Q. What does Incabloc mean on my watch.

A. Incabloc is the name given to a type of shock absorption system used on mechanical (wind-up) watches.

One of the most sensitive inner parts of a mechanical watch is the arbor, or staff, that is the axis for the balance wheel. The balance wheel and escapement are the heart of a mechanical watch. If the jewelled bearings of the balance staff are friction fitted into the frame (plates) of the watch, the pivots on the balance staff break or bend when the watch is hit or dropped. Most watches were made this way up until the mid to late 1940s.

Many companies have devised systems to allow these jewels to "float", and then return to where they should be when the watch is bumped, nearly eliminating damage to the staff. "Incabloc" is one of the best known shock-proofing systems and it is Swiss in origin. It was introduced by the Universal Escapements, Ltd., of Switzerland in 1933. The design was improved in 1938. In the U.S., The trademark "Incabloc" was registered on October 8, 1957. In the UK, it did not appear on most of the 'everyday' watches until the late 1940's and early 1950's, although by 1952 37 million Incabloc units had been sold worldwide. The Universal Escapements Ltd had become 'Portescap' by 1981. Some time after this Portescap then sold the system off and they are just known as Incabloc now.

The Incabloc system allowed the Balance to move sideways if it suffered a sharp shock and then it returned to it's normal position under pressure of small springs above the movable carriage.

For more information, see the Incabloc web site at

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The above information and dates are correct to the best of our knowledge based on the current books etc in our library at the time this page was last written or amended. Please be aware that any dates given are not necessarily the start and finish dates of this maker, they are just the dates that it is likely that he was working based on the information we have found. These are taken from trade directories etc and it is quite possible that they were working for longer periods than shown above.

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This web site, was run by Rosemary Harrison-Smith with the help of Tony Harrison-Smith FBHI, was started in 1997 and it held information that we have found about various clock and watchmakers, and has 35,758 records in its database. The information comes from listings published in books and trade directories that we had in our library, giving dates that makers are known to have been working. The database includes 31,947 individual trade directory entries from 363 trade directories and more detailed biographies for 4276 makers and retailers.

The information is not necessarily all there is to know about the maker, but it is a digest of all we have found in our researches. 
We specialise in British and Irish makers.
The site is now archived so that researchers can view the information held in the database for a daily charge.