Rolex Ref. 4113 And Index-mobile Mechanisms

When it comes to dual chronograph chronographs, we must mention Rolex Ref. 4113. Without a doubt, it is the most talked about, most sought after, and also the most expensive double-track chronograph in the Valjoux 55 family. Ref. 4113 was once the only Rolex watch that sold for more than $ 1 million in a public auction ($ 1.17 million in 2013), and today it has raised this record to $ 2 million (Rich in May 2016) Yiss auctioned “Stop-Stop-Reset” thematic auction for 2.4 million Swiss francs). Ref.4113 is Rolex’s only dual chronograph chronograph. It was introduced in 1942, with only 12 pieces produced. This watch is huge in size and can reach 44 mm in diameter. Equipped with Valjoux 55 VBR movement, it is also the most advanced configuration.

 Rolex Ref. 4113
Rolex Ref. 4113 dual chronograph chronograph

   The Rolex Ref. 4113 is no longer a single-button design-its central button is used to start the timekeeping, the button at 2 o’clock is used to activate the double tracking hand, and the button at 4 o’clock is used to reset the time. Please note that previous versions with Valjoux 55 VBR movements cannot be “paused” (as are all single-button dual-seconds chronographs), but Rolex Ref. 4113 has this feature. The Rolex Ref. 4113 is likely to be the only two-button two-second hand chronograph equipped with the Valjoux 55 VBR movement. Compared with other versions equipped with Valjoux 55 VBR movement, the Rolex Ref. 4113 not only adds extra features, but also the case is relatively thin.

Rolex Ref. 4113
   Why was Rolex Ref. 4113 made? This particular model has never been released publicly and has not appeared in any advertising for the brand. But we know that this watch was produced in 1942, a total of 12 pieces, serial numbering from 051313 to 051324.
   Interestingly, most of the surfacing examples are inextricably linked to Sicily. For example, in May 1991, Christie’s Geneva auctioned Ref. 4113 (transaction price 82,500 Swiss francs) with the number 051313. The client was the family of the famous driver Stefano La Motta. For another example, in October 1991, Christie’s London auctioned a Ref. 4113 (transacted for 27,500 pounds) with the number 051318. The client was a widow, and her husband worked for the team before his death. As a result, many people speculate that this rare and famous double-track chronograph has deep roots in motorsport. Today, Rolex Ref. 4113 is one of the most popular antique watches, as evidenced by its history and recent auction results.
Butex double-track chronograph, Landeron double-track chronograph movement

Butex dual chronograph chronograph

   The picture above shows a Butex double-tracing chronograph. From the overall layout of the lever, it can be inferred that the movement should come from the Landeron factory. The watch’s dual chase mechanism is activated by a button at 10 o’clock. This design is completely different from the Venus and Valjoux movements, but coincidentally, it is a modern dual chase chronograph similar to IWC and Lange. . These watches are like traditional chronographs. They are not only for wrist decoration, but also for functionality. They are really used for timing.

Butex dual chronograph chronograph movement

   In addition, the mechanical complexity of the movement is also amazing. They are among the most amazing and complex watch movements in history, and even one of the two mass-produced ultimate vintage collectible chronograph movements, and the other is the Longines 13ZN. If you don’t consider retouching, 13ZN may be superior in aesthetics and design, but the complexity of the Venus 185 / Valjoux 55 VBR is definitely better than life.
Valjoux 84 Mono-Rattrapante
   The demand for a double-tracking chronograph is real, but due to the cost price, the conventional double-tracking chronograph is difficult to benefit the general public. Moreover, the mechanical mechanisms of the dual chronograph chronograph are very complicated, and the difficulty of maintenance service can be imagined. As a result, industry players have begun to consider making movements that are more economical and easier to adjust. The first is the Valjoux 84 movement in the 1940s.

Valjoux 84 Mono-Rattrapante
   As mentioned earlier, the mechanical mechanisms of both the Venus 185 and Valjoux 55 VBR movements are equipped with double tracking needles. In 1936, Charles Jeanrenaud-Bovet of Fleurier obtained a patent for a chronograph (patent number no. 185465). This chronograph is equipped with only one second hand, but its functionality is similar to that of a double-track chronograph. It is called ‘Mono-Rattrapante’ and ‘Mono’ refers to a single second hand.

