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The shock protection system in Swiss watch

Watch shock protection basics

Paraflex, Incabloc, Diashock, KIF: one of these is bound to be on your watch and their main aim is to protect your watch from shocks. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they work. The balance wheel is considered as one of the most critical parts of a mechanical watch. It and the balance spring serve a function for regulating the watch and ensuring that your watch is running on time. However, supporting the balance wheel is no easy task. In fact, the pivots and jewel bearings are quite fragile. If a watch is dropped or knocked, it can damage the wheel’s delicate pivot and either cause your watch to stop or run inaccurately. Hence, shock absorption systems are an indispensable and essential result in the mechanical watch. In the golden age, shock protection system was so popular that almost watches were equipped with this system [2][3][4]. In the golden age, shock protection was so popular that almost watch integrated with this special system.

Cấu tạo cơ bản nhất của các hệ thống chống shock. Ảnh: http://great-british-watch.co.uk.

Working Principle

All the shock protection systems mentioned above share the same working principle. They are all designed to be flexible in different directions.  However, the shifting gap is extremely small. Simply speaking, jewels will be pushed forward inside the shock protection system in case of collision or damage. Accordingly, the anti-shock spring will help to move the jewels down while pushing the bearing axle to the initial position. The process of moving from up to down repeats several times, which helps reduce the impacts of the collision. Therefore, it can minimize the unwanted consequences of damaging from collision or dropping.

Some common physical shock protection/ absorber system in Swiss watch include:

  1. Incabloc

Incabloc, which was invented by the two Swiss engineers Georges Braunschweig and Fritz Marti in 1934, is currently the most common shock protection system used for the Swiss watch.

Some movements equipped with this system include:

  • Caliber H21:

Caliber H21 was launched by Hamilton in 2011. It is widely used in Jazzmaster and Khaki Aviation. Here are some noticeable models:

Hamilton Jazzmaster H32616133 using caliber H-21. Photo: Hamilton.

  •  ETA 2824-2 is normally upgraded with the Incabloc system. ETA caliber 2824-2’s reputation makes Incabloc famous as well.

Tissot Couturier T035.207.16.011.01 using ETA 2824-2.Photo: Tissot-hodinky.

  1. Paraflex and KIF

Paraflex is a unique and highly-efficient shock protection system. It has been developed and certificated by 2005. It helps improving shock strength of Rolex watch up to 50%. The shape of anti-shock spring was designed in the most creative way to ensure that it will not be distorted while maintaining its certain position. This system has undergone many processes of an extreme test in the separating laboratory.

Caliber 3136

Some people think that Paraflex was inspired by KIF. It fits materials used in Parachron balance wheel system, which is capable of 10 times anti-shock compared to conventional materials and totally anti-magnetic. Before, KIF was used as the main shock principles

  1. Novodiac

Novodiac is a shock protection system which was developed by the company Incabloc, SA. It consists of bearing axle and jewels. The most noticeable difference lies in the Novadiiac Spring. In fact, anti-shock spring generally is the upward part of any shock protection system. Its shape is not similar to any other normal springs. It is designed to control the moving action between an axle and shock absorber for different directions.

Some calibers equipped with Novodiac system:

ETA 6497-1.Photo: Ofrei.

ETA 2836-2. Photo: Youtube.

  1. Nivachoc

Nivachoc is widely used in high-end watch models like Omega 8500 and 9300 [10]. This shock protection system was introduced as the most outstanding ones applied in the watch industry. It is much better when compared to Incabloc, KIF, and Novodiac. These model proved themselves for intensively focus on the quality of their calibers. It turns out to be a surprise that in addition high-end brands like Omega, some others also use the Nivachoc for their watches.

Mido Multifort M005.929.36.031.00. Photo: wristreview.

Mido Belluna M024.444.16.031.00

Epilogue

This article gives an overview of common shock systems in mechanical watches, especially the Swiss watch. I hope in the near future will share with readers a more detailed and complete article on the “savior” of this watch.

Nova @ Novatime Lab.

This article was written in Novatime Lab’s Technical Report (Watch Research). It can be updated in the future for better quality.

References

[1] Watch shock protection basics, Watchonado, URL: http://watchonado.com.au/watch-shock-protection-basics

[2] Incabloc shock protection system, Wikipedia, URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incabloc_shock_protection_system

[3] What are the practical differences, aside from ease of servicing, of different shock mechanisms, Watchuseek, URL: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/what-practical-differences-aside-ease-servicing-different-shock-mechanisms-720632.html

[4] Incabloc, Vintage Watch Straps, URL: http://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/watchmovement.php#top

[5] Paraflex, Rolex SA, URL: https://www.rolex.com/watches/rolex-watchmaking/movements.html

[6] See-wolf, Watchuseek, URL: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/what-practical-differences-aside-ease-servicing-different-shock-mechanisms-720632.html

[7] Rolexforums, Peter, URL: https://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=51316

[8] Shock protection, Watch-wiki, URL: https://www.watch-wiki.net/index.php?title=Shock_protection

[9] Products, Incabloc SA, URL: http://www.incabloc.ch/en/amortisseurs_de_chocs.php

[10] Swatch Eta Movement, Pushing Ahead With Hamilton H-21 and H-31, Cory Berry, URL: https://www.bernardwatch.com/blog/swatch-eta-movements-pushing-ahead-with-hamilton-h-21-h-31

Author: Hoan Nguyen

” Winners never quit & quitters never win ”

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