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The detent escapement: from marine chronometers to wristwatches


Also referred to as "chronometer escapement", the detent escapement can guarantee higher precision than the more common Swiss lever escapement.

  
Animations courtesy of Mark Headrick and abbeyclock.com


The detent escapement became the universal standard for marine chronometers which were used on ships from the end of the 18th century till the 1970s, when they were replaced by electronic clocks.

Nonetheless, for more than two centuries the detent escapement could not be used for wearable timepieces, except for few rare high-precision pocket watches. Who invented it? How does it work? And how was the challenge to implement it in wristwatches finally won?

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