Valjoux 84 movement
   At first glance, the Valjoux 84 movement looks very similar to the earlier one-button version of the Valjoux 22 movement. However, we can easily notice the extra coil spring at 9 o’clock (left), which is a key element that allows the chronograph movement to give the second hand a ‘catching up’ mechanism.

Valjoux 84 Mono-Rattrapante

   Press the button at 2 o’clock to start the timing mechanism; then press and hold the button at 4 o’clock to pause the second hand, but the timing mechanism is still working. During this period, the coil spring gradually accumulates tension. When you release the button at 4 o’clock, the coil spring releases tension and the second hand will ‘catch up’ on the elapsed time. However, since the ‘chasing’ mechanism is basically connected to the small stud of the traction coil spring, the time for pressing and releasing the button at the 4 o’clock position is limited to 60 seconds (that is, the time for the second hand wheel to make one full revolution). No matter how long, the small studs will block the gears and the entire movement will stop.


   Why is this mechanism effective? Because it allows the user to record the time of an event, while the timing mechanism can continue to track the elapsed time. The function of this mechanism is equivalent to that of the double-tracking mechanism, but it does not need to be equipped with a second second hand, which is simpler and easier to produce, adjust and service. In addition, this mechanism can also be used in other single-button movements. For example, some watches produced by Lowenthal have similar mechanisms.
Dubey & Schaldenbrand Index-Mobile mechanism
   Bovet’s creative application of the tension spring mechanism is an interesting horological innovation, and the watchmaking community is equally interested in using a similar technology to produce a double-tracing chronograph watch. In 1948, Georges Dubey and Rene Schaldenbrand obtained a patent (patent number no. 253051), which also uses studs and tension springs to be mounted on the Valjoux 77 movement, but an additional second hand is added. Tension springs, similar in function to the tension springs provided with the Valjoux 84. Two patents were subsequently obtained, each of which simplified the original system, and the second and final patent made it possible to use a universal single-button chronograph movement to achieve the double-tracking mechanism. This patent eventually developed into the Dubey & Schaldenbrand Index-Mobile mechanism.

Dubey & Schaldenbrand Index-Mobile
   So how does it work? Index-Mobile is equipped with an additional coil spring mounted above the dial and connected to a second second hand. Generally speaking, the conventional double-tracking chronograph movement needs to be extensively modified inside the movement; while the Dubey & Schaldenbrand Index-Mobile mechanism transfers most of the modification work to the outside of the movement, to the dial, the movement The important changes inside are just an additional sun gear and lever. The gear is connected to a second second hand and is connected to the original sun gear via a spring. Holding down the button at 3 o’clock, the lever will stop the gear and the second second hand, at which point the time of the first event can be read. As needed, the button can be released, and the second second hand can “catch up” with the first hand still running through the spring on the dial. The basic principle is very similar to that of Powell, but it realizes the real double-tracking hand timing function.

Index Mobile mechanism patent
   This mechanism (even compared to Valjoux 84) is undoubtedly more cost-effective because it adds extra elements to the basic movement without having to modify the entire movement. Compared with the traditional double-tracking chronograph movement, the Index Mobile mechanism is cheaper to produce; compared to the Valjoux 84 movement, the functionality of the Index Mobile mechanism is almost non-destructive, although the latter is also subjected to a similar 60 seconds. Within constraints.

Index Mobile mechanism patent
   Interestingly, most of the Powell Valjoux 84 watches have a chrome case, but less steel. A small number of Mono-Rattrapante watches produced by Lowenthal have a solid gold case. Although very rare, the value of these watches depends largely on the state of care. Strangely, there seems to be no special reason, but the demand for D & S Index-Mobile mechanism watches is significantly lower than the Valjoux 84 watch, which may be due to the existence of a large number of gold-plated D & S watches. In any case, the Index Mobile mechanism is a fascinating horological invention that deserves attention and recognition.