Chronography 4: Lemania 5100
Indeed, even its mom wouldn’t portray the Lemania 5100 as ‘pretty’. An offspring of the last part of the 1970s, it grew up similarly as those dreadful unpleasant young men from the Japanese quartz industry were moving over the jungle gym divider and duffing up anything Swiss and mechanical they could find. But in spite of the fact that it wasn’t a looker, it unquestionably was a do-er. The 5100 discovered its way into such an applications that need inexpensiveness, strength, unwavering quality and versatility more than the correct kind of completing on its development plates. Areas like military activities, space investigation and motorcar racing.
But it was this very heartiness and straightforward demeanor that cursed it and implied even its military promoters couldn’t keep it alive. The business changed; appearance turned out to be a higher priority than work and the hatchet employing bookkeepers and brand-primpers of the Swatch Group ensured the 5100 was sidelined for shinier things.
In certainty, the tale of the 5100 is an illustration of an incredible arrangement that’s amiss with current horology.
The Lemania 5100 isn’t intended to be seen respectfully through a sapphire glass back. It’s not intended to be the beneficiary of anglage and côtes de Genève. Instead, it’s intended to work. And work under such a conditions that cause more exhausted developments to concoct their reasons and guarantee an earlier commitment with their manicurist. Then, when those different developments are fanning their temples and blacking out for a help, the 5100 is disdainfully ticking joyfully for at any rate twice as long. And when the back at last falls off, its development implies that accomplishing the work doesn’t include an electron magnifying lens, parts produced using refined unicorn tears and the abilities of a cerebrum surgeon.
All in all, the 5100 is what might be compared to the million-mile-competent Mercedes OM602 2.5 diesel engine. It ain’t pretty, however it’ll run for ever and if you’ve got a 15mm spanner and a sledge you can fix it. For instance, there’s no compelling reason to destroy the entire development to get to the barrel. Just draw out the focal arbor and you’ve liberated it.
You get a legitimate cam-impelled, direct-drive chronograph showing the two seconds and minutes on the principle dial. You get running seconds at 9.00, a date and 12 and 24 hour subdials too. Seven hands in total. But the gathering stunt is the way it’s all done so elegantly. Yes, the majority of the discussion about the 5100 is about how intense it is, yet it’s really definitely more precisely rich than a lot more costly units.
Start with the development plates and bridges. Why spend fortunes processing singular components when you can stamp two or three hundred of them from a solitary sheet? Then, fix the extensions to the primary plate with ordinary, column construction. You’ve saved yourself enough to purchase lunch at Baselworld already.
Because this is a development that’s about capacity and not boasting rights, consider different materials you can use for parts. Do you need to utilize metal for everything? How about plastic? Delrin, specifically. It’ll adapt to temperatures that kill different materials, it’s inflexible yet retains stuns, scarcely exhausts after some time and has a characteristic lubricity. It likewise gives the haute horlogerie horde kittens.
The 5100 runs a delrin day and date wheel, cams and a chrono grip wheel. Its equilibrium cockerel is mounted on a stun engrossing, low-erosion delrin plate. And the development is organized by a stun engrossing delrin cushion – five years before the main G-Shock began taking a gander at defensive plastic parts in watches. There’s an unmistakable, plastic plate ensuring the chronograph instrument too.
It’s minimal effort, powerful, simple to create and fix and does the work beautifully. Proper old style polish, as Pirsig would put it.
Don’t squander cash on one of those costly Incabloc safeguards for the balance. Not when there’s a more straightforward, less expensive Kif framework that’ll do the job. There – presently you can bear the cost of espresso with your Baselworld lunch.
Finally, as opposed to running in a little, exactness metal ball race, the rotor is situated in a hard iron bearing. And it’s hung on with a basic rubbing push-fork.
That all gives you a development that will withstand the stuns of flying (and leaping out of) airplane, fight, engine dashing and basically whatever else you can toss at it. The 5100 will, clearly, withstand a 7G stun without issues and run for a very long time without an assistance – throughout the prior years Casio’s “Triple Ten” concept.
When times in the business were extreme, the 5100 was a staple development for Tutima, Sinn, Heuer. It even discovered its way into rather more astute applications with Omega and Orfina’s Porsche Design. Then, as quartz lost its sparkle and mech rethought itself as an extravagance item, the business began to look on the 5100 as the humiliating revolting child of the family.
Mechanical watches had changed. Where, until quartz dominated, they’d been the standard on everyman’s wrist, presently they were getting a touch of chic on. And as Swatch bunch began engrossing more modest watch organizations, it turned into about who had the most recent complication, the freshest materials and the flashiest perlage.
Once Lemania was consumed by Swatch in 1999, the 5100 had no place to go. It was the direct opposite of everything the Swiss watch industry currently represented – and needed to represent. By 2003/4, notwithstanding fights from the military, it had been unobtrusively discontinued.
But the 5100 lives on. Sort of. ETA makes the 2009 C01.211 development that has some solid hereditary connects to it indeed. But this ain’t progress. There’s no focal moment counter – perhaps the most helpful highlights of the 5100. The gem tally is down from 17 to 15 gems as well. You’ll discover it in the Tissot PRC, Couturier and a couple of Swatches.
You could, being altruistic, contend that the C01 is the coherent subsequent stage for the 5100 – considerably easier, much more vigorous, even cheaper. But it’s a disgrace that a development of this quality and qualification for work has now been consigned to driving stuff at Swatch Group’s base end. With history and legacy behind it – yet quality and traditional tastefulness too – it unquestionably merits better.