A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name
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  1. #1
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    On a recent thread the discussion arose about the naming of a 'Barrel' shaped watch versus 'Tonneau'

    I stated that there was a difference.

    Bobbee then posted below, pointing out I was incorrect, and it was just a 'naming' difference and not a shape difference:


    I can not argue with above, but did some additional research from the 'Bible of Horology' - G. A. Berner - Dictionnaire Professionnel De L'Hologerie, that states:

    "BARREL - Tonneau caliber, tonneau case: form of watch-movement or case resembling that of a barrel"

    No argument there.
    However during my NAWCC database descriptions in 2013, I took special attention in correctly defining the cases. I used as follows

    1) CUSHION SHAPE:
    A 'kind' of square shape but the sides and top curved out (convex).

    2) BARREL SHAPE:
    Similar to 'cushion' i.e with convex sides but flat top, but still more square shape with sides and top similar lengths.

    3) TONNEAU SHAPE.
    Like a 'barrel' shape above BUT with longer convex sides than the 'barrel' and of course flat top..

    I think the 'old' barrel shape and definition fits the vintage watches of that period, i.e. quite small and square, and is now replaced by more modern longer, bigger watches where the sides well exceed the top and bottom widths, this to me is 'TONNEAU'

    Here is more modern Watch Case Styles - courtesy of Gilbert/Engle/Shugart:
    You can see better the very different style of 'cushion' versus 'barrel' versus 'tonneau'



    These are my thoughts, I except the dictionary of Horology defines 'barrel' and 'tonneau' - but maybe with the real change in watch style shapes that needs updated.

    Adam R.Harris
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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Thanks Adam - I have always been curious about using the term Tonneau which I believe correctly applied to a few of my Art Deco style watches - it's always easier I think with examples. But I also see Bobbee's definitions....to
    Me the first watch a 1934 Longines is a Tonneau - that's mine:



    The second also my Elgin is a little shorter so a 'barrel' ?



    The third - NOT MINE as its a $55k PP - is a classic Tonneau, 'Petrograd Style' like the original Omega Petrograd watch ...






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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    I think of this watch as Barrel:



    And this one as Tonneau:

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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Scott, all are "tonneau" by popular and horological definition.

    Cheers, Bob.
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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbee View Post
    Scott, all are "tonneau" by popular and horological definition.

    Cheers, Bob.
    Bobbee - agree fur sure - I just think for aficionados contemplating how many Eberhards can fit on the head of a pin - we can debate narrower definitions until the vintage cows come home to roost - is that enough 'sayings' in a 49 second post ???!!! Scott


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    __________________________________________________ __________
    My 'Show-Piece' - Zenith El Primero 'Red' Captain Ltd Edition #255/500
    My 'Grails' - 1920s & 1930s 18ct Gold Eberhard Monopusher chronos - with a Valjioux 65 movements
    My 'Fav' 1917 Silver Moser Trench
    Various vintage watches - Trench-style, Art Deco & 20s-50s chronographs - especially Eberhard & Longines

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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    I think of this watch as Barrel:



    And this one as Tonneau:

    So GJ - not height but width is your distinction ...?


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    __________________________________________________ __________
    My 'Show-Piece' - Zenith El Primero 'Red' Captain Ltd Edition #255/500
    My 'Grails' - 1920s & 1930s 18ct Gold Eberhard Monopusher chronos - with a Valjioux 65 movements
    My 'Fav' 1917 Silver Moser Trench
    Various vintage watches - Trench-style, Art Deco & 20s-50s chronographs - especially Eberhard & Longines

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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Scott
    yes I agree as does Patek Philippe those are Tonneau, but actually as Bobbee says they can be termed 'barrel',

    my point is that is it time to separate the more square barrel from an elongated Tonneau?
    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

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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Um...by any chance, do you know what the word "tonneau" actually MEANS? It's french. And it means ... barrel.
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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Hi there,

    since tonneau is the French translation of barrel, distinguishing between both is pretty crazy. And if ever somebody decided to do this useless distinction, he or she should at least precisely define a ratio between height and width above which a barrel becomes a tonneau.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
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    Re: A QUESTION OF NAMES or It's All in the Name

    Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.

    I think that this is all that I'm going to add to this one!

    Personally, I prefer the term BARREL.

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