Author: Milestones Staff

26 Nov 2016

Practicing Self Care

In an age where things are becoming progressively more tumultuous for young people, it’s no surprise mental health issues are on the rise.

55% of children who are bullied suffer from severe depression as adults. Among children and teenagers the number of those suffering from anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years and more than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced bullying.

These worrying statistics show how challenging life can be for our younger generation and brings to light how crucial it is that we preach anti-bullying and anti-harassment at the same time as teaching self care. While it may seem self explanatory, those who suffer from mental health issues or are subject to bullying often find the latter immensely difficult. Instilling self care practices from a young age can really help give those who feel they may have hit a wall, something to fall back on. While this is no blueprint for preventing mental health issues from arising, learning to cope with them or even the weight of everyday life can be invaluable.

I think we can overlook very basic acts of self love such as keeping our bedrooms and home spaces clean and tidy, keeping our clothes clean, taking pride in our appearance and doing things we enjoy on a regular basis, and brand them as mundane, ‘everyday’ tasks or even chores. I wholeheartedly disagree with this sentiment and think we should take pleasure in the little things; chasing the big end goal, the grand finale, the show stopping firework is necessary at times but so often unattainable in our daily lives. We must learn to appreciate the little things and show others that, although not every day many be good, there is something good in ever day.

Indeed, warning signs for mental unrest can often be a lack of interest or care taken towards basic hygiene, an inability or lack of clear cognitive function, dramatic mood swings or changes in eating habits. In younger children, issues may manifest in things like frequent temper tantrums, changes in school performance or persistent nightmares.

If you think things have begun to spiral out of control please do not put off asking for help purely because you think it’s ‘taboo’, ‘embarrassing’ or an act of worrying over something silly. Your concerns are valid, you need to be listened to and you will thank yourself in the long run. Of course if you’re fearing for the health of a loved one or friend, this can become a little more tricky. Try broaching the subject in a non confrontational way and try to use reflexive questioning for example ;

“Can you tell me how … makes you feel”, “So what you’re telling me is…can you help me understand how that…”

Remember crisis management is ten times more difficult than prevention or catching and treating issues early. We must accept that taking care of our mental health is just as important and indeed feeds into our physical wellbeing. If we are prepared to encourage those we love to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day and exercise regularly to benefit them physically, we should be prepared to help them manage their mental health. Doing simple things everyday such as making to-do lists, meditating or taking time to focus on a creative outlet, can make a huge difference. As well as this, we must start and maintain an open dialogue surrounding mental health so to give those suffering, or those who believe someone they love is suffering, a place to turn to.

Please find below links to charities which help those suffering from mental health issues for more detailed information and contact details.

youngminds.org.uk

samaritans.org

b-eat.co.uk

24 Nov 2016

London Living- My Experience At A London Based University And Advice For Undergraduates

“London is a roost for every bird”- Benjamin Disraeli

Before moving to London just over three years ago, the longest I’d ever spent in the capital was 48 hours. For me, London was a city brimming with culture, packed with undiscovered worlds such as Camden Lock and Richmond Park and a place full of surprises on every corner. Amongst many others, these were all reasons that I was drawn to the city.

I’d always known I wanted to go to university; from the onset of my GCSE’s I was certain that I wanted to read English Literature and Language at degree level. It was something I set my sights on and proceeded to work towards for the following four years. I know this is the case for a lot of people and tends to act as a huge incentive to get through the arduous examination processes. I was certainly clear on what I wanted to study, the only problem was deciding where. A lot of my friends chose to study at universities fairly close to home; coming from Liverpool meant that York, Leeds and Manchester were all popular choices, but no one seemed particularly sold on The South, especially London. There could have been many contributing factors as to why this was the case, however I believe one of the strongest deterrents was cost.

