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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When is a door a jar? It is with some mystification that I read posts claiming that the Seiko Spring Drive is not a true mechanical watch, horologically speaking, of course. I must admit that I haven’t an unbiased view on this matter, especially in light of my more knowledgeable peers. However, (let’s just throw the fat on the fire) one might make the case that a nice new Nikon SLR with its many electronic features is not a real camera. A closer analogy would be the replacement of the distributor, points and capacitor in most modern automobile engines with electronic ignition. Does this addition make them electric cars? My view is that a main spring does indeed drive the hands of my Ananta and the lack of an escapement does not alter this fact. If a battery or capacitor were the source of stored energy, then I would concede that the Spring Drive was not a true mechanical watch. Such is not the case. Opined with respect

Uglyone4u
 

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This is, in my opinion, a silly "argument" that people keep having on watch forums.

Who cares?

Nobody can argue that a Spring Drive is a fully-mechanical watch.

Likewise, nobody can argue that it's "just" a quartz.

Why is it so necessary to haters to label it one way, and to lovers to label it another?

It's its own animal. And a fabulous one, at that.
 

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I agree with Mark. The arguments posted by some in the past have polarized WIS community more than encouraging interest and watch keeping. I see Spring Drive as a class of it's own. Many others hold to this as well. It's is a great development for horolorgie, considering the old watchmakers were engineers seeking to build a more accurate and reliable timing tool. Unfortunately the watch making industry today seems like reruns that is repackaged in new formats. So I think SD is really cool. My gripes with it is that Seiko have not introduce new complications to Spring Drive since...I cant remember. And it is a rather thick movement too.
 

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If you must put a label on it, why not just call it a hybrid and move on?

Mark is right that this is one of the most repeated arguments on watch forums. If you've been around for a while, there's a dozen and a half subjects that you hope don't come up again but they inevitably do. Know what a moderator's problem is? We can't ignore it because we have to police it. Luckily Watch Talk Forums is populated by more civilized members so I hope it stays peaceful.


..... but if not, let me just say:

 

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ulackfocus said:
If you must put a label on it, why not just call it a hybrid and move on?

Mark is right that this is one of the most repeated arguments on watch forums. If you've been around for a while, there's a dozen and a half subjects that you hope don't come up again but they inevitably do. Know what a moderator's problem is? We can't ignore it because we have to police it. Luckily Watch Talk Forums is populated by more civilized members so I hope it stays peaceful.

..... but if not, let me just say:
Aren't you a mod? Lol. I like the spring drive. You guys are right on. if you like it, who cares?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
poking the beehive

Really gentlemen (and Ladies?), I posted this thread to poke at the beehive of stodginess surrounding an overall tendency of resistance to change. "Get a horse!" was the alost immediate response to the automobile. Watchmakers have been trying for many years to increase the reliability of the escapement, hence the turbillion. Now there tri-axis turbillions offered at runious cost and of dubious effectiveness. Seiko finally solves this problem, only to be set aside as an "other kind"...Really?

uglyone4u

p.s. poke poke
p.p.s. There is a jillion complication Patek pocket watch that last sold for over $1,000,000 and is nearly as thick as it is wide. what is too thick? poke poke
 

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Really gentlemen (and Ladies?), I posted this thread to poke at the beehive of stodginess surrounding an overall tendency of resistance to change. "Get a horse!" was the alost immediate response to the automobile. Watchmakers have been trying for many years to increase the reliability of the escapement, hence the turbillion. Now there tri-axis turbillions offered at runious cost and of dubious effectiveness. Seiko finally solves this problem, only to be set aside as an "other kind"...Really?

uglyone4u

p.s. poke poke
p.p.s. There is a jillion complication Patek pocket watch that last sold for over $1,000,000 and is nearly as thick as it is wide. what is too thick? poke poke
Uh, what kind of response were you looking to get? :confused1: This last post makes me wonder if you're trolling. :blink: Yes, it's a new twist to combine a mechanical movement with a quartz regulator. Should I schedule a parade? :eek:hmy::huh: What is it you want?
 

