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Title:
CLOCK WITH SETTABLE FREQUENCY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/201918
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention concerns an escapement device for clocks, wherein the ticking sound produced by a mechanism where a balance wheel (5) oscillates in contrast to the elastic action of a spring (6) and is associated with an anchor (4), has a frequency preset as a function of parameters outside of the clock, such as a heart rate of a user, the environment in which the clock is located or others.

Inventors:
SASSO LUCIANO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/052792
Publication Date:
October 08, 2020
Filing Date:
March 25, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LA VALLEE S R L (IT)
International Classes:
G04B15/08; G04F7/04
Foreign References:
EP2570870A12013-03-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FERRONI, Filippo et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Escapement device for clocks, comprising an oscillating mechanism where a balance wheel (5) that oscillates in contrast to the elastic action of a spring (6) is associated with an anchor (4) and wherein the anchor (4) engages with the teeth of an escapement wheel (7), so that the contact produces a sound or ticking with a certain frequency, characterised in that such a frequency is present as a function of parameters outside of the clock, such as a heart rate of a user, the environment in which the clock is located or others.

2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the frequency of said sound is less than 1 Hz.

3. Device according to claims 1 or 2, wherein the frequency of said sound is different from that of turning of the hands (2, 3, 15) or of other mobile indicator members of the clock.

4. Device according to any one of the previous claims, comprising a first gear train (8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29) for actuating the escapement wheel (7) and a second gear train (16,

17, 18, 20, 29) for actuating the hands (2, 3, 15) of the clock, wherein a balance is provided between the first gear train (8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29) and the second gear train (16, 17,

18, 20, 29) involving at least one among the following parameters: distribution of the power between the first and second gear trains, the moment of inertia of the gear trains and of possible elements associated thereto, such as balance wheel (5), shafts (18, 32), and others, as well as further parameters like the elastic constant and/or number of turns of the coil spring (6), the diameter of escapement wheel (7), the transmission ratios of the gears.

5. Device according to claim 4, wherein the gears (16, 17, 18, 20, 29) of the second train drive the hands (2, 3) and operate along a same axis (20).

6. Clock comprising a device according to any one of the previous claims.

7. Method for setting a clock escapement device (1), comprising an oscillating mechanism where a balance wheel (5) that oscillates in contrast to the elastic action of a spring (6) is associated with an anchor (4) and wherein the anchor (4) engages with the teeth of an escapement wheel (7), so that the contact produces a sound or ticking with a certain frequency, characterised in that such a frequency is set as a function of parameters such as a heart rate of a user of the clock, the sound in the environment where the clock is located.

8. Method according to claim 7, wherein the frequency is less than 1 Hz.

9. Method according to any claims 7 or 8, wherein a balance is provided between a first gear train (8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29) linking the oscillating mechanism (4, 5, 6) to the load or drive spring (30), and the second gear train (16, 17, 18, 20, 29) linking the hour and minute hands (2, 3) to the load spring (30).

10. Method according to claim 9, wherein the balance involves at least one among the following parameters: distribution of the power between the first and second gear trains, the moment of inertia of the gear trains and of possible elements associated thereto such as balance wheel (5), shafts (18, 32) or others, as well as further parameters like the elastic constant and/or number of turns of the coil spring (6), the diameter of escapement wheel (7), the transmission ratios of the gears.

11. Method according to any of claims 9 or 10, wherein the balance is promoted by the fact that the gears (16, 17, 18, 20, 29) of the second train that drives the hands (2, 3), operate along a same axis (20).

Description:
Title:

“Clock with settable frequency”

DESCRIPTION

The present invention, in a more general aspect thereof, concerns the advancing frequency of the mechanisms of clocks.

It should be specified right away that the present invention is intended for horology in general and therefore it applies as much to watches, both wrist and pocket, as to table or wall clocks, with the shape and size of the clock not being relevant.

Furthermore, as will become clearer hereinafter, the invention preferably concerns mechanical clocks, in other words those in which the mobile indicator elements like the hands, the discs or the dials or other, are driven by mechanisms that comprise an escapement system.

Therefore, when in this description and in the following claims reference is made to a clock or to a form of clock, this should not be interpreted to be limiting and what is stated can also be extended to embodiments of different clocks in terms of size, use and actuation.