The first thing that often comes to mind when you say London is ‘expensive!’ I can understand how elevated prices can put you off visiting a place for a long weekend, let along studying there for three years. While I totally understand that this very real concern for a lot of people, including myself initially, I will say you’d be hard put to find a student who’s rolling in cash. My rationale was simple, if I’m going to be broke I may as well be broke in one of the best cities in the world! I would strongly advise anyone, regardless of where you’re planning on studying, to look into the bursaries, grants and loans that are available to you. I understand times are tougher than ever, but be aware universities want you to study with them, more often than not they are willing to go the extra mile to get you in their lecture theatres.

While there are a whole host of amazing universities to choose from spanning the length and breadth of the country, the aspect of studying in London which really gave it an edge for me, were the resources available on my doorstep. As I was an arts student, the array of world class theatres such as The Globe, Old Vic and National, were invaluable. Being able to see text in performance so frequently and to be given such a vast choice, was truly wonderful. In addition, London not only plays host to so many fantastic libraries such as the British Library and Senate House, it also offers world renowned research centres and hospitals. As well as the superb academic resources, London really is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines and hotbed for events, ensuring you’ll always be spoilt for choice on Friday evening. Discovering the hidden gems of the city were just as rewarding as making use of everything else at my disposal, which is something I will forever remember about my time at university.

Attending an open day is the best way to ‘try before you buy’. Doing this will certainly give you a flavour of what’s to come. I knew, almost as soon as I set foot on the campus of my chosen university, that I was in the right place. Much like buying or renting a new home, once you know, you know. My advice here is to go with your gut instinct; remember it’s you who’ll be studying and potentially living, in the city of your chosen university, so what you think takes precedence over all other opinions.

I truly believe that studying in London equipped me with so much more than a degree in English Literature and Language; it heightened my awareness of living and woking with different types of people, broadened my horizons and gave me a real thirst to fulfil my true potential. While this can be true of any university experience, I strongly believe these skills were intensified through living in the capital; the environment is one which nurtures and challenges inquisitive minds and certainly pushes you to discover more about your academic and personal abilities.

29 Oct 2016

Acne 101

With 50% of women and 25% of men suffering from it at some point in their life, you’re not alone if you’ve experienced acne. This is often little consolation however when you’re faced with a fresh batch of pimples every morning. If left unchecked, acne can have a serious impact on self-confidence which can effect everything from academic performance to sleep.

What is acne?

Acne often surfaces during the onset of puberty, around age 14 for girls and 15/16 for boys. Characterised by comedones (blackheads, whiteheads and puss-filled spots) acne can effect the face, neck, back and chest. Sometimes acne can cause raised red bumps or pustules, oily skin and even scarring.
For most people, acne will clear up in the early twenties but can flare up again at any time, especially during pregnancy and stressful periods.

What causes acne?

At a basic level, acne is caused by the overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands. This is often because those who suffer from acne are particularly sensitive to normal blood levels of testosterone which can cause inflammation in the skin and blocked pores.

Although certain external factors such as shaving, changing environments, certain foods and skincare systems can have an adverse effect on the skin, for the most part acne can be attributed to genes. As frustrating and as this may sound, there are things you can do to help keep your acne under control.

Tips for Acne Management

If you’re currently stabbing in the dark when it comes to acne treatment, here are a few tried and tested tips to get you started. Remember if you decide to go down the medical route, this should be a last resort; do your best to try all possible avenues first and always consult a doctor or registered dermatologist before taking any medication.

Sleep- Getting a good nights rest is key to helping improve the appearance of acne. Your body uses the time you’re sleeping for repair- this goes for your skin too!
Make sure you’re getting a solid six to eight hours of sleep every night as well as changing your pillowcase at least once a week and washing your pillows every couple of months.

Did you know… you could kill dust mites and other bacteria that may have found their way onto your pillow by washing them at 60C or putting them in the freezer for 24hrs!

Water- Although simple, this tip really does make a world of difference. Ensure you are consuming a minimum of 2 litres of water per day to help reduce inflammation and ensure your skin is sufficiently hydrated. If you’re trying to tackle particularly persistent acne, also try avoiding caffeinated and sugary drinks, as these will only dehydrate yourself and your skin further leading to more breakouts.

