The description of the lever escapement

WARNING: this will be a bit technical

Our present-day timepieces represent the evolutions of 500 years of micro mechanics, and the work of thousands innovators who worked to render them more and more precise and dependable.

Among them, there was one — Thomas Mudge — who around 1750 invented a particular form of escapement called the English Lever. …


This is a question that most Westerners pose themselves. And it would require a book, not a short article. However, there is an aspect that people who do not know China and Asia in general often overlook, and I would like to explain it here now, as I experienced it firsthand myself.

Most of the people in West assume that China works in a similar way to what they are accustomed to, and it is not. Big time.

To tell you my story, I was involved in a design/brand development project for the government of Malaysia in a related field…


I hate being sold on LinkedIn, but I am doing something about it.

LinkedIn seems to have become the number one platform to make cold calls to do new business. I bet you know the feeling: someone is asking for a connection. You check the guy or the gal and discover it’s a “Growth Hacker” or some other contemporary corporate mumbo-jumbo.

You accept the invitation — after all, LinkedIn IS the social for business networking, right?

Invariably, the next day you find the sales pitch right in your damn mailbox.

“Hello Franz,

I am John Doe, and I am the whatever-it-takes-to-separate-you-from-your-dollars of El Cheapo Productions LLC.

We make the best stuffed animals on…


Winding a mechanical watch, for the uninitiated, might be felt as a daunting task. These tiny mechanical wonders look like they are sort of frail, when we listen to their soft clicking as we wind them. And we worry about breaking them. So, how much should we wind them? And how often?

To dispel our doubts, we have to get back to their basic elements and functions. And discover that, in older times, our little ticking friends had a much lesser autonomy than they have right here, right now.

I describe how watches work in much more detail in my…


Will smartwatches replace the traditional watches?

Every now and then I get asked this same old BEEP.

It is on a par with “why spending so much in a Rolex when the primary function of a watch is to keep time and my Timex does it”.

Basically, both assertions seem perfectly logical, but are instead based on a false premise.

The premise is that watches — and I say, traditional watches — are just an expression of a function, while they are not.

This might sound strange, but even a small historical research would show it otherwise. Through the years…


The attention towards VIPs as role-models is not something new, being them fictitious or real.

So, we have found that some screen characters have made the fortune of many watch models — one of them is the most famous watch of the world, that is, the Rolex Submariner, which has graced the wrist of the most famous spy of the Western world, Mr. 007 himself, in the memorable playing of the super-spy by the quintessential James Bond actor, Sean Connery.

But apart from the virtual nature of Mr. Bond and the huge panoply of his watches, which have included many…


When and how were modern watches born?

You can write much more about the history of watchmaking — and I have done it in much more detail in my book, The Watch Manual — but what follows is a 5-minute summary.

The clocks as we conceive them today were born around 1300, and one of the first was an Italian timepiece, the Astrarium, created by Giovanni da Dondi of Padua around 1315.

The Astrarium was an exceptional clock. …


From one million views per month to peanuts: the rise and fall of good content.

A Q&A website offering free content from top experts worldwide in specific fields that you can access without shelling out a dime? How cool is that?

Indeed, Quora looked very cool once. The site was ripe with useful and interesting information, published by knowledgeable authors worldwide. The website grew steadily to reach the 80th place in readership in the world — and 37th in the USA. It looked like its meteoric rise would meet no end.

Until something happened.

Around the end of 2018, Quora’s…


What is the quality of Cartier watches from a horological perspective? Are they just watches with a fancy name or are they really high quality in terms of the construction of the movement and watch?.

The Santos, the first commercial wristwatch ever made

The real problem with Cartier watches is that Cartier is the Cartier name. That is, possibly the most famous jeweller there is.

And when you have such an image, everything you do in other fields will always be seen as a brand extension — even if you do it masterfully (as they did with their watches, and I use the past tense for a good…


Protect your little ticking friend to let it serve you trustfully along

Before beginning, remember that the mechanical watch of yours is like an old car. A vintage car, that is, one which is not assisted by electronics, requires a constant care — and the presence of someone who knows how to spot problems before they become serious. And you won’t have a sort of electronic unit which you would plug to the watch to check it, as you do with a modern car. Nope.

So, this all amounts to the fact that your mechanical watch — be it automatic…

Franz Rivoira

Book author, global marcomm, luxury and design product pro, specialized in architecture, furniture, design and watches.

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