When I initially got into watches, I was new into school. Despite the fact that I maintained two sources of income as an afterthought to take care of my growing habit, even in those days it didn’t get me to the extent I would have gotten a kick out of the chance to go.
I needed one of each kind of complication: in spite of the fact that tourbillons, perpetual calendars, and so forth were still a long ways beyond my methods, a programmed chronograph was doable. I wound up getting a Hamilton Khaki Chronograph, which I bought from its first proprietor and just paid a couple hundred euros for.
While that watch has come and gone now, something did remain and that was my affection for its movement: the Valjoux 7750 . I became dazzled by its exhibition and enchanted by its little quirks.
While my insight extended and I became acquainted with other chronograph movements made by Lémania, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith, and Frédéric Piguet, the Valjoux 7750 stayed with me. Obviously, this is an individual inclination, and one can without much of a stretch offer an also energetic expression about any of the other chronograph movements. But for me the movement itself, the tales behind it, and its presentation on the wrist changed it into my #1 programmed chronograph movement.
The story of the turtle and the hare
The history of Caliber 7750 began when Valjoux ended up in fairly a predicament.
In 1969 Zenith-Movado introduced its first programmed chronograph movement: the El Primero. Also, Breitling, Hamilton, Heuer, Buren and Dubois Dépraz had joined powers and dispatched the Chronomatic movement in that equivalent year.
That put Valjoux in a difficult situation, and the company concluded that it was up to its new recruit, Edmond Capt, to receive the company in return. Valjoux not just needed him to develop the movement as fast as could be expected, but it additionally should have been a robust, reliable, and precise programmed chronograph that was relatively inexpensive to make and included a speedy set day and date.
As if this wasn’t enough pressing factor, by this time the Japanese were at that point conquering valuable market positions with their quartz watches, which would later significantly affect the historical backdrop of the 7750.
To accelerate the development Capt utilized the Valjoux Caliber 7733 as his starting point, a manual-wind chronograph. This wasn’t his lone favorable position because Capt additionally had the help of Donald Rochat and a computer to make drawings and estimations. The last may seem like a given currently, but back then it was an extraordinariness, even in the Swiss watchmaking industry.
What made the 7750 so various was that its operating framework didn’t rely on segment wheels, but rather on switches to work the various elements of the chronograph using an oblong-molded cam. This brought about a reliable chronograph that could be mass delivered a lot simpler than its segment wheel-worked cousins.
Capt and his group worked quick in creating what might become the Valjoux 7750. They worked so rapidly that in 1973 the primary movements were delivered to clients. But the Valjoux 7750 appeared to become a cosmic explosion, burning brightly for an extremely brief timeframe and afterward imploding.
By 1975, after just two brief years, Valjoux clients felt the crush of the Japanese quartz movements so much that orders dove and Valjoux chose to end creation of it completely.
Valjoux 7750: same content, distinctive cast
Here the story takes a go like that of the El Primero. Valjoux’s directors were convinced that the finish of mechanical watchmaking had arrived and requested the complete obliteration of everything related to the Valjoux 7750. They confided in Capt to do these orders, but that resembles asking a man to slaughter his own kid. So Capt – like Charles Vermot at Zenith – essentially put away everything instead of destroying it.
But then the sudden occurred. As the 1980s drew nearer, there was an unexpected a recharged interest in mechanical watches – and Swiss brands were in desperate need of a programmed chronograph caliber to exploit this adjustment in the wind.
Valjoux had joined Ebauches SA in 1944, which along with other significant movement fabricates attempted to manage the creation of movements. The quartz emergency brought it to the brink of bankruptcy, and they ultimately wound up being consolidated into ETA, which became a piece of the combination that we currently know as the Swatch Group.
The certainty that Capt kept all the instruments and drawings to make the 7750 was presently viewed as a blessing, and creation was continued in the 1980s. From that point on Caliber 7750, presently belonging to what in particular was alluded to as ETA/Valjoux or essentially ETA, would assume an imperative part in the distinction and fortune of many regarded brands.