At home treatments-
This can be tricky and expensive if you’re not careful. Unfortunately there is no blueprint for treating acne and while some things work for some people, they may not for others. If possible, identify what it is about a particular product is creating a negative or positive effect on your skin; pay attention to chemical ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid as well as mineral oil and fragrances; while the former can often over-dry and irritate skin, the latter can clog pores and create greasiness.

Honey I treated my acne!– Honey is a natural antiseptic and can be applied topically to pimples to help reduce swelling.

Consistency- Once you’ve identified a thorough skincare regime that works for you, stick to it! It takes roughly one month for the surface of your skin to renew meaning it’s going to take a while for your skin to acclimatise to new products.

Stress- As an unavoidable part of life, stress can become consuming and detrimental to our physical and mental health. Stress causes an inflamed state in the body that can contribute to the inflammation of the sebaceous glands and in turn create a surplus of oil.
You can try to manage this in a variety of ways such as regular exercise and meditation.

Don’t dry out your skin- Just because you’ve got acne it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got oily skin. In fact, more often that not using extremely drying products can lead your skin to overcompensate, produce more oil and then you run the risk of getting more spots. Go easy with the products which claim to drain your skin of moisture, instead opting for oil free moisturisers and avoid harsh astringents whenever possible.

Food group elimination- Although this topic is often disputed, I believe that for some, particular foods can have a negative effect on the skin. Dairy, coffee and some soy products are often linked to an increase breakouts. Try cutting back on some of these for a period of time and track how your skin reacts.

Whatever you do to try and help your skin remember you’re not on your own. As demoralising as it can be, try to stay positive; it wont last forever, there are things you can do to help yourself and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts!

12 Oct 2016

Back To School Lunch Ideas

Finding inspiration for the daily packed lunch ritual or office meal can sometimes be a chore, but with these recipes you’ll have plenty to look forward to at lunch time.

Chickpea Tuna

A take on the classic sandwich filler that leaves no room for wrinkled nosed or unhappy tummies. This recipe transforms the humble chickpea into a jazzy edition to any Monday morning lunchbox.

Fact check: Per 100g, chickpeas contain 19g of protein. They also contain 0g of dietary cholesterol while a single serving of tuna contains up to 49mg!

For the full recipe visit hotforfoodblog.com

Hot pocket lunch pittas

These pittas pack a punch of flavour and are great as a quick after-school snack or lunch. Wrap in tin-foil for on the go, or enjoy with a side of home-made fries or crisps.

Ingredients (for 2 pittas)

2 wholemeal pitta breads

1 ½ tsp butter or sunflower spread

1tsp olive oil

Salad leaves and toppings of your choice

4 chestnut mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cherry tomatoes, sliced

100g smoked tofu- this can be found in the refrigerated section in health stores and some larger supermarkets. Alternatively, you can use pre cooked and seasoned chicken.

1 tbsp hummus

Hot sauce, siracha or similar- optional

Spicy Mushroom Pitta

To prepare the filling

1. Finley slice the mushrooms and add to a pan with 1 ½ tsp of butter. Lightly sauté then add the minced garlic.

2. Cook 5/6 minutes then add in the sliced cherry tomatoes.

3. Cook for a further 2 minutes until warm through.

Assemble

1. Cut open and toast one of the pittas; you can do this in your regular toaster or under the grill.

2. Spread hummus on both sides of the pita.

3. Add your lettuce and the mushroom filling.

4. Top with fixings of your choice; I recommend freshly sliced tomatoes and red onion.

5. Drizzle with hot sauce and enjoy!

Smokey chik’un pitta

This is a great option if you’re vegetarian or if you simply want a lighter alternative to meat. The smoked tofu gives a richer flavour, putting even the most carnivorous of pallets to the test.

Did you know… tofu contains all eight essential amino acids and is thought to provide the same cancer and heart disease fighting properties as whole soy beans.

