Hager Milsub: The TY2806 Movement
As promised sometime ago, I stated that we would look at some of the components that make up the Hager Commando Milsub. We first looked at the History of the Milsub and now we are going to take a look at the movement that powers the Hager Commando.
The Hager Commando is powered by the TY2806, a 21 jewel hand wound automatic hacking movement which beats at 21,600 beats per hour (bph) and features a quick set date at the 3 o’clock position and Novodiac shock absorber. It is a Miyota-style simplified construction with Seiko-style auto-winding. Before we get into the TY2806 movement let me first explain what an automatic is. Believe it or not it’s the most commonly asked question I receive, “What’s an automatic movement?”. Automatic watches, referred to as self-winding, are made up of about 130 or more parts that work together to tell time. Automatic movements mark the passage of time by a series of gear mechanisms, and are wound by the movement of your wrist as you wear it. They swinging of your arms provides energy to an oscillating rotor to keep the watch ticking. The gear train transmits the power to the escapement, which distributes the impulses, turning the balance wheel. The balance wheel is the time regulating organ of a mechanical watch, which vibrates on a spiral hairspring. Lengthening or shortening the balance spring makes the balance wheel go faster or slower to advance or retard the watch. The travel of the balance wheel from one extreme to the other and back again is called oscillation. Automatic watches are considered more satisfying to watch collectors (horologists) because of the engineering artistry that goes into the hundreds of parts that make up the movement.
The TY2806 automatic movement has a similar train layout to the Japanese Miyota 8215 movement, and the winding mechanism has a Seiko-style auto-winding ‘Magic Lever’ system inspired by Seiko. This provided Sea-Gull with a modern, simple and efficient full-sized wristwatch calibre that served as the basis of a myriad of complicated variants. The TY2806 movement is produced by Tijin Seagull in China. It is a cost-effective high quality design that is used by a lot of watch brands such as Android, Rotary, Ingersoll, Fossil, and Zodiac watches etc., One Swiss company uses the ST-16 ebauche in their watches but they brand it the CL888 and it is labeled Swiss Made.
Our movements are shipped directly from the Seagull factory to our manufacturer. Once they reach our manufacturer, an incoming QC is undertaken and movements are selected carefully and tested before they are assembled into the cases. During our first burn-in test with our manufacturer I made the decision to send back a number of movements to Seagull because they failed our testing guidelines. While they may have passed the industry standard according to Seagull and others I consulted, they unfortunately did not pass the one I imposed on our manufacturer. A lot of people unfamiliar with this Chinese movement will undoubtedly question the quality; however as a watch enthusiast and as the owner of this small company, quality is always a concern of ours as we know that we only get one chance. While we understand things can’t always be perfect, and they seldom are, we still like to get close to perfection as we can. After the manufacturer sends the watches to us we conduct our on 36hr burn-in looking for any potential problems. Once a customer orders we conduct another series of tests to include a timing test using a timegrapher.
BPH- Beats per hour
The TY2806 escapement beats at 21600bph or 6 beats per second between each marker. Most mechanical movements rin at 18000 BPH or 5 beats per second. Higher end movements have higher beats per seconds. The second hands on these movements tend to display a smoother running second hand.
21,600 beats………..1 hr………..1 min
————-..X…———..X..———..=..6 beats per second
…..1 hr……………..60 min………60 sec
The TY2806 has 21 jewels. No they aren’t real as I’ve often heard people say 🙂 Jewels are synthetic rubies that are used to reduce friction and wear on moving parts. They don’t add any real value. Lower end movements have 7 to 15 jewels while the standard for most quality watches is 17 or more.
The Power reserve on the TY2806 is 36 hours when the mainspring is fully wound. Most watches have a power reserve of 30 hours or more.
As mentioned above the TY2806 has a similar train layout to the Japanese Miyota, and the winding mechanism has a Seiko-style ‘Magic Lever’ system that winds in both directions, which means the TY2806 takes less wrist movement to wind the mainspring. Even if you wear your watch on a daily basis we recommend that you wind it once every two weeks to keep the wheels in motion and oil fluid. To wind the watch simply unscrew the crown gently until it comes off of the threads and then wind the crown a bit until the second hand engages. Once you’ve done this with your thumb and forefinger gently pull the crown out to set the time, if you meet resistance in trying to pull the crown out wind the watch some more and then re-engage setting the time.
