Question about regulator

Hello experts,

I have a question.  In an effort to better understand the Malte Dual Time Regulator, I was doing some research.  I became curious what the defining characteristic of a Regulator was - the sine qua non for my Latin reading friends.

Is it a mechanism?  i.e. the regulator lever.

Is it a form factor? i.e the separated hour and minute hands

Is it a hallmark of achiceving a threshold of accuracy? simlar to the COSC

Alas, it appears through the vageries of language or simply my lack of understanding, it has come to mean all of these things, depending on how it is used.  So, my friends, my question is this.  When a watch, such as the aforementioned Malte DTR, is given the designation of Regulator, what meaning does this convey and is it broadly accepted, or is it simply up to the Maison to determine how it serves up the name,

Thank you.

06/10/2014 - 19:26
Re: Question about regulator
06/11/2014 - 03:08

I believe the defining characteristic of a "Regulator" is the seperation of the three hands (hours, minutes, and seconds).  The purpose of this seperation is to be able to read each hand more simply and clearly (as will as not have them all on one axis/pinion/wheel, etc. - which may cause very small errors, at least in theory)

But in order for it to live up to it's name of "Regulator", it should also be a very accurate watch, which is why VC added the step of getting the Malte DTR COSC certified.  (Not that other VCs do not/cannot meet "COSC chronometer" stds., but I believe the thought process was that have COSC was consistent with the spirit of a Regulator, though not a clearly defined requirement).

BR, Dan

Thank you Dan. This makes a lot of sense.
06/11/2014 - 08:38

Your thoughts on the separation of the hands and the reasons for doing so are very logical and follow the spirit of Dean's comments below. Thank you. 

Re: Question about regulator
06/11/2014 - 04:28

IIRC from our visit to the Musee International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a "precision regulator" was a tall-case pendulum clock designed to provide reference time so citizens could "regulate" their watches and clocks.  Its unique design was intended to make this function easier.  They seemed to appear mid-19th century and the best adapted electromagnetic movements just prior to 1900.  One such electric regulator, by Perret and Rosat circa 1901, would transmit the correct time by telegraph from the Neuchatel Observatory to the entire Jura and, according to the catalog notes, had a daily variation of only 3/100 sec!  FWIW, Invar was first used with these clocks, as developed by Dr. Guillaume.

Spring-driven watches would continue the look of the classic regulators, implying a precision timekeeper.  And some truly were...

 Question about regulator

Regulator defined
06/11/2014 - 05:15

Sorry, I should have consulted it first but the Dictionnaire professionnel illustre de l'horlogerie has this to say about regulators:

A precision clock used by watchmakers for verifying the rate of watches.  Regulators first appeared in the lat 17th century; they were fitted with seconds-pendulums, and their only object was precision.  For a long time, regulators were regarded as the most accurate of all timekeepers.

Great input Dean.
06/11/2014 - 08:43

So it seems, based on the definitive source, that wristwatch "regulators" are the spiritual descendants, rather than the purely literal ones, of these early pendulum fitted clocks. It seems that precision is really the essence of the matter and that some of the aesthetic commonalities help to identify them and perhaps make them easier to read and hep ensure their precision, as Dan says above.  Thank you for the help understanding this. Makes sense now.

i love the idea of a clock being set up to telegraph the time out. The ideological ancestor of the atomic clock?

Practical check
06/11/2014 - 13:59

The second hand needs to be adjusted over the axis of the escapement wheel, the minute hand over the axis of the center wheel, the hour hand over the axis of the barrel. Some are called regulators even without this architecture but to me (at least those without this configuration for seconds and minutes) they shouldn't be considered so.

Very interesting!
06/11/2014 - 17:56

Thank you for that bit of information.