What is a chronograph and why is it so complex?
A chronograph is a watch that allows you to measure a time interval. This interval can be read through the main second hand, while the minutes are shown by one of the sub dials.
It is precisely the presence of these sub dials, a distinctive feature that allows you to immediately recognize a chronograph: two or three additional circles in the dial with as many hands and two pushers at 2 and 4 o'clock. Their function is to start and stop the measurement and, finally, reset the count by moving the second hand to 12 o'clock.
Performing these operations without interrupting regular time monitoring is what makes the chronograph a complex movement, especially since the engagement system of the chronograph module is a critical component, which is difficult to produce.
NE88 / 8R48, a modern and technologically advanced chronograph caliber
The Seiko NE88 / 8R48 is at the top of the range of Seiko's automatic chronograph movements and is assembled by hand only by their most experienced, highly skilled watchmakers with decades of experience.
Exploded view of the NE88 chronograph movement
We chose to equip our first chronograph with this movement for its excellent performance which clearly distinguish it from all other chronograph calibers in the same price range. Let's summarize its main features:
Column wheel and vertical clutch: there are two types of clutches, with cams or with column wheel. The engagement can be horizontal or vertical. The systems with column wheel and vertical clutch are absolutely the most precise and also solve the annoying phenomenon of the so-called "jumping hand" that affects those systems that do not use them. The column wheel has a shape similar to the top of a medieval crenelated tower. To ensure a smoother engagement, and therefore a more pleasant user experience, each cranel (i.e. each "column") must be finished by hand, to remove even the smallest processing residues.
"SPRON" hairspring: this particular metal called "SPRON", is a special alloy of cobalt and nickel developed by Seiko in collaboration with the Institute for Materials Research of Tohoku University. It is characterized by high elasticity, durability and resistance to corrosion and heat. It is also a completely anti-magnetic material, a property that guarantees the precision of the movement over time.
The two macros show the NE88 upper bridge and column wheel
Seiko NE88 vs ETA 7750
The Seiko NE88 is undoubtedly an innovative movement and it is natural to compare it with the ETA 7750 (also known as Valjoux 7750), which has become over the decades one of the most durable and widely used calibers in modern era chronographs.
The ETA 7750, whose introduction dates back to 1974, has been elaborated in many configurations and has quickly conquered the market for affordable mid-range automatic chronographs. In those years, however, quartz movements were introduced and the push for innovation in the world of automatic chronographs saw a clear setback.
The table below summarizes the main characteristics of both movements:
|Year of introduction
The numerous differences between these two movements are due to the much more recent design of the Seiko NE88. The latter was launched (together with the NE86) in 2014, introducing some features that previously could only be found in high-end watches.
In fact, in addition to the column wheel and the vertical cloutch, this caliber is slimmer and smaller in diameter, which allow it to be used in thinner and more compact watches. The NE88 caliber is also much quieter. In fact, thanks to the bidirectional charging system, the rotor cannot turn free, thus avoiding annoying vibrations.
Chronographs are the most loved watches by the enthusiasts of those sports in which the fastest wins.
For the most important project of 2023, we decided to represent the concept of speed in classic Venice with the elegance and refinement that distinguish our design style.
This is why we wanted to dedicate our chronograph to the Bucintoro, the sumptuous historic galley of the Doge, the head of state of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. This boat was used to mark the opening of the historic regatta, a sporting event involving the best rowers in Venice.
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