For the chick’un

1. Using your hands, break the tofu into bite-sized chunks. Don’t worry about being neat with this, the more rugged the pieces look the better!

2. Using the same pan in which you prepared the mushrooms, heat up 1sp of olive oil.

3. Add the tofu chunks and cook until warmed through.

4. Toast pitta and add salad and fixings; with this recipe I recommend cucumbers or pickled gherkins.

5. Add your warm tofu and enjoy!

20 Jun 2016

THE UK IS HOME TO THREE OF EUROPE’S MOST INNOVATIVE UNIVERSITIES

The UK has three of Europe’s most innovative universities with Imperial College London leading the way in the top ten, according to a new ranking.

Belgium’s KU Leuven has taken the top spot, with Cambridge coming third in Reuters’ first-ever top 100 list which aims to identify which institutions throughout the continent contribute the most to science and technology.

The list also aims to highlight which universities have the greatest impact on the global economy.

Top 10 most innovative universities in Europe:

KU Leuven – Belgium

Imperial College London – UK

Cambridge – UK

EPFL – Switzerland

TU Munich – Germany

Erlangen Nuremberg – Germany

Delft University of Technology – Netherlands

Oxford – UK

Munich – Germany

Zurich – Switzerland

Other key findings of the rankings have highlighted the strong performance of universities in Western Europe, with 60 institutions featuring in the top 100. Germany accounts for 24 of 100 – more than any other country – while the UK comes in second with a total of 17 institutions.

Top 10 most innovative universities in the UK:

Imperial College London

Cambridge

Oxford

Manchester

Dundee

London

Cardiff

Birmingham

Leeds

Sheffield

Arlyn Tobias Gajilan, co-editor of the rankings and Reuters deputy editor for professional news, said the biggest thing the results have shown is that “innovation can originate almost anywhere.”What matters most is a school’s technical focus and the practical application of its research into real world products and solutions.

“Innovation means different things to different people, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s been so difficult to measure. By taking an empirical approach that incorporates a broad set of ten metrics, we have provided new insights into how universities are impacting both the European and global economies.”

Click here to see the complete 100 list

20 Jun 2016

Building Up Your Brain

The brain is often described as being “like a muscle”. We judge literacy and numeracy exercises as more beneficial for your brain than running, playing and learning on the move. But the brain-as-muscle analogy doesn’t quite work. To build up your biceps you can’t avoid flexing them. When it comes to your brain, an oblique approach can be surprisingly effective.

Brain training: should you believe the hype?

Picture1

Scientists are showing that the runner’s high can have profound effects on your brain. Moreover, specific physical activities can markedly alter its structure in precise ways.

A wave of studies exploring the unexpected links between mental and bodily fitness is emerging from labs. This research might give you the nudge to get more active. It can also help you choose the best ways to prepare physically for mental challenges such as exams, interviews and creative projects.

Boost your memory

The part of the brain that responds strongly to aerobic exercise is the hippocampus. Well-controlled experiments in children, adults and the elderly show that this brain structure grows as people get fitter. Since the hippocampus is at the core of the brain’s learning and memory systems, this finding partly explains the memory-boosting effects of improved cardiovascular fitness.

As well as slowly improving your memory hardware, exercise can have a more immediate positive impact on your memory. German researchers showed that walking or cycling during, but not before, learning helped new foreign language vocabulary to stick. So exercise while you revise. Don’t push it too hard, though: vigorous workouts can raise your stress levels!

Improve your concentration

Besides making memories stickier, exercise can help you focus and stay on task. The best scientific evidence comes from testing school children, but the same most likely applies to us all. Interspersing lessons with 20-minute bouts of aerobics-style exercise improved the attention spans of Dutch school pupils. Meanwhile, a large randomised controlled trial in the US looked at the effects of daily after-school sports classes over a school year. The children, of course, got fitter. Less predictably, their executive control improved. They became more adept at ignoring distractions, multitasking, and holding and manipulating information in their minds.