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ulackfocus said:
uh, what kind of response were you looking to get? :confused1: This last post makes me wonder if you're trolling. :blink: Yes, it's a new twist to combine a mechanical movement with a quartz regulator. Should i schedule a parade? :eek:hmy::huh: What is it you want?
rofl!
 

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RE Seiko Spring Drive

Hi I have owned a seiko moonphase spring drive for around 3 weeks it has not lost a second. it is more accurate than my bulova precissionist
 

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When is a door a jar? It is with some mystification that I read posts claiming that the Seiko Spring Drive is not a true mechanical watch, horologically speaking, of course. I must admit that I haven’t an unbiased view on this matter, especially in light of my more knowledgeable peers. However, (let’s just throw the fat on the fire) one might make the case that a nice new Nikon SLR with its many electronic features is not a real camera. A closer analogy would be the replacement of the distributor, points and capacitor in most modern automobile engines with electronic ignition. Does this addition make them electric cars? My view is that a main spring does indeed drive the hands of my Ananta and the lack of an escapement does not alter this fact. If a battery or capacitor were the source of stored energy, then I would concede that the Spring Drive was not a true mechanical watch. Such is not the case. Opined with respect

Uglyone4u
I have probably been one of the most vocal about this subject on several forums.
Many threads have come up and I have felt obliged to respond to nearly all of them.

My stance is that the SD is a perfect blend of the best mechanical technology with the best; and most innovative thinking; of electronic wizardry.
Seiko has managed to create a mechanical watch that has the accuracy of a quartz movement.

The big difference between the purely mechanical and the quartz is how Seiko did it.
The SD is unquestionably powered by a spring; one that has the capability to store up to 72 hours of energy.

Where the SD separates itself from the purely mechanical and the purely electronic calibres is how it uses the energy from the spring to drive a complicated electromechanical system to keep time.

Seiko developed what it calls the 'tri syncro regulator'. This is a system that basically incorporates an electromechanical generator, an electronic regulating circuit and a quartz reference.
None of these features translates to any previous watch movement systems.

In the SD, the balance wheel is replace with a 'glide wheel' that spins continuously in one direction at 8 revolutions per second. This is driven by the spring and is purely mechanical.
The glide wheel spins in close proximity to a pair of coils. One of these coils is sensitive to a magnetic source on the glide wheel. The other is used as an electronic 'brake'.

The spinning glide wheel, through it's magnetic pick up and the adjacent coil, generates 8 electric pulses per second. These pulses are 'read' by the electronic circuitry and compared to a signal generated by a VCO(voltage controlled oscillator) whose output is also at 8 pulses per second.

When a difference is detected by the pulses produced by the glide wheel and those from the VCO; a signal is sent to the 'braking coil' to either slow the glide wheel or allow it to speed up, there by maintaining a constant speed and accurate time.

In this simple state, the SD could/would still be able to maintain excellent time keeping as would any mechanical or quartz movement.
But, the SD 'tri syncro regulator' system goes one step further...it incorporates an extremely accurate check system that can and does counter the effects of gravity and g-forces upon the glide wheel.

A quartz crystal is used to provide an very accurate reference that the 'tri syncro regulator' uses to compare the glide wheel speed and the VCO output. The 'tri syncro regulator' tabulates or compares the differences between the crystal frequency and the glide wheel speed to come up with a correction factor. At some predetermined difference count; the regulator will either speed up or slow down the glide wheel to correct for the differences.

This is why the SD has been shown to keep 'quartz like' time and in most cases surpass any printed specifications for the various SD movements.

SD technology is neither pure mechanical nor pure electronic.
The SD is truly a hybrid technology. It incorporates state of the are mechanical systems and bleeding edge electronic genius to produce a watch movement that will NEVER need a battery; has superior( to mechanical and many quartz) time keeping and will be around long after quartz watches gave disappeared from the scene :001_smile:
 

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Great explanation re the Spring Drive technology, Archie.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the technology was a continuous effort by Seiko over a 28 year period, a very long time. The interesting part about that is a lot of business models wouldn't have allowed that to happen. Seiko's a family business, with lineal descendants continuing programs like Spring Drive.
The CEO's in a lot of corporations are in and out, "enrich" themselves and are gone, sometimes with no long term thinking. Thanks again.
 

