History of Chronometers Pt. 4: In-House and Beyond COSC
Since 1972, the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, or COSC, has been the authority Swiss administrative body for chronometers, giving testing and certificates to a significant part of the Swiss watch industry. The COSC’s rigid chronometer accreditation is unquestionably a symbol of honor for any watch, yet numerous producers decide to exceed any and all expectations with their own in-house chronometer testing. Regardless of whether for hostile to attraction, water opposition, or significantly more prominent crude precision, these private tests address the supreme zenith of mechanical exactness and quality.
Without an uncertainty, the most recognizable of these preliminaries is Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer standard. While Rolex addresses by far most of developments tried by the COSC annually, the brand volunteers to additional test COSC-affirmed watches to more tight resistances. While the COSC requests a noteworthy – 4/+6 seconds per day, estimated across 15 days, five positions, and two temperatures, Rolex adds a few extra criteria. Regardless, the Superlative Chronometer test estimates cased watches as opposed to the COSC’s independent developments. Likewise, Rolex tests water obstruction, programmed rotor execution, and force hold testing while diminishing the normal rate to an amazing – 2/+2 seconds per day. What truly makes the preliminary amazing isn’t the exacting resiliences, however–it’s the sheer volume of watches. Rolex annual deals gauges range from anyplace somewhere in the range of 450,000 and 1.2 million watches per year, all of which is Superlative Chronometer certified.
While Rolex surely runs the greatest activity, they’re a long way from the just one in the game. Interminable Worn & Wound most loved Seiko likewise has an in-house chronometer standard, most outstandingly for the flagship Grand Seiko line. The Grand Seiko Standard Inspection expands on the generally solid bones of the COSC’s test with an extra two days of testing–up to an aggregate of 17. The Standard Inspection likewise adds an extra testing position–12 o’ clock pointing upwards–to the COSC arms stockpile of five (6 o’clock facing upward, 3 o’clock facing upward, 9 o’clock facing upward, dial confronting descending, and dial confronting upward), and straightens out normal rates from – 4/+6 to – 3/+5. Greatest rate variety is additionally decreased from six to five seconds out of every day. Seiko produces this grandiose norm at a much lower cost than most competitors, and chronometer-ensured Grand Seikos remain as probably the best horological value for-your-money in the industry.
Not all in-house chronometer tests come from industry monsters. Truth be told, the following test on the rundown doesn’t come from one specific brand by any means, however from the watchmaking city of Glashütte. Glashütte, long the focal point of German watchmaking, offers chronometer testing in the Glashütte Observatory for a few Teutonic names including Wempe and Glashütte Original. The observatory is worked by the German Calibration office and tests to DIN 8319, a German modern standard almost indistinguishable from COSC’s ISO 3159 routine. Racket 8319, nonetheless, has a couple of unique admonitions; like Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer test, the Glashütte Observatory tests completed watches, however just acknowledges developments with a hacking capacity for simplicity of time setting.
In a more nationalistic vein, watches sent in for the Glashütte Observatory Certificate should meet two criteria. To start with, conclusive gathering should happen in Glashütte, and second, in any event 55% of development components must be produced in the town. While the Glashütte Observatory Certificate isn’t confined to a solitary brand, the honor is restricted to German watches.
The Glashütte practice of tolerating various brands is absolutely reformist, yet as of late probably the greatest name in the business made it one stride further. In late 2015, Omega dispatched a partnership with METAS, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, to open another test research facility at the Omega central command in Biel. While the underlying reason for the Biel lab is to test and affirm Omega’s Master Chronometer line, the test is available to any intrigued maker. That being said, given the certification’s rigid enemy of attractive prerequisites (see underneath), it is at present prohibitive to most.
The METAS test, while just 10 days compared to COSC’s 15, sneaks up suddenly. The initial four days of the preliminary subject the development to six unique positions (like Seiko, these are 12 o’clock up, 6 o’clock up, 9 o’clock up. 3 o’clock up, dial upwards, and dial downwards), two temperatures of 23 and 33 degrees Celsius (73.4 and 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and openness to a 15,000 gauss magnet. During this stage, exactness is checked photographically, with an image of the development required at regular intervals and cross-referred to with UTC time. On the off chance that the development endures the principal stage, it is tried again dial upward and dial descending while re-presented to the 15,000 gauss magnet. At this stage, precision testing is dealt with by sound as amazingly touchy mouthpieces tune in on the ticking development. For stage three, the watch is completely cased and exposed to an indistinguishable attractive test to the past stage. After this, each piece is profundity evaluated in a pressing factor tank, at that point sound checked for precision at both 100 and 33 percent power save. Through this tiresome routine, a METAS-ensured chronometer is permitted essentially less normal rate deviation than its COSC counterpart–a simple – 0/+5 seconds for each day.
The COSC stays an amazing power in the watchmaking scene, giving a strong, dependable norm for the Swiss business. Be that as it may, it addresses just a glimpse of something larger for genuinely high-end testing. Past what we’ve covered today, there are numerous different companies and associations adopting various strategies to a similar issue, coming up with interesting and ever-stricter arrangements and pushing forward the envelope for mechanical watchmaking.