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ajdh

My Harwood automatic watch

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1 hour ago, Caller said:

That's a great pic! If you don't mind, could you explain a bit more about the bumpers and how the whole thing works compared to a rotor? Apologies if asking too much.

On the edited image below, I've tried to isolate the moving semi-rotor (I couldn't think of a better term) by removing the colour from the rest of the movement.  This sweeps until they hit the block, just above the patent number.  The bumpers  (ringed in red)at the ends take up the shock of the impact and the movement winds the watch.  The rather clumsy red arrows show the directions of movement.  As there's no crown, moving the watch is the only way of winding it.

P1020769_1400_mono2_zps1faby84b.jpg

20 minutes ago, Alan R. Handley said:

Great pic of your Harwood ajdh.

You have captured the perlage beautifully, this type is indicative of movements manufactured in Switzerland unlike the movements made under licence in America.

 

The watches are deemed so exceptional so as to be placed on permanent display in the British Museum & the International Horology Museum in La Chaux de Fonds.

Your local museum's loss.

 

Happy to explain the differences on bumper/rotor idiosyncrasies but let adjh have the opportunity as he started this marvellous post.

 

Alan

 

 

Alan,

 

Please chip in with any further information.  You may know more of the complexities of the movement than I do.

 

Adrian

Edited by ajdh
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Thanks Adrian

Your pics show the bumper stops (pistons) nicely, as opposed to later manufactures using springs on end of rotor.

 

Harwood design only swung through 180-200 degrees and the pawl gear only wound in one direction.

 

Rolex developed this invention and their early rotor swung through 300 degrees then latterly 360 degrees, winding in both directions.

 

In the 1940's Felsa started mounting the rotor pivot in a jewel for their Bidynator series.

 

In 1948 Eterna made the next significant change to auto rotors by adding 5 ball bearings to the pivot rotor (eternamtic) so as to reduce wear & servicing.

 

Owners of bumper automatics can feel the rotor swinging when the rotor hits the stops, hence the term 'bumper'.

 

Hope my sixpenny worth has helped, there are some marvellous 'bumpers' out there and well worth saving.

 

Alan

 

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Here is an earlier patent for a fully rotating rotor design.

 

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=US&NR=1853637A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=19320412&DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&locale=en_EP

 

As you can see, Max Reiner filed this patent in January 1929, and granted in early 1932. This is before Rolex got their patent.

The patent (Max Reiner filed a total of five self-winding patents) was assigned to the Perpetual Self Winding Watch Corporation, a company owned by Emil Frey.

Why Frey went for the "Wig Wag" watch with a less efficient pendulum design is anyone's guess, when the rotor was much better.

 

I recently found a patent for a "self-winding" wrist watch patented in 1890, if anyone is interested I can post articles relating to the watch, I found these a couple of years ago.

 

Cheers, Bob.

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Good Evening Bob

 

Thank you for your contribution on auto watches.

I believe the wig wag movement was originally used by leon Hatot, French Jeweller, his watches were usually highly jeweled & made of platinum.  This was after John Harwood had registered his design in 1923, granted in 1924.

Blancpain & Le Coultre produced these movements for Hatot but proved unreliable.

 

The Perpetual Self Winding Watch Company were granted a licence to produce Harwood watches in America.

The American produced Harwoods are invariably nickel plated with an engraved decoration on the outside edge of watchcase & the movements less decorated.

 

Emil Frey left Switzerland and became the first Swiss ambassador in America.

 

I would be interested in any information you may have on Max Reiner designs ever been manufactured or any other earlier designs/patents, please keep me posted.

 

The more I learn the more I realise how little I know!

 

Alan

 

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Hi Alan, thanks for your interest and reply.

I think Harwood's US company was the Perpetual Watch Company, and Frey used the name Perpetual Self Winding Watch Corporation later, probably when the Harwood company name was no longer in use.