And if that all sounds like hard work, you may not have to get out of breath to reap the attention-honing effects of exercise! Just 10 minutes of playful coordination skills, like bouncing two balls at the same time, improved the attention of a large group of German teenagers.

Improve your mental health

Love it or hate it, bouts of physical activity can have potent effects on your mood. The runner’s high – that feeling of elation that follows intense exercise – is good for the brain.

Don’t sit still

The cognitive spillover from exercise reminds us that our brains and bodies and don’t operate in isolation. What you do with your body impinges on your mental faculties. Sitting still all day, every day, is dangerous. So don’t dither about what form of exercise you do. Find something you enjoy, then get up and do it!

11 Mar 2016

Honour Page: Diary Entry by Beatrix

Dear Diary,

 

My teacher is absolutely horrid! She embarrassed me by reading my autobiography to the whole class, even though she knows perfectly well it’s private. Then when I was finished she let out this cackle of a laugh, the sort that made you want to hurl yourself off a cliff. When the bell went for lunch break, I marched straight to the girls’ cubicles to have a good cry.

 

Then, I heard the door groaning loudly and in came Stella. That quietened me down a little. For some odd reason, I always felt rather stupid, crying in front of Stella. I miserably pulled the chain and pushed open the door. All of a sudden my face lit up when I spotted her, all pink and pretty, washing her hands in the sink. She must have heard me crying because she immediately came over, so I started to talk things out with her. She helped me wash my tear-stained and then we played ‘hair salon’ and I was a posh lady and she played ‘washing my hair’.

 

It felt so soothing having her sharp, dainty fingernails run through my silky curtain of hair. That lasted pretty much until the end of break and when it was time to go, we bumped straight into Mrs Prye and then she started on this long lecture about ‘safety, responsibility and independence’…

 

 

By Beatrix 8yr old – “Wants to be an author in the future”

02 Mar 2016

“Some Ramblings on Reading…(and a few recommended titles)”

Anne-Marie Idowu: Some Ramblings on Reading…(and a few recommended titles)

Books are absolutely fabulous. One thing is for sure: they can never be replaced, no matter how far or fast technology advances.

For this year’s World Book Day, I have included some of my own recommended titles for kids, teens and adults below. These titles are not necessarily current bestsellers but they are great books (in my humble opinion) with stimulating material and unique lessons to learn.

Click here for: Recommended Titles

My medical/scientific background always makes me curious about things and their effects on us complex human beings. Amongst everything else, I have developed great interest in cognitive science and applied psychology; but most of all a passion for learning and all the processes it encompasses.

 

I truly believe that there is a major difference between believing something based on somebody else’s knowledge rather than one’s own knowledge (whether it is true or rational or not). That is why Milestones Methodology encourages the use of reflexive questioning in our lessons so that students are encouraged to come to their own conclusions. It can be quite tricky to separate the objective from the subjective but we try to create a healthy balance of the two.

I like to encourage my students to always initially explore the understanding of a topic because it lays the information down in the part of our brain responsible for higher cognitive functions and thinking. For example, I avoid making sweeping statements such as, “global warming is bad for the planet”. I help them to discover the information and encourage them to make their own conclusions.

 

That is not to say that I do not challenge them or pass on my own knowledge and opinions but I want them to be analytical and inquisitive from early on. I am not interested in developing passive kids that can regurgitate textbooks; I am here for the next generation of actively brilliant minds that create their own theories and challenge the beliefs of our society. It is always great to get kids to question you and not get irritated; if you really think about the questions they ask, it can teach you a vast number of things and help you open up your mind.

 

How does this relate to reading?

Well…scientifically, reading has a profoundly significant effect on how we think; it lays down the cognitive processing infrastructure that we use all day, every day, throughout our lives. Don’t worry that’s a topic for another day.

 

The amount of exposure to reading material also positively correlates with vocabulary growth. In fact, studies carried out by Dr Keith Stanovich et al. show that the amount of reading one does can predict vocabulary and reasoning abilities, independent of the education they’ve had.

