Bellusso Jewelers Blog

Bellusso Jewelers Blog
2018-08-29

In the world of watchmaking, one term seems to continually recur: Meters. The word has multiple meanings, depending on how it is used. Here, we offer a quick and simple guide to the most popular uses of the word as it relates to timepieces.

Meter: As a free-standing word, meters refers to depth. A watch is water resistant to a particular number of meters. There are approximately 3 feet to a meter, so a watch that is water resistant to 100 meters, for instance, is water resistant to almost 300 feet.

Diameter: As with other facets of life, the diameter of a timepiece refers to its size from side to side.

Tachymeter: This is generally a scale that, much like a car speedometer, allows for measuring speed on a chronograph watch. Generally, a tachymeter scale is found on the bezel of the watch or on an inner chapter ring.

Pulsometer: As its name implies, the pulsometer function on a watch enables one to measure heart beats. The user starts the chronograph when he or she feels the first pulse and then counts 15 or 30 pulse beats before stopping the chronograph. The seconds hand points to the corresponding number of heart beats per minute.

Telemeter: This feature on a chronograph watch enables the wearer to calculate distance in relation to the wearer by using the speed of sound. It sounds a bit daunting to use at first, but is generally simple (depending on the watch). The wearer starts the chronograph when the event begins, and stops it when the event ends. The seconds’ hand points to the telemeter scale that approximates the distance from the wearer and the event.

Chronometer: A chronometer is not a tool, per se, that offers a calculation. Instead, it is a watch whose movement has passed a series of intense timing tests under different conditions (heat, humidity, pressure, etc.) and is deemed to accurate enough to  receive  an official chronometer certification by the testing facility. The most well-known Swiss facility, Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, offers the COSC certification, but other testing observatories exist.

2018-08-22

As people lead more active lifestyles, shock resistance has to come into play with top watches. As such, certain watch brands are creating timepieces that are ever more resilient and can withstand the shock of being dropped or otherwise being subjected to outside forces.

In order for a watch to be shock resistant, the movement, and particularly certain parts of it, must be protected. This includes the tiny pivots that hold the balance wheel in place. Generally, by using a spring suspension system for the balance wheel, watch brands can compensate for small shocks. If you hear that the watch is equipped with an Incabloc system, you can rest assured your watch can withstand shock. The Incabloc system was one of the first shock-resistant methods. Invented in 1934, it is a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the balance wheel. Since its invention, it has pretty much become a standard in the industry for accomplishing shock resistance as it enables the balance wheel to move laterally or vertically when subjected to shock.

According to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), a watch must undergo certain tests to be deemed shock resistant. One of the tests includes simulating a watch falling from about three feet onto a hardwood surface. If, after that drop, the watch remains accurate to a  range of +/- 60 seconds/day, it is shock resistant.

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Photo courtesy: Incabloc

Of course, the Incabloc system and other spring-loaded systems are not the only way to render a watch shock resistant. Some top-notch brands are also turning to high-tech materials that are less susceptible to shock in movements. Some are developing containers for the housings, and yet others are developing all new case constructions that offer shock-absorbing components, or have pulleys and other moving parts suspending the balance wheel. If you are active, you may want to inquire about the shock resistance of your watch.

2018-08-15

Often we get questions from customers about mechanical watches. Generally, they'd like to understand the difference between mechanical self-winding watches and hand-winding watches. Here, we explain the difference in simple terms...

A mechanical watch is made of hundreds of tiny parts that work together without using batteries (as in quartz watches) or without use of solar power. The mechanical components power the watch and track the time (and often a lot more than just the time).

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Hand-Winding Mechanicals

Essentially, a hand-wound — also sometimes referred to as a manual-wind watch — is a timepiece that has an inner movement that must be wound by the wearer on a regular basis. The watch is generally wound via the crown in a singular direction to wind the inner spring and power the watch. As the crown is turned, it sets a small dance into motion thanks to a complicated system of gears that slowly transmit the energy from the crown to a main spring that is coiled inside a barrel. When the crown won't turn any longer, the spring is fully wound. It then slowly starts to unwind, releasing power to the watch via another series of gears and wheels, including a main balance wheel that helps to regulate the release of energy for consistent timekeeping. If the wearer forgets to wind the watch, the energy runs out and the watch stops working until it is set and wound again.

Automatic/Self-Winding Mechanicals

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In an automatic watch — also referred to as a self-winding watch — the movement is built differently than that of a hand-wound watch. It consists of a "rotor" or "oscillator" that is powered by the movement of the wearer's wrist. As the wrist moves, it automatically moves the rotor, which, as it swings, winds the mainspring inside its barrel. The power lasts for a specified amount of time (referred to as power reserve) if the watch is not being worn, but as long as the watch is worn, it will continually wind itself. Stop in any time to check out our wonderful array of mechanical watches.

2018-08-08

As more and more watch brands delve into the realm of high-tech materials for watch cases and bracelets, we are witnessing a host of wonderful new ceramic watches emerge on the market. However, not all ceramics are the same. High-tech engineered ceramic is one of the hardest and most scratch-resistant materials for watches. The cases and bracelets — as long as the watch is water resistant — can get wet without any impact, as the material is durable. As such, this is a great material for summertime watches because they can weather the elements and go the distance.

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Additionally, ceramic is a very lightweight material, so the watch doesn't feel heavy on the wrist. It also is temperature resistant and won't stick to the wrist in humid climates the way a leather strap would.

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Properly engineered ceramic is typically a blend of oxides, carbides, nitrates and zirconium that are mixed, compressed and heated to offer a great polished look that disguises its rugged factors. Because of the luster of ceramic, it also looks great on the wrist so a sporty watch can take on a more urban chic elegant tone, as well.

The first engineered ceramic watches were introduced in the mid-1980s by Swiss watch brand Rado. It took some time before other brands made their foray into ceramic, but in the past years, it has become all the rage. Typically, ceramic for watches is white or black, but some brands are finally experimenting with adding color for gray, brown or even bold red.