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Damasko: A Look Inside the Manufacture – Part 2: The Movements

When founder Konrad Damasko first began making watches in the early ‘90s, he didn’t set out to produce an in-house motion. His initial focus was to over-engineer all the things round the movement, inspired, partially, by the gradual decay of a watch long ago gifted to him for his confirmation. Konrad needed watches bearing his identify to face up to the check of time, and that want gave start to hardened instances and crowns, a patented lubrication system, anti-magnetic shielding, and different case applied sciences that Damasko has come to be recognized for as we speak.

“It was about identifying the weak points in the watch, and figuring out how they can be improved,” explains Christopher Damasko, Konrad’s son and Damasko’s Technical Director.

It wasn’t until 2008 that the staff turned their attention to the movement. Initially, Damasko put their power in producing a handful of specific elements — amongst them the oscillating and winding techniques — to optimize efficiency of pre-existing calibers. However then got here Swatch Group’s motion crunch, which set the business scrambling. Damasko was not immune, and Konrad was faced with a troublesome selection.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What should we do? Should we just let the whole project die?’” Konrad recollects.

Damasko didn’t dawdle. While the huge gamers over in Switzerland spent their energies legislating Swatch Group’s choice, the Damasko staff set out to make an in-house motion.

In fact, if Damasko was going to make their very own motion, it couldn’t just be a run-of-the-mill caliber, nor have been they involved in simply reverse engineering an ordinary workhorse. Like Damasko’s instances, a Damasko motion had to tackle mechanical weak factors.

“We wanted to make [our watches] more accurate over a longer of period of time, to bring down the service intervals. That was the goal,” explains Christopher.

Konrad Damasko.

“I came from the manufacturing sector,” Konrad explains. “We couldn’t just make what everyone else was making. Our movements needed to improve on what was already out there.”

Going In-Home

Damasko was one among the earliest adopters of the silicon hairspring, they usually have been the first to work with polycrystalline silicon, which spanned three years of improvement. Their patented EPS-Spring is exclusive in its form, in the method it’s produced, and the method it’s coated for thermo-stability. Moreover, due to its polycrystalline structure, the hairspring is very elastic, which makes it a lot much less delicate to assemble and manipulate than monocrystalline springs, which are much more widespread in the business at this time.

Damasko’s EPS-Spring.

Damasko’s EPS-Spring.

The escape wheel can also be rendered in silicon, turning a possible weak point into something that can take some extended wear. Altogether, Damasko’s EPS-Spring and silicon escape wheel end in a extra dependable and resilient timekeeper.

“Damasko has about 30 patents at the movement degree.“ — Christopher Damasko

Damasko actions also make use of a free-sprung, variable inertia stability, which is nearly exclusive to higher-end horology and seen in brands like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex. In contrast to balances that function regulators, which could be knocked out of alignment and may trigger a watch to run too fast or sluggish, free sprung balances are adjusted by way of weights on the stability wheel. While this can be a more technically-challenging method of adjusting a motion and requires an experienced watchmaker, it additionally leads to more structurally sound structure for long-term wear.

Pulling from their expertise in the manufacture of elements for the aerospace business, Damasko carried out micro-ball bearings into their movements, utilizing them in the rotor (in the automated calibers) and winding methods. This presents a big improvement in general efficiency, and while the use of micro-ball bearings isn’t totally distinctive to Damasko, the distinct monitor geometry created for the bearings is, and that monitor geometry leads to a more environment friendly and dependable winding system the place frictional losses are decreased to a minimum.

Micro-ball bearings.

Furthermore, Damasko’s ratcheted winding system, one other implementation distinctive to the model, allows their automated watches to wind in each instructions, with an ingenious design that ensures that even the slightest of movements from the rotor winds the mainspring. To make this potential, Damasko developed a 140-fine-tooth ratchet wheel that has been galvanically hardened for better resistance towards long-term put on, chatting with Damasko’s objective of making movements with longer service intervals.

“Damasko has about 30 patents at the movement level,” Christopher explains.

Damasko H35 and A35 in-house calibers.

H35

A35

Damasko has three in-house calibers: the H35 (hand-wind), A35 (automated), and A35-2 (automated with a GMT complication). Furthermore, there are two variations of the A35: one with a central-seconds and another with a sub-seconds, with both featuring a day/date complication proper off 3:00. All are rated to have a 52-hour power reserve. Aesthetically, they’re lovely calibers with a excessive degree of end, giant German 3/4 plates, blued screws, striping, and perlage.

Si Fashions

These are Damasko’s hybrid fashions based mostly on the Valjoux 7750, but function vital modifications executed in-house. Functionally, these are enhanced 7750 chronographs fitted with Damasko’s EPS spring, rotor, a strengthened mainspring barrel, and an elevated power reserve of 52 hours. About 30% of the motion right here has been modified.

Finally, with these modifications Damasko’s Si models are considerably extra resilient towards outdoors forces than most comparable chronographs on the market. So much so, in truth, that the DC 56 and 57 Si models have handed in depth Airbus endurance testing and have earned standing as the official watches of German Eurofighter pilots.

Bringing Back the Central-Minutes Chronograph

As soon as upon a time, the Lemania 5100 was the king of central-minutes chronographs, beloved by collectors of rugged software watches for its utilitarian functionality and design. Should you’re going to design a chronograph, then it completely is sensible to have the minutes counter centrally-mounted quite than relegated to a small sub-dial.

After which, like all good issues, it went the approach of the dodo when Swatch Group, for all intents and purposes, killed the motion. Damasko needed to remedy that.

In 2017, Damasko launched the DC80, their first-central minutes chronograph featuring the DU51 caliber. Based mostly on the Valjoux 7750, the DU51 is an in-house-modified caliber, and the first step Damasko has taken in the direction of building their first in-house chronograph.

Assembling the DU51 caliber.

The redesign was vital. The 7750 doesn’t have the torque essential to make use of a central-minutes perform, so the complete chronograph mechanism needed to be rejiggered. Altogether, Damasko estimates that 50% of the motion was changed to get it to its current type.

“The DU51 has enough torque that we can incorporate more features and complications into future versions of the movement. That’s the plan,” explains Christopher.

One space where the Damasko workforce needed to improve upon the 5100 was the means the central-minutes hand superior. Fairly than a sluggish crawl, the hand on the DU51 jumps, which makes it clear to the wearer casually glancing at the watch how a lot time has elapsed.

“It’s very precise, and BAM,” Christopher motions with a swipe of his hand, “we’re one minute over!”

“It was about identifying the weak points in the watch, and figuring out how they can be improved.” — Christopher Damasko

The Future

Damasko has a variety of plans for their line of actions in the years to return. With the reputation of the current DS vary, which function smaller, thinner instances, Damasko can be taking a look at measurement going forward.

“We are working on new calibers” explains Konrad. “These are calibers that are state of the art with an even higher power reserve, and calibers that are flatter and simpler.”

It will permit Damasko more flexibility with their designs, with higher concentrate on svelte device watches, and even dressier and ladies’s pieces.

“We have a lot of products in the pipeline that we think our customers are going to love,” Christopher says with a smile.


Part 1 of our look inside Damasko

Damasko’s website

Damasko watches are available at Windup Watch Shop

Photographs from this publish:

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