Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results
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  1. #1
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    Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    This post is a follow-up post to this thread.
    The day after the Kiss Concert in Milan, BALL Watch S.A. was kind enough to host U.S. President Jeff Hess and me at BALL's headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. CTO Philippe Antille and Executive Director Kevin Kouch left Milan very early in the morning, and had already performed tests and analyzed both the SpringLOCK prototype and my Skindiver by the time Jeff and I arrived in the late afternoon.

    With BALL's rich railroad history, it was appropriate that Jeff and I made the trip from Milano Centrale to New Chatel by rail(1).Our train was met by Kevin who took us on the 20 minute drive to La Chaux-de-Fonds.

    1 Track 3 of Milano Centrale, going North to Geneva.

    The Side of the Train Station at New Chatel, Switzerland

    BALL and it’s Sister brand Juvenia, occupy the same building. Juvenia is on the ground floor, the two brands share the second floor, and BALL is on the third floor. Why doesn’t the building say BALL Watch in addition to Juvenia? Permitting regulations in La Chaux-de-Fonds forbid multiple signs on the exterior of a building.

    When we arrived at BALL HQ, we sat down with Philippe Antille in his office to discuss the results of the Eric Singer SpringLock drum test. Philippe proudly presented us with timing sheets(2) for two(3) of the three watches that were involved in the test: prototype 1, and my Skindiver.

    Phillipe Antille in his office ready to discuss the data from the SpringLOCK test.

    The Skin Diver

    The first watch we discussed was my Skindiver. When I looked at the timing results, the watch was in better mechanical condition than I feared! Before Philippe adjusted the watch, his test results showed that my Skindiver had settled down to still have a healthy amplitude(4) and was losing about 10 seconds a day. Philippe said that, when he opened the watch and looked at the inside earlier in the day, there were no signs of physical damage, as the dial feet and the movement clamps were all intact. After some care and manipulation, Philippe adjusted my watch to average plus four seconds a day.

    The Skindiver with data before (top) and after (below) adjustment the day after the concert.

    Philippe regulated my watch to just over plus four seconds a day

    The Springlock Prototype

    The first Springlock prototype, which was worn for over an hour of the show and through the drum solo lost between four and five seconds during the test. By the day after the test, without any adjustment, the watch had settled to an extremely accurate position. When the prototype was timed the week before the test, it had averaged around plus two seconds a day. After the test, the reading showed the watch averaging about plus one half a second a day. The amplitude readings were also almost identical both before and after the test.

    The caseback of Prototype 1

    The movement readings of prototype 1, the week before the test.

    The movement readings taken by Philippe on prototype 1 the day after the test.

    While in Philipe’s office we had a very interesting discussion about the advantages of SpringLOCK and future BALL innovations.

    Rob Caplan: "Would it be fair to say that the amortizer is better designed for extreme shock and the Springlock is better designed for small repetitive shock?"

    Phillipe Antille: "The Amortizer is 100% a mechanical solution outside the movement for protecting extreme conditions.. Springlock is a mechanical element inside the movement. It is a cage around the hairspring for repeatable shocks. Springlock adds to the initial accuracy of the movement, and shows our technical capacity to be innovative inside the movement."

    RC: "When you look forward to a BALL in-house calibre, can you imagine a movement with a combination of both an Amortizer and Springlock?"

    PA: "Yes; but for me I don’t want to do a "technical sandwich’’ one plus one. I’m looking ahead for a 3rd solution. over and over.’"

    RC: "How many technical inventions have you registered?"

    PA: I am up to 32. Let me show you another one that I have made that will be in the new Annual Calendar. We have come up with a way to reduce the number of wheels in the movement. A lot of them are inventions that seem obvious, but have never been done before. To have one of these inventions, you have to say what the invention is, show it in a technical drawing or model, then you submit an application. They then check to make sure that it’s never been done before, and if it hasn’t, then you get the invention."

    Philippe then showed me some technical documents and a model that were used for the registration of his new annual calendar system.

    Ball S.A. CTO Philippe Antille holding a model for an invention for an Annual Calendar Movement that does away with a repetitive wheel system.

    Technical document filed to obtain a patent for a component in an Annual Calendar that reduces the necessary number of components

    The schematic drawings of the helium escape valve crown, that debuted in 2012 on the Hydrocarbon NEDU. . Another of Philippe’s 32 inventions.

    RC: "Were you nervous about how Spring Lock would actually perform during Kiss’s concert?"

