Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?
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  1. #1
    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
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    Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    The mechanical watch has basically relied on "wheels" for everything since the beginning with little change.

    There are wheels to advance the hour, the minute, the seconds; even the escapement and hairspring are generally wheels.

    Do you ever see a time in the future where "wheels" will become unnecessary in mechanical watches?


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  2. #2
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    Really there is no real reason for the mechanical wristwatch to even exist today except for tradition. I think history/tradition will keep the gear train alive.
    Last edited by islands62; February 15th, 2018 at 21:12.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    I can’t see it happening. Mechanical watches represent obsolete technology as it is (by rights we all ought to be wearing Apple Watches) so I can’t see them changing a great deal.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    I'm not a physicist or engineer, but I would imagine, insofar as we stay mechanical, you will continue to see the wheel. Why? My guess is that the wheel offers a continuous/uniform interface unlike a square or other edged shape. Once you start adding "corners" then you need to address how to account for that "dip" in efficiency while maintaining a continuous, uniform movement in order to avoid a "hiccup" in say, the seconds hand.

    Additionally, (maybe?) the mathematics of circles/radians allows for easier extrapolations to minutes/hours/days/years, etc.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    Yes, as soon as they start making square tires.

    As Islands62 and Sticky above have said, it's tradition.
    Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints

  7. #6
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    Yes. The HYT watch does use wheels, but parts of its hydraulic system could be used in a wheel-less watch.

    A bladder or spring could pressurize the fluid and an escapement valve could be made that goes back and fourth instead of rotate.

    It would use less parts. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    I can't agree that mechanical watches are effectively obsolete or that there is no reason for them except tradition.

    I doubt that i am alone in wanting a mechanical watch over quartz or one of the new apple watches. At least quartz are reliable in terms of battery life but the smart watches need regular charge as do a lot of tracker watches such as fitbit.

    I want reliability and as such i gravitate toward tried tested and trusted equipment and machinery. I am not a Luddite i just trust mechanics more than computers in watches.....i do have a quartz watch, so really i am not averse to technology.

    So...NO...the wheel in watches stays and will for ever.
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  9. #8
    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    One of the newest things I've seen is the oscillator in the Zenith Defy Lab. It's made of silicon and oscillates (back and forth) at a crazy 15Hz. But I guess it's still round like a wheel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCTfx9IUnjc
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  10. #9
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    Yep, Big Brother will give you the time via your chip implant.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Do you see a Future for the Watch without the Wheel?

    I’m sure there’s a phrase about reinventing the wheel...

    As long as people want mechanical watches and a traditional watch face, then a wheel will be the best design.

    The Swiss escapement design is incredibly accurate. With only incremental design changes over the next few years we can have mass produced mechanical watches capable of guaranteed accuracy of a few seconds a week.


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