chrono-matic Caliber 11

Thread: chrono-matic Caliber 11

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  1. #1
    Member suddha's Avatar
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    chrono-matic Caliber 11

    I am thinking of complementing my vintage Hamilton collection (two old railroad pocketwatches) with a 1969 Chrono-matic. I was looking at a seller's movement picture and it occurred to me that there is no rotor. If this is an automatic, why no rotor? Sorry, I don't know much about these or about auto chronos in general.
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  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Hi -

    If there is no rotor, then it's not an automatic. I think that the brand name "Chrono-Matic" is misleading: it refers not to any automatic function, but rather ... it's a marketing term.

    In other words, it's a very normal calibre without any automatic winding functions whatsoever. Those came much, much later.

    JohnF
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  3. #3
    Member suddha's Avatar
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    I did some more research on this and found some good info. Apparently this mvmt uses a "micro -rotor", though it is not visible in any mvmt pix I can find.

    "In 1965 they came a meeting of some of the biggest watchmakers in the world who formed and alliance to pool resources and create the first Automatic Chronograph. Breitling and Heuer-Leonidas with Hamiliton-Bruen and Dubois Depraz,
    Bruen would be in charge of the special automatic mechanism adapted from Bruen’s "Intramatic" Caliber ; Dubois-Depraz would be responsible for the chronographic module equipped with a 12-hour and a 30-minute counter as well as the oscillating pinion invented by Edouard Heuer. Breitling and Heuer would develop the other components and oversee the design of the watch dial and case.
    By 1968, the group had carried out the first conclusive tests and developed experimental prototypes. The winding-mechanism and the caliber 11 chronograph, the "chronomatic" measuring 31 mm in diameter and 7.7 mm in height, worked marvellously well, even under extreme conditions, with an accuracy close to the norms required of a chronometer. Officially the worlds first automatic chronograph was unveiled over a month before the Basel Fair where the El Primero was introduced.
    Named the "Chronomatic", the movement was used by all of the manufacturers involved, with Heuer, it is was used in the "the watches were known as "Chronomatic".


    Beating at 19,800 bps, "Chronomatic" consists of a basis movement unit and a chrono-section unit. These two units are attached with screws, one on top of the other. The design required that the winding stem with the crown had to be removed to the position of the 9, at first what it seems like a surprising innovation that all firms agreed would be the best. Since obviously this watch does not often need to be wound up by hand, it follows that the chronograph buttons would be better located on the right side of the case.


    A suitable winding mechanism is required for this automatic chronograph. The heavy micro rotor that winds the mainspring is housed in the basic movement and has a pointed dead angle of only 11 degrees, which means that even the relatively inactive wearers can always depend on the watch being wound up."



    Text courtesy of ATG Vintage Watches (http://atgvintagewatches.com/Default.aspx?tabid=68)

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  5. #4
    Member Henry T's Avatar
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Yes it is an automatic, but with a micro-rotor, unlike the centre (and big) rotors we are use to now.

    Here's my vintage Chronomatic SuperOcean cal. 12, same as cal. 11, but with a higher beat. It is also hand windable.




    This Heuer Autavia, which I have sold, from the same era also have the same movement.
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  6. #5
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Yes, the rotor is underneath. Unfortunately I don't have a Cal.11 myself and I don't have a pic of a Movement with removed chrono mechanism, but perhaps it helps to understand showing a normal micro-rotor movement:


    Cheers,

    Axel

  7. #6
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Here is a picture of the whole set up - the left one shows the Buren base calibre and the right one the whole thing with the chronograph mechanism (hope the link works):

    http://www.horlogerie-suisse.com/ile...ono-matic.html

    The reason why the automatic chronograph was so long in coming was that there were two different mechanisms competing for the same space on the back side of the movement: the automatic winding system and the chronograph mechanism. The Breitling/Hamilton-Buren/Heuer-Leonidas/Dubois-Depraz consortium decided to get round the problem by hiding the rotor under the chronograph by using a microrotor base movement. This left them with the slight problem of getting the 30-minute totalizer to drill its way through the rotor system, which was achieved by going through the rotor axis. Nowadays, a lot of makers would shake their heads at the apparent necessity of putting the chonograph mechanism back-side of the movement (only done due to the adherance to the old traditions, in which the chrono system was more likely to fail than the rest of the movement, so you put it on the back so that servicing could be at least attempted without taking the movement out - we are talking pre-1900 here!). So, several of them have gone over to putting the chrono mechanism dial side these days - ETA 2894 and similar 2892-adaptations by Dubois-Depras, Girard-Perregaux chronographs, Chronoswiss "Chronoscope".....

    Zenith, on the other hand, took on the more difficult task of squeezing the chronograph system to the extent that the automatic winding system could be placed on top of it and still connect with the main movement below. And they still got their effort out seven weeks before the competition, and it became thinner than the rest......and they worked alone! No wonder the El Primero is still in production and holding its own against the competition without seeming antiquated.

    Hartmut Richter

  8. #7
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Very interesting - looks like the case for the Breitling was intended for a standard chronograph and adapted by plugging the hole for the crown on the right side (and presumably drilling a new one on the left side) of the case. Or does that black knob between the chrono pushers actually do something?!

    Hartmut Richter

  9. #8
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Hi -

    I stand corrected!

    A fascinating solution, very complex and cleverly thought through...

    JohnF
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  10. #9
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Very nice! I have a Baume Mercier with a "Baumatic" Cal. 12800, which is the precurser of that movement (Buren Cal. 1001A).

    Interestingly enough, when one compares the base movement of the Cal. 11 to the Buren Cal. 1282 (if desired, cf. my other post with link to explosion diagram of Cal. 11), they seem to have done more than just slap the chronograph mechanism onto the base calibre - the bridge and plate structure is a little different! Looks like even they used the basic idea more than the basic movement.....

    Hartmut Richter

  11. #10
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    Re: chrono-matic Caliber 11

    Interesting info about the Breitling versions of the cal 11 and 12

    http://www.lesmala.net/jean-michel/navitimer/index2.htm

    (click on "Chronomatic")

    Best regards

    Thomas

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