We can testify to this. At Milestones we have had students from low performing State schools that have transformed their grades and learning progress across all subjects simply through our intensive engagement to reading programme.

 

An additional benefit is the development of critical thinking skills such as the ability to decontextualize. What I mean by that is the ability to stand aside from a media context and process it in an abstract manner. This is analogous to the non verbal reasoning tests kids sit these days for entrance exams and those aptitude tests some us had the pleasure of sitting when applying to law or medicine or competitive jobs in the financial world.

 

I guess my message is…do not underestimate the importance and effects of reading especially for those kids of ours that are still developing those incredible brains. Get them to read everything: recipe books and instruction manuals!

25 Feb 2016

An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Horology

An Introduction to the Wonderful World of Horology

 

Horology

noun

  1. the study and measurement of time.
  2. the art of making clocks and watches.

 

Horology (say it out loud! Sounds incredible right?!) arrived in our wonderful English language via Latin as Horologium, and once we deconstruct this wonderful word, it makes more sense than just sounding great! Hora or horo means “hour or time”; whilst logy or logia refers to “the study of [whatever the prefix is]” as in theology, geology etc. in this case “hour or time”. Now put the two together and we arrive at possibly the most fascinating art on the planet!

 

Now I’m sure you’ve been taught that the center of time is in Greenwich at the prime meridian, and that’s how we get time zones etc. but at least for the extent of this blog post, I’m going to convince you that the center of time is Switzerland, Geneva, Switzerland to be slightly more precise. However, I won’t go into too much detail of why that is, as it can get a little bit boring! But an easy reason to remember is that the BEST watches are made in Switzerland, and this is why you often see ‘Swiss Made’ on very expensive watches. Similar to how the best shoes are often made in Italy. Must be something in the water!

 

The design of watches is incredibly intricate and can often take weeks to manufacture one, which is often only entrusted to the perfectly steady hands of one very talented watch maker! Most ‘cheap’ watches (take the word cheap with a pinch of salt here, as cheap in the horological world is anything under around £2000!) have a common uncomplicated movement called “Quartz” which you have likely come across before, maybe on some of our own watches. To the majority of watch aficionados, the movement of the watch is the most fascinating and important part of the watch. To the untrained eye most movements look very similar, so many people cannot justify paying thousands of pounds for a ‘fancier’ movement of hands on a watch face. However, it is very easy to understand once a few differences have been pointed out.

Quartz movements are very popular and used in the majority of ‘cheap’ watches as they are very cheap and easy to manufacture, plus they require minimal maintenance aside from battery replacements. They tend to be low cost since they are battery powered and have few moving parts. Quartz watches aren’t as desirable to most watch enthusiasts because they lack the technical craftsmanship and engineering that mechanical timepieces have. A quartz movement utilizes a battery as its primary power source and is typically the type of movement that you will find in your standard watch. To create power in quartz watch movements, a battery sends an electrical current through a small quartz crystal, electrifying the crystal to create vibrations. These vibrations keep the movement oscillating and drive the motor to move the watch hands.

On the other hand, mechanical movements are often chosen over quartz movements for luxury watches because of the level of quality and craftsmanship of mechanical movements. Skillfully created by expert watchmakers, these movements contain an intricate series of tiny components working together to power the timepiece. Although the general design of mechanical watches hasn’t changed much in centuries, technology has allowed for more precise engineering and a greater attention-to-detail. Unlike quartz movements, a mechanical movement uses energy from a wound spring, rather than a battery, to power the watch. This spring stores energy and transfers it through a series of gears and springs, regulating the release of energy to power the watch. We’ll stop here before we get too technical! To the eye however, a mechanical watch has a sweeping movement of the second hand that appears to move continuously without stopping. However, a quartz watch has a ticking motion, stopping on each second.