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A better controversy....

than "is SD mechanical or quartz?" is "who really invented Spring Drive?" Most would immediately say "Seiko," of course, but this point has been debated on other forums. A Swiss research group, the forerunner of ASULAB, experimented with a very similar technology in the 1970s, and there is at least one watch-forum person who feels that a patent granted to this group definitively establishes the Swiss as the true inventors, even though they never brought the project through to commercialization.
 

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there is at least one watch-forum person who feels that a patent granted to this group definitively establishes the Swiss as the true inventors
Some people think the Earth is flat, which is about as credible as that guy's crusade that Seiko stole Spring Drive from the Swiss.
 

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Patents aside...

I think we agree on that, Mark. It would, however, be nice to see someone who understands patents weigh in.
Ingersoll built a prototype long before the Swiss or Japanese ever thought about it...


Obviously, this was way before the advent of electronics in watches but it does have the hallmark glide wheel and the magnetic brake of the Spring Drive. :thumbup1:
 

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I think we agree on that, Mark. It would, however, be nice to see someone who understands patents weigh in.
I certainly would be interested to hear from someone who understands the Spring Drive patents enough to say how they're related (or not) to the one he keeps dredging up. But I am quite sure that any relationship is quite attenuated, or Seiko never would have obtained (or kept) patents. It's certainly possible that someone had the idea of generating power from a spring, to drive the quartz time-keeping mechanism, before Seiko, but it's unlikely--to the point of practically impossible--that Seiko "stole" anything that's now included in their patented technology.
 

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I certainly would be interested to hear from someone who understands the Spring Drive patents enough to say how they're related (or not) to the one he keeps dredging up. But I am quite sure that any relationship is quite attenuated, or Seiko never would have obtained (or kept) patents. It's certainly possible that someone had the idea of generating power from a spring, to drive the quartz time-keeping mechanism, before Seiko, but it's unlikely--to the point of practically impossible--that Seiko "stole" anything that's now included in their patented technology.
I don't know the individual referenced and I really don't know which patents take/took precedence but I do know that both have very similar solutions to regulating the glide wheel.
And neither of them is a quartz controlled module. Read the patents and you will see that both have electromechanical/electronic regulation that is achieved by the use of a VCO(voltage controlled oscillator) that compares it's output to the pulses generated by the glide wheel and it's corresponding coil.

Both of these movements would be excellent time keepers in this basic format but both designs added a quartz reference that does nothing more than provide a stable frequency that the regulator can use to add or subtract variations in the glide wheel frequency due to gravity, g-forces and probably temperature.

These calibers could run perfectly well without the fine tuning provided by the quartz reference...unlike a quartz watch that is actually driven and dependent on the quartz crystal to even function.

As with nearly every 1st that Seiko has introduced to the market; they were only the first to introduce them...maybe not the first to design them. These arguements have been going one for decades and even a couple of hundred years...think the Wright Brothers, Galileo, Marconi or Farnsworth.

It doesn't really matter who was first; what matters is that today we have the fruits of their labours; the Spring Drive!
 

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I don't know the individual referenced and I really don't know which patents take/took precedence but I do know that both have very similar solutions to regulating the glide wheel.
And neither of them is a quartz controlled module. Read the patents and you will see that both have electromechanical/electronic regulation that is achieved by the use of a VCO(voltage controlled oscillator) that compares it's output to the pulses generated by the glide wheel and it's corresponding coil.

Both of these movements would be excellent time keepers in this basic format but both designs added a quartz reference that does nothing more than provide a stable frequency that the regulator can use to add or subtract variations in the glide wheel frequency due to gravity, g-forces and probably temperature.

These calibers could run perfectly well without the fine tuning provided by the quartz reference...unlike a quartz watch that is actually driven and dependent on the quartz crystal to even function.

As with nearly every 1st that Seiko has introduced to the market; they were only the first to introduce them...maybe not the first to design them. These arguements have been going one for decades and even a couple of hundred years...think the Wright Brothers, Galileo, Marconi or Farnsworth.

