On Sunday December 10, I went to small "watch festival" organized for the first time in Cluses, France, a small city located on the route from Geneva to Chamonix.
Cluses has a very nice watch museum with amazing collection from the French National School of Horology, formaly the "Royal School of Horology" :
The last section of wachmakers were diplomed in 1988 and nowadays the school in specialized in the education of technicians in micromechanics. Most of French masters (as Mr. Dodane for instance - Dodane watches are on sale on this forum) where graduated from that school. The former "Royal" is due to the foundator : the King Charles-Albert of Sardinia in 1848 at a time when Savoy was still independent (Savoy joined France after a massive referundum in 1860).
The festival included a reduced-price visit of the museum, trade exchange of watches and conferences.
Including a nice one by Joseph Flores who is defending the original invention of automatic watches by a French watchmaker and not by a Swiss as claimed by the Swiss industry...
The watches there were not particularly a bargain but I had incidentaly a look to a strange machine underneath a table of a vendor. It looked like a "timing machine" of professional grade. The vendor seeing me looking at the thing said: "Hey Mister, If you're interested I could sell you it for 50 Euros!". Well, the machine is not particularly compact, I dunno...After the conference, I maked my mind and took the thing.
It's a really a timing machine Greiner Instrument AG, Langenthal, Switzerland with the user manual, and 3 different type of sensors for measuring any type of watches, mechanical, electromechanical, quartz, even vibrating fork!
The box is in aluminium of very hight quality. The machine has a small red label on the left side "Zodiac" with a logo indicating that the machine was used in the Zodiac factory likely in the 80's or so.
The machine display the daily run of the watch by analysis of the signal frequency and display it on on "nixies" tubes....
The magnetic sensor works very well to measure the 32 kHz of a quartz oscillator. This Seiko VD53 module gave +0.14 s/day +/- 0.01 with two different sensors. The run is related to my long term observation for this watch.
For the mechanical palet lever caliber, I have however more difficulties to get a stable measure. I saw on the back side of the machine an "output" BNC connector likely suitable for further analysis of the signals.
And it indeed works!
Here the 32kHz quartz signal. Now, let's try an old but reliable mechanical ETA 2472 and the piezo-electric microphone:
Here we can recognize the typical 3 shocks separated by a few ms of anchor escapment. From a detailed analysis of these signal one can determine the balance amplitude as well.
I could go further if I a could enter the signal in an audio PC card to analyze the sounds in details. I found from the net several softwares potential suitable to do this a demo version for the 1 and 5:
What I need is to connect a BNC to a jack 3.5 mm. I needed two adaptators : a jack mono 3,5 mm -> RCA then RCA->BNC (4 Euros)
- WTM : http://home.teleport.com/~gregsa/clocks/wtm/
- A German system called Tick Version 18.104.22.168: with detailled explanation (in German) http://pczw.uhren-mikl.com/index.php...Chrung::Hemmun
- Another German software part of a complete system SecondCheck
- The well know system MicroSet
- A sofware in demo called "eTimer" from Graham Baxter, Delph Electronics
Well, let's go!
Under XP (I hate this system!), upon connection we got a question about the presence of a microphon or an input audio line. Since the signal is preamplified by the machine it's "input line".
eTimer gives the signal !
I can also record the signal just using the XP recorder in format ".wav" . The demo version of eTimer is very limited. I can't acquire the signal more than 8s but the delay between the first and the last shock is very well analyzed in real time (9.2 ms here on ths Omega Speedmaster). The sofware average the result and translated in term of balance amplitude.
The software is designed to emulate the paper band recording of older timing machine. However the demo version does not allow the proper set of the paper speed. It would be possible to record the watch on long term to measure the isochronism. After discussion with the author, the sofware can be sold out for 358 £ (533.84 Euros). :oops: too much for that hobby....
For fun, I have transfered the .wav records on my LINUX system. With the beta version of a free software called AudaCity, (thanks to LINUX world), here is the compared mp3 of certain watches we love here (I will extend for you soon!) :
1 - Vostok Europe Rocket N1 (Vostok 2426, 19800 periods per hour)
2 - Sturmanskie 3133 SU (Poljot USSR, 21600 periods per hour)
3 - Omega Speedmaster 357050 - (1861 21600 periods per hour)
4 - Lip (R136 A, 18 000 periods per hour)
5 - Strela (1MChZ - Poljot 3017, 18 000 periods per hour)
6 - Even all together !!!!!
Here a graphical a compared analysis too on different time scales :
We can clearly realize the shock amplitude fluctuations that, I would say, due to the escapement wheel and train.
Which sound do you prefer ? ....