Balance Cock vs Balance Bridge?

Omexa

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Hi, I have been wondering for a while about the main difference between the European Balance Bridge and the English Style Balance Cock. The English Balance is held down by one screw and located by pins; the European Balance Bridge is held down by two screws and located by pins. At first glance the Balance bridge would win hands down being screwed down by two screws, but I started to think that maybe just one screw holding the Balance Cock may be better if the Pocket Watch is dropped? It could be that like the shock absorbing "Incabloc" the English Balance Cock may be a little bit less prone to Balance Staff damage when dropped. I would test this but Balance Staffs in early movements are hard to get if not impossible. Maybe someone has done a study about this subject? The English Watchmakers were no fools and there must have been a reason why they stuck to a Balance Cock held down by one screw. Regards Ray 1.JPG 3.jpg .
 

gmorse

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Hi Ray,

That's an interesting thought. There is a slight amount of "spring" in a balance cock, but although they were indeed mostly "no fools", they were also a pretty conservative lot in the main, and resistant to change. Some makers did in fact add a couple of tabs to the free end of the table to stabilise it. If you look at very early, (pre-hairspring), watches from either side of the Channel, most have a balance cock. A few English makers, such as Josiah Emery, did use the bridge occasionally, but he was an exception.

Regards,

Graham
 

Omexa

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Well enrico, it has gone one step further, I have seen Balance Cocks with what looks like an adjusting Screw on the opposite end of the Balance Cock. Possibly to control "End Float". Regards Ray
 

Omexa

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Hi enrico, yeah sort of like that, the example that I saw was a side-on view and you could see the Threads on the Screw. Regards Ray
 

Jerry Treiman

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Beyond conservatism in design, might the typical British balance cock also have been functional for adjusting endshake?
 

gmorse

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Hi Jerry,

Whether or not their makers designed with it in mind, balance cocks often were subsequently "adjusted", usually by the discredited practice of raising "pigs' ears" with a graver underneath the foot. (Please don't try this at home . . .).

Regards,

Graham
 

gmorse

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hello Graham What do you think of this?
271828.jpg

regards enrico
Hi Enrico,

That's very pretty, and those tabs aren't usually seen on English balance cocks, although Daniel Quare did use them sometimes on his best watches. Perhaps this was a fashion in that part of Devon in those days?

Regards,

Graham
 

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