THE SEAHOLM® LIBRARY

Integrated vs. modular? ETA 2894-2 movement, the Purists and a TAG Monza

In the 1980s some Swiss makers ventured into the field of modular engineering. This was an effort to retain mechanical complexity, yet to make the end product easier to manufacture and assemble - and eventually, easier to service. In reality, the concept itself is as old as watchmaking. The final result is always a compromise - not necessary from a performance aspect but rather from the 'purist' view. More about purists later.

Here is the essence of modular watch technology. As you already know, the watch movement consists of various 'blocks' which are cleverly put together in order to measure and display time. While some of those blocks work extremely hard 24/7, (escapement, train wheels, main spring, auto winding system), others perform certain actions only every now and then (calendar, day/date function). And then, there are some which are only engaged on demand - like a stop watch. Ironically, those blocks which do the least amount of work are often the most complex ones to pull apart, assemble and adjust.

Practically, due to functional integration and complexity (you hate that word too, do you?) and necessity to pack all those blocks together in a slim line watch movement, an overhaul would demand COMPLETE disassembly of ALL blocks, including those which may not need service as often as main spring or escapement.

So, you may ask (and rightly so!) would it be possible to engineer a watch mechanism where components are physically grouped in such way which would retain complexity, yet simplify production, assembly and maintenance?

The answer is yes - and it is called the ETA 2894-2.

In the 1980s some Swiss makers ventured into the field of modular engineering. This was an effort to retain mechanical complexity, yet to make the end product easier to manufacture and assemble - and eventually, easier to service. In reality, the concept itself is as old as watchmaking. The final result is always a compromise - not necessary from a performance aspect but rather from the 'purist' view. More about purists later.

Here is the essence of modular watch technology. As you already know, the watch movement consists of various 'blocks' which are cleverly put together in order to measure and display time. While some of those blocks work extremely hard 24/7, (escapement, train wheels, main spring, auto winding system), others perform certain actions only every now and then (calendar, day/date function). And then, there are some which are only engaged on demand - like a stop watch. Ironically, those blocks which do the least amount of work are often the most complex ones to pull apart, assemble and adjust.

Practically, due to functional integration and complexity (you hate that word too, do you?) and necessity to pack all those blocks together in a slim line watch movement, an overhaul would demand COMPLETE disassembly of ALL blocks, including those which may not need service as often as main spring or escapement.

So, you may ask (and rightly so!) would it be possible to engineer a watch mechanism where components are physically grouped in such way which would retain complexity, yet simplify production, assembly and maintenance?

The answer is yes - and it is called the ETA 2894-2.

Read  the full article on Nicholas Hacko's Blog 

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