Phil Coleman's Web Site

Magnier Remontoire.
An interesting and very simple remontoire design by Paul Magnier, around 1860. Given its simplicity it is strange that it isn't better known in the horological community. Perhaps the description here might give some people an opportunity to become familiar with it and it might get the recognition is deserves. The only reference I can find was published in the Horological Journal, August 1999 in an article by Richard Goode. In order to make the design accessible to everyone I have drawn it up following his description and sketches which he completed after by examining the original clock by Paul Magnier, now in the British Museum, registration #CAI2134. I am currently designing a bracket clock using a modification of this design of remontoire. I will try to keep up with progress and place pictures on this page so that you can check my progress.

In the diagram below, the pink shows the support frame for the remontoire wheel.

The new clock will be spring driven without striking and I plan to keep it as simple as possible. I will use ball bearings throughout as I have done on my previous clock, the Timmins regulator. The bearings will be 2 x 5 x 2.5 with ceramic balls running unlubricated.

The clock will have a recoil escapement. I will be using an Invar pendulum rod.

The Magnier remontoire design is a variation of a mechanism devised by Bernard Henri Wagner in about 1850. This type of remontoire is referred to as a "rocking frame" or "swinging frame" type. More information on this type of remontoire can be found here: Wagner Remontoire

magnier remontoire

In the sketch above the remontoire wheel (blue) is supported in the frame (pink). The frame pivots about the point shown so that in normal running the remontoire pinion "rolls" around the pinion on the centre arbor and so turns the third wheel. The main train wheels (centre wheel and locking wheel) are locked and stationary. These wheels are prevented from turning because the bar on the locking wheel arbor is prevented from rotating by the locking pin on the end of the frame. As the left hand end of the frame rises the locking pin will eventually rise enough to free the locking bar which will then start to rotate clockwise, powered by the main train wheels which are now free to move.

The left side of the frame will now move down as the remontoire wheel is pushed down by the rotating centre pinion. All the while the escape wheel still rotates. After one revolution of the locking bar it will again strike the locking pin on the frame and stop turning and the cycle is repeated. Each cycle will take 30 seconds. Thus the minute hand will be stationary most of the time and move forward half a minute every 30 seconds. The gearing will be arranged to suit this cycling.

It is true that the centre distances of the wheels and pinions in the remontoire will vary slightly as the frame swings through its arc of action. However the amount by which the depth of engagement changes is actually negligible and should not affect the running of the mechanism.

Last updated: February 2016

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