Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler
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  1. #1
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    Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    This has been bugging me for years, maybe someone here can help answer:

    The traditional swiss railway clock has a great look and I would love a matching watch from Mondaine. The real clocks on the stations 'pause' as the second hand hits the 12 o'clock position and then continue with (I presume) a 2 second tick. I would like to know why they do this and if any 'swiss railway style' watch or clock has ever emulated this behaviour. It sounds daft but the fact that the watches don't do this puts me off buying one.

    PS I posted this in the Affordable Watches forum as it seems like the place where the most discussion about Mondaine takes place.

  2. #2
    Moderator sixtysix's Avatar
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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    I had never heard this before so I checked it out.....(see below), time is actually 1.5 seconds. There is really no way to design what you want for a reasonable amount of money...would have to have separate motors for each hand...they do have such pieces...TX, Tag, Heuer, Citizen (and others) make them but maybe nobody has asked.......

    Found this posted by 'Hourglass',

    "Although Switzerland is well known for its timepieces, I have always been particularly interested in the type of clock displayed at Swiss railway stations. Having enjoyed many Swiss rail journeys over the years, the pleasure for me is always completed by the sight of the station clock’s red second hand, which pauses for one-and-a-half seconds when it reaches the top of the minute. If the train is due to depart at that minute and you are not already on board then, such is this symbol of Swiss punctuality, you will have missed your train."

    Then this that explains the reason for the pause, posted at 3quarks.com:

    "A station clock owes its technology to the particular requirements of operating a railway. On the one hand, railway timetables don’t list any seconds; trains always leave the station on the minute. On the other, all the clocks at a railway station have to run synchronously in order to indicate a reliable time for both passengers and railway personnel anywhere on or around the station premises.That’s why station clocks are slave minute-stepper clocks which receive an electrical impulse from a central master clock at each full minute, allowing the minute hand to electromechanically advance one minute further.The second hand is driven by an electrical motor independent of the master clock. It requires only about 58.5 seconds to circle the face once, then the hand pauses briefly at the 60 second position. It starts a new rotation as soon as it receives the next minute impulse from the master clock. This so-called ‘stop to go’ second hand was designed in 1955 by Hans Hilfiker, a Swiss engineer, together with Mobatime, a clock manufacturer."
    TJKong, ken_sturrock and Dennix like this.
    Later, Gary



    We are the caretakers of mechanical art.
    Member NAWCC, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors

  3. #3
    Member Citizen V's Avatar
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    See Mondaine Stop to Go. Discontinued now but they show up on ebay sometimes. They are only 34mm cases though I believe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHySriBWq8w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Sent from my other timekeeping device.
    Last edited by Citizen V; June 3rd, 2012 at 15:51.

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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    Thank you Citizen V and sixtysix. Now I understand why and discover there is a watch with the functionality! I must now get one. (Goes off to eBay)

    WUS Rules!

  5. #5
    hwc
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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    As far as I know, the wrist watch version wasn't tied to any kind of synchronization like the railway station clocks. It was just a gimmick and one that added complexity to the watch. Reading between the lines, I get the sense that it didn't help the reliability of the watches. Just for pure function, I'd rather have one of the Mondaine's with a regular swiss movement.

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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    I am sure it was a gimmick. In an ideal world, it would be synced with GPS sats. but I am a sucker for watches with interesting complications. Also, the real clocks on Swiss railway stations are really cool (and I have spent a lot of time on some Swiss railway stations). I don't expect to own one soon and would probably choose a wall clock (if it worked the same way).

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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    Definite gimmick, but still interesting. I have some of their line and they are simply very nice quartz watches. Worth the "stalk" for one at a good price if you are looking for a nice, "go to" semi-dressy grab and go.......
    Josh
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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    Quote Originally Posted by esterill View Post
    I am sure it was a gimmick. In an ideal world, it would be synced with GPS sats. but I am a sucker for watches with interesting complications. Also, the real clocks on Swiss railway stations are really cool (and I have spent a lot of time on some Swiss railway stations). I don't expect to own one soon and would probably choose a wall clock (if it worked the same way).
    I don't think the clocks have the Stop To Go feature. The smaller clocks are a standard quartz movement; the larger ones have a sweeping seconds hand.
    Accurist World Time Chronograph | Certina DS Multi-8 | Certina DS Pro Titanium | Longines vintage | Mondaine solar powered | Orient Blue Mako | Orient CVZ0001B ana-digi | Reena WeatherMaster VII | Stowa Exima

  9. #9
    Member Citizen V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwc View Post
    As far as I know, the wrist watch version wasn't tied to any kind of synchronization like the railway station clocks. It was just a gimmick and one that added complexity to the watch. Reading between the lines, I get the sense that it didn't help the reliability of the watches. Just for pure function, I'd rather have one of the Mondaine's with a regular swiss movement.
    Yeah i saw some reliability issues with the movement. Shame since it was a cool feature and the second hand swept

    Sent from my other timekeeping device.

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    Re: Swiss Railway / Mondaine puzzler

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen V View Post
    Yeah i saw some reliability issues with the movement. Shame since it was a cool feature and the second hand swept

    Sent from my other timekeeping device.
    Hi Folks
    I'm new to the Forum so hello to everyone.
    I was attracted to it after googling 'Mondaine Swiss Railway watch stop go' and finding my way here. I holiday each year in Switzerland - in the Summer time as I'm no skier. The clock on all the stations is such an integral part of each day there. The train service is magnificent and I use trains each day for both short and long journeys.
    When Mondaine introduced the Stop-Go model I had to have one. It cost about the equivalent of 130 and was well worth it. I've had it for the lifetime of three or four batteries and it still works perfectly. It must have one of the clearest dials of any wristwatch.
    Alas the model was discontinued because of reliability problems which mine, fortunately, has escaped. I count myself fortunate to have the timepiece and treasure it as much as some high-end mechanical models.

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