Use of Ruby
Before the ruby was discovered and applied in mechanical clocks to improve the anti-wear performance of various running components, the rotating shafts of the movement escapement, the oscillating weight and the gears in the line train were all directly connected to the brass main plate or The splints are connected. During the movement of the movement, because of the high speed and the high coefficient of friction, the pressure exerted on the splint by each rotating shaft is very high, and it is easy to cause wear. At the same time, without any protective measures, dust in the air can easily invade the inside of the movement. The tiny quartz particles contained in the dust will cause severe wear on the gear shaft and the transmission system, and even seriously affect the life of the movement.
后来 In later research, manufacturing craftsmen also tried to protect the movement with some additional components, such as adding a replaceable sleeve between the bearing and the plywood, which can reduce the wear to a certain extent. However, new problems quickly appeared: Although the damage of the movement components began to decrease under the protection of the sleeve, the sleeve made of ordinary materials was worn quickly and needed to be replaced frequently. This was not only troublesome, but also Significantly increased the maintenance costs of watches.
This problem was resolved in the early 18th century. Some mathematicians and astronomers have found a material that is harder than quartz particles and used it to make bearings for watches and clocks, which can reduce the friction and damage caused by various parts during operation. This substance is ruby, which belongs to a type of corundum. Its hardness is slightly inferior to that of diamond.
However, natural rubies contain a lot of impurities and are expensive. To reduce costs, watchmakers can only use poor-quality rubies to make shaft eyes.
In 1885, three scientists made a “Geneva Ruby” by synthesizing molten natural ruby powder with potassium dichromate. In 1892, the assistant of one of the scientists, the French chemist Auguste Verneuil, invented the flame melting method, making artificial ruby possible. After more than ten years of hard work, Auguste Verneuil finally produced artificial ruby in 1904, which can be produced in large quantities. Artificial ruby is the same in appearance, composition and hardness as natural ruby. Even without containing any impurities, artificial ruby is more wear-resistant than ordinary natural ruby. From 1940, artificial rubies began to spread throughout the watchmaking industry.
In addition to compression and abrasion resistance, the role of ruby in the movement, but also in decoration and other aspects. For example, in order to pursue the gorgeous appearance of the movement, watchmakers assembled ‘golden sleeves’ around the ruby.
数量 Number of rubies
In daily life, many people think that the amount of rubies contained in the movement is an important measure of the quality of this watch, which is actually very one-sided. So how many rubies are needed in the movement? The number of rubies is not ‘the more the better,’ as many people think; of course, the less the better. The number of rubies in an ordinary basic movement has its ‘standard configuration’ that adapts to mechanical indicators, visual effects and other indicators.
Among the modern movements, the minimum ‘standard configuration’ of rubies in the movements that everyone agrees on is 15. Their locations are:
There are a total of 2 ruby shaft eyes, 2 ruby brackets and 1 ruby disc nail on the balance wheel, a total of 2 ruby shaft eyes and 2 ruby fork shoes on the escapement fork, and a total of 2 ruby shaft eyes on the escapement wheel There are a total of 2 ruby axles on the four wheels (second wheel), and a total of 2 ruby axes on the upper and lower wheels. For the 17 ruby movements that are more common today, the two additional rubies are located at the upper and lower ends of the center wheel (two wheels). Due to the slower rotation speed of the center wheel and the relatively small pressure and friction of the gear arbor on the splint, many watchmakers in the past have chosen to omit these two rubies.
It is not difficult to see that the number of rubies in most movements is generally singular, because the disc nails in the escapement system are single, and other rubies are basically in pairs. However, in some other movements, there are many cases in which rubies are evenly distributed, which is because the escapement wheel adds a ruby supporting stone to the movement assembly surface. The reason why the ruby support stone is added to only one end of the escapement wheel shaft is mainly to consider the ‘normal state’ of the watch or pocket watch in use. The lower end (ie the assembly surface) of the shaft end bears a lot of pressure, so it is often added here. Support stone. This method is more common in high-end top watch series, and some brands directly use diamonds instead of rubies.
Of course, 15 rubies are not absolutely the ‘bottom limit’ of the number of rubies in a mechanical watch movement, but only relatively speaking. At the end of the 19th century, 11 rubies, or even fewer 9 rubies, appeared in the movement. They also occupied a place in the history of clock development.
D1 Ruby diameter 1 Ruby outer corner
D2 Ruby axis eye diameter 2 axis eye angle
D3 reference frame diameter 3 axis eye corner
E thickness 4 convex
H1 Arc height (radian height) 5 Oil tank
H2 Effective height 6 square mesh lace
轴 Axle Length 7 Disc
T Axial eye hole 8 rounded corners
Note: The letters indicate the specifications and tolerances of the components, and the numbers indicate other basic data