Monday, June 20, 2016

Useful Features In a Timepiece

I am not sure about you but I have never really sat down to think what the useful features are in a timepiece.

Honestly, how often do you activate the chronograph function? What about that perpetual calendar especially those with the pushers? Even the date is something of a chore for some unless it is the big date.

Truth me told, I hardly use the chronograph feature on my chronographs. I know some say you could use it to time how long you park at a particular location etc., but really?

Enjoy the picture of the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Chronograph.

The honest truth, at least for me, is the beauty of the 1815 Chronograph movement rather than the function itself. Now, how can you argue with a movement like that? I have to say, both the dial side and the movement side of the Lange 1815 Chronograph are gorgeous. But how often do I use the chronograph function?

Then again the perpetual calendar...

A nice feature to have and I believe that when they developed the Quantième Perpétuel, most owners had one watch to their name. So if that timepiece were with you all the time, it makes sense to keep it running and in order not to have to make those minor date changes (30 and 31), the perpetual calendar was invented. But today? Well, it really becomes a status symbol than any "useful" feature.

Don't get me wrong, I love the perpetual calendar watch. A great invention. But how often do you use the function especially when you need to hit those pushers to have the day, date, month and moonphase aligned? Well, doesn't really matter when the movement is as nice as the Moser Perpetual One.

What I really like - the Zero Reset...

What I would really like as a "regular" feature in a timepiece is the Zero Reset. When it comes to time setting, I am a stickler for accurate time setting i.e. having to wait till the seconds hand hits zero before pulling the crown to set the time. Some timepieces with this feature are the Lange Saxonia and the Glashutte Senator Chronometer.

Featured here is the Lange Saxonia belonging to a friend of mine. The Zero Reset is a patent belonging to manufacture A. Lange & Sohne.

And the case back showing off the automatic movement.

The Glashutte Original (GO) Senator Chronometer is also another timepiece featuring a reset seconds hand when the crown is pulled. But they go one step further in the attempt to improve accuracy during time setting. Not only does the second hand return to the zero position when the crown is pulled, the minute hand changes in full minute increments i.e. the minute hand progresses to the next minute index. And when one depresses the crown, both the seconds and minute hand move in tandem.

And the case back revealing a three quarter plate typical of German watchmaking...

With the Zero Reset feature, the seconds hand returns to the 60 second position when the crown is pulled. As far as I know, the two brands that has this feature are A. Lange & Soehne and Glashutte - both German brands. Is that a coincidence? And then the question of "How difficult is it to make?" Then again, is there an easier and more innovative way to develop this feature?

GMT or Two Time Zone

A more regular (and useful) feature is the GMT or two-time zone which of course is essential for the frequent traveller. The Reverso from Jaeger LeCoultre comes to mind...

With the two time zone, the timepieces allows the traveller to track local time (where he is) and his home time. With the Reverso, this is done with two dials on the same movement. But the more common variation is the GMT where the timepiece features another 24 hour bezel like in the Rolex GMT II featured here.

There is yet another variation - the World Timer. Featured here is the Patek 5131R...

And the Andersen Genève World Timer, 5th Edition.

One more thing before I sign off this post - hacking seconds... I like to be able to pull the crown and the seconds hand stops at 60. That allows me to set time more accurately. So what's your thoughts about useful (or not) features in a timepiece?