Investigating an Observatory Chronometre

I've been playing with my daughter's favorite presentation software in an effort to better communicate, to both the WIS and non-WIS, the sometimes chaotic, sometimes exciting, and always intriguing process of researching a vintage watch.  This effort also introduces a new-to-me V&C Chronometre from 1908.

The slideshow is best viewed full screen, using your keyboard left and right arrows to move through the presentation, or double-click on any single element to view close-up.  I hope you enjoy the show, and please give me your feedback smiley.

Prezi: Investigating an Observatory Chronometre


Investigating an Observatory Chronometre

Alex, as I can't get at the html code, is there is any way to imbed the link into the image?

02/05/2014 - 00:48
Re: Investigating an Observatory Chronometre
02/02/2014 - 19:47
Wow. What an educational and entertaining presentation! Thank you very much, tick-talk, for giving us an example of truly excellent research. I believe it must be included in the Recommended Threads section. Thank you in particular for the fascinating background about Robert Guillaume, and about the observatory trials. Speaking of the latter, I have a question regarding the formulae: In "Total = 300 points (0.75 - m) * 400/3 + (2.5 - p) * 40 + (0.20 - c) * 350 + (5.0 - r) * 6" and "Total = 1000 points (0.50 - m) * 600 + (2.0 - p) * 150 + (0.150 - c) * 2000 + (2.5 - r) * 40," m, d, c, and r are defined, but not p. What is p? (Apologies for the poor format of this post; I am accessing THL from my iPhone 5 and am unable to insert appropriate spaces and paragraphs.)
Re: Re: Investigating an Observatory Chronometre
02/02/2014 - 20:15
(I meant to write C. E. Guillaume, clearly. Thanks, autocorrect!)
"d"eviation or "p"osition, which one?
02/02/2014 - 21:46
Apparently both!  The formulae subsitutes "p" for "mean deviation of position = d" for some reason I cannot fathom, but that is how the Observatoire de Genève has published it: Concours de 1909 a 1927. I believe its a simple typo on their part, as the formula for 1891 uses "d" in both positions.  So, thanks very much for reading the fine details and taking the time to report this apparent contradiction yes.  To improve the comprehension of this presentation, I've changed my text while I await the comments of Monsieur Pernier at the Observatory.  If he reveals some historical information that validates the inclusion of "p" in the formulae, I will get back to you.
Re: "d"eviation or "p"osition, which one?
02/02/2014 - 22:07
I wondered if this might have been the case, but I was loathe to presume . . . thank you for the clarification, and I look forward to learning what Mssr. Pernier might say. But most of all, thank you again for such a fabulous presentation!
The answer is...
02/04/2014 - 17:12
according to a document written by Directeur de l’Observatoire de Genève Prof. Raoul Gauthier in 1910, the correct form was as represented in the formulae surprise where the "p" stands for "changement de position".  The use of "d" in the legend is the misleading element; carried over from 1890 when it was first introduced to represent "Écart moyen de période" but changed in 1891, with the addition of rate resumption, to "Écart moyen de position".  Many thanks to the current Directeur, Bernard Pernier, for a very speedy answer! After this explanation, I feel the only proper response is to amend the legend.
Re: The answer is...
02/05/2014 - 04:04
did indeed come really fast! Yes, it seems the legend will need to be amended to conform to the formulae. Thank you for resolving this curiosity.
Re: The answer is...
02/05/2014 - 04:11
indeed really fast in arrival! Yes, it seems the legend will need to be amended to conform to the formulae. Thank you for resolving this curiosity. (Apologies; I mistakenly tapped "Post Reply" instead of "Preview Reply" and didn't get a chance to check my grammar!)
Wonderfully presented Dean
02/03/2014 - 02:47
Congratulations on another marvelous Observatory Chronometer.  I've read about the Crausaz balance before, but not in nearly the detail that you presented on Carlos himself. I saw the term in one of the auction books, that showed a few Chronometres...at least one of them mentioned a Crausaz balance. Great find and Research! Congrats on a beautiful addition to your collection! BR, Dan
The Art of Vacheron Constantin
02/03/2014 - 17:51
Good memory, Dan smiley.  Lots 44, 45 and 46 of the 1994 Art of Vacheron Constantin sale featured three Observatory Chronometres with Crausaz balances, including this one.  Two progressed into the Concours and received Honorable Mentions.
loved this extremely live and dynamic presentation, great job by
02/03/2014 - 10:11
Lauren and beautiful addition Dean yes
Re: loved this extremely live and dynamic presentation, great job by
02/03/2014 - 17:53
Thanks Alex.  With your chrono, this is going to be a good week for vintage on the forum cool
This is a great presentation, Dean
02/03/2014 - 16:06
You have outdone yourself.  Fascinating information!  I don't think I was aware that palladium had been in use in horology as early as this. Best regards, Robert
Indeed, V&C were pioneers
02/03/2014 - 18:19