    PA :" [It was] a huge fright! Given that Eric is a world celebrity, I felt a great moral and technical responsibility that SpringLOCK be up to the task. Eric opened the doors for us to be the first brand to test a watch during a Kiss concert."

    RC: "What were your fears"?

    PA : "The technical aspect of Springlock was simulated in our workshop with positive results, but human reality is always filled with surprises. Eric is exceptional; he has a strong drum rhythm and his strength and force were beyond our simulated tests in Switzerland."

    RC: "As a rock fan, what was it like seeing your invention tested in front of 10,000 fans?"

    PA : "Who can dream of having the best drummer in the world and 10,000 people on hand to test an innovation? We did it, and it will remain engraved in the history of BALL Watch.

    Philippe and I reminisced about the night before. I told him that my most memorable moment happened when we were led by Kiss Security down a ramp and behind the stadium where a four van convoy with a police escort waited to get the band out of the stadium and back to their hotel.

    As Philippe and I walked towards the convoy, I asked him... "How do you feel?"

    Philippe looked elated and said, "I feel like we won!"

    ---Two more posts from this trip are still to come: an interview with Eric Singer and a photo essay about my visit to Ball S.A.
    (1)Also fittingly, Rock and Roll was on the train in full force, as the tour bus from the San Francisco Heavy Metal band Testament broke down the previous day, and the entire band and crew were on the train to get to their next gig.

    (2)Philippe timed the watches using a device called the Witschi Chronoscope which simulates the effects of a chronometer test. The Chronoscope times each watch in five positions, and tells you it’s projected +- reading per day as well as the amplitude. Amplitude is the length measured in degrees of each swing of the balance wheel.

    (3) Prototype 2 stayed with Eric as a memento of the test.

    (4) A healthy amplitude registers between 250-320 degrees. Both the Skindiver and Prototype had a healthy amplitude when tested in Switzerland the day after the test, and neither watch showed a single reading in any position that was even bordering on low amplitude.

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    Last edited by samanator; June 25th, 2013 at 19:36.
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  2. #2
    Member bg002h's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Rochester, MN

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    Wow...these boys sure mean business! Great read!
    Ball EHC Spacemaster X-Lume (original blue)

  3. #3
    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Pompano Beach, FL

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    It's great to get this open discussion of the the development of the movement. Looks like Phillip is using one of the Cannon Ball Prototypes for some additional on wrist testing. Did anyone else think Flavor Flav when they saw the size of the anual calendar mock up?

    Very cool Rob, not many can say, and back it up with proof, that they had their watch regulated by Ball's Chief Development Officer. Can we get one of those case backs?
    BALL Watch, Bremont and Longines Moderator

    My wife buys dogs and I buy watches and to date I have never stepped in watch poop!

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  5. #4
    Member Citizen V's Avatar
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    Jun 2011

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    Wow, outstanding! Thanks for all the photos and information Rob.

  6. #5
    Member twostirish222's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    I agree some really good stuff!!! :)
    Thanks Nick

  7. #6
    Member wschofield3's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Boston, MA

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    Thanks for bringing this information to us, Rob! It seems Ball Watch has some very interesting things up their sleeves for us, as well as some of the recent pieces incorporating the Amortizer and springLOCK. I'm starting to save already!

    This makes what I consider to be the most value oriented brand that much better. I hope Ball, with all of these great innovations, doesn't get beyond my price range!
    MountainMike likes this.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Houston, TX USA

    Re: Eric Singer SpringLOCK Test Results

    The "how much shock can an automatic take" thread in the public forum brought up a good point.

    How will/do Ball watches deal with the potential movement of the regulator?

    Quotes from that thread below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
    There is a difference between breaking something and causing the regulator to change its adjustment. A Triovis regulator, which uses a screw, will be unlikely to move because of an impact, but it might at certain frequencies, amplitudes, and directions of vibrations. An eccentric adjuster such as what ETA uses might do pretty well. A geared pointer adjuster might move under impact, but only requiring re-regulation.
    Quote Originally Posted by lysanderxiii View Post
    Note on the bold portion...

    Normally, the regulator arm of these is not fixed to the cock, they are held together by friction alone. A shock heavy enough to move the regulator arm will move the regulator arm. In fact, the normal method of regulating this type is to first move the regulator arm for gross timing adjustments, then adjust the screw for fine adjustments.

    The forked tail used by ETA works in a similar fashion and is normally adjusted the same way.

    The only sure way the avoid shock induced change of regulator arm position, is to not have a regulator arm, ie a free sprung balance.
    Last edited by ~tc~; July 1st, 2013 at 02:47.

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