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Nicole & Capt for Dent, Split Seconds Chronograph

Bernhard J.

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After having looked at this watch for considerable time I now "plunged" and bought it :). Interesting is that the movement carries a mark "partly swiss", which is absent on other movements of the same type. It would be interesting to investigate which "Swiss" parts might have been used. But since the watch is serviced, I will not take it apart for finding out :D. I look forward to receiving this marvelous watch :). This will, however, presumably be somewhen next year. Another watch coming from the UK is "stuck" in German customs somewhere in Germany since more than one month :eek: Thanks to David for the permission to use his photos.

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Bernhard J.

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The watch has arrived today and I am delighted!

Perhaps a few words to the chronograph funktions. Both seconds hands run permanently together in the "normal" mode. Like a normal sweep seconds watch. A first press of the crown stops one seconds hand, while the other one continues running. A second press on the crown then stops the second seconds hand. A third press on the crown letts the first seconds hand catch up to the second seconds hands and at the same time lets both run again, jointly.

A slider allows to block pressing of the crown.

Setting of the hands is the well known and somewhat quirky process for this kind of keyless winding mechanism. Pressing the pin allows setting, wherein turning the crown in winding direction sets the hands back, and in the opposite direction the hands are advanced. If the mainspring is fully wound, it is not possible to set tha hands back, because the winding work remains engaged, when the setting pin is pressed. I generally avoid setting back in all of my watches, except perhaps occasionally of modern wristwatches
 

SKennedy

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Perhaps a few words to the chronograph funktions. Both seconds hands run permanently together in the "normal" mode. Like a normal sweep seconds watch. A first press of the crown stops one seconds hand, while the other one continues running. A second press on the crown then stops the second seconds hand. A third press on the crown letts the first seconds hand catch up to the second seconds hands and at the same time lets both run again, jointly.
So, if I understand correctly, there's no way of starting/resetting the chrono hands to zero? They're effectively running seconds that can be stopped in turn (without stopping the watch). So, to time an event you'd make one press at the start of the event to stop the first hand, then at the finish stop the second one. The time taken being the difference between the two.
If that's the case it seems hard to understand any practical advantage this watch has over a normal Nicole chronograph of the time? In fact it is more difficult to determine the time of an event. Though there is certainly a tasteful aesthetic difference.
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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Beautiful watch, Bernhard. You may find it interesting to compare your watch to my fairly similar but more plebian Charles Frodsham calendar chronograph.

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As for how the rattrapante is operated, I haven't mastered any of mine well enough actually to use them if I had any use for them, but I have written down how most of them operate. For example:

C.H. Meylan Minute Repeater Rattrapante
  • To time one event: right button to start, right button to stop, right button to reset.
  • To time one event, keep the time and then time a second event: right to start both hands, right to stop them, left then right to reset one hand, right to start it, right to stop it, right to reset one hand, left to reset the other hand.
  • To keep the time of one event and time a third event: same as above except instead of resetting the second hand, right to start the reset hand.
  • To time a portion of an event and the whole event: right to start both hands, left to stop one, right to stop the other. After this, pushing the left button causes the first stopped hand to join the second stopped hand. Pushing the right button resets both.
Louis Leroy Rattrapante
  • To time one event: top button to start both hands, top button to stop both hands, top button to reset both hands. To do this with one hand, push the left button first, before pushing the top button.
  • To time a portion of an event and the whole event: top to start both hands, left button to stop one, top to stop the other. After this, pushing the left button causes the first stopped hand to join the second stopped hand. Pushing the top button resets both.
  • To time two events: Push the top button to start both hands and then to stop it. Push the left button and then the top button to reset one hand to zero. Push the top button to start and stop that hand. This can be repeated multiple time until both hands are reset by pressing left then the top button.
L. Huguenin Tandem-Wind Rattrapante with Jump 1/4 Second
  • To time one event: left button to start, left button to stop, left button to reset.
  • To time one event, keep the time and then time a second event: left to start both hands, left to stop them, right then left to reset one hand, left to start it, left to stop it, left to reset one hand, right to reset the other hand.
  • To keep the time of one event and time a third event: same as above except instead of resetting the second hand, left to start the reset hand.
  • To time a portion of an event and the whole event: left to start both hands, right to stop one, left to stop the other. After this, pushing the right button causes the first stopped hand to join the second stopped hand. Pushing the left button resets both.
 
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Bernhard J.

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If that's the case it seems hard to understand any practical advantage this watch has over a normal Nicole chronograph of the time? In fact it is more difficult to determine the time of an event. Though there is certainly a tasteful aesthetic difference
Yes, that is the case and yes, all that is so :D.

I do not know exactly when the heart piece for zeroing chronograph hands was invented, but it must be around that time. The things were still developing.
 

SKennedy

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I do not know exactly when the heart piece for zeroing chronograph hands was invented, but it must be around that time. The things were still developing.
I think the heart cam was on Nicole's patent of 1844, but the patent for one button start/stop/reset (also Nicole) was 1862. Your watch must have a heart cam to bring the two hands back together.
They obviously decided to try making something a bit different with this watch as Dent had certainly sold Nicole chronographs with the regulator style dial layout and start/stop/reset before this one.
 

John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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This was covered by Philip's Poniz article May | June 2021 • NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin p.150-161.

John
 

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