What could be special in a wheel that turns in one direction and then in the other, and in a spring, returning it back each time? Why have leading scientists dedicated this miniature couple hundreds of experiments and thick volumes of theoretical research? It turns out, that accuracy of any watch depends on the nuances of their work.
Let countless components be responsible in a varying degree for an accurate time display on your clock face, the critical role is still assigned to the wheel and balance spring. Transferring energy from escapement to the main wheel train, they function similar to a pendulum in a wall or cabinet clock and together they form the so-called harmonic oscillator – a system of classical mechanics, which when out of balance is automatically exposed to the reverse power. Measurement of abilities of any product is directly dependent from operation speed of the balance. Nowadays the most widely spread frequency is 28800 vibrations per hour or 4 Hz, which allows to keep track of time accurate to 1\8 of a second. However, this does not mean that ﬁ nding in a description of the next model the ﬁ gure 3 - or 5 Hz, you need to ﬂ ip through the catalog page. Any variant has its pros and cons: less speed usually allows more efﬁ cient energy use, and therefore provides a mechanism with additional power reserve and a high one, on the contrary, spares no effort in pursuit of the result in 1/10 of a second and more. The balance wheel has been used in watchmaking since the XIV century and originally it carried out its duties alone, returning to the original position due to the inertia of the escapement. The Englishman Robert Hooke in the mid of the XVII century was the ﬁ rst to try to equip it with a metal spring, and the Dutch scientist Christian Huygens was able to develop the idea, giving the detail the familiar to us spiral shape and signiﬁ cantly increasing its effectiveness.