Histoire de montres automatiques
 

updated
16-12-08

A new discovery in watchmaking history
by joseph flores
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The origins of self-winding rotor watches
Although the great book of history can never be closed, there are sadly some pages that do not tell the whole truth, whether on purpose or not. On this site, without wishing to be confrontational but desirous of engaging in debate, I want to look again at the history of the rotor mechanism that is used by all modern self-winding watches made by the great names like Rolex, Patek-Philippe etc.
This invention of this rotor mechanism has, since 1952, been credited to Perrelet but I would like to suggest a different attribution, an attribution based on sound evidence and especially a document dated 1778 lodged with the Paris Academy of Sciences.
Background
All the great Masters of Watch Making such as Berthoud, Le Roy, Jaquet-Droz, Sarton etc. and the great biographers such as Salomons, Chapuis Daniels etc. have been interested in the question of the rotor mechanism.

However, all contrary views could and should be made known; this is how history is revised.

Who will say I am wrong?

The type of movement shown left is the one that in 1952 was attributed to Abraham-Louis Perrelet by Alfred Chapuis and Eugène Jaquet and, since then, this is the view that history has taken so, should it be revised?
It is with great conviction,together with the analysis of a document dated 1778 lodged with the Academy of Sciences in Paris and signed by Le Roy and De Fouchy, that I attribute this system called a rotor system to Hubert Sarton.
To prove me wrong would also increase historical knowledge!

flores.joseph@libertysurf.fr
 


The 3 models of self-winding pocket watches known

However, there is one thing that statisticians can never measure and that is the human factors whether, financial practical or other, that are the fallout from the invention of a mechanism that has been applied for dozens or even hundreds of years, to every watch manufactured anywhere in the world. A system that has enabled an incalculable number of people to find work and has generated profits in the order of tens of millions of euros.
For example: how many people know who invented the anchor escapement, which was used on all mechanical watches? For information, as it is not the point of this paper, it was the Englishman Thomas Mudge in 1754, or again who knows who invented the spiral hairspring? It was the Dutch Physicist Christian Huygens in 1675 and it has had more than three centuries of use.

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The translator would welcome any corrections or suggestion
mgabriel@traductions-gabriel.com

To buy Perpétuelles à roue de rencontre
ou, Histoire de montres automatiques
by Joseph Flores
1998 Gaïa Prize for History
Contact : flores.joseph@libertysurf.fr

     
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