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My Harwood automatic watch

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I'd been researching John Harwood as he was also born in Bolton and is the inventor of the automatic wristwatch.  Unfortunately he has never received the widespread recognition he deserved.  Amongst h

If I may add to an already excellent post, John Harwood was indeed a gifted inventor & watchmaker. During military service in WW1 he soon realised the ingress dirt & moisture via the wind

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 t

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On 03/09/2016 at 08:38, Karrusel said:


However, I think it is fair to note that Abraham-Louis Perrelet & Hubert Sarton had designed automatic systems (oscillating weight as opposed to rotors)  before Breguet.


Unless, it seems, Hubert Sarton, on p18 of the 1789 document Description Abrégée de Plusieurs Pièces d’Horlogerie,  was describing The Leroy Watch  (currently in the Patek Phillippe museum), as suggested, and strongly argued may be the case, by Richard Watkins (Auth & Pub) in his book The Origins Of Self-Winding Watches 1773 - 1779  (2013). downloaded  here:  http://www.antique-horology.org/_Editorial/Watkins-TheOriginsOfSelf-WindingWatches.pdf).  Watkins quotes Sarton thus:

"Watch with Spontaneous Movement. This watch, which is wound by only the movement that it receives while being carried, was also subjected to the judgment of the Academy of Science of Paris [in 1778] which declared that the author had cured very well the disadvantages and variations caused in other watches of this kind by the winding mechanism;"   

I have read that one of those 'variations' is due to the force of a swinging winding 'hammer' striking the stops, the vibrations due to which can cause the watch movement to stutter, but which a rotor design overcomes.

It's funny, because the next chapter in my Harwood saga (well chapter 1, technically, because the first chapter was an introduction), now well under way, is about who makes watches.  And I was thinking (though I am all for the polymath) about who makes an astronomical clock or watch?  An astronomer might understand orbits, harmonic motion, springs, the trigonometry of gears even, but that does not make him a watchmaker.  And a watchmaker may understand harmonic motion and know how to derive planetary wheels, and knurls, and be able to machine staffs and bearings, and adjust a rate, but it does not make him an astronomer.  So I could foresee a situation where a designer might go to a watchmaker to get something made - and pay the watchmaker for the work - but is that the same as 'buying a watch'?  

Anyway, Watkins, in the same book, p153 is certain that there are probably two possibilities (I worked on that phrase a long time to derive maximum irony):

[either] "Before July 1778, Hubert Sarton bought several self-winding watches made and designed by Abram Louys Perrelet. In December he submitted one of these watches to the Paris Académie des Sciences. It was a self-winding watch with rotor, fusee and chain, and verge escapement."

[or]  "Before July 1778, Hubert Sarton had several self-winding watches made by Abram Louys Perrelet to Sarton’s design. In December he submitted one of these watches to the Paris Académie des Sciences. It was a self-winding watch with rotor, fusee and chain, and verge escapement."

There is a drawing of the rotor movement dated 1778 (bi-directional winding even) on p61 of Watkins (ibid) - this drawing did not turn up until 2009.  I think the writing on the rotor may say 'contrepoix' which must be counter-weight (I worked that out from all those jars of pickled French oysters I consume with Poids Net on the side - big delicacy in Rochdale, pickled oysters)  


I don't know how the manuscript was matched to the rest of the report, and I have not dissected Watkins yet, though I am assured the drawing is technically identical to The Leroy Watch, photos of which are on p63.

His book does have a great explanation of planetary gears too, for beginners like me, before expanding on the original pen and ink with (his own?) sketches on P70 and 71.

You have to get the English version of Chapuis and Jaquet History of The Self-Winding Watch to read more fully about the 1778 Paris Academy report, and mine arrived today so I have not yet indulged.  Only an addendum leaf went into the French version between pp 62 and 63.  If I had known Chapuis and Jaquet were largely 'sponsored' by Wilsdorf (and a few thousand copies printed by Rolex) I might not have splashed out, since I was mainly interested in the few pages allocated to Harwood at the end.  Not read them yet so mustn't pre-judge.

As usual, more than happy to have my sources questioned and propositions refuted.  My Chapter 2 might even be simply a list of outrageous null hypotheses!


Jetus Jetskietscus.  (I am feeling Latin dialled today)

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