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How does one recognize a Breguet hanging ruby cylinder without disassembly.

Tom McIntyre

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I just received the watch I purchased in the recent J&H sale.

With the parachute and compensation curb with the nice large size, I felt I needed to have it at a reasonable price.

In looking at it the escape wheel and balance close view shows the back of the dial behind the escape wheel. If this is a ruby hanging detent and if I were Bernhardt, I would need to return it for having paid too little.

Can anyone tell me how to determine the cylinder type withouot disasembly? Here is the link to the watch in the sales results. Charles Oudin, 53mm, 18K, cylinder w/parachute | Jones and Horan Auction Team
 

gmorse

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Hi Tom,
Can anyone tell me how to determine the cylinder type withouot disasembly?
This appears to have a perfectly standard Swiss cylinder escape wheel. All the Breguet cylinders I've seen, (but regrettably never actually handled), have had a rather different escape tooth form, more of a broad wedge than this 'tenterhook' pattern. Since the vendor's pictures understandably don't include a view with the dial removed, that's the only clue available.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Dr. Jon

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The Breguet ruby cylinders are very distinctive.

The lover pivot of the balance is in a very thin potence. The ruby hangs below it and the escape whee tooth reaches up. Never having seen one in the "metal, I can't comment on how visible they are but I have seen photos that show the arrangement

There was another form.

This is from the Schmitt Horan site:

here is the couvette


If yours looks like this it, is not the Breguet type.

Most significantly if it has or had a ruby cylinder it would probably say so on the cuvette.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Thanks Jon,

Your third picture clarifies what was confusing me. I did not relize how open the pllar plate would be on a "normal" French cylinder so I was confused when I could see the back of the dial under the escapement.
 

gmorse

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Hi Tom,
I did not relize how open the pllar plate would be on a "normal" French cylinder so I was confused when I could see the back of the dial under the escapement.
They aren't open like this as a rule, but this maker clearly had a reason for leaving that opening, possibly to make it easier to observe the escapement.

Regards,

Graham
 

Tom McIntyre

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When I finally remembered to look at my Ingold cylinder, I saw that they were similar.

I wonder why Breguet's students did not universally adopt the hanging cylinder. It is actually much simpler mechanically than the cylinder embedded in the staff.
 

gmorse

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Hi Tom,
It is actually much simpler mechanically than the cylinder embedded in the staff.
I doubt if it is, and it's certainly much more complex and demanding to make, even without considering the actual cutting and polishing of the ruby shell.

Regards,

Graham
 

Tom McIntyre

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Hi Tom,


I doubt if it is, and it's certainly much more complex and demanding to make, even without considering the actual cutting and polishing of the ruby shell.

Regards,

Graham
Since I cannot do it in any case, my opinion does not really count. However, the simple staff with an outrigger looks no more difficult than the staff of a normal cylinder. The cylinder jewel is essentially an independent component fastened to the bottom of the outrigger. It is made with lapidary tools so that anyone skilled with jewels formed into shape for jewelry should be able to do that. The jewel insert in the "normal" cylinder seems very fragile by comparison.

Of course omitting the jewel completely is simpler but surely a student of Breguet would not do that. I believe J. R. Arnold used jewels in his cylinder watches but not the hanging variety. J.R. was a student of Breguet at the same time Breguet's son studied with John Arnold.
 
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gmorse

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Hi Tom,
However, the simple staff with an outrigger looks no more difficult than the staff of a normal cylinder. The cylinder jewel is essentially an independent component fastened to the bottom of the outrigger. It is made with lapidary tools so that anyone skilled with jewels formed into shape for jewelry should be able to do that. The jewel insert in the "normal" cylinder seems very fragile by comparison.

I believe J. R. Arnold used jewels in his cylinder watches but not the hanging variety. J.R. was a student of Breguet at the same time Breguet's son studied with John Arnold.
DSCF4552.JPG

JR wasn't the only one, this is an English cylinder with the jewel almost entirely enclosed by the steel frame. The jewel itself is very similar to the Breguet, just the arrangement of the lower pivot is different. I suspect that rather more English watches with these cylinders were made than have survived; the average jobbing repairer would probably not have had access to a replacement jewel or a specialist to make one, so would have replaced a broken jewelled cylinder with a plain steel one. The potence with the pivot hole at the bottom of a tube was a more complex shape to make than the corresponding part in the English escapement.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Benjamin E.

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As Dr. Jon said, the escape wheel is situated well below its usual spot, so an especially sunk escape wheel and cock is one tell. In a number of photos of Breguet movements that I've seen, it's difficult to see the escape wheel at all. As well, while this is not universal, it's not uncommon for Breguet overhung escape wheels to have somewhat fewer teeth. Lastly, the only other maker on whose work I can recall seeing an overhung ruby cylinder was Leroy, and only once at that.
 

Tom McIntyre

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I agree with both of the previous posts on the use of cylinders. I am still stuck on the idea that having the jewel stand proud on its setting should have been easier than fitting it in. The resting wall of the jewel is much thinner on the standard style.

With the bottom pivot being also the plug beneath the cylinder (i.e. all one piece) the assembly, if one had the jewel, would not be all that difficult. But as Graham said, in a repair shop, doing it correctly was substantially more effort than just making a steel cylinder with the resting surfaces of steel.

The same issues seem to prevail with duplex jewels where making the slitted jewel sleeve is beyond what the large majority of watchmakers are willing to tackle and a slitted steel sleeve is substituted.

I would love to play with these things, but neither my hands nor my eyes are up to the task.:(
 

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