"What's the story behind these watch movements?" We hear this a lot. Many of the movements are so different than one another it really makes you wonder -- When was it made? Where was it made? What was going on in the world at that time? Who might have owned it? -- these are just a handful of the many questions that come up when you look at one of the movements.
A Slice of Time
Horology is the art and science of measuring time. It's considered both an art and science for the obvious reason - it's a blend! The science behind measuring time involves accurate calculation and calibration of the measuring instrument, while the art side is clearly evident by not only the complex engineering designs, but also elaborate aesthetic designs. Traditionally, horology has referred to all devices that measure time, but now that seemingly everything comes in a digital version it refers mainly to mechanical timekeepers (chronometry more broadly includes the electronic devices that have supplanted mechanical ones for the best accuracy and precision). People who deal professionally with these apparatus as well as those that are just aficionados are called horologists. Now, it's certainly possible that a dedicated horologist would know the answers to all the questions about every single piece we offer, but I don't think you have to be a horologist to appreciate the art and history behind the movements. Some of the movements come from the mid to late 1800's - before Ford released the Model T. That means that when you wear a Timelapse piece you're wearing a small piece of history that's potentially traveled for over a century on Earth to finally find it's way around your neck or onto your finger.
A note on watches
The watch industry is really interesting when you think about it. For the everyday person, would a more expensive mechanical watch make them more on-time for appointments vs a cheap watch? Probably not. Are expensive watches more accurate? Maybe, but with new digital technologies it might not be the case.
How about looks - do more expensive watches at least look nicer? Since it's partly subjective, the answer isn't so clear. With most watches, the movement is hidden behind a watch face and case so it's typically hidden from view, regardless of how intricate a movement's design may be... how sad! It may seem plain on the outside, but on the inside it's anything but plain.
So much went into the making every movement you see. The designs aren’t merely aesthetically pleasing, but functional. Screws, covers, gears, escapement springs, and more all come together in a complicated but coordinated fashion to create miniature instruments of time. Sometimes the movements feature multiple complications (which are any functions aside from displaying hours and minutes, such as the ability to tell the date in addition cycles of the moon, and more) or are decorated with elaborate engravings that are never fully appreciated. Similar to how most people probably don't think about the incredible engineering and beauty of the engine working under the hood of their cars each time they drive, it's easy to overlook how truly amazing these mini masterpieces of time can be.
Watches are engineering marvels; they're true testaments to the limitless ingenuity of humankind. That's why certain movements like those that feature a tourbillon escapement are so expensive. They're not necessarily more accurate than the far more common Swiss lever-style or the newer co-axial escapements, but their designs are so intricate and delicate that making a single tourbillon escapement can take a master craftsman 18 months. They command high prices because they're essentially art... just like every watch movement.
Certain details behind the engineering are just cool to think about too. For instance, when you look at the jewels in the watch movement, you're looking at real rubies. Watchmakers don’t put them in there just for looks; the rubies have functional purposes. Aside from reducing friction in the watch to increase accuracy, the rubies also increase the life of the wheel train bearings and the escapement in the movement. Pretty neat, huh?
There's the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. At Timelapse Co., each movement tells a story. Discover your movement.