in non-magnetic watch designs.  Setting the way-back machine to 2004 and we have the words of ex-CEO Claude Daniel Proellochs on the subject, given to none other than our dear Alex:"We started experimenting with antimagnetism in 1846. These first watches were not like todays with an antimagnetic case surrounding the movement but rather movements made with special materials for the balance, hairsprings, plates etc… In 1852 Vacheron Constantin became member of the Antimagnetic Association to reflect on the problems related to magnetism for engineers and others having a profession bringing them in contact with magnetic fields. In 1915 we produced our first antimagnetic pocket watch. We continued our research and in 1954 we produced our first antimagnetic chronograph." This date of 1915 is contradicted by Cologni in The Secrets of Vacheron Constantin:Although innumerable wristwatches in the first half of the twentieth century were still vulnerable to the pull of the magnetic fields around metallic structures, electrical installations and the new invention of television, the technical staff at Vacheron Constantin had for many years known how to protect the balances, balance springs, and escapements of their chronometers.  In 1846, they had equipped a watch with an experimental bronze balance spring and balance.  In 1862, when the firm was a member of a body dedicated to research into non-magnetic materials, it created its first watches with balance springs made of palladium, followed in 1885 by a movement in which the balance, balance spring, lever body, and wheel were made of a palladium alloy, the lever itself being in bronze and the escape wheel in gold. Palladium was introduced in balance wheels and hairsprings for its antimagnetic properties but over time proved to be inadequate as a hairspring in terms of its elasticity, and it is this component that introduced the most error, hence the rising supremacy of invar and elinvar in the 20th century. Regarding the date of 1915; perhaps up until then V&C considered all of their non-magnetic watches as "experimental"?
I suggested this before but it bears repeating:
02/04/2014 - 01:07
Won't someone see to it that this thread is placed in the Recommended Threads? I am new to THL, but it seems to me that excellent reference material such as this belongs there. Alex, please put me to rights if I have a put a foot wrong here.
Probably not workable with this presentation
02/04/2014 - 05:29
because the content isn't located on this site, it may not always be available for future reference.  I didn't consider that, but can see a work-around by also posting screen shots of each slide.
Re: Probably not workable with this presentation
02/05/2014 - 03:59
Ah, I see. Thank you for the explanation. I like your work-around idea that helps ensure that this thoughtful and thorough research will always be available directly on the site. I really enjoyed the presentation, though, so I'm happy that you decided to play around with your daughter's favourite software! It was my first exposure to Prezi.
Sorry but I'm unable to upload the slides
02/05/2014 - 18:13
Some conflict with the picture uploader causes it to crash with every attempt.  Haven't figured it out as they are simple jpeg images frown
maybe too heavy?
02/05/2014 - 18:20
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Here are the slides...
02/05/2014 - 20:09
Eureka, that did it!  Thanks Alex, I reduced the size and it worked yes.  Unfortunately the text is not searchable, but for the interested few the information is permanently available.
Re: Here are the slides...
02/06/2014 - 07:30
Hats off to the master as usual. Thanks very much for the education Dean.
You might enjoy this too...
02/07/2014 - 02:41
Now that we've fallen off the front page, its time to relax back in the armchair and chat.   I've finally gotten around to cracking the binding on a must-have book for chronometer fans; "Time Restored: The Harrison timekeepers and RT Gould, the man who knew (almost) everything."  John Harrison's ship's chronometers were arguably the most important timepieces ever made and this book chronicles the efforts of the man who discovered them rusting away in the basement of Greenwich Observatory and restored them back to working order. In fact, to work up to this book I first watched the movie "Longitude" available on YouTube.  Based on another must-read book of the same name by Dava Sobel, this dramatization runs two parallel storylines; John Harrison in the mid-18th century as he constructs his chronometers, tests them on several ocean voyages, then fights with the Board of Longitude to receive his due recognition; and Rupert Gould (who Sobel virtually ignored in her book) who found the neglected watches in the 1920s and devoted himself to restoring them while his personal life fell apart around him. Anyway, the point of this post is to share an excerpt from Gould's time as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, studying to be a Navigation Officer and therefor In Charge of Chronometers!  The job was described thusly; "In harbour they led a detached life in some quiet nook, carefully correcting charts with the Admiralty Notices to Mariners...they even escaped the daily Divisions or Church Parade by arranging to wind their chronometers at that time...the Midshipman attached as Assistant Navigator, having collected the key from the keyboard sentry, used to report to the Pilot, generally in the middle of his breakfast, and the two would descend to the gloomy depths where the chronometers lay in state.  Most Pilots wound their clocks in profound silence, but one of the old school made quite a ritual of the daily occasion...every day he would turn to his Tankie (midshipman) and say "Who are the salt of the earth?" and the Tankie was obliged to respond, "the Navigating Branch, sir"...In fact the Sergeant Major of Marines was made responsible for checking with the Navigating Officer at 0900 each day that his officer had done his duty and of subsequently reporting to the Captain "Chronometers wound, Sir".
My compliments for your interesting presentation! It was a pleasure re
02/04/2014 - 19:53
My compliments for your interesting presentation! It was a pleasure reading it.
Thanks for your interest
02/05/2014 - 00:48
Have you finished reading Cologni yet, and are you ready for a vintage V&C?