As known, in wrist watches, table or wall clocks, the escapement mechanisms that are used to advance the hands and the other mobile parts (e.g. the calendars), comprise a series of gears and of mechanical members that transform the drive torque supplied usually by a spring, so as to obtain a desired advancing speed: for example, the seconds hand will typically perform one complete turn in a minute, whereas the minute hand will perform one turn in an hour and so on.

From a mechanical point of view this advancing system is regulated by the oscillation frequency of a component called balance wheel, which under the elastic contrast action of a spring carries out alternate rotations with a predetermined frequency and/or amplitude.

The ticking produced by mechanical clocks is closely linked to the oscillation frequency of the balance wheel.

Indeed, it regulates the motion of another component called“anchor”, which, as a result of its geometry and the constraints placed on it, moves alternately into two extreme positions. In its motion the anchor stops and releases the teeth of a wheel called“escapement wheel” that is moved and pushed by the torque exerted by the load spring through a train of multiplying gears. The striking of such components produces a sound of constant rhythm that is what is commonly identified as“ticking” of the clock.

In wrist watches there is a tendency to use increasingly high frequencies, which typically range from 28,800 VPH (vibrations per hour) equal to 4Hz, to 72,000 VPH vibrations per hour (10Hz) and over; in table clocks the frequencies are of the order of 2-2.5 Hz.

In quiet settings like in the home, particularly at night, the sound of clocks associated with these frequencies can be annoying; moreover, it is not possible to eliminate or silence it, because the operation and precision of clocks depend on it.

As a result, there is a great need to find a solution to this situation.

Therefore, it can be said that a technical problem forming the basis of the invention is to provide a clock with structural and operating characteristics such as to reduce or in any case limit the drawbacks due to the sound associated with the escapement operating mechanism.

The idea for a solution to such a problem consists of the fact that the Applicant has surprisingly found that by varying the frequencies of the sound (ticking) associated with the clock, there is a reduction of the annoyance or in any case of the negative effects on people.

In other words, the Applicant has found that depending on the people and/or the environments in which the clock is located, there are some frequencies that can lessen the annoyance or in any case the negative effects of the sound associated with it.

Therefore, in accordance with the invention, in order to solve the aforementioned technical problem a clock is provided in which the oscillation frequency of its escapement mechanism can be set according to requirements.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the finding, such a frequency is different from the high frequencies of known clocks and in any case different from that necessary to advance the second or minute hands, nevertheless ensuring the advancing speed of the latter, in other words one turn per minute or one turn per hour.

The characteristics of the invention are stated more specifically in the claims attached to this description. Such characteristics, the results that derive from them and the effects obtained by the invention will become clearer from the following description of a preferred and non exclusive embodiment thereof, shown in the attached drawings, provided for indicating and not limiting purposes, in which the sole figure (fig. 1) shows a perspective view of a mechanical escapement device according to the finding.

In particular, as can be understood, for the sake of simplicity and clarity the figure schematically shows only the elements necessary or in any case useful for understanding the finding; for the rest of the mechanism and of the clock in which it is intended to be installed, reference can be made to what is generally known in the field.

Therefore, those skilled in the art are able to carry out the invention based on what will be outlined hereinafter, possibly together with information belonging to their shared technical knowledge.

Thus, for example, the mechanism of figure 1 is of the type intended for wrist watches or table clocks, i.e. with a horizontal quadrant; however, those skilled in the art will be able to make the necessary variations in the case of wall clocks, possibly even pendulum clocks.

In the figure it is possible to see an escapement device according to the invention, generically indicated with 1, which is intended for advancing the hour hand 2, minute hand 3 and second hand 15, along a clock face 35.

The device 1 comprises an anchor mechanism 4 and balance wheel 5 that oscillates in contrast to the elastic action of a coil spring 6; the anchor 4 engages with a sawtooth wheel 7 of the escapement, which is set in motion by a gear train 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29 in cascade that receive the drive torque from a spring 30.

The latter is loaded manually by a crown 25 and a drum gear 26, 27, 28.

In the device 1 the frequency at which the balance wheel 5 is made to oscillate by means of the coil spring 6 is a constructive choice that is made at the design stage according to the teaching of the invention: such a frequency is preferably selected as a function of the user and/or the environment in which the clock in which the device 1 is mounted is arranged.

Among the frequencies that the Applicant has found to be of interest, there are the frequencies corresponding to the heartbeat of the user, particularly in rest conditions; typically, it thus concerns frequencies below 1 Hz and more preferably also below 0,5 Hz.