It doesn't really matter who was first; what matters is that today we have the fruits of their labours; the Spring Drive!
Interesting points, Archie. Let's consider them in a little more detail.

1. First it does matter--to many of us--who was first, just as it matters generally to get history right. Sure, lots of folks couldn't care less, being interested solely in the products. There are, however, lots of WIS who enjoy learning the history and finest details of their watches.

2. Patents like that to Ingersoll (about which I was unaware) really aren't relevant, in my opinion, to the current conversation about the origins of Spring Drive. I suppose we could also say that Canadian-born Warren Marrison was the originator of the quartz watch (and subsequently of Spring Drive) because he built--according to the Smithsonian--the first quartz clock in 1927, but we don't for obvious reasons. The most noteworthy elements of Spring Drive are (a) the mechanical power source and (b) quartz time-keeping feature. It is, after all, these elements that started this thread! The two lines of research we have been discussing both used the quartz time-keeping notion--both the Swiss research group and Seiko. There is no disputing your point that "These calibers could run perfectly well without the fine tuning provided by the quartz reference" (that has been discussed on other forums), but it is generally conceded that they would not run with much precision.

3. I think that your comment that "As with nearly every 1st that Seiko has introduced to the market; they were only the first to introduce them...maybe not the first to design them" is way off the mark. But that's just my opinion--albeit based on some reading about modern watch developments. The Swiss watch-lovers (and perhaps the Swiss watch makers too) are fond of stating this point , but careful research usually proves them wrong.
 

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Interesting points, Archie. Let's consider them in a little more detail.

1. First it does matter--to many of us--who was first, just as it matters generally to get history right. Sure, lots of folks couldn't care less, being interested solely in the products. There are, however, lots of WIS who enjoy learning the history and finest details of their watches.

2. Patents like that to Ingersoll (about which I was unaware) really aren't relevant, in my opinion, to the current conversation about the origins of Spring Drive. I suppose we could also say that Canadian-born Warren Marrison was the originator of the quartz watch (and subsequently of Spring Drive) because he built--according to the Smithsonian--the first quartz clock in 1927, but we don't for obvious reasons. The most noteworthy elements of Spring Drive are (a) the mechanical power source and (b) quartz time-keeping feature. It is, after all, these elements that started this thread! The two lines of research we have been discussing both used the quartz time-keeping notion--both the Swiss research group and Seiko. There is no disputing your point that "These calibers could run perfectly well without the fine tuning provided by the quartz reference" (that has been discussed on other forums), but it is generally conceded that they would not run with much precision.

3. I think that your comment that "As with nearly every 1st that Seiko has introduced to the market; they were only the first to introduce them...maybe not the first to design them" is way off the mark. But that's just my opinion--albeit based on some reading about modern watch developments. The Swiss watch-lovers (and perhaps the Swiss watch makers too) are fond of stating this point , but careful research usually proves them wrong.
1. Certainly, it is of interest but since it didn't make any difference(Seiko was first to market) it really is irrelevant who designed what first.

2. I don't know if Ingersoll actually patented it or not but it is totally relevant because the design has the two main features that define a spring drive; a glide wheel instead of a balance and it has a regulating system for that glide wheel. It doesn't matter if one uses a fixed magnet and the other an electromagnet for control; the basic system is the same.

Without the quartz reference, the SD would perform as well as any other non compensated movement with respect to gravity, g-forces or temperature variations. It gets it's 'leg up' over other systems by having a solid and reliable reference to make comparisons and accumulate offsets for future regulation.

3. Why 'way off'? The HPM timeline is very close to the Spring Drive development back in the beginning. It's really no different than Seiko bringing quartz to the market first; the Swiss were actively designing quartz movements art the same time. We are not likely to ever know who started first; all we know for sure is who got to market first and in the world of business, that does matter :wink:
 

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Pender has it exactly right; the key to Spring Drive is the combination of quartz time-keeping and spring-driven (no battery or other external power source).

Without those two features, no other "invention" can be part of the discussion, IMO; as soon as you stray from that, you might as well say that Harrison invented it, cuz he invented the first portable, highly-accurate clock.
 
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