 

American Harwood designed watches also made gold and gold plated cases, there is at least one example in the NAWCC museum.

Here is the patent for the Emil Frey self winding watch:   https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=US&NR=1891760A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=19321220&DB=&locale=en_EP

It was developed using the Max Reiner design (patent pending, no. 489541), as mentioned on page two of the above patent.

I thought Hatot was the Wig Wag, but I was mistaken, thanks for the correction. The Wig Wag was patented by Louis Muller in 1931:   https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=DE&NR=529785C&KC=C&FT=D&ND=3&date=19310716&DB=&locale=en_EP

 

Bulova also had several patents for self winding watches in the early thirties, at least two were made. One used the Wig Wag design, and the other the Wyler design, using a "bellows" method. An actual copy of the Wyler patent I cannot find, perhaps it was Bulova who actually patented it?

 

Let's not forget that L. Leroy had made several self winding wrist watches as early as 1922, long before Harwood.

On page 20 of this link, you can see one of the actual watches, at least four have been seen.

http://www.montres-leroy.com/pdf/leroy_cat_prod_corr_EN.pdf

 

Here is the patent for a self winding watch from 1890:  https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=US&NR=442377A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=18901209&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP

It does not actually wind itself, but it was a great design nevertheless!

Here is the illustration.

 

1890_t_g_hull_automatic_wristwatch.jpg

 

 

 

Here are several articles from 1890 newspapers that mention the watch. One actually tells of someone owning an example, and another mentions that they are available in different styles, so we know this watch existed and was not just a "drawing board" design.

 

 

1890_dodge_city_time_october_31.jpg

1890_s_wind.jpg

 

1890_syracuse_ny_daily_standard.jpg

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Bob.

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I forgot to post this excerpt from a circa 1940 publication on US taxation tarrifs.

It gives a possible reason why hardly any of the early designs for self winding watches were either never made, or rarely imported.

A little dry I know, but it is great information.

 

 

selfwindingtax1940.jpg

 

 

Thanks, Bob.

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I would like to correct my statements regarding the Bulova self winding watches.

There are actually three known models made, one uses the Wyler type which was a pendulum, patent no. is 166643, but I cannot find the actual patent.

Another uses a bellows method with a post inside, can't remeber the patent for this design. Yet another uses the "Wig Wag" design, where the movement slides inside the case.

Here are two of the three.

Wyler style.

 

 

1935_BULLY_AUTO.jpg

1935_BULLY_AUTO2.jpg

1935_BULLY_AUTO5.jpg

 

 

 

Here is the bellows type, there are a couple of examples of this style known of.

 

 

1930_s_bulova_auto_2.jpg

1930_s_bulova_auto_7.jpg

 

 

Like I say, there is yet another one using the wigwag design, the only known example has had the dial refinished as "Bucherer", but the movement is signed Bulova.

 

Cheers, Bob.

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Thanks Bob, your input is most welcome & informative.

 

Not forgetting Adrian for starting this illuminating post on Harwood's automatic wristwatch.

We will leave Harwoods patent for the rectangular 'Autorist' watch, wound the watch by movement of the watch strap till later.

 

Thanks again Adrian.

 

 

Alan

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Wow, this subject is really being pushed forward and I can't wait to catch up on it all. But as it's past 11pm here after a fair old day's travel, it can wait until the morning to be given the attention it deserves!

Adrian, thanks for the explanation, which I can actually understand! Sadly, your photo has gone AWOL.

Phil

Edited by Caller

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2 minutes ago, Caller said:

Wow, this subject is really being pushed forward and I can't wait to catch up on it all. But as it's past 11pm here after a fair old day's travel, it can wait until the morning to be given the attention it deserves!

Adrian, thanks for the explanation, which I can actually understand! Sadly, your photo has gone AWOL.

Phil

The pictures are still showing here, it must be your Internet provider.

