A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive
Like Tree24Likes

Thread: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Member Lex Tempus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Austin, Tx
    Posts
    776

    A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II -
    The Spring Drive


    Name:  Grand-Seiko-Logo-page.jpg
Views: 587
Size:  43.9 KB


    -Continued From “A Brief History of Seiko and the Spirng Drive – Part 1” (https://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/brief-history-grand-seiko-spring-drive-part-i-2430249.html)

    Seiko’s guiding principles have always been “innovation and refinement.” The company that had changed the face of modern timepieces with the Quartz movement, was determined to continue to push the industry forward.

    Name:  Yoshikazu Akahane.jpg
Views: 582
Size:  30.7 KB
    Photo courtesy of Grand Seiko.

    In 1978, a young Seiko Epson engineer, Yoshikazu Akahane, had a revelation. He observed a bicycle coasting smoothly down a hill. To maintain a constant velocity the cyclist would apply the brakes. In this he saw an image of time that was accurate, continuous, and flowing, and he began to work on a concept he referred to as an “everlasting watch.”

    His idea was to replace the most delicate part of a watch movement, the escapement, with an electronic regulation system that would increase the mechanical watch’s accuracy.

    Releasing the first Spring Drive

    Ironically, at that time, Seiko was leading the quartz revolution that was crippling the mechanical watch industry. However, it was the innovations of that era that would make the Spring Drive possible. Yoshikazu spent his days making quartz movements and his evenings experimenting.

    Name:  watchmaker.jpg
Views: 581
Size:  51.9 KB

    Photo courtesy of Grand Seiko.

    He eventually introduced his concept to his superiors, and they were so impressed that they backed his development: 600 movements, 230 patent applications, and 28 years later, Seiko released the first Spring Drive.

    How it works

    The simple answer is Mechatronics. A beautiful marriage of mechanical refinement and electronic ingenuity that can be hand assembled by just five of Seiko’s most skilled watchmakers in the natural light of the pristine foothills of the Japanese Alps.

    Like a mechanical watch, the spring drive is powered by a mainspring that is wound by a rotor. The first major innovation lies in winding the watch. Seiko introduced the Magic-Lever System that allows for more efficient transmission of the rotor’s power to the mainspring. The Magic-Lever fits directly to the rotor shaft. Locating the axis of the lever at the center of the oscillating weight allows even the slightest movements to provide constant winding. This simple and elegant innovation boasts a 30% increase in efficiency over traditional winding methods.

    Developing the mainspring

    As watch owners, we all know the unsatisfying feeling of picking up our watch after a long weekend, and noting that it has stopped. While the inconvenience is minor, Seiko set out to improve the user experience. This led to the next major innovation: the development of the mainspring.

    Name:  spring drive 3-parts.JPG
Views: 576
Size:  62.4 KB
    Photo courtesy of Grand Seiko

    Satisfied only by innovation and refinement, Seiko engineers developed their own stronger mainspring made from a new highly elastic alloy they called Spron 510. The mainspring delivers more power, more smoothly, for a longer period. This new alloy allows Seiko to offer a 70-hour power reserve, while the industry standard is still just 40 hours.

    In traditional mechanical timepieces, the gear train delivers the mainspring’s power to the escapement which regulates the timing of the watch. However, traditional escapements only promise accuracy of -4 to +6 seconds a day, and is weak and prone to damage. Quartz watches maintain an accuracy of ±15 seconds every month, and require very few moving parts.

    To bridge the gap, Seiko replaces a traditional escapement with their Tri-synchro regulator. This regulator consists of four components: a glide wheel, a coil block, an integrated circuit (IC), and a quartz crystal. The Tri-synchro regulator takes a small amount of energy generated by the mainspring and converts it into a small electrical current to power the quartz oscillator.

    The unwinding mainspring drives a glide wheel that is connected to the gear train. This glide wheel turns inside a coil (25,000 turns of extremely fine wire) to generate electricity which powers the quartz crystal and the IC. Seiko Epsom designed this IC specifically for the Spring Drive, and is the only IC in the world to operate on so little electricity.

    Name:  quartz-tuning-fork.jpg
Views: 572
Size:  40.7 KB


    The quartz oscillator produces a highly accurate timing signal (±1 second per day) and the Tri-synchro regulator adjusts the speed of the glide wheel and hands. It does this with a frictionless electromagnetic braking system that allows the glide wheel to rotate 8 times each second. This accurate and beautiful concept is referred to as the Tri-synchro regulator because it works with three types of energy:


    • Mechanical energy from the mainspring
    • Electrical energy generated from the mainspring’s power
    • Electromagnetic energy that brakes the glide wheel


    The ticking you hear in a watch comes from tiny sapphire crystals colliding with a balance wheel. On most mechanical watches this happens eight times per second. This also causes the hands to tick, ever so slightly.