Valjoux 7750: powering progress
In 1984 Breitling was as yet in the possession of Ernest Schneider, who bought the ailing company in 1979 from Willy Breitling. It was the year wherein the brand celebrated its centennial commemoration, and it did as such with a completely new form of the Chronomat – controlled obviously by the Valjoux 7750. For its time it was an exceptionally huge and robust watch, but much more critically it would introduce a completely extraordinary plan language, which would propel Breitling into an extremely effective part of its history.
IWC likewise immediately favored the 7750, and it was specialized chief Kurt Klaus who utilized it as a base for what might become the legendary Da Vinci perpetual calendar chronograph. IWC was around then possessed by German instrument creator VDO Adolf Schindling AG, with Günter Blümlein at the helm as CEO (Blümlein would likewise later assume a significant part in the restoration of A. Lange & Söhne and the endurance of Jaeger-LeCoultre).
Klaus himself got part of his schooling from Albert Pellaton, IWC’s renowned specialized chief. At the point when he was approached to develop a perpetual calendar with a chronograph, he adopted an entirely unexpected strategy in comparison to Capt. While computers were presently available, Klaus utilized a number cruncher and portrayed by hand.
This makes the outcome even more remarkable because not exclusively did the Da Vinci combine a perpetual calendar with a chronograph, it additionally included a four-digit year indication. What’s more, the whole calendar could be set just by using the crown. Because it was based on the ETA Valjoux 7750, the watch was likewise extremely robust and reliable, something that can’t be said of all perpetual calendars, particularly not those with extra complications, for example, a chronograph.
The Da Vinci was dispatched at Baselworld in 1985, and its prosperity overwhelmed even IWC, turning Klaus into a watchmaker with demigod status within the industry.
Valjoux 7750: complication upon complication
The Da Vinci wasn’t the lone watch based on the ETA Valjoux 7750 that had an extraordinary effect on IWC, and again it was the virtuoso of small time that had an effect. This time his name was Richard Habring, and he was approached to find an affordable method to make a split-seconds chronograph.
In those days you required two segment wheels to do as such, but Habring took the ETA Valjoux 7750 and conceived a sharp path around this. The component he planned was worked by a switch and-cam framework, his perspective continuing along a similar line as Capt’s when he initially planned the 7750.
The truth that this arrangement additionally brought about an additional pusher at 10 o’clock to work the rattrapante was really a bit of leeway. It gave a subtle contrast between IWC’s Fliegerchronograph (pilot’s chronograph) and Doppelchronograph (split-seconds chronograph), something that proprietors of the last probably incredibly appreciated.
IWC wasn’t finished with the 7750 yet, however. In 1993 the brand celebrated its 125th commemoration with Il Destriero Scafusia (the “Warhorse from Schaffhausen”). This watch combined a perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph, flying tourbillon, and minute repeater. While to some degree camouflaged, the design of the 7750 is as yet visible from the back, however the flying tourbillon and Habring’s rattrapante arrangement can cause distraction.
IWC wasn’t the lone firm using the now-ubiquitous 7750 as a base for more complicated manifestations. In the 1990s Fortis became the accomplice of the Russian Roscosmos space program, and in 1994 its first official cosmonaut’s watch went into space as a component of the standard gear of the Russian cosmonauts, additionally worn by those in the International Space Station (ISS).
However, as timing is basic in space the cosmonauts before long mentioned their chronographs additionally be furnished with an alarm work. To accomplish this Fortis enrolled the help of independent watchmaker Paul Gerber to make the world’s first programmed chronograph with alarm function.
Gerber utilized the 7750 as a base caliber, at that point added a subsequent spring barrel to control the alarm, which was additionally twisted by the movement’s rotor, which was marginally developed and made heavier to wind two barrels proficiently. To make space for this, Gerber raised the rotor 1.5 mm higher.
