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Would someone be kind enough as to explain, in laymans terms, what a co-axial movement is and how it differs to a "normal" one.

I thought I understood it, but now I'm not so sure.

The blurb on Omega's site is a little technical for me!
 

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Let me try.

A co-axial escape is a type of escapement which was designed to address shortcomings of the typical Swiss Lever Escapement used in mechanical watches.

The main downfall of the Swiss Lever Escapement is friction and the watch starts to be inaccurate as the lubricants in the watch degrade. In other words, its performance (timing accuracy) degrades over time, becomes inconsistent as you get closer to needing to get your watch serviced.

The co-axial escape is designed to overcome this problem by eliminating the type of friction encountered by the Swiss Lever and provide consistent performance through out its operating period between servicing.
 

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CUSTOMER
Co Axle...what's that?

TEERITZ takes a deep breath. He's about to start the spiel that he's given a thousand times before.

TEERITZ
Okay, basically, it's a proprietary
technology belonging to Omega. In a
nutshell, the part of a watch
movement that suffers the most wear-
and-tear is the escapement, which
regulates the time-keeping of the
watch. In a normal escapement, you
have pallet stones, which are man-
made, that touch against the cog
of the escapement wheel and propels
the wheel around and around. This
goes on all day long. Now, the edge
of the pallet stone is the part that
grinds against the escapement wheel cog
and this is what causes the most wear.
As a result, the lubricating oil coating
these pallet stones begins to dry out
over time. This is why a watch requires
servicing every three to five years.
With the Co-Axial Escapement, however,
the pallet stones are shaped in such a
way so as to have the most minimal
contact with the escapement wheel cogs.
What you end up with is a stone that is
shaped to a point and this point is the
only part of the stone that touches the
cog, resulting in less friction due to
minimal contact. And therefore also,
less lubricating oils are required. The
best thing about it is that, according
to Omega, the movement can go up to 7 or
8 years between servicing instead of 3 to
5. And Omega are confident enough with
this movement that they give it a 3-year
warranty instead of two.

And that is what I tell my customers. It may not be 100% technically accurate because I am not a watch-maker and you need to remember that not everybody who buys a watch is a WIS. But that is the gist of it. The Omega Sales Rep once asked me to explain the Co-Ax and I said something like; "The pallet stones in the escapement are cut in such a way as to reduce the amount of friction that occurs within the movement and thus lengthen the service intervals to nearly twice as long as most other watch movements."
He looked at me for about ten seconds and then said; "You just said in one sentence what it normally takes me five minutes to explain."
I told him that I've been explaining the Co-Axial to customers for nearly ten years and, as a result, I've managed to whittle the explanation down to one or two lines.
Like I said, it's not technically accurate, but hopefully it gets the basic point across.
 

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A lady at Royal Maui Jewelers in San Diego once asked me "the P.O. you're looking at has the Co-Axial movement; do you know what it is?" I said NO because I wanted to see what she'd say and she replied "Oh, it just has two rotors, that's why." :roll:


Okay? Obviously wrong, but a good internal chuckle.
 

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... and all this time I thought it was like buying one of the big pick-up trucks with 2 axels on the back. :-d

Hey, if Guns & Roses had 2 lead singers with the same name, would that also be co-Axel?
 

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It does indeed have two wheels and, much as I hate to disagree with Teeritz, the key point is that the pallet stones roll rather than scraping. This is about 95% more efficient. Also the impulse to the balance (the miniscule bit of energy that keeps it swinging) is given for a much shorter time in both directions (equally) but from two different sources.

The coaxial also has a free sprung balance (you regulate it by changing the dynamics of the balance rather than the dynamics of the spring).

In short the balance itself is more stable and is pushed for much less time but more carefully (which means less interference with the balance). All of this eliminates many of the causes of instability found in a lever. A more stable balance opens up the possibility of far greater accuracy with careful regulation.

It also reduces wear and deviation on the pallet stones but the rest of the escapement, and indeed the watch, wears just like every other watch.
 

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M4tt, that is the greatest and most complete explanation I have heard of the co axial to date. It took quite a while and a lot of digging to find out half of what you just explained. Watching it in the video shows all the how, but not really the why. The why is what's so hard to understand.
 

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Thank you. I have been meaning to write a proper explanation for ages (just as I have quartz) but it will be long and tedious and involve bluetac. One day...

It really is all about keeping the balance swinging healthily with minimum interference.

Well, not really... There are a number of places problems can arise: The balance, the spring, the escape wheel, the pallets, the lever, and so on. The coaxial escapement addresses some of these, the FSB addresses others, Si14 will address still more (especially with the sexy Breguet Overcoil Si14 spring) The less variables the more stable, the more stable the more regulatable, the more regulatable the more accurate.

(on another note, I have just returned after a moist sweaty day to notice that the weather over the last few days has marginally slowed down that clock I rebuilt. I knew it would in theory but I almost weed myself with excitement to see that it actually had. It's now more accurate than my SMP. But it is affected by thick air!)
 

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(on another note, I have just returned after a moist sweaty day to notice that the weather over the last few days has marginally slowed down that clock I rebuilt. I knew it would in theory but I almost weed myself with excitement to see that it actually had. It's now more accurate than my SMP. But it is affected by thick air!)
You need an Atmos... :D
 

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The biggest problem with an atmos is that, with a thirty second tick, they draw you in and suddenly you have lost ten minutes.

If any of the 'ommmmm' style religions ever discover the atmos they will take over the world in days. It's like the plot from a Bond movie.

'Look into the clock Mr Bond...'
 

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It does indeed have two wheels and, much as I hate to disagree with Teeritz...
Ahh, M4tt, you 'embellished' upon my meagre explanation. Remember that I have to keep it simple because I mostly deal with people whose only real concerns are;

"How much discount?" I hate that word.
AND
"Will this Co-Axial Escapist help me pick up more chicks?"
(if the prospective customer is male)
OR
"Does this Co-Axial Escapment make my bum look big?"
(if the prospective customer is female)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellish
 
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