    Requiring no impulses, the Tri-synchro regulator produces a smooth sweep of the seconds hand and no sound—so the watch was aptly dubbed the “Quiet Revolution.”

    Providing the best of both worlds

    While the father of the Spring Drive, Yoshikazu Akahane, did not live to see his movement in a watch, it was his persistence and ingenuity that led to one of the most unique watches in the world.

    Name:  Spring Drive Movement.jpg
Views: 595
Size:  106.7 KB
    Photo courtesy of Grand Seiko

    The Seiko Spring Drive:

    • Blends classical mechanical watchmaking with modern technology
    • Provides the best of both worlds—the accuracy of quartz with the heritage of mechanical watchmaking
    • Boasts a 70-hour power reserve with the mechatronic movement and an accuracy of ±15 seconds each month—at a price range as low as $5,000


    These features give the Spring Drive a unique space in the mechanical watch market.

    From its humble beginnings as a watch store on the Ginza in 1881, Seiko has been a major driving force in the quest for the perfect timekeeping device. Through innovation and persistence, the company led the industry through tough times, and came out on the other side as a major player in the high-end mechanical watch market.

    Name:  02_Watchstudio.jpg
Views: 599
Size:  766.9 KB
    Photo courtesy of Grand Seiko

    Seiko’s Spring Drive technology perfectly embodies the company’s founding principles of innovation and refinement. No watch movement depicts more accurately the path of time: smooth, silent, continuous.
    Marrin, Sid_Mac, zabat and 12 others like this.
    https://lextempus.com/pages/summer-sale

    Mark Baran
    Lex Tempus LLC
    3520 Bee Caves Rd, Ste 125
    Austin, Tx 78746
    512-306-7925

    [email protected]

  2. #2
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Middle of the Middle West
    Posts
    28,426

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Cool beans! Thanks for sharing!
    "The stuff that dreams are made of…" - RGM ‘801 EE Motor Barrel’

  3. #3
    Member Robotaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    13,905

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Someone needs to add the Spring Drive story video just to run the topic full circle. I'm on a plane and turning my phone off, or I would dig it up for old time sake. :(
    _______________

    Disclosure:
    1. My posts are not shilling other people's stuff.
    2. I own everything that I post and paid for it with my own money.
    3. My opinions are not influenced by any form of compensation.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member Robotaz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    13,905

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Ahriman4891, Marrin and Lex Tempus like this.
    _______________

    Disclosure:
    1. My posts are not shilling other people's stuff.
    2. I own everything that I post and paid for it with my own money.
    3. My opinions are not influenced by any form of compensation.

  6. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    30

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    As an engineer, it is my professional opinion that the spring drive is goddamned beautiful!

    I always loved that perfect sweep.
    lamlux and Lex Tempus like this.

  7. #6
    Member 6R15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    GMT -6
    Posts
    6,543

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    I'm just glad they didn't keep the "Mecha-Quartz" name for the Kinetic technology, otherwise there'd be so much confusion right now. In fact, I think they are the exact opposites. SD is quartz making mechanics more accurate where as Kinetic is mechanical parts powering a quartz battery.
    lamlux, Robotaz and Lex Tempus like this.

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    330

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Fantastic series.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Posts
    94

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Thanks for sharing! Learning about different types of energy in school definitely increases my appreciation for the spring drive movement
    Lex Tempus likes this.

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    263

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    very interesting.
    thank you for posting

  11. #10
    Member Dave W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Posts
    616

    Re: A Brief History of Grand Seiko and the Spring Drive - Part II - The Spring Drive

    Great info. Thanks for sharing that.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Similar Threads

    1. Replies: 1
      Last Post: October 6th, 2015, 19:50
    2. Replies: 0
      Last Post: August 25th, 2015, 23:45
    3. Replies: 0
      Last Post: May 10th, 2014, 08:43
    4. FS Grand Seiko Spring Drive Air Drive SBGA029
      By darby11 in forum Watches - Private sellers and Sponsors
      Replies: 10
      Last Post: September 12th, 2013, 17:24
    5. Replies: 9
      Last Post: May 31st, 2008, 14:13

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •