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A Complete Newbie Attempts To Understand How A fake watch Actually Works ADVERTISEMENT

In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, "There comes a time in every woman's life when she must cease in being an embarrassment to the horological community.?I'm just kidding, JFK never said that, but on his 45th birthday he did receive an engraved Replica Rolex from Marilyn Monroe which he quickly instructed an aide to "get rid of.?Also, he wore an Omega Ultra-Thin to his inauguration. Furthermore, that Omega was a ref. OT3980 with a manually wound movement, while the Replica Rolex, a Day-Date, whose fluted bezel, case design, and proportions are similar to the Replica Rolex Datejust, but whose bracelet is more like a hybrid of the Oyster and Jubilee, had a caliber 3055 movement, running at 4 hertz.

As you can see from these facts I pulled off the internet that mean nothing to me, I am trying to become a fake watch expert. That may be overstating things. Let's just say I am undergoing a slow process of heading away from total ignorance, because after four or so months of newbieness, it has become clear that one can only look at replica watches for so long without understanding how they work. So I have hit the books (and some videos) to learn the basic mechanics and attempt to divine how one fake watch differs from another, beyond aesthetics.

It seemed important to begin at the beginning, with some rudimentary history and technical understanding. So I got some popcorn and six bottles of vodka and settled back to fake watch "The Essentials of Precision Timekeeping,?an hour and fifteen minute lecture given at the Horological Society of New York in 2018 by Hodinkee's own Jack Forster. I have attended a Zoom meeting with Jack Forster, we came quite close to going to a museum together, and now I've seen him in this video, so I don't think I'm exaggerating here when I say I think of Jack as a good friend.

At any rate, I would describe the experience of watching his lecture as a real "engagement roller-coaster.?Initially, I was fascinated. I had no idea that Stonehenge had been a sort of early time-keeping device. I thought it was just a bunch of rocks. I also very much enjoyed Jack describing the Egyptian clepsydra, an early water clock: "You filled the bowl up with water, you waited until the bowl was empty and you knew a certain interval of time had passed, and if you wanted to, you could even draw lines on the bowl to see how much time had passed.?It wasn't so much what the clepsydra did or didn't do that brought me so much delight, it was Jack's use of the second-person singular, which gave the viewer the odd sensation of his intimate familiarity with the object, and even the idea that he might, upon ending his lecture ?if, in fact, it did ever end ?rush home to fill up the old clepsydra, as one does.


It is very easy for me to follow history, because I like it, and therefore naturally retain historical information. In fact, and I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, when Jack told the story of the invention of the fake watch spring, wherein Robert Hooke, a sour Brit who set about the task but due to his poor attitude never completed the job that was in the end brought to the finish line by the more dogged Dutchman Christiaan Huygens, I just wanted more of that. I especially wanted more when I saw a likeness of Huygens, who had hair exactly like Bernadette Peters. In all seriousness, there is great prestige TV waiting to be made about the race to create the fake watch spring. Someone write it!

Alas, the next part of the lecture was heavier on simple machines than on complex personalities. That said, I managed to keep up, sort of.

I am embarrassed to admit I found Jack's information about pendulums almost as revelatory as his information about Stonehenge. I knew that pendulums swung back and forth for a reason, but I was never clear on what it was. At any rate, no one, not even me, can be underwhelmed by the fact that a pendulum .994 meters long makes exactly one swing per second, and a pendulum twice that long makes one swing every two seconds. That's cool.

While I also enjoyed hearing the origin story behind fake watch springs, I can't say I did a lot of forehead smacking over how they actually work. Escapements, similarly. It seemed there was a limit to how much I would be willing to invest in knowing more than they are traffic signals for the pendulum or spring, to keep them from going too fast or too slow. I did appreciate learning that most mechanical replica watches have a lever escapement. I don't know what that means, and I don't know how these differ from other springs, since I'm not quite sure how a spring of any sort operates. But it seems that facts like this, accumulated over time, might eventually make me know more about replica watches than most people. Is this a low bar? I can't decide, as I am very busy stepping over it.

