Watches Archives

May 5, 2006

Lemania 15TL Chronograph

Lemania 15TL Chronograph

Watches are a good example of the value of good design and making trade-offs. The watch shown is an example of one which is quite robust because of the original design decisions, and one which had a life of many decades with only minor revisions. This is not really the best example of this watch. The dial and the case of it have been cobbled together, but inside it ticks one of the more interesting chronograph movements. The 15TL is one of the earliest and most long-lived chronograph movements. It was developed in the early 1930's and shares more design features with pocketwatches than it does with wristwatches. One aspect of this is that it is big. It is 33.3 mm in diameter. With size comes greater accuracy as the balance wheel (which performs the function of the pendulum in a typical clock) is bigger and is less affected by minor variations in manufacture or movement of the watch. You can see how large it is and the "backward" orientation of the movement here:

what is inside

The larger design also results in a more reliable movement. Pieces are larger and stouter. Reliability is also designed in. The activation of the chronograph in this movement is primarily a linear action. Other chronographs, lacking the patent, use long curved levers to control the chronograph functions. Eventually they bend or twist. Lemania was brought in as part of the Omega group in the early 30's and this movement can be found in Omegas, Tissots and a few other watches of the period.

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