VideoBalisometer for watch research

To characterize the regulating organ of mechanical watches
Measurement of the organ regulating mechanical movements
Audemars Piguet chose Qualimatest to develop innovative and efficient equipment

The VideoBalisometer was developed to allow a very detailed analysis of the regulating organ and thus to become a reference for the measurement of the amplitudes, the steps and the speeds of the pendulum. The VideoBalisometer is particularly powerful and unique in the measurement of free damping that can be performed completely automatically and this in all positions of watchmaking. It thus meets the most advanced needs in terms of watch research in these areas.

Measurement concepts

Vision measurements are based on the idea of ​​dynamically measuring the pendulum elongation as a function of time. Three aspects are important to ensure the requested specifications:
Center of rotation
The center of rotation of the balance must be measured with an accuracy of less than 30 microns.
Known landmarks must be visible on the pendulum. They make it possible to detect on each image the angular position of the balance, and thus to define the curve of elongation
For an adequate measurement of the gait at the maximum speed of the balance, the sampling frequency must be sufficiently high and precise.

The achievement of the above objectives involves two successive measurement modes: the first must allow a visualization of the entire pendulum (Ø 12 mm maximum) with a limited image acquisition speed. The second must allow an acquisition of a smaller field of vision but at a high rate.

It is important to note that, in order for the system to be able to acquire and plot an elongation curve, the partial field of view must allow permanent tracking of the markers. For example in the images below, the treatment area allows the visualization of two weights.

Special case of free mode

Since without exhaust there is no acoustic signal, amplitude, gait and speed measurements are made solely by vision.
The operation is slightly different from the measurement in maintained mode, the detection of images of zero speed is identical but the method of calculation of the amplitude is different. The images corresponding to the points of reversal of the pendulum (moment when the pendulum stops and leaves in the other direction) and the images corresponding to the moments where the speed is maximum are recorded and once the balance is still the VideoBalisometer analyzes the recorded images to plot the damping curve, the operating curve and the max.


The innovations of the VideoBalisometer
  • Optical measurement at each alternation, in free or maintained mode, of the amplitude of the balance with an accuracy of less than 1 ° and this for an unlimited duration
  • Measurement of several alternations, in free or maintained mode, of the angular position (elongation) of the balance every 1 / 4000th of a second
  • Measurement of acoustic and optical steps on a rubidium time base
  • Comparative analysis of the measurements taken by the camera and the acoustic system
Time base and timing of measurements

All acquisitions made by the VideoBalisometer are clocked by a rubidium timebase with an accuracy of 0.1 ppm (1 second for 270 years). The images and the acoustic signal (direct / RS232) are acquired simultaneously. The treatment is performed by analyzing two successive complete oscillations to calculate the desired characteristics.

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