After this, it is necessary to design the gear train 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29 so as to be able to correctly represent the lapse of minutes (meaning that in the case of a conventional clock there must be a shaft of a gear that completes a whole turn in one hour) and preferably the lapse of seconds.

Concerning this, see the simplified scheme of Fig. 1 that shows the escapement device of a mechanical clock (in the example a table clock or a wrist watch), where the clicks of the anchor 4 release the teeth of the escapement wheel 7 one at a time, said wheel 7 being set in motion by the entire gear train 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29, which moves the minute hand 3, hour hand 2 and, consequently, all of the other indications possibly present on the clock face 35, in this case the seconds hand 15.

In this context the frequency of the sound produced by the contact between the anchor 4 and the teeth of the escapement wheel 7 is preset as a function of parameters outside of the clock, such as the heart rate of the user, the environment in which the clock is located or other.

What is relevant is that such a frequency be preferably different from the advancing of the hands 2, 3 and 15; therefore, the number of teeth of the wheel 7 and the oscillation frequency of the balance wheel 5 and of the associated anchor 4, will be selected so as to generate a ticking sound with a different frequency from that of the seconds hand 15.

In fact, the rotation speed and/or the number of teeth of the escapement wheel 7 will be different from that of the seconds wheel 9.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, in order to reach low frequency values for the vibrations of the oscillating system that includes the anchor 4 and the balance wheel 5 that oscillates in contrast to the elastic action of a coil spring 6, without impairing the precision of the clock, a balance should be provided between the first gear train 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29 linking the aforesaid oscillating system to the load or drive spring 30, and the second gear train 16, 17, 18, 20, 29 linking the hour and minute hands 2, 3 to the load spring 30.

The balance should involve at least one among the following parameters: distribution of the power between the first and second gear trains, the moment of inertia of the gear trains and of possible elements associated thereto (such as balance wheel 5, shafts 18 or 32, pins and others), as well as further parameters like the elastic constant and/or number of turns of the coil spring 6, the diameter of escapement wheel 7, the transmission ratios of the gears, etc.

In the embodiment shown in figure 1, the balance is promoted by the fact that the gears 16, 17, 18, 20, 29 of the second train that drives the hands 2, 3, operate along the main axis i.e. the vertical centre shaft 20.

Moreover, for the same purpose a similar number of reduction stages 16, 17 and 9, 11 along the respective gear trains should be preferably provided (in this case the escapement wheel 7 is not considered).

These features make it possible to set the frequency of the oscillating system that comprises the anchor 4, the balance wheel 5 and the coil spring 6, with value less than 1 Hz, without impairing the precision of the clock.

It should be emphasized that the low frequency values of less than 1 Hz, further to the advantageous effects stated above, also provide for reducing the wear of the oscillating mechanism and in particular the anchor 4 and the escapement wheel 7.

For the sake of simplicity, the elements shown in the figure are listed below, with the relative reference numerals:

1. Escapement device 14. Pinion of the centre wheel

2. Hour hand 15. Seconds hand

3. Minute hand 16. Hour wheel

4. Anchor 17. Minute wheel

5. Balance wheel 18. Pinion of the minute wheel

6. Coil spring 19. Seconds shaft

7. Escapement wheel 20. Centre shaft

8. Pinion of the escapement wheel 21. Quadrant

9. Seconds wheel 25. Crown

10. Pinion of the seconds wheel 26. Sprocket

11. Third wheel 27. Drum of the barrel

12. Pinion of the third wheel 28. Shaft of the barrel

13. Centre wheel 29. Drum wheel 30. Load spring

As stated above, the teaching of the invention also extends to table and wall clocks, so that in such circumstances it will be possible to have variants with respect to what is shown in the figure, which concerns a wrist watch.

Thus, for example, the loading crown 25 could be absent or in any case be different; the same applies to some of the gears 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13, 14, 29 or 16, 17, 18, 20, 29 that make it possible to obtain the desired gear ratio for a given oscillation frequency of the balance wheel 5.

What is relevant is that the oscillation frequency of the latter and the number of teeth of the escapement wheel 7 are such that the periodic or ticking sound that is caused by the contact of the anchor 4 with the teeth of the wheel 7 corresponds to the desired frequency. Such variants are encompassed by the following claims.