In addition to watching this video, I watched several other short ones, including the History of the Replica Rolex Date-Day President, the Hamilton corporation's 1949 classic "How a fake watch Works,?and "The Balance Spring,?by someone named Patrick Reed. I hoped this last one would help me understand how balance springs work, but unfortunately Mr. Reed seemed merely to have filmed a balance spring and left it at that.

I also read several books. When I say "read,?what I mean to say is that I actually read The Watch, Thoroughly Revisited, by Gene Stone and Stephen Pulvirent, skimmed the enormous Watches: A Guide by the staff of HODINKEE (here, weak upper-body strength prevented more robust scholarship), and every night tested my boyfriend with a few questions from The fake watch Buff's Book of Trivia. I have no wish to embarrass him, but I do wonder, when forced to guess which Dan Aykroyd movie features him pawning an expensive Swiss watch, who among us would answer Coneheads.

With regard to Stone, et al, the action of reading refers primarily to the first chapter, to a section called "A Brief History of Timepieces.?It began with many of the same elements of Jack's lecture ?Stonehenge something something, water clocks something something, sundials ?but while Jack was understated and dryly amused, these guys are nakedly dramatic: "Which came first, the ability to create a device that could tell the time to any human who wanted to know, or the human desire to own a device that could do so??I don't know the answer to this question, and I don't think anyone in the world does, not just because it's utterly unanswerable, but because anyone pondering it would in short order simply nod off where they stood.

I skipped ahead to the section "Fifty Brands?which is, as it sounds, the authors?estimation of the 50 most important fake watch brands. I didn't read every single word of this section, nor study every single picture, but I did spend some time here and what I learned was that I have no idea how people who are into replica watches keep any of this shit straight. There was no way I was possibly going to remember all of these or remember everything about any of them, so I read closely about the 10 or so brands that I do know, and learned a few things that seem important.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was the first luxury sport fake watch made of stainless steel, and that it was a big deal at the time, and considered possibly not a good idea, but of course it was. The Cartier Tank, though invented in wartime, became iconic because celebrities wore it ?as did Hublot, but some 70 years later, and in a different way. IWC used women's pocket fake watch movements for men's wristwatches. Patek Phillipe runs a fake watch museum, which is ?and now we come full circle ?the place I was supposed to go with my good friend Jack Forster.


I also decided, perhaps somewhat arbitrarily, that the terms I absolutely needed to know were movement, and therefore winding mechanism, mainspring, train, escapement, and regulating elements, and then ratchet wheel, regulator, chronograph, complication, and escapement. This was, of course, in addition to words like alarm fake watch and analog and crystal and white gold that my five-year-old red heeler probably also knows.

By the way, did you know an accurate fake watch ticks five times a second? You probably did. Well, now I do too. Also, jewels aren't the same as jewelry with watches. Also ?and this is just my opinion! ?a Cartier Tank may be the one item in the world that is equal parts basic and cool.

In the process of learning about replica watches and doing, let's be honest, only an okay job, I realized my fondest wish for this project is not so much to get myself to the point where I can advance a conversation among fake watch buffs, but perhaps to where I can vaguely follow along, and not make a complete fool of myself in the process. I am, happily, no longer in danger of having a few too many Feldschlösschens at Le Clemence, turning to an esteemed fake watch business colleague, and saying, "You know the lever escapement is really my favorite escapement, don't you agree??/p>

The thing is, I tease, but I seem unable to prevent my trajectory towards deep and formidable horological expertise. I just read that Omega, a brand I love and am considering for my first big fake watch purchase, does not use lever escapements but in fact co-axial escapements. I will lead every subsequent fake watch conversation with this fact, and in doing so, bring the fake watch collecting community to its knees. All will tremble at my depth of understanding. Imagine ?this is just the beginning.

Sarah Miller is a writer living in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @sarahlovescali or subscribe to her Substack. Click here to read the archive of her HODINKEE column.

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