 

‘Mechanical’ is itself is an umbrella of several movements or ‘calibers’ as commonly referred to in Switzerland (the center of time remember?).  Most of these are referred to as a series of numbers however the most popular are ‘automatic’ or ‘self-winding’ and ‘manual’ or ‘hand-winding’. These two movements are another two umbrellas with another several movements, so once again we’ll stop here before it gets too confusing!

 

Finally, another major component of luxury watches, are the complications. These are: date, calendar, chronograph, power reserve, moon phase, time zone, minute repeater and tourbillon. Most watches that contain a calendar function require constant adjustment to ensure the correct date is displayed. These watches will reset after completing 31 24-hour cycles, representing a full month. Since our calendar contains leap years and an irregular number of days per month, watchmakers developed two advanced complications to track our calendars more accurately so that the date doesn’t have to be adjusted every month. As long as the timepiece is wound and running, the calendar complication will be functional and accurate. An annual calendar complication is a complete calendar displaying day, date and month with minimal adjustment. The complication automatically adjusts the date displayed on the timepiece based on 30- and 31-day months to ensure that the correct date is always displayed. This complication requires setting the date once per year, at the end of February. The perpetual calendar complication also displays the day, date and month, but it requires even less adjustment than an annual calendar. This complication not only knows the number of days in each month, it also knows the year so that it will automatically adjust for leap year. The next time a perpetual calendar will have to be adjusted is in the year 2100. A chronograph is a complication that describes the timing functionality of a timepiece, known more commonly as a stopwatch. It allows the wearer to measure intervals of time without affecting the normal time telling function of the watch. The chronograph changed the world because it allowed for incredible accuracy in recording time —from 1/100 of a second up to 12 hours. While the basic idea of a chronograph is the same from watch to watch, there are three different types of chronographs that exist in watches today. The “brain” of a mechanical watch resides in what is known as the escapement, which includes a delicate hairspring mounted on a balance wheel that rotates back and forth (each rotation equates to a tick on the watch). Due to the nature of the design, and gravity effects of lighter or heavier spots in the balance wheel, the rate of timekeeping will vary when the watch is in different positions. In a standard mechanical watch, the escapement is fixed, and it is impossible to regulate it to keep the exact same rate no matter which position that watch is in (dial up, down, crown up, down, etc.). Enter the tourbillon. In a tourbillon, the entire escapement is housed in a rotating cage, and the whole assembly is constantly moving. That means no matter what position the watch is in, those timing variations are essentially canceled out. A watch that has several complications is referred to as a Grand Complication because it contains the most complex achievements in watchmaking. It is extremely difficult to engineer a timepiece with so many complications because space is limited and there are so many components.

So in closing I hope now you wish to get lost in the wonderful world of horology, remember that Switzerland is the center of time and understand why one can spend a small home on a Rolex!

 

Jargon Buster

 

Caliber – the movement of the watch

Horology – the study and measurement of time or the art of making clocks and watches

Dial – the watch face

Crown – the knob on the side of the watch that is turned to set time

Bezel – the border around the dial

Aperture – A small opening/window found on the dials of some watches in which certain indications are given, such as the hour and the date

Chronograph – A watch with a stopwatch function. A Chronograph both measures and displays elapsed times in addition to showing conventional time

Chronometer – A precision watch with a movement that has been rated by the official Swiss testing laboratory called the Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometeres (aka COSC)

Escapement – The device at the heart of virtually all time-keeping mechanisms. It provides the impulses to maintain the oscillations of the balance wheel or pendulum which governs the rate at which the escapement lets the wheels and hands of the watch revolve

Power Reserve – An indication of the state of wind in the main spring. A hand on the dial points to the number of hours the movement will work before it runs down

Swiss Made – A watch may only bear the Swiss-Made label if the assembly work of the movement and watch was started, adjusted and controlled by the manufacturer in Switzerland. Furthermore, the law requires that at least 50% of the components of the movement be manufactured in Switzerland

Tachymeter – A feature in chronograph watches that measures the speed over a predefined distance