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Physical-Based Simulations of Mechanical Watches and Clocks

[+] Author Affiliations
L. C. Tam, Tom Kong, R. Du

Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong

Paper No. IMECE2007-41771, pp. 123-128; 6 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 12: New Developments in Simulation Methods and Software for Engineering Applications
  • Seattle, Washington, USA, November 11–15, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4306-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3812-9
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


Mechanical watches and clocks are intricate mechanical devices that fascinate millions of people around the world. In general, a mechanical watch is made of some 100 components. Among these components, the escapement plays a vital role in controlling the timekeeping accuracy. An escapement usually consists of an escape wheel, which receives energy provided by the mainspring through the gear train, and a pallet fork, which controls the oscillation. Owing to its complex nature, few have built a mathematical model for the escapement. In this paper, we present a physical-based simulation model for the Graham Escapement (the oldest and the most common escapement for clocks), and a model for the Swiss Lever Escapement (the most popular escapement for mechanical watches). The models are developed based on a commercial software system RecurDyn® [1]. The simulation helps to understand the kinetics as well as the dynamics of the escapements.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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