreed to let me fill in the entire hole rather than just the original round pearl.

- Here you can see the old circle pearl is missing, along with the surrounding material [I have NO idea what it was originally].

- I took a very small amount of the white paint and wanted to give the area a very light coat. I used the back end of a match as a brush, I ran the end over a file to give it more of a brush texture.

- Here you can see the paint in the hole. Since the epoxy dries clear [which you want to have the best glow] the white paint give the pearl a solid background. Make sure not to fill the hole in, give it just a thin coat of paint

- After I removed the tape I had to scrape some extra paint off of the outer part of the bezel hole. little housekeeping

- I used equal parts lume powder, and epoxy mixture...but I made an error here...can you tell what it is?

- Mixing the two on the brown cardboard was the can see here the brown specks in the lume mix..that's just unacceptable.

- Just for is what the mixture looked like when charged with the lights off. You can really see the dirt in this one

- Luckily on the flip side of the cardboard was a white side...Here is the mix I used for the watch. I also was more careful in how aggressively I mixed this time around.

- Sorry for the bad pic, this is how I took the mixture and applied it to the hole...thankfully this tool tip was cheap...because it's useless now. I just carefully picked up very little of the mixture with the bracelet pin tool and gently set it into the bezel spot filling it in.

- After about 5 minutes the epoxy starts to harden, below is the completed pearl in the watch. It's hard to see but the color of the new pearl matches the lume on the dial perfectly...The best part is that the epoxy dries with a gloss [it's essentially clear plastic] so it looks and feels great.

- A not so great pic of the lume after just a few seconds of can really see how that new bezel pearl pops.

This also works with traditional round pearls...It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I would recommend that you give this a shot, I am rather proud of the results I garnered.

So there it is, it's not perfect but it is a quick and easy fix if you have an older watch missing its pearl that you still enjoy wearing. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.