Best of Balance Wheels

Aug 04, 2021,14:28 PM

In this "Best of" series, let's be entertained by some of the industry's boldest and wackiest balance wheels. Please help me add in more examples. Cheers!

In George Daniels Watchmaking book, he mentioned that larger balance wheels are often more precise - he did mention other esoteric factors which are hard to understand. This opened my eyes to notice the often overlooked aspect of a mechanism - The Balance Wheel.

Antoine Martin Slow Runner

Measuring a whopping 4.2cm in diameter (an ETA 2824's Balance Wheel measures 0.8 cm), this beats slowly (7,200 vibrations per hour). Gorgeous innit?

Credit: Monochrome

Kari Voultilainen Ving8


Credit: Deployant

Wow, look at the oversized balance wheels, perfectly finished, on these unobtainium Ving8 pieces. I could not find the measurements of these through my search, but they sure look really huge.

Omega Calibre 3861 (used on the new Moonwatch)

Credit: theelecticum

Is it just my eyes, or is the balance wheel really large in the Omega moonwatch of 2021? 

Patek Philippe Oscillomax on 5550P

Credit: QuillandPad

In 2011, Patek Philippe experimented with the 5550P Perpetual Calender, launching 300 examples of this unique piece, with a different looking Silicon balance spring. Beautiful innit?

Jaeger Lecoultre Gyrolab

Credit: QuillandPad

On a more affordable spectrum, there was once the Gyrolab balance wheel used for the Geophysic True Second range, which is shaped like 2 anchors. It was developed to reduce the effect of air resistance on the balance wheel. Not sure if it works, but it is pretty mesmerizing to watch. 

Greubel Forsey Balancier

Credit: Forbes

The balance spring is really big (12.66mm). It is so perfectly crafted. Wow, this has got to be gifted to the best employees of heaven.

De Bethune

Credit: De Bethune

Last I've checked, De Bethune produces some of the industry's most beautiful balance wheels (and the bridges that hold them in place). I cannot isolate any single model, because every DB I've held came with a seductive balance wheel. Ouch!

More posts: De BethuneGeorge DanielsGreubel ForseyMoonwatchSpeedmaster

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Comments: view entire thread


Sir, your posts can serve as intro’s to chapters in a watchmakers manual.

 By: Lankysudanese : August 4th, 2021-15:35
Very informative
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Uh oh, it’s a lot to cover

 By: Cookies : August 4th, 2021-15:46
I can try, slowly. Yes it is a very good idea. Some concepts he covered which may make good topics: 1) Fusee and Chain mechanism for constant force 2) Tourbillon carriages 3) Hardening Steel 4) Different types of escapements such as the Cylinder Escapemen... 
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What a great post!

 By: hl99 : August 4th, 2021-16:20
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I just love the Antoine Martin Slow Runner

 By: Jocke - Bad Santa : August 4th, 2021-18:48
and I want to own one. The only bad thing is there was some problem with this movement.
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Yes Jocke

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-00:03
Stunning movement. I watched the youtube video to admire it more than a few times. I heard the accuracy may be less, on this piece when worn vs laying it stationary.
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Great selection. Let me add the Haldimann

 By: donizetti : August 4th, 2021-20:18
Favorite balance wheel in my small collection for sure, Best Andreas ...  
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 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-00:06
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It is so mesmerizing

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-01:34
Have u heard of other pieces with unusual balance wheels? I’m still thinking…
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There're trade offs between big and slow versus small and fast

 By: Spangles - Dr. Tabby : August 4th, 2021-23:38
Here's the first part of a great two-part article looking at watch performance from the small and fast side of things: And here is a great timekeeper that goes the other way: ...  
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Very technical article and very good

 By: Cookies : August 4th, 2021-23:54
I will have to read it 3-4 times to process the jist of it. Amazing piece there too. That's why I'm drawn to horology - it is a very esoteric topic with many solutions.
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Ummm... Maybe one of these?

 By: BigFatPauli : August 5th, 2021-02:07
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Gorgeous MB&F

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-02:46
These are pretty hard to purchase. I tried to purchase one, but they are gone. It is so beautiful, even when I barely have the funds, I’d stretch it for this piece.
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Thank you! I love it.

 By: BigFatPauli : August 5th, 2021-09:01
Out of interest, when you say "hard to purchase" are you referring to the LM101 in general or the palladium one specifically? I know the palladium version is limited but I didn't think the LM101 was hard to get in general, if that is the case.
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They are very hard to get here

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-09:19
They have an AD in Sydney, The Hourglass. Sometimes they have stock for the independents like De Bethune, but for MB&F and FPJ, the demand has surpassed their supply. The LM101 is one of the pieces in my “grail” list.
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No kidding. I had no idea!

 By: BigFatPauli : August 5th, 2021-10:13
I am really happy to hear that for Max and the team at MB&F. I can tell you from first hand expereince that the watch, the service and the people at MB&F are a clear cut above the industry. It is good that they are finally getting the recognition ... 
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Love open heart watches

 By: m2 : August 5th, 2021-03:04
To me being able to see an open balance is a lot like a tourbillon without the associated headache. ...  
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Stunning Millenary pice!

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-04:51
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Oh yes

 By: Cookies : August 5th, 2021-04:52
I didn’t know about it. Just read his review. It is huuuuuge!!
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Here is one of my favorites.

 By: amanico : August 5th, 2021-06:44
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