Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Rolex Oyster Watch is So Durable and Reliable!?

Shock Resistance Capability of a watch
Early watch say before 1934 did not have any shock resistance design and is liable to get damages very easily. Before the widespread use of shock protection devices like Incabloc, broken balance staffs were a major cause of watch repair service visitsThe major defect besides the scratches in the casing and Crystal, is the main balance staff that would be broken, or chipped. That would cause the watch to lose accuracy and or even stop. Some of the balance staffs of watch have a diameter of merely 0.15mm. They have to be made hard using steel, they are small especially the contact between the tip and the jewel bearing so as to reduce friction. That is an essential design to increase watch accuracy by reducing friction. So it is necessary to be protected from damages by accidental drops on the floor.
The Incabloc shock protection system is the trade name for a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the balance wheel in a mechanical watch, to protect the wheel's delicate pivots from damage in the event of physical shock. Incabloc design model prevents shock damages on the shaft of the balancing wheel by allowing the jeweled balance of the watch to move laterally and vertically within a spring-mounted setting. Incabloc was invented in 1934 by Swiss engineers Georges Braunschweig and Fritz Marti, at Universal Escapements, Ltd, Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. It is currently manufactured by Incabloc, S.A.
Incabloc is used by many movements including most modern ETA and Omega movements.
How Does Incabloc Work?
The Incabloc system uses a "lyre-shaped" spring to allow the delicate bearings to shift in their settings under impact, until a stronger shoulder of the staff contacts the strong metal endpiece, so that the fine and delicate pivots and bearings don't have to bear the force of the impact. When the impact is over, the springs guide the parts back to their original positions. The staff itself does not move relative to the jewel bearing, but the whole bearing is carried in a metal bushing that is free to move in the metal endpiece, under the control of the spring. The watch equipped with Incabloc does not mean that it could stand a very strong impact, if the impact force is greater than the strong shoulder could stand, the balance staff would be broken too.
Other Shock Resistance Design
Other techniques for shock protection include Parachoc, Kif, Unisafe and Novochoc. KIF is a Rolex Design Shock resistance system, ETA's Etachoc, Seiko's Diashock, and Citizen's Parashock.
These are the known types of Watch Shock Resistance System, It may have more…
Antichoc, Bidlingm, Contrachoc, Cymaflex, Diashock, Duofix, Durobloc, Duroshock, DuroSwing, Etachoc, Farr, Forester, Herucles, Incabloc, Intrabloc, Junghams, Kif, KifA, Microflex, Monobloc, Monorex, Novochoc, Parashock, Parechoc, Resomatic, Rubyshock, Rufarex, Shockresist, Shock Stabil, Super-Shock-R, Super-Shock-Res, unichoc, Unishock, Uwersi, Vibrax...
Comparison between KIF and Incabloc
The primary difference is the shape of the spring which holds the cap rubies (s) down. Both let you remove the cap jewel without totally removing the spring - it kind'a hinges up and out of the way without having to take it completely off.
Most of the higher end brands use Kif: AP, PP, Rolex, VC, JLC, Chopard, etc.
From the design Incabloc has just two contacts in the jewel bearing whereas Kif has three balance at each 120 degrees along the whole circumference for the jewel. Under strong shock impact, the Kif may survive better in maintaining the Ruby jewel bearing in a balanced position. As Kif using three-point contacts that it will have a self-aligned effect on the position of the bearing. Two point Incabloc may have a possibility to shift the bearing a bit to one side in case the spring is not in a co planarity or flat. So I think three points are best… two points is insufficient, and 4 points is not working, some what Like the Hi Fi System that only we put three Nails under each amplifier, we seldom put four.
ISO Standard of Watch Shock Resistance
The International Organization for Standardization issued a standard ISO 1413 Horology for shock resistant watches which many watch makers have adopted.—Shock-resistant watches specifies the minimum requirements and describes the corresponding method of test. It is based on the simulation of the shock received by a watch on falling accidentally from a height of 1 m on to a horizontal hardwood surface. It is intended to allow homologation tests rather than the individual control of all watches of a production batch.
Shock Resistance Test
In practice shock resistance is generally tested by applying two shocks (one on the 9 o'clock side, and one to the crystal and perpendicular to the face). The shock is usually delivered by a hard plastic hammer mounted as a pendulum, so as to deliver a measured amount of energy, specifically, a 3 kg hammer with an impact velocity of 4.43 m/s. The watch must keep its accuracy to +/- 60 seconds/day as measured before the test.
Rolex is Likely One of the most Durable Watches on the World!
The Solid Oyster case is circular in shape, due to the shape of the oyster case once there is force impact onto it, the cylindrical surface will transmit portion Part of force onto other end of the case instead of the impact is direct acting on the movement inside, and the case is hewn from a single solid pieces of metal using 60 tons of pressure. It will not break and would likely last for life time. On the Other hand Rolex is famous for their ruggedness and all of their movements are based on their KIF shock Resistance System, mounted 3130 movements...3135 for a date, 3186 for a GMT function, 3131 for a Faraday cage and some non ferrous parts.
The exceptions are the 4130 Chronograph movement in the Daytona, and the 3156 movement in the Day Date II which has their own, new Paraflex shock system. Moreover, Rolex has invested on both the Balance Wheel staff and Lever Escapement Shaft. I call it double Shock Resistance System, only a few watches in the world have been equipped double Kif System in one watch.
When I was working on board merchant vessels, I asked why the Chief Officer, Quartermasters, oiler, carpenters, sailors, and Engineers used Rolex Oyster watches, no matter, Date Just, Air King, Or even Oyster Precision. The only Answer is “Rolex is reliable!”
Oyster case in fact is made in high precision with 162 operations from a solid metal or Gold. Great care that are present throughout the manufacture of an Oyster result in a case that is virtually a miniature safe, extremely strong and practically indestructible, the movement is installed inside the seal safe with double Shock resistance system to guarantee the watch will be used in the harsh condition like Polo, Horse Riding, Golf, Diving, will no incur that possibility to create and damages to the watch.

HK Snob

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