Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

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Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:26 am

Sunday morning musings...

I must admit to being slightly fascinated by horological complications. Even if the more interesting ones are far beyond the reach of my pocket, I still experience a little frisson of awe and wonder when I see some of the more exotic ones. I’d be interested to know which complications people would really like to have, which ones they have already, and which ones they find or would find most useful/useless.

To begin with, a common definition of a complication in horology is anything outside of a simple movement. Simple being a movement that displays hours minutes and seconds. Not actually that simple; in the 17th century the minute hand was introduced and regarded as a complication, and within a few decades the seconds hand likewise.

So, horological complications involving the date: simple date wheel and window; big date; day and date; triple date; simple calendar; annual calendar; perpetual calendar; date of Easter.

The deeper you get into these, the more difficult it becomes to adjust them when you set the watch, and really things like a perpetual calendar need to be worn continually or else kept on a winder to make any sense at all. Same with...

Astronomical complications: Moon phase; celestial maps; equation of time (solar vs mean); tide indicator; planetarium.

Chronographs: simple chronograph; bi-compax/tri-compax; monopusher; ratrappante; flyback; split-seconds.

Power reserve indicator.

GMT and World Timer watches; second time zone subdial.

Striking complications: alarm; simple strike; repeaters; Grande Sonnerie.

I’ve probably missed out a few here and there, so please feel free to add.

For myself, I’m largely ambivalent about the date as so many of them are difficult to see anyway (perhaps I need a cyclops!) I usually have a fair idea what day and month it is, depending on the amount of gin and tonic ingested.

I do find a simple chronograph useful at work (short timed tasks), and often wear one. Post retirement, there will be fewer opportunities to use it in a meaningful way. However, the Speedy is a keeper.

GMT, I have a C60 Trident 600 GMT as my universal travel watch. Great watch, and could be useful if I ever go further than Greece or Cyprus. I can manage the two hour time difference in my head, but it’s still quite fun. And it goes in the pool and sea.

I thought seriously about a moon phase on several occasions, but I’ve decided that although it is very pretty (especially the Moonglow) I have no real need of it.
Steve
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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by downer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:38 am

The complication I never had was the week number. A lot of business people refer to week numbers and it's something that could have been potentially useful (as useful as any other watch complication actually is) in real life.

Examples include the Junghans Meister Agenda...

Image

or this GO...

Image


However, as with many things, week numbers do vary from continent to continent and anyway, these days I hardly care what day it is, never mind what week it is! :D
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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:50 am

When I was an undergraduate we had eight week terms called Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. They were numbered 1st Week to 8th Week, so days were automatically Thursday of 5th Week and so on. I don’t think anyone ever really knew the date!

Never confuse 8th Week with Eights Week, which is a 4-day rowing regatta in 5th Week (I think) of Trinity Term. :lol:

Terms began on a Sunday, and it was traditional to go up on Wednesday or Thursday of Noughtth Week! If you had gone up even earlier to study you could be there in Minus First Week. Staying on after the end of term you went into Ninth Week and Tenth Week.

Barmy! :lol:
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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by iain » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:31 am

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:50 am
When I was an undergraduate we had eight week terms called Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity. They were numbered 1st Week to 8th Week, so days were automatically Thursday of 5th Week and so on. I don’t think anyone ever really knew the date!

Never confuse 8th Week with Eights Week, which is a 4-day rowing regatta in 5th Week (I think) of Trinity Term. :lol:

Terms began on a Sunday, and it was traditional to go up on Wednesday or Thursday of Noughtth Week! If you had gone up even earlier to study you could be there in Minus First Week. Staying on after the end of term you went into Ninth Week and Tenth Week.

Barmy! :lol:
I’m assuming these are memories from a previous life, or did you actually go to school in Dickensian times?

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:32 am

University in the 1970s, Iain. :lol:
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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by iain » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:40 am

Well I was only born in ‘74 and my university was on old polytechnic. Probably why it sounds so alien to me.

Anyway, on to the actual question. I regularly use my chronograph to time when cooking, or the dive bezel if I’m not wearing my chrono, I know a bezel doesn’t count as a complication though. Other complications look interesting but not sure how useful they are. I have an alarm on my quartz Seiko, but need the manual to remember how to set it.

Having said that, I did use my GMT before I sold it to track another time zone, useful to plan phone calls to friends. I think another GMT will be my next purchase.

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by smegwina » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:21 pm

downer wrote:The complication I never had was the week number. A lot of business people refer to week numbers and it's something that could have been potentially useful (as useful as any other watch complication actually is) in real life.

Examples include the Junghans Meister Agenda...

Image

or this GO...

Image


However, as with many things, week numbers do vary from continent to continent and anyway, these days I hardly care what day it is, never mind what week it is! :D
God, having the fin week would be so useful!!!!!

I had no idea there even existed. I can never remember the damn week and am constantly asking minion to remind me!!

My most common complications are GMT and chrono. Both are rather useful.

I would love a repeater or a tourbillion (not necessarily a complication, but there you go) just because of the technical prowess required to make them.


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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by nbg » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:44 pm

I probably end up wearing a simple no date three handers about 50% of the time.

Whilst I have a couple, I am not that keen on the traditional day date, with both alongside each other at 3. However it wouldn’t prevent me buying if I really liked all other aspects of the watch.

I do like and use the chronograph function.

Favourite complication is a watch with the GMT function. However I generally don’t bother to take a GMT on foreign holidays, as I seem to have no difficulty altering the time, when sat on the runway and have no interest in knowing the time elsewhere. I don’t like the style of GMT that has the GMT hand hidden unless it is set to a different time zone. I guess I just like the look of GMTs because they are a bit different and look good with the various coloured GMTs hands available.

I like watches with a power reserve complication, whether on the dial or the case back.

I do have a vintage alarm watch. The alarm has only ever been set to wake me up if I fall asleep whilst sat in the garden.

No interest in the Moon phase complication, although I do think some look good. If I had a Moon phase on an otherwise simple date watch I don’t think I would bother to set the Moon phase.

Annual calendar function seems to me to be better value for money than a perpetual calendar. Although I am unlikely to purchase either.

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by scooter » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:36 pm

The only complication that I am interested in is the power reserve.

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by DavecUK » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:25 pm

scooter wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:36 pm
The only complication that I am interested in is the power reserve.

scooter
If you have a wind up I guess its useful to remind you when to wind, if you have an auto, I suppose it's a mechanical "fitbit"....

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by scooter » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:49 pm

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by gaf1958 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:18 am

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:For myself, I’m largely ambivalent about the date as so many of them are difficult to see anyway (perhaps I need a cyclops!)
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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:16 am

gaf1958 wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:18 am
Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:For myself, I’m largely ambivalent about the date as so many of them are difficult to see anyway (perhaps I need a cyclops!)
Wash your mouth out young man! :)
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The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.
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Mechanical Watch Accuracy

Post by DavecUK » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:03 am

I love a cyclops window, especially as I get older. One day they will make the entire crystal magnifying....if not I may need a pair of these to read my watch.

Image

Seriously though, why are the date numbers so small and why so few big date watches ;)

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Re: Complications - the Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Daft?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:05 am

The wink suggests that you know the answer, but some people I guess won’t. A proper big date involves two wheels with independent gearing, correct?
Steve
The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.
Charles Babbage


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