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1. WO2020194023 - APPAREIL POUR LA CONSERVATION ET LA VISUALISATION D’UNE MONTRE-BRACELET LORSQU’ELLE N’EST PAS PORTÉE

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]
“AN APPARATUS FOR SAFEKEEPING AND VIEWING OF A

WRIST WATCH WHEN NOT BEING WORN”

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch when not being worn.

In particular, the invention relates to an apparatus in which to position an automatic watch when not being worn in order to keep it charged and be able to view it at times of interest.

* * * * *

PRIOR ART

Automatic watches generally have the advantage of not requiring batteries or other external energy sources in order to operate, since the internal operating mechanism is able to charge the spiral spring through the movement of a suitable rotor contained within the watch calibre.

Particularly expensive watches exist, which can even be worth over a million euro, whose use in everyday life, as well as being unlikely, is not recommended for security reasons. For these reasons, in most cases, these watches are left untouched inside their boxes, in a safe or a strongbox.

Watch collectors and enthusiasts may even have a number of valuable watches, with the possibility to alternate them over the days, weeks or months according to personal preference. However, the pleasure of viewing them requires easy access to the place where they are stored, then taking them out to view them and, finally, repositioning them in the relevant case, i.e. their box or a specific container provided with a rotation system which keeps them charged when not being worn on the wrist. These boxes are called rotors and are known commercially as “time boxes”.

These containers usually comprise one or more rotors for housing one or more watches, which allow the watch to be kept charged in order to keep

the time and any complications (e.g. the date or lunar phases) up to date. However, for safety and theft prevention reasons, these rotors are not kept on view and the changeover of the watch or its viewing are therefore problematic rather than being a pleasure, for example because of difficult access to the safe or bank opening times that do not always coincide with working hours.

Therefore, a drawback of this prior art is the difficulty in viewing the object with its characteristic details when it is most wanted, due to its being kept on a rotor or inside a relevant case and then placed in a safe or a strongbox in a bank, which are usually difficult and not immediate to access.

SUMMARY

In this context, the technical task underpinning the present invention is to provide an apparatus for safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch when not being worn that obviates the drawback of the prior art mentioned above.

In particular, the object of the present invention is the safekeeping and viewing of an automatic wrist watch in an apparatus, such that it is possible to view the objects contained therein at any desired time, with an image definition such as to allow the identification of even the tiniest characteristic features.

Additionally, a further object of the present invention is that such apparatus simultaneously allows the watch to be kept charged.

In this summary, the term“image” refers both to a static image, i.e. that does not change over time (e.g. a photograph), and a dynamic image i.e. that changes over time (e.g. a video). The term“image signal”, instead, relates to the electronic information acquired by a device of any format, previously selected by an operator.

In general, the present invention is intended for an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch when not being worn comprising

at least one support on which a watch is housable, at least one acquisition device having a visualisation angle facing directly towards the support for acquiring an image of the watch, and configured to generate an image signal related to said image and a control unit electrically connected to the acquisition device. The control unit, being configured to receive the image signal from the acquisition device, comprises a communication module programmed for sending said image signal towards a receiving apparatus for remote viewing.

In particular, the acquisition device generates the image or video signal of the watch in real time and continuously and the communication module is programmed for sending such image or video signal in real time and continuously towards the receiving apparatus, which is configured to receive the aforesaid image or video signal for live remote viewing of the watch.

In other words, an acquisition device is advantageously arranged to film a watch housed on a support, while a control unit, provided with a communication module, is programmed to receive the image acquired and to transmit it to a receiving apparatus such as, for example, an electronic device, which is configured to receive such image or video signal and to reproduce it for remote viewing of the apparatus by a user.

Preferably, the acquisition device comprises a magnifying means of details of the watch and the image or video signal of the watch contains information related to such acquired details. The receiving apparatus is further configured to receive such image or video signal in real time and continuously for the live remote viewing of the magnified details of the watch.

In other words, the acquisition device is able to acquire a magnification of the watch arranged on the support and send the related image or video signal to the receiving apparatus in real time. The latter is advantageously programmed to reproduce such signal in real time for remote viewing by a user, who is able to modify the magnified area of the watch in order to vary the view of the detail of interest.