This movement, named F-2001, was dispatched in 1998. In 2012 Fortis celebrated its centennial commemoration with a significantly more complicated adaptation of that movement, which presently included a GMT work just as a force save indicator for both barrels.
Hardly recognizable all things considered, but still equipped with a 7750 as a base movement, is the Eterna 6036, which controls the Porsche Design Indicator P’6910. This watch shows the elapsed hours and minutes of the chronograph work with jumping indicators at 3 o’clock combined with a force hold indicator and running seconds. To accomplish this, in excess of 800 unique components are needed.
Renaissance of mechanical watchmaking included a great deal of Valjoux 7750s
When the renaissance of mechanical watchmaking was going all out, ETA Valjoux additionally began offering more complicated adaptations of the 7750, most notably the 7751, which combined the chronograph with a full calendar and a moon stage display.
Less well known is the 7758, in which the hour counter accounts for the moon stage, however the date remains at 3 o’clock. For the individuals who favored the more balanced tricompax design of the chronograph capacities, ETA additionally introduced the 7753 with its subdials situated at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
As the interest in mechanical watches increased, so did the information on gatherers. Cam versus section wheel became – and still is – a most loved conversation point, with many preferring a segment wheel to control chronograph functions.
This allured some movement experts to alter the 7750 by incorporating a segment wheel. Alfred Rochat did this for instance for Chronoswiss and La Joux-Perret for Panerai, Graham, Chopard, and Hublot. Albeit this obviously ran contrary to the natural order of things of Capt’s original plan, it gave these brands segment wheel chronographs that were still substantially less costly to make than if they had picked a movement that was developed to include a section wheel from the beginning.
As watches increased in width, the 13 lignes (or 30 mm) of the 7750 were adequately not to abundantly and elegantly fill cases, so ETA developed the Valgranges line. This increased the movement measurement by in excess of 20% to 16 lignes or 36.6 mm, while offering the equivalent complications.
Interesting to note is that this assortment likewise includes a few forms that come up short on a chronograph work, basically creating a robust movement that combines the time with a date and maybe a force hold complication.
That was anyway not the first occasion when that the 7750 was utilized along these lines. Panerai removed all the parts supporting the chronograph work, leaving just the date at 3 o’clock and the running seconds at 9 o’clock, to transform the 7750 into its OP III caliber.
While this may look bizarre, it is likewise a declaration to the robustness of the movement itself. Also, it was a relatively simple route for Panerai to obtain a programmed movement that included a date just as subsidiary seconds at 9 o’clock, which fit nicely with that brand’s “DNA.”
You can strip down a Valjoux 7750 or build it up
In 2009, Longines needed to reinforce its situation in the chronograph market with a programmed segment wheel-controlled movement. So the Swatch Group-claimed brand took an ETA Valgranges A08.L01, which in itself was based on the 7750, and furnished it with a section wheel, vertical grasp, oscillating pinion, and a self-adjusting. two-equipped reset mallet to make Longines Caliber L688.
It was this movement that Omega utilized as a base to make its own Caliber 3330, adding a co-hub escapement and a silicon balance spring.
Bread and butter
Forty-five years after the first 7750s were delivered to customers in 1973, the Valjoux 7750 is as yet going strong.
It can think back on a distinguished history powering an incredible assortment of watches and serving as the basis for some exceptionally complicated conceptions.
It was the movement that made the Chronoswiss Opus 1996’s Watch of the Year in Germany and it likewise framed the basis of Marc Newson’s most brilliant mechanical watch, the Ikepod Megapode .
It is the movement that can be found in a humble Hamilton or an extraordinary Franck Muller; the one to control an age of IWCs, Breitlings, and Omegas; and it emphatically remains right up ’til today the engine of current assortments of such countless different brands as well.
While watch snobs may peer down on the 7750, they are probably additionally unconscious of the delight that newly baked bread with a liberally applied layer of butter can offer.
* This article was first published on September 22, 2018 at Valjoux 7750: The World’s Greatest Chronograph Movement By Far (By Popularity And Numbers) .
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