Seiko: Everyone Laughs At Me Too Crazy, I Laugh At Others And See Through

How to tell whether a watch is a quartz movement or a mechanical movement? The easiest way for most cousins ​​to think of is to watch the way the second hand moves. If the second hand is ‘jumping by one second’, commonly known as ‘jumping seconds’, then it is a quartz watch; if the second hand is ‘swept across’ the dial, commonly known as ‘sweep seconds’, it is a mechanical watch. The reason for this difference is that the quartz watch hands are driven by an electric motor. In order to save power, it is designed to start every one second. But in fact, all the mechanical watches we encounter in life, its second hand is jumping and moving. It’s just that the frequency of its beating is too high and the amplitude of its rotation is too small, 5-10 times per second, so it is invisible to our naked eyes. If you do n’t believe it, you can turn on your phone and use slow-motion photography to take pictures of your mechanical watch, and you will find that it is also a “jump second”. The reason behind this is that the mechanical watch uses a balance spring, balance wheel, and escapement structure, and the escapement requires 5-10 “card” and “put” operations per second. When the pointer runs, it naturally follows the pause and start. However, there is such a watch, its second hand is a real ‘sweep second’, no matter how slow the camera, the effect is the same. Time really flows from your wrist to me … It is Spring Drive from Seiko, Japan. On December 25, 1969, the world’s first quartz watch ‘Quartz Astron’ was launched by Seiko Japan in Tokyo, showing unprecedented superior performance. The average monthly error is within 5 seconds, more than 100 times more accurate than any other watch at the time, and it can work continuously for a whole year, which is 250 times that of most mechanical watches. The quartz revolution began here. Although there has been a huge leap in accuracy and the endurance energy has also reached a whole year, the research and development staff of Seiko Seiko ‘Akaba Hawa’ is not very satisfied. In his opinion, the quartz watch must be disassembled and replaced every other year, while the mechanical watch needs to be disassembled and cleaned every 4.5 years. If you can develop a watch that can run for a long time and maintain high precision, it would be perfect! Standing 50 years later, today, facing the problem of ‘Akaba Hawa’, the solution we think of is very simple. Both artificial kinetic watches that rely on mechanical automatic gyro power generation, or solar kinetic watches that rely on solar energy can be implemented. Yes, there were already two engineering teams in Seiko working on related development and production. At the same time, ‘Akaba Hawa’ proposed an idea with a big brain, which is the origin of Spring Drive. In 1982, the first prototype of Spring Drive was launched. Although the design concept was proved to be feasible, this prototype product consumes too much power and has low power generation efficiency. It can only run for about 3 hours, and was finally inserted by Seiko. Leng Gong, production and research and development ceased. Eleven years later, in 1993, Seiko improved the Spring Drive movement and developed a second-generation prototype. The power reserve was increased to 10 hours, but it was still very low, and eventually passed again. In 1997, ‘Akaba Hawa’ launched the Spring Drive project, with the goal of upgrading the power reserve time to the conventional level of mechanical watches ’48 hours’. Thanks to technological advancement, Seiko finally launched the first mass production watch using Spring Drive technology at the Basel Switzerland watch exhibition in April 1998, which shocked the watch industry. The first generation of Spring Drive required manual winding. In 2004, Seiko released the Spring Drive model on its high-end series Grand Seiko, equipped with an automatic winding 9R65 movement, with a power reserve of 72 hours. In terms of design, this watch continues the concept of Grand Seiko since its introduction in 1960, that is, ‘the highest level of ordinaryness’. Simple bar-top scale, clear sword-shaped hands, calendar window at three o’clock, power reserve display at seven o’clock. Many cousins ​​feel ‘not complicated enough’ when seeing this style, and ‘complicated enough’ is understood as ‘not powerful enough’. But when you really get the actual watch and compare it with other brands of watches, you will immediately find that Grand Seiko is different. Under the same light, GS will be clearer and easier to read. The reason is that the scale and hands of GS have been cut, chamfered, and mirror polished. It is one of the finest dials and hands among all brands. Since 1960, the Lion is the representative of Grand Seiko, and has been engraved on the back of each Grand Seiko case. Although Japan does not have a native lion, the idea of ​​’exiting Asia and entering Europe’ has deeply affected this nation and even more so the Seiko brand. The reason why the lion was chosen as the representative was that the design team was determined to create the ‘king of watches’, and the lion was ‘the king of beasts.’ After removing the back cover, you can see this Spring Drive movement, which has been developed for nearly 20 years. At first glance, this movement feels like our common mechanical movement. The metal splint is covered with fine Geneva pattern polishing, and there are no circuit boards and coils used in quartz watches. The movement even features Seiko’s signature ‘magic rod’ structure, which was invented and registered in 1959. With two simple parts, the two-way automatic winding can be realized. But careful watch friends will still find that Seiko Seiko Spring Dirve movement is different from mechanical watch movement, it does not have the traditional hairspring, balance wheel, escapement. You know, these three devices are the core of mechanical watches, similar to the computer’s CPU or the human brain. Without them, the speed of the hands cannot be controlled effectively and the time cannot be displayed. So what’s the secret of the Spring Dirve movement? When we remove the automatic winding part and the upper splint of the Spring Dirve movement, we can know its secret. Although there is no hairspring, balance wheel, escapement, there are quartz crystals, coils and circuit boards equipped with quartz watches. This is a disassembly comparison chart of Spring Drive movement and conventional mechanical movement. You can clearly find the connection and difference between the two. They all have barrels and metal gear trains, but the core components are very different. The Spring Dirve movement relies on quartz crystals, coils, and circuit boards for brain control. Many table friends see this, they will doubt, relying on ‘quartz crystal, coil, circuit board’, then isn’t Spring Dirve just a quartz watch? Strictly speaking, Spring Dirve is indeed a quartz watch, but it is still different from traditional quartz watches. The energy source of a traditional quartz watch is a battery, and then the ‘motor’ is controlled by the ‘quartz crystal and circuit board’ to drive the hands to rotate. The energy source of the Spring Dirve driving pointer is not the battery, but the mechanical spring. The energy of the barrel is divided into three parts. The first part, which is also the largest energy, is directly used to promote the rotation of the mechanical gear, which in turn drives the hands to rotate. A coin cell battery, but it has a power generator. The second part of the energy is converted into electrical energy by the power generation device, and then the regular vibration of the quartz crystal is driven to obtain a high-precision vibration frequency. The third part of the energy is also converted into electrical energy and the ‘rotor’ rotation speed is controlled according to the regular vibration of the quartz crystal. Make it rotate at the same lap speed per second. To put it simply, Spring Drive is a combination of traditional mechanical watch and quartz watch. For a long time, Spring Drive watches have not been sought after by the market. In addition to brand restrictions, they are also considered ‘nondescript’ because they do not understand this watch. Friends who like mechanical watches, think it is a quartz watch, not enough ‘high-end’; friends who like quartz watches, think it is not cheap, can buy other equally accurate quartz watches with very little money, why buy ? But in fact, thanks to the combination of traditional mechanical and quartz watches, Spring Drive has some unique advantages. First, the energy source is a mechanical spring, so the watch does not need to open the movement frequently to change the battery. At the same time, there is no battery, which can prevent the accidental leakage of the battery to corrode the movement. Second, the time reference is based on a quartz crystal, which can achieve extremely high accuracy. Third, the second hand moves in a sliding motion, which more truly conveys the passage of time. At the same time, there is no sound during the operation, and it will not affect sleep when placed at the pillow at night. Seiko’s Credor Spring Drive Minute Repeater watch uses the Spring Drive system. There is no longer a ticking sound during the movement of the movement, so there will be no interference when the time is reported, and the time of the three questions will be even more purely. Fourth, because the pointer is driven by a mechanical spring instead of an electric motor, the pointer can be thicker and more complex, thereby improving readability or superimposing fun functions. After developing more than 600 movement prototypes and applying for 230 patents, the ‘Akaba Hawa’ Spring Drive dream has finally come true. Twenty years have passed since he proposed the idea, and it has taken 18 years since the development began. Unfortunately, 4 months after Spring Drive’s public appearance, ‘Akawa Hako’ died. There are no perfect people or perfect watches in this world. In imperfect watches, it is already very good to find stories and special watches, and Seiko’s Spring Drive is such a ‘good work’. Everyone laughed at me too crazy, I laughed at others. If you really understand Spring Drive, you will understand the painstaking intentions of ‘Akawa Hawa’ and adherence to it for twenty years. —END —