Dubey & Schaldenbrand Spiral Rattrapante (Split-Second “Spiral” Chronograph)

This exclusive timepiece by Dubey &Schaldenbrand is distinguished by its famous blue ISOVAL balance-spring and by it’s extremely high levels of performance.

Introduced in 2005, this exceptional split seconds chronograph pays tribute to the remarkable invention by Georges Dubey, patented in 1946.

Dubey & Schaldenbrand Spiral Rattrapante (Split-Second “Spiral” Chronograph)

The history of the split-second chronograph is very much tied to Dubey & Schaldenbrand. In 1946, the company was founded in order to produce and commercialize the inventions of Georges Dubey”.

Today, the timepieces, chronographs and chronometers of this prestigious brand have found a very respected and envied place throughout the world. Each year, in addition to the remarkable contemporary collections, Dubey & Schaldenbrand introduce one or two very limited series using rare and fascinating vintage movements from the past.

The Inventor of the Split-Second Chronograph

It was more than 150 years after the invention of the spiral by Dutch physicist, geometer and astronomer – Christian Huygens – that the renowned and respected Austrian watchmaker-constructor Josef Winnerl (1799-1886) produced in 1870 the first Split-Second chronograph.

How does a Split-Second Chronograph Work?

The system of a Split-Second chronograph is a very delicate complication which allows the measurement of intermediate time by the temporary blockage of one of the wheels. Given that a “normal” chronograph uses a single second hand for carrying out a timing function, a split-second chronograph has two superimposed hands: one which is the “Split-Second” hand and the other is the regular “chronograph” hand.

When applying pressure to the chrono “pusher”, the timing function is set in motion with both hands running perfectly superimposed. When applying pressure to the split-second “pusher”, the “split-second” hand is blocked and causes it to stop thereby allowing the operator to easily read the indicated intermediate time. Without losing a beat, the regular”chronograph” hand continues to run its course undisturbed.

When applying pressure to the split-second “pusher” once again, the “stopped” split second hand springs to life and rejoins the ”chronograph” hand with both once again running perfectly superimposed as they continue the timing function. This interplay of movement repeats itself as many times as requested by the operator and until pressure is applied to the chronograph “pusher” which stops both hands and thus the timing function. This step allows the operator to read the cumulative time.

1946: Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s Split-Second Chronograph – the “Index-Mobile”

The invention of Georges Dubey was remarkable in that he was able to simplify the technical complexity of the Split-Second chronograph whilst still using the principal of the two superimposed hands. He did this by simply joining the two hands together using a spiral.

This system of the Split-Second chronograph -invented around 1943 … patented in 1946 and made even more precise in 1949 and 1952 – was produced over 50 years. Used initially by Dubey & Schaldenbrand, Edo and Como it was also put to use by other brands e.g. Eberhard and Breitling to name but a few.

Basel 1995: Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s Split-Second Fly-Back Chronograph

In 1995, Cinette Robert, the great-granddaughter of watchmaker Meylan, presided over the destiny of world-renowned Dubey & Schaldenbrand . True to her image as a specialist of the complicated watches of Georges Dubey, the new President of Dubey & Schaldenbrand is fixed on the idea of further reinforcing the association of Dubey & Schaldenbrand with the Split-Second chronograph, this time using a new generation of automatic, self-winding mechanical movements.

The fact that there was no Dubey & Schaldenbrand stand at the Basel Fair certainly did not deter her from fulfilling her ambitions. Without a showcase to display her creations, Cinette Robert sent the prototype of her new Split-Second chronograph to the Basel Fair immediately catching the attention of many watch specialists and enthusiasts.

“Uhren Chronos”, one of Germany’s leading watch magazines, featured the 1995 Basel Fair in their Issue 4 of 1995. The cover titles included Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore, IWC’s Mark XII, a comparison of alarm watches with Jaeger Lecoultre, etc.

Still on the cover page, the magazine also made reference to Eberhard’s Split-Second Chronograph with the caption: “The Battle for Seconds!” Included inside the magazine was a 10-page direct test comparison between Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s Split Second Fly-Back Chronograph and Eberhard’s Tazio Nuvolari Split-Second Chronograph.