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You're probably right, I'm using my laptop via my phone in deepest, darkest Thailand! But everything else is there, just a cross where yours should be. Back in Bkk on Saturday, so I'm sure it will be fine then. Thanks again for such a detailed reply. :thumbsup:

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Continuing @ajdh original post, here are images of my example.

Like to think our examples are superior to the one on permanent display in the British Museum? :whistle:

What do you think?

Alanlarge.FSCN0031.JPGlarge.FSCN0026.JPGlarge.FSCN0034.JPG 

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On 02/11/2016 at 09:32, Karrusel said:

Continuing @ajdh original post, here are images of my example.

Like to think our examples are superior to the one on permanent display in the British Museum? :whistle:

What do you think?

Alanlarge.FSCN0031.JPGlarge.FSCN0026.JPGlarge.FSCN0034.JPG 

 

 

 

Karrusel, that watch is stunning!

I like your use of a star filter, the results are amazing. Must try on watch pics...  :-)

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Hi. All. Noticed this thread since I bought a harwood watch a couple of days ago. The dial is black with lume hands and markers. The dial at 12 has a brand name Permax, done search on the web with no success. I am thinking that this maybe a company issue. Any body any thoughts. The watch cost me £100.00 and working OK sets as it should. Thanks in advance. John.

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On 02/09/2016 at 17:45, Karrusel said:

Apologies if have sent anyone to sleep.

I think you did the watch a disservice - I think I could bore someone for at least 90 minutes about a watch of this calibre, but you redeemed yourself a bit with the follow up post and 'Columbo style' "There is one more thing ..."

One question though, what are spares like - I am hoping that, being based on an AS movement, not too bad, and some will still be ticking if I ever decide I have enough money for a wild purchase, and that if I was lucky enough to find one, I would hope that a watchmaker could keep it maintained.

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2 hours ago, Jet Jetski said:

One question though, what are spares like - I am hoping that, being based on an AS movement, not too bad, and some will still be ticking if I ever decide I have enough money for a wild purchase, and that if I was lucky enough to find one, I would hope that a watchmaker could keep it maintained.

Spares are few & far between, you most definitely need a donor (spares) movement & the services, should you require it, of a 'competent watchmaker' at your disposal.

The two principal bespoke movements Anton Schild built for John Harwood were the 350 & 475.  He developed these after seeing Harwood's hand built prototype.

I would imagine most of any surviving, original, working examples, are now in museums, private collections, around the world.

Be wary of any shiny, unblemished (cases & dials in particular), as there are a few refinished, marriages, F****, out there!  

I waited years & handled several till finally being happy with my selection. 

 

Further info:

John Harwood initially struggled in obtaining financing to develop this new invention, it was only when Walter Vogt (Fortis), Anton Schild SA, & Frederic-Emile Blancpain, who were all close friends & collaborated regularly, recognised the merits in this invention.

Fortis took on the first production with Anton Schild movements, although the first few dozen were hand assembled by John Harwood himself.  Blancpain commenced their production in 1928.

Another unique Harwood invention (1930) was the even scarcer AUTORIST, another concept taken up by Walter Vogt.  Till recently only ever seen the AUTORIST in museums, but was able to purchase an unadulterated example for myself...

 21J0D4i.jpg

i4q6mUD.mp4

7nLrr9g.jpg

Have been fortunate over the years to collaborate & forge friendships with those more knowledgable than myself, in particular JB, who have afforded me every assistance without hesitation.  It was on one of my visits there that I was honoured to be shown John Harwoods first prototype.

Vintage timepieces & their history is much more fun!

:thumbsup:

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20 hours ago, Karrusel said:

handled several till finally being happy

Somewhat further down the food chain, I do keep looking at all the vintage watches coming along in the 'Strela' family to feel happy about my Poljot - if it has been assembled from spares, at least someone took the time not to bodge it up too badly!  Not that there is likely to be an 'excerpt from the archives', of course.

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