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Thread: Inform the noob 21600 bph vs 28000 bph

  1. #1
    Member Munchie's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
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    Question Inform the noob 21600 bph vs 28000 bph

    On another current thread Geofbot was lamenting that there not enough noobs to impart knowledge to and others were commenting on the knowledge bank here in the membership of IWL.

    So in light of that please educate me - What are the benefits, if there are any, of one type of movement over the other - apart from a smoother second hand?


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  3. #2
    The ticking of a 21,600 sounds nicer
    Last edited by Der Amf; Jan 17, 2015 at 07:06 PM.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I'm a noob myself. Shouldn't a slower beat rate mean a higher power reserve?

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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylanh99 View Post
    I'm a noob myself. Shouldn't a slower beat rate mean a higher power reserve?
    In the general all things equal kinda way you are correct, but often high beat movements are built with multiple barrels or longer mainsprings and or use techniques to reduce friction etc.

    The pros and cons of higher beat rates are pretty contentious. There is the theory that higher beat rates equal potentially better accuracy but this doesn't usually pan out in practice. The tightest accuracy standards for current watches are from a company that uses 28.8K beat rates. On the con side one has to reduce friction and/or increase the potential energy stored to equal the power reserve of a slower beat rate and again unless extra measures are taken to reduce friction some parts in the higher beat movement will wear faster.

    In my opinion high beat rates (built at the same standard) get one very little in the practical world, just more buzz less tick.
    ALS Blancpain Breguet Hamilton IWC JLC Omega Panerai Patek Rolex Tag Tudor Seiko Sinn UN Vacheron
    It's wack if it don't say Patek!
    Stealin' lunch money on school playgrounds for Rolex since 1978

  7. #5
    In terms of the power reserve point, I can give you a real life example. My Breguet Marine has an F. Piguet 1150 movement, which is also used in a variety of watches from Blancpain, Chopard and others. In those brands, it runs at 21600, giving it around 100 hours of power reserve, or 72 hours with a big date complication. Breguet chose to modify the movement to run at 28800, and the power reserve is rated at 65 hours (with a big date complication).

    Personally, from an aesthetic point of view, my favorite rate is 18000. Even if it's less accurate, I love the articulation of the ticking. Sounds like slow motion compared to my Zenith 36'000 VPH...

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  9. #6
    I once asked a question on this subject back on the old place and got some interesting answers (mostly on page two):

    In fact I asked it in two different places. Some good answers here too:

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  11. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    Personally, from an aesthetic point of view, my favorite rate is 18000.
    For me there is nothing more soothing than the 18K beat of a 6497 even the 21600 of a 6497-2 is still very nice.
    ALS Blancpain Breguet Hamilton IWC JLC Omega Panerai Patek Rolex Tag Tudor Seiko Sinn UN Vacheron
    It's wack if it don't say Patek!
    Stealin' lunch money on school playgrounds for Rolex since 1978

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  13. #8

    I like my 649*'s

  14. #9
    This is one of those 'piece of string' problems in which the words 'all things being equal' eventually come to play a major part.

    So let's break the problem down into a few separate parts and examine them independently.

    First, let's imagine a perfect watch: It is perfectly poised, perfectly balanced and so on. In this watch, positional variation has been, to all intents and purposes, eliminated. If gravity has no effect on it, you would expect that acceleration and rotation would have no effect on it as well.

    However, there is a problem. As anyone who has driven an old car will know, there are some rattles that occur at very specific engine speeds. These rattles happen because the vibration from the engine hits the frequency at which the thing that rattles rattles, and so it will rattle away in harmony. (and on my car it's a slightly loose exhaust heat shield). There will be a frequency range in which the heat shield responds to the vibration. vibration outside of that range will not much effect it. You can get the same effect with guitar or piano strings and an experienced tuner can use the way that the two strings interfere with each other to fine tune the instrument. So why is this a problem for watches?

    You can begin to imagine why there is a problem most clearly with an old fashioned pendulum clock.

    Here's one I prepared earlier:

    In a house it ticks precisely once a second and can manage accuracy of a few seconds a month. However, now imagine it in a ship pitching or rolling sharply once a second. Obviously as the pendulum is tuned to swing once a second, this pitching will effect the pendulum a lot as it is at precisely the frequency it responds to This is one of the reasons why you don't tend to see pendulum clocks on ships. They don't work.

    This was something that clock makers rapidly got around - rather than using a pendulum (which is badly effected by acceleration in a straight line) as a resonator, they started using a resonator that rotated rather than swinging - a balance. As the acceleration and deceleration of this resonator was rotational it was less effected by the effects of pitching and rolling,

    Obviously a ship pitching and tossing is still slightly rotational but the arcs are so big that the effect is more like linear acceleration. However, It's worth noting that a ship's chronometer will always hold the balance flat and in gimbals to minimise even this small effect. The reason it is flat is to avoid it being in the same rotational plane as the majority of rotation - imagine a chronometer with the balance at the vertical and the pivots pointing fore and aft - in this position any rolling action will have the maximum effect.

    So to return to wrist watches and the problem. Obviously a wristwatch with a pendulum simply wouldn't work - it's just too easily affected by linear acceleration. That's why we use a balance, but as we can now see, a balance will still be badly affected by rotational acceleration if the acceleration happens to be at a frequency that it is sensitive to and in a plane that it is sensitive to. Imagine a balance at ninety degrees to your wrist - every time you twisted your hand the balance would be upset. However, balances are flat to your wrist and so largely unaffected by this action. However, our arms are not that long and a lot of their action is rotational in that plane (especially when walking or, to give a classic example that upsets watches, fly fishing)

    You can see the sorts of lateral and rotational forces that might effect a watch very easily, because as well as trying to minimise them, manufacturers also take advantage of them to wind an automatic watch. So we know that even in a plane that is flat to the wrist there is lateral and rotational acceleration that can have an effect on a balance. The question is how much of an effect? This brings us back to the question about beat rates - the simple fact is that the closer the rotational acceleration is to the resonant frequency of the balance the greater the effect will be. There are two ways of changing this. Either you avoid jerky rotational movements or you move the frequency of the balance further away from the frequency of the movements. Generally the latter solution is preferred. Thus the higher the beat rate of the watch, the less our natural movements will interfere with it.

    Hopefully it is clear that even the perfect watch will be more precise at a given beat rate (all things being equal) However, the problem is that watches are not perfect - they do have problems with positional variations, they have escapements which are not balanced, springs that are not balanced, in most cases they have forms of regulation that are not balanced and in the case of lever escapements the tick and the tock do not even give an equal impetus to the balance. In each of these cases linear acceleration also gets a look in. Once again, this will cause an effect and once again the effect will be down to how close the linear acceleration is to the frequency of the balance, spring or escapement. Once again, raising the frequency of the balance reduces the effect of the linear acceleration because it just can't be that sharp on a human arm.

    So that's why a faster beat rate is preferable - it reduces the amount of interference on the amplitude of the balance by the natural movements of the wearer's wrist.

    However, that's not even half of the story.
    Last edited by Matt; Jan 17, 2015 at 11:09 PM.

  15. #10
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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