Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

Thread: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

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  1. #1
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    I knew that Breguet had used a shock absorber system called a pare-chute, but I thought that was it for shock absorbers until Incabloc came along. But then I was looking through DeCarle's encyclopaedia the other day and found this great long list of different types.

    So was Incabloc the first (after Breguet of course) or the best, or the first commercial, or what? And where do all the others fit into the story?

    Thanks for any help!

    Regards - David


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    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    I can't answer those questions - but here's a few more to look at: http://www.info-uhren.de/technik/techn/stosskurz.pdf (posted by mike184 originally)
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Here's the list from Bestfit (below). Shock protection wasn't really practical on large watches; the size of the balance and the jewels (along with the fact that natural jewels have many flaws, which makes them more prone to chips and cracks) meant that even if the system works, there was still a good chance of damage occuring. Also, pocket watches tend to be carried in waistcoat pockets, and thus are naturally protected from minor bumps. And no shock protection is going to save a 18s pocket watch if you drop it.

    But by the 30's, watches were much smaller (so less mass to protect), jewels were synthetic and virutally free of inclusions, and worn on the wrist (where bumps and jars are a fact of life). Thus the explosion in shock protection technology.

    I believe incabloc was the first to patent a viable system for mass production, and certainly they can be seen as the most successful from a marketing standpoint. But using incabloc meant paying for it, so many larger companies (Benrus is a good example) could afford to just develop their own.

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  5. #4
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    I believe incabloc was the first to patent a viable system for mass production, and certainly they can be seen as the most successful from a marketing standpoint. But using incabloc meant paying for it, so many larger companies (Benrus is a good example) could afford to just develop their own.
    Interesting, thanks.

    Incabloc have a nice web site with an interactive model of their system which is interesting to play with, you actually see it absorbing shocks from three different directions. It's a Flash based site so I can't give a link to a specific page, but this Incabloc SA should get you to the English version, then you need to look for Products, then Shock absorbing function, then click on the arrows. Hours of fun . . .

    They say that "Today, most mechanical watches manufactured in Switzerland and the rest of Europe are equipped with this device." Is that right; I mean Incabloc, not just that most watches have a shock absorber?

    Regards - David

  6. #5
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by David.Boettcher View Post
    They say that "Today, most mechanical watches manufactured in Switzerland and the rest of Europe are equipped with this device." Is that right; I mean Incabloc, not just that most watches have a shock absorber?

    Regards - David
    Not sure...I'd have thought Kif would have been more popular, given that it's owned by ETA (the movement arm of Swatch), but I'm not sure what the breakdown of movements by companies are. Must say that I prefer Incabloc to Kif though...you need a special three-prong tool to mount Kif springs easily. Frustratingly, I only realized AFTER assembling my last Kif based movment that the watchmakers desk I bought several months ago had these tools with it.
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Incabloc was introduced in 1934, and Parechoc ten years later in 1944. Shockresist was another Swiss company manufacturing a popular shock mechanism but the earliest I can find reference for them is 1946.
    Tick Talk says, "A watch in the hand is worth two on the wrist"

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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    ...given that it's owned by ETA (the movement arm of Swatch), but I'm not sure what the breakdown of movements by companies are.
    Are you sure?! I always thought that Kif as developed by JLC and cooperators (mainly to avoid having to put "Incabloc" on their dials - rather humiliating to share the dial with the name of some other company!) which is why Kif Flector is the main alternative to Incabloc found in some of the more prestigious brands these days (JLC, Zenith, Rolex.....). And JLC are in the Richemond group, not the Swatch group.

    Hartmut Richter

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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    Hi Tick Talk,

    Quote Originally Posted by Tick Talk View Post
    Shockresist was another Swiss company manufacturing a popular shock mechanism but the earliest I can find reference for them is 1946.
    No idea when the Shock Resist actually was introduced, but at least Tissot started to apply it in 1936. Here the earliest (1938) example in my archive:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Tissot 21.7-3
    And as in many calibres the Shock Resist device was later replaced by the Incabloc, I suspect the Shock Resist is even older than the Incabloc.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  10. #9
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    You may be right, at least about it not being Swatch; I may have misread the information. Found this:
    In March 2009, the Biel spring-making company, Générale Ressorts, was taken over by the Acrotec holding group, which already owned the screw-cutting Vardeco firm in the Jura as well as Kif-Parechoc in the Joux valley, which specialises in shockproofing and adjustment indexes for balances. This sensitive takeover was carried out with the help of the movement constructor, BNB Concept and the EPF investment fund.
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  11. #10
    Member Tick Talk's Avatar
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    Re: Help with shock absorbers - I thought it was just Incabloc, then I checked . . .

    According to a 1946 text I found on Google Books (Practical Watch Repairing by Donald de Carle), Incabloc components were manufactured by Universal Escapement Ltd. of La-Chaux-de-Fonds, and Parechoc was made by Parechoc S.A. of Le Sentier, which is still a center of Swiss movement design.
    Tick Talk says, "A watch in the hand is worth two on the wrist"

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