What is an escapement in a watch?

Vaer Watches Updated by Vaer Watches

An escapement is a mechanism in a mechanical watch that controls the release of energy from the watch's mainspring and regulates the movement of the watch's gears and hands.

The escapement consists of several components, including the escape wheel, pallet fork, and balance wheel, which work together to convert the rotational motion of the watch's mainspring into the back-and-forth motion of the watch's hands.

The escapement works by releasing a small amount of energy from the mainspring with each oscillation of the balance wheel. As the balance wheel oscillates back and forth, the pallet fork catches and releases the teeth of the escape wheel, causing the gears of the watch to move forward in small increments and the hands of the watch to move forward.

The rate at which the escapement releases energy is controlled by the hairspring, which acts as a type of torsion spring that resists the motion of the balance wheel and helps regulate the rate of oscillation. Small adjustments to the length or tension of the hairspring can have a significant impact on the accuracy of the watch's timekeeping.

The escapement is a critical component of a mechanical watch movement, and its design and operation have a significant impact on the accuracy and reliability of the watch. The escapement must be manufactured to extremely high standards of precision and accuracy, and it must be properly lubricated and maintained to ensure that it functions properly over time.

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