Clink Street, London, 11th March 2014
A watch-mad friend of mine came for a tour round the workshops yesterday. "The first thing I do when buying a watch," he said, "is listen to the tick." He put one of our movements up to his ear and exclaimed, "your tick is fantastic!"
I'd never thought much about it before, but he's right, and with good reason. We don't use balance springs. The steppers contain magnetic rotors. The coil in the stator absorbs a high current for three milliseconds, till it's bursting with magnetic tension. Then Boom!, it gets released in the half-spin of the rotor. And an unmissable tick.
Actually, we have are several different tick types because we have an ever-growing number of second hand motions. The standard Stop Seconds beats just once a second.
Sweep Seconds micro-steps the seconds hand three times as often to create a smooth seconds hand motion. (It looks nicer, but your battery doesn't last as long.)
Some of our experimental movements have even more exotic sounds. The Double Seconds movement has two seconds hands that beat together.
And the Sidereal Seconds movement has normal seconds and sidereal seconds, slowly going in and out of phase over the course of six minutes.
Finally, the Cricket Field, is what we hear what we hear when we're working at the watchmaker's desk, with a pile of movements all ticking together