The Small Complications: Power Reserve

Mechanical Watches Display The Remaining Reserve In A Variety Of Ways

Like almost every technical device, a mechanical clock needs energy to function. This is obtained from the tension spring located in the spring housing, which is tensioned over the elevator crown-in the case of automatic units also over the rotor. The time which a watch runs from the tensioning train of the tension spring to its complete relaxation, without being given energy again, is referred to as a maneuver or a gear-autonomy. In general, speech reserve and duration are used synonymously.

It is not advisable to completely drain the clock of a watch before new energy is supplied. For fundamentally, the more tensioned the spring, the more even the gait. A gear reserve indicator is correspondingly useful, which tells the wearer when the watch has to be re-mounted. Originally, gear reserve displays were mainly installed in precision timepieces such as marine chronometers or railway pocket watches. After the Breguet brand had already presented a corresponding watch prototype in 1933, Jaeger-LeCoultre made the gear reserve display available to a broad public in 1948. The world’s first series wristwatch, which indicated the spring tension, was called Powermatic, The watchmakers introduced the gear reserve display as the customers mistrusted the self-winding, that is, a watch with an automatic movement at the end of the 1940s. They feared that their watch would stop anyway. The way out was to permanently display the tension of the tension spring on the dial. Jaeger-LeCoultre, printed with a dial, showed the hour numbers and gave an accurate indication of the remaining force. Since then, the gear reserve display has often been installed in watches with an automatic movement, although it can basically be dispensed with.

Usually An Additional Pointer Indicates The Gear Reserve

Otherwise, a pointer usually assumes the indication of the gear reserve, which is connected to the elevator mechanism via a gearing. When mounting, the pointer travels to one end of the scale; when the tension spring loses power, it moves-much slower-towards the other end. In historical precision watches, the dialects were mostly labeled “up” and “down”, which is why many brands still use these designations in classic models.

The function of the gear reserve display for hand-held and automatic watches with a long service life is especially interesting: a timepiece with an eight-day movement must not be subjected to too frequent wear due to the display.

Watchmakers who find additional functions boring with rotating hands have the choice too: For example, with many Panerai watch manufactures, the display of the remaining gear reserve runs linearly along a horizontal scale thanks to a toothed rack. There are also models with a gear reserve indicator on the back of the factory.

The Gear Reserve Display-A Function For All Price Classes

A gear reserve display is not exclusively reserved for watches with manufac-turers. The function can already be found in the case of timepieces from around 400 euros. Standardized works by Eta and Sellita are used here. However, the gear reserve display rarely enjoys the undivided attention of its wearer. The simplest variant is the combination with a small second.

Gallery

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