According to an aspect of the invention, the apparatus comprises a rotating means of the support configured for rotation thereof about a rotation axis. The acquisition device is configured for acquiring an image, arranged on a plane that is transversal to the rotation axis. Preferably the support is adapted to receive the watch dial so that its centre is crossed by the rotation axis for facilitated image acquisition by the acquisition device. According to a further aspect of the invention, the apparatus comprises a movement means of the acquisition device, which is configurable between a synchronised condition with the rotation or another movement of the support, as a function of the image to be acquired, and a non-synchronised condition wherein the movement of the acquisition device is independent of the rotation or other movement of the support. In other words, in the first case the movement of the acquisition device is synchronised with the rotation or another movement of the support, in particular it is realised so as to obtain a null relative movement between them for which it is, for example, possible to acquire a constant image of the watch, or an image of the watch that always has the same orientation over time. Instead, in the second case the movement of the acquisition device is independent of the rotation or other movement of the support for the acquisition of a variable image of the watch, i.e. an image whose subject will change orientation over time with respect to the visualisation angle of the acquisition device.

Preferably, the movement means is configured for setting in rotation the visualisation angle of the acquisition device about the rotation axis of the support, so that the rotation of both takes place in the same direction and with the same angular velocity. Advantageously, the acquisition device may be offset with respect to the rotation axis of the support for the movement thereof about the aforesaid rotation axis with the maintenance of any predefined orientation, with respect to the rotatory movement that the support performs.

In accordance with an aspect of the invention, the apparatus comprises a single actuator operatively connected to the rotating means of the support and to said movement means of the acquisition device. The apparatus, having a single actuator for the movement of the components present, is advantageously able to obtain a synchronous motion condition between the rotation of the support and the movement of the acquisition device for the acquisition of images of the watch with the same orientation over time. Alternatively, the apparatus can have a first actuator operatively connected to the rotating means of the support and a second actuator operatively connected to the movement means of the acquisition device. In this way, it is possible to independently manage the movement of the acquisition devices with respect to the rotation of the supports in order to record images according to different orientations or obtain constant images thanks to synchronisation devices operatively interposed between the movement means and the rotating means.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the control unit, according to a remote command received through said communication module, is programmed to impose the synchronisation condition or the non synchronisation condition of the acquisition device.

The apparatus, also, according to a further aspect, comprises a light source configured for illuminating the support, which can advantageously be a LED light source, which allows energy savings and high light intensity to be obtained.

Preferably, the light source has a circular shape in the centre of which the acquisition device is placed. Advantageously, for example, a series of LED lamps that form a circle able to surround the acquisition device allow uniform lighting without any shadows of the support and therefore of the supported watch, so that the operator can appreciate the construction features thereof as best as possible.

According to an aspect of the invention, the apparatus can have a plurality of acquisition devices having variously inclined visualisation angles with respect to the rotation axis of the support and each associated with a light source, preferably circular. Therefore, as well as an acquisition device positioned in front of the support so as to acquire a frontal image of a watch dial, others may be present, whose visualisation angle is however turned towards the watch placed on the support, but each able to acquire images according to a plane inclined with respect to the rotation axis of the support that is different from the others.

Preferably, the support has a housing able to contain an acquisition device. In use, it is configured for acquiring an image arranged on a plane that is transversal to the rotation axis of a surface of the watch facing towards the support. Therefore, simultaneously or alternatively, the operator can view two opposite faces of the watch in the event that two acquisition devices are provided.

According to a further aspect of the invention, in the event that a there is a plurality of supports, the apparatus comprises at least one guide operatively associated with an acquisition device for the movement of the latter between a first position for acquiring an image at a first support and a second position for acquiring an image at a second support.

Alternatively, there may be as many acquisition devices as the number of supports, therefore each support is associated with an acquisition device. Furthermore, the present invention is intended for a system for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch comprising a remote receiving apparatus that can be interfaced with the communication module of the apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch. The receiving apparatus is programmed for receiving and visualising image signals sent by the communication module and for sending operative commands to the communication module.

The stated technical task and specified objects are substantially achieved by an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch when not being worn, which comprises the technical features disclosed in the independent claim. The dependent claims correspond to further

advantageous aspects of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the present invention will more fully emerge from the non-limiting description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch when not being worn, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

figure 1 a illustrates, in a schematic view from above, a view of the apparatus in question;

figure 1 b illustrates, in a schematic view from above, a view of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus in question;

figures 2 to 4b illustrate, in a schematic view from above, different possible aspects of the invention.

In the following description, the identical reference characters indicate identical or corresponding parts