Making its debut under the guidance of its new President / CEO, the brand from Les Ponts-de-Martel placed all its efforts on the movement itself. Basically abandoning the patented complication of Georges Dubey, Cinette Robert presented a traditional complication which was mounted on a Valjoux movement. Worth pointing out is the fact that the movement used by Eberhard was produced using the very same base.

Despite this, Dubey & Schaldenbrand were able to win “The “Battle for Seconds!”. Dubey & Schaldenbrand had yet to develop their very own model with a distinct watch case, dial and hands. As such, their Split-Second Fly- Back Chronograph was awarded 4 stars exactly the same rating as that given to Eberhard’s Tazio Nuvolari Split-Second Chronograph.

Cinette Robert quickly began work on developing her very own collection. And this she did with the success and typical feminine charm of which we have all come to expect and enjoy in Dubey & Schaldenbrand timepieces. Also worth mentioning is that Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s Split-Second Fly-Back Chronograph with its hand-engraved movement retailed for DM 4’950 compared with DM 10’900 for Eberhard’s Tazio Nuvolari.

From the beginning, Cinette Robert has never confused luxury with “glitzy” factories and “glamorous” advertisements which significantly add to the overall retail price of a product. It was her goal and desire to produce timepieces of an exceptional quality at an exceptional price. Timepieces which were destined for the top watch enthusiasts and specialists.

1996: Split-second chronograph Jubilee

1996 was the first full year that Cinette Robert had control of the house of Dubey & Schaldenbrand. It was also the year that the company celebrated its 50th Jubilee anniversary. Without forgetting the many watch collectors and enthusiasts – of which she was most certainly one – Cinette Robert rummaged through her stock of original watch movements and components and produced a limited series of 150 pieces of the now-famous “Index-Mobile” Jubilee.

For this, she used a Landeron movement which was more or less the same age as the company. Simply re-casing, engraving and regulating the original Landeron movement was too easy and would have certainly been an underestimation of the talent of Cinette Robert. With much difficulty, she succeeded in modifying the base movement to include a very useful date, day and month indicator –functions which were very much in demand at that time.

These functions were regulated not by the regular correction “pushers”, but by a very clever correction mechanism controlled by the rotating bezel itself. Enhancing the celebration, Mr. Georges Dubey – 85 years of age – visited Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s stand at the 1997 Basel Fair.

2005: Honoring the traditional Split-Second Chronograph – with the renowned “Spiral” model

Dubey & Schaldenbrand’s Split-Second “Spiral” Chronograph is distinguished by its’ famous ISOVAL blue spiral, a delightful feature which certainly gives this timepiece its’ distinct look.

Revolutionary in 1946, it continues to simulate and honor the amazing invention of Georges Dubey, the invention which led to the establishment of the company itself. Without doubt, this particular model is an important corner stone representing the overall image and tradition of the Dubey & Schaldenbrand brand. The actual 1946 Index-Mobile movement was replaced by a modified movement using the Valjoux movement as its’ base – a movement which was first tested in 1995.

This prestigious timepiece with its’ unique style incorporates the full “savoir-faire” and expertise of the brand. Every detail of the engraved movement; of the case; of the dial; of the hands; of the bracelet as well as all the fine finishing work, received the greatest of care.

Technical  details

Chronograph 4 counters with split second chronograph
Self-winding mechanical movement from Dubey & Schaldenbrand
Chronometer quality escapement, stop second
Finish Hand engraved decorated movement gold finish, rotor
Skeletonised, blued-steel screws
Frequency: 28’800 vibrations per hour
Jewels: 30 / Incabloc
Power reserve: 48 hours

Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, date
Split-seconds chronograph

Hands: “Losanges diamantés” with Super-Luminova. Chronograph hand with vintage spiral (Exclusivity DS)

Polished 316L surgical stainless steel, mobile lugs, blue set crown
Dimensions 40 x 46.5 mm, Height: 14.7 mm
Watch crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal domed on top, flat on the bottom
Water resistance: To 30 meters

Louisiana alligator (24 mm special cut)
Dimensions: 20 mm stainless steel bracelet
Buckle: 16 mm tang or deployant

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