Negative Set Movements - How do they work?
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  1. #1
    28A
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    Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Hi fellas,

    Having done a little reading tonight and again came back to a little term - negative set. From what others have said, my little Dennison cased Tavannes is a negative set movement although it does not have the patent stamping like others have.

    Can anyone explain how negative set works, and is it any better a system than the pin set of a Borgel, or any other system?

    All i know, is that my watch winds as normal, you pull the crown out and wind the crown COUNTER clockwise to wind the hands forwards. So, opposite to the CLOCKWISE direction for winding the watch.

    Here's a picture of the movement in question.

    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    "Negative Setting" is the term used to describe watches where the stem/crown is part of the case, and the watch is set by pulling up the crown. A spring sleeve in the pendant holds the stem up to set or down to wind. When pushed down, the end of the stem pushes down on a lever in the movement which disengages the setting works and engages the winding works. When not pushed down, the lever is held in setting mode by a spring. Thus, when the movement is removed from the case, the watch is by default in setting mode.

    This was done because American pocket watches were sold as movements by the watch companies like Elgin and Waltham, and cases were made by watch case companies like Keystone. The jeweler would put the two together for the customer. The watch companies made their movements in a small number of standard sizes, so they could be put in cases from many different casemakers. By making the crown and stem part of the case, a jeweler could easily swap any 18 size movement into any 18 size case.

    When American watch companies began to sell watches cased at the factory in the early 1900s, they switched over to positive setting, where the stem and crown are part of the movement. These are also set by pulling up on the crown, but the 'default' is winding mode. This is how virtually all wrist watches work.

    The direction you turn the crown to set the hands forward or back is determined by whether there's an idler gear between the clutch and the minute wheel under the dial. Some do, some don't.
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    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by 28A View Post
    Hi fellas,

    my little Dennison cased Tavannes is a negative set movement although it does not have the patent stamping like others have.
    I think your watch is a normal setting movement?
    You can wind the watch where the crown rests and you set the hands by pulling the crown out.
    Like a modern conventional watch.

    Pin Set is different - you need to press the pin to set hands
    Negative Set as Gene Jockey explained is different again, but I think NOT yours
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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    28A
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    I thought it seemed conventional also however both David (vintage watch straps) and a couple in the movement winding issue thread I made commented that it was negative set. I don't know enough on the subject to differentiate the two.


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    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Swiss movements are not typically negative set - but in the case of the movement that you show, I don't see a screw in the bridge for retaining the stem - which suggests that the stem stays with the case when the movement is removed. In that case - either a two-piece stem (probably too early for that?) or negative set...or I am missing something.

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    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Quote Originally Posted by 28A View Post
    I thought it seemed conventional also however both David (vintage watch straps) and a couple in the movement winding issue thread I made commented that it was negative set. I don't know enough on the subject to differentiate the two.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Be careful
    I dont think David mentioned your watch was 'negative set' but he does explain it.
    I know he says it is an American 'thing' and not SWISS.
    Your movement I think is Tavannes/SWISS - NO?
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  8. #7
    28A
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Adam here's a quote from David from his website. I sent some pics of the Dennison on my new strap for his customers page and this is part of his note.

    "David notes: Nick's watch has the same movement as Oleg's watch shown immediately below. Oleg's watch has conventional stem setting - you can see the little setting lever screw next to the ratchet wheel - whereas Nick's watch has negative or American setting; there is no setting lever screw. Tavannes movements with negative setting are usually stamped "U.S. Pat. 24 May 1904" where the setting lever screw would normally be, but Nick's movement doesn't have this."

    As Paleotime said it's missing the stem screw, but also the U.S. patent.


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    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

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    28A
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Oh and yes, it's a Tavannes movement. A 330 or 370 I can't remember which. They are on David's movement page.


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    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

  10. #9
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    Swiss movements made for the U.S. Market and especially if intended to be cased there were often negative set for the reasons described. They become harder to identify when they use a stem locking screw to prevent the user from changing the time as it can be mistaken for a stem release screw.
    Paleotime likes this.


  11. #10
    28A
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    Re: Negative Set Movements - How do they work?

    So if this was one that was intended on being cased in the U.S.. i wonder how it ended up in Birmingham originally? It has all the correct British hallmarks inside the case.
    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

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