SECOND HAND DRIVE
The TY2806 employs an indirect second hand drive which was very common on high end Swiss watches of the past (like the Omega cal. 1001 and some of the older Patek Phillipe watches) and has been used in varying grades of watches in the last 50 years. It’s a simple design passes through the center wheel, and is driven by the 3rd wheel.
In some cases this may cause the second hand to appear erratic or to stop for a moment or “stutter”, but this does not affect accuracy or timekeeping. It is simply a characteristic of the “indirect Seconds” type of movement design. The brake spring (the little silver gear looking thingie in the picture above) does not provide enough tension to hold the pinion steady under certain conditions which causes the pinion to be moved to the other side of the gear teeth and causes the “stutter”. This can be fixed by adjusting the tension on the brake spring to eliminate the problem. While technically there’s nothing wrong we try to make sure every watch we send out does not display this “stutter”. For more information on this read Walt Odet’s Horologium article The Pursuit of Center Seconds.
The precision of a mechanical movement depends on the individual habits of the wearer and can therefore vary. In terms of specs, the accuracy rate is about +/- 10 to 35 seconds per day unadjusted for this particular movement. Our watches have been timed out to approximately +/- 3 to 20 seconds per day unadjusted in testing. Some of our customers who have been wearing their watches regularly have reported that they are seeing +/- 3 to 7 seconds a day (testing with an atomic clock), which is truly incredible as one would only see this kind of accuracy on the higher end models that meet the COSC standards (btw they only promote Swiss chronometers made by Swiss manufacturers now). A qualified watchmaker can adjust the precision of a watch to within the +/-3 to 5 second tolerances.
DATE SET FUNCTION
The TY2806 uses the quick set date function like on the higher end models. It allows you to change the date without rotating the hour and minute hands around and around. The quick date-change system starts to change the date at about 11.30 pm and comes to its end at 00.10 am. The date of the ending day can be seen in full until 11.50 pm. Between a period of 10 minutes before and after midnight, the calendar jumps and lets appear the date of the next day.
Avoid changing the date manually between 08 pm and 2 am, since this is the period during which the automatic date-change is in operation.
The TY2806 uses Incabloc shock resistance, a method developed in the 1930’s to allow the end jewels on the balance staff to move or “float” so the balance is not damaged when the watch is bumped or dropped. See the following link.
The TY2806’s second hand stops when the stem is pulled out of the crown for setting the time. Hacking allows one the opportunity to stop the seconds hand in order to sync the watch with a reference. Hacking was handy for synchronizing watches like you see in the WWII movies. We incorporated this feature as it is in keeping with the original design of the Milsub. In the opinions of enthusiasts it is a nice to have feature but not necessary anymore as most people just look at their iphones for exact times.
While the TY2806 does hack there are some instances in which the second hand does not stop precisely and will sometimes move a little perhaps a second or two before stopping. Usually it doesn’t but if the escapement is slippery and the cannon pinion is tight during setting it may disengage once or twice dragging the gears a bit (a few of the ETA 2878’s behave this way also). Additionally, there are instances after restarting the second hand it will jump a few seconds before beginning again. The problem is that the hacking lever (the Upside down “V” shaped piece near the stem in the picture below) does not stop the balance wheel but instead, the third wheel and there is a lot of play between that wheel and the indirect seconds hand and sometimes deviations occur. There is no way around it unfortunately. This in no way affects time keeping and the movement is not defective as the design does allow this. Virtually all TY2806’s behave in this manner.
While you may not be spending $2000 or $10,000 we still understand that for some people $260 is a lot. The Hager Milsub is not a $2000 Rolex or an Omega but it’s still a quality watch for the pricepoint. The TY2806 used in the Commando cannot compare with a Swiss ETA movement such as the 2836 or the 2824 (although they are capable of accuracy on par with the 2836 and the 2824). The mechanism is different and it is introductory and of course priced much cheaper. Our goal was to make a quality affordable automatic watch that could be worn as an everyday or weekend watch, and that had all the features and qualities of the more expensive Milsub homages. The TY2806 fits nicely into that goal as it is an excellent choice for those who want a Milsub without out the expensive price tag, and for those who are interested in entering the world of automatics but who are not prepared to purchase one of the more expensive brands.