Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Uses of Jewels within Timepieces
Craig Duling is a California entrepreneur who serves as CEO of Heritage Management Services, Inc. In terms of hobbies, he has a longstanding interest in collecting antique pocket watches. On his blog site Heritage Pocket Watch, Craig Duling features a wealth of information on vintage and collectible timepieces and archives rare pieces for the sake of historic documentation.
One article on the site explains the non-decorative use of jewels to eliminate friction in watch movements to the maximum extent possible. Smooth and hard, faux rubies used for this purpose are made from ammonia and aluminum, and put through a variety of heat and chemical processes, ultimately resulting in what is known as a boule. The boule then undergoes as many as 50 additional cuts and processes, which ensures that it is as hard and smooth as possible.
These jewels have a variety of cuts and uses, with timepieces of higher quality often featuring a 17 or more of them throughout the watch mechanism. One key advantage they provide is in enabling the mainspring to be designed in as efficient a manner as possible, which boosts the running times.