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  1. #1
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Norman Saati & Co., Geneva

    This name popped into my head this morning. Initially, I didn't connect the name with Horologica. Saati produced a one-wheel marine chronometer circa 1895. In 2011, one of these sold at auction for quite a chunk of change. After searching the MB index, the BULLETIN index, and Google, I came up with one item on this company. And that was the listing for the closed auction. I am wondering if anyone knows anything about Saati. Was the one-wheel chronometer an experimental unit? Did he produce more than one of these? What else did he produce? Anyone?

  2. #2
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: doug sinclair)

    Re-opening a three year old thread. There was no response. Here are pictures of Saati's one-wheel marine chronometer. Anyone know anything about it? (Unable to upload pictures, sorry, But in deed, interesting!)

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    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: doug sinclair)

    I was unable to upload the pictures (wrong file type), but the images are available on line.

  4. #4
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: doug sinclair)

    Doug, I am almost certain that Skinner and Robert Cheney have granted permission to use material from their archives in our discussions so long as we acknowledge the source. Here is the description of the lot as sold. The hammer price with premium was $13,035.

    I remember taking a tour of Skinners with Robert and looking at this lot before the sale. It was fascinating, but seemed to be too much of a project for me to undertake either as a collector or certainly as a craftsman. I would have been interested in it as an unfinished document but could not really afford that.
    Auction:
    Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2555M
    Location:
    Marlborough
    Date / Time :
    July 16, 2011 10:00AM
    Description:

    Norman M. Saati "One-Wheeled" Chronometer and Components, Geneva, c. 1895, with 4 1/8 in. dia. silvered brass dial signed N. Saati & Co., Geneva, Roman numerals, Arabic numeral twelve hour dial, blued steel hands and center seconds, going barrel one wheel train with worm gear power transmission to a recessed center mounted escape wheel, split bi-metallic balance wheel with two weights and four timing screws and jeweled lever escapement all in a brass bowl with screw fit glazed bezel, max. dia. 4 3/4 in., other components include another similar silvered dial with maker's signature in script, two unfinished back plates, one with steel main plate and balance bridge, the other with only a brass balance bridge, a going barrel and arbor and a poising tool.

    Note: Excerpt from the June 23, 1897 issue of the Jeweler's Circular and Horological Review on the Pan-American Exposition in Providence states the "this timepiece will revolutionize the entire system of horology. By an entirely new mechanical device the inventor has constructed a watch and clock movement which he claims is strong, durable and accurate.....there is no gearing and no pinion in the movement nor under the dial and by this means all friction is avoided..."
    Estimate $7,000-10,000

    Movement runs well, dial and brass bowl in old surface, probably a prototype, the 12-hour dial serves no function, although on the partial movement perhaps designed as an up-down indicator,
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    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Tom,

    Thanks for that. Seems as though this "revolutionary" development which had the potential to revolutionize marine chronometers, ended up not catching on with other chronometer makers! I was interested that it is a lever escapement, not a detent. I wonder if it was reliable enough, and accurate enough, to have ever served as a chronometer.

  6. #6
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: Tom McIntyre)

    The catalog description calls the escapement a lever, but the balance must beat very very slowly i.e. 2 bps.

    The large wheel in the center is the escape wheel and the arrangements of arms and pallets across the top must provide the drive. I suspect that the action on the inclined plane screw on the escape wheel arbor generates about as much friction as a gear and pinion would but it is of a different sort so maybe that is the advantage. It looks like the pallets acting on the screw shaped portion are alternatively positioned to provide the driving force and somehow hop back up to the top as each main wheel tooth moves to the next position and the alternate arm reaches the bottom.

    If the balance beats 4 bps (240 bpm) there would need to be 240 teeth on the escape wheel to give the one minute period of the center second hand.I do not think there are nearly that many, but there might be 120 teeth on the escape wheel. The lever does look like a standard form, so I cannot see how it could be impulsed on alternate beats. I never saw the piece actually operating that I recall. I think I would have noticed 2 beats per second.

    Of course my counting could be way off. It really is interesting and perhaps some chronometer experts could chip in with their views
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
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    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norman Saati & Co., Geneva (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Tom,

    Considering that the escape wheel would only advance 1/2 a tooth at each beat, I think the 120 number makes sense. It would take 240 beats of the balance for the escape wheel to make one revolution. It seems that the banking screws are both on the same side of the anchor. One toward the counterpoise end, and the other toward the fork end.

    I see that Saati nor his mechanism is mentioned either in Gould or in Whitney. So perhaps the sales catalog used a bit of hyperbole in the auction listing! Interesting nonetheless.
    Last edited by doug sinclair; 10-19-2016 at 02:32 PM.

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