The Platform Escapement

So far all the information has applied to pendulum clocks as well as to clocks fitted with hairspring controlled escapements. The platform escapement became popular with French manufacturers and was the principal advantage held by carriage clocks (derived from the French, carriage meaning 'carryable' rather than of carriages). The resulting clock was entirely portable without the restrictions of the pendulum and the system soon spread to German and English manufacturers, although the platforms themselves often came from the watchmakers of Switzerland.

The two principal types are cylinder and lever escapements, the latter being the younger design and more reliable, although some fine examples of cylinder escapement exist. The lever escapement is easily identified by the oscillating lever that connects the escape wheel to the balance wheel. The amateur is restricted from doing repairs to these units through lack of equipment and the most common faults are a broken balance staff and a distorted hairspring. Both these are beyond the scope of the amateur, as is a worn cylinder escapement. Most amateurs prefer to replace the complete unit with one of the various new platforms available. Although it is historically preferable to maintain the original, many mass-produced originals are of no great horological interest when worn out or broken. Rare or elegant platforms should be sent away to a specialist.