Complication (horology)

Complication (horology)

In horology (study of clocks), complication refers to any feature in a timepiece beyond the simple display of hours, minutes, and seconds.

A timepiece indicating only hours, minutes, and seconds is otherwise known as a simple movement. Common additions such as day/date displays, chronographs, and automatic winding mechanisms are usually not sufficient to permit a movement to be called complicated. Moreover, that a watch movement may be a Certified Chronometer does not itself count as a complication.

The more complications in a watch, the more difficult it is to design, create, assemble, and repair. A typical date-display chronograph may have up to 250 parts, while a particularly complex watch may have a thousand or more parts. Watches with several complications are referred to as grandes complications.

The initial ultra-complicated watches appeared due to watchmakers' ambitious attempts to unite a great number of functions in a case of a single timepiece. The mechanical clocks with a wide range of functions, including astronomical indications, suggested ideas to the developers of the first pocket watches. As a result, as early as in the 16th century, the horology world witnessed the appearance of numerous complicated, and even ultra-complicated, watches.

Ultra-complicated watches are produced in strictly limited numbers, with some built as unique instruments. Some watchmaking companies known for making ultra-complicated watches are Breguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin.

Read more about Complication (horology):  Examples, Nonhorological Complications, Grand Complications

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