The George Watch Movement

Posted on August 23, 2012 by Richard Hoptroff

1 August, 2010, Clink Street, London

After a few months design work, we have our first watch movement.  It's been two steps forward, one step back along the way, and too much cash.  But we think we have some exciting new concepts:  Why not use a rechargeable battery?  Rechargeable coin cells, needing an overnight recharge only every few months, would last the lifetime of the watch.  They could be soldered in place; there would be no need for a removable watch back.

Coming from an electronics background, we immediately adopt the USB interface.  Not only does this solve the how-to-charge-the-battery problem, it allows us to get information in and out of the device quickly.  This is great for doing things like aligning the hands and trimming the quartz crystal for temperature variations.  Plus we can tell the watch what time it is.

That's an interesting thing about our watch movements - they don't just tick away the seconds, they actually know what time it is.  Perpetual calendars, daylight saving and so on, all come as standard in our movements.  Indications like moon phases are always correct, because they don't rely on the user to set them.  Ask yourself: is the date correct on your watch?  And the moon phase?

In order to test the principles behind our methodology, we decide to make it a delightfully complicated movement, with 14 independent bi-directional pointers in a pill shape.  The hands are mesmerizing when they all move at once - we never realize that till we power it up.  (Though perception of beauty is in the eye - my wife's words were, "it looks like a congested pond!")

We're calling it The George, after a pub down the road.  It's been a coaching inn for centuries, with the existing building dating to 1637.  Shakespeare would have drained glasses there, as would have John Harvard and Charles Dickens.  Possibly Chaucer, too, but I haven't researched that far back; certainly his Pilgrims to Canterbury set out from the Tabard Inn around the corner, now a photocopy shop. And so we go to The George went there to celebrate our first watch movement.


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