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Object Record

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Object Name Watch, Pocket
Catalog Number 1997.37
Collection Watch
Date c. 1985
Description 1985; Full plate, Nickel, Stem wind, pendant set, open face 18k yellow gold filled case. White enamel dial, Roman numerals, seconds @ 6. Tourbillon by George Thomas
Maker George Thomas; Adolph Benz
Place of Origin Switzerland
Notes Watch was position tested as part of a project:


I'm back in the office after travelling--and back on-line so I can send updates. Attached is a summary of the data for that watch and 3 others I brought with me for comparison. I tried to run each watch for 4 minutes, letting the Microset measure the period of every other beat to calculate a rate. That would yield 700 or 800 samples (measurements), depending on how quickly I ended the data recording run, from which I calculated the averages you see in the tables. I've included a few figures to show some of the data characteristics I saw in the runs. Not all runs were so illustrative, but you get an idea of what can happen.
The Thomas watch did very well: the rate was stable in all positions to a level that is statistically almost negligible. The measurements had some noise that might be attributed to needing a cleaning in addition to the additional mechanical interactions needed for the tourbillon action. What is still unknown, however, is whether the performance in different positions is attributable to the tourbillon design or fine workmanship. For instance, the variation in rate while running for one minute (being a one minute tourbillon) is almost non-existent. While this might suggest the tourbillon isn't needed, it is also possible that tourbillon parts somehow compensate for each other as a system at any time in any position, not just on the average of one minute. Perhaps it is possible the terminal curve of the balance spring plays a role in this. Dr. Wagner and I will track down a quality non-tourbillon watch for comparison.

The other watches were ones I've picked up here and there, and it made sense to at least compare them. I don't know what to make of the fake ladies Rolex, except that being so clean the data was showing me clues about its insides. I'm surprised it was the second best of the four watches tested, but maybe the Girard-Perregaux would have done better if it was as clean as the Rolex.

The best news is I was very easily able to export the videos to a CD and can mail them to you next week. I'll send them to you at the museum address below unless you prefer a different address. On that disk there are also a few pictures of the watch and two other videos of a totally unrelated clock. Some of the video runs will be more useful than others, and some editing may be needed to get the best portions of those, but I think you will like them, especially if viewed on a large display. The video format is readable in the Windows 7 and 8 media player, but might need some conversions to view on other platforms.

Best regards,
David Moline
College of Science and Engineering
212 Fluor Daniel Engineering Innovation Building
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634 USA

Serial Number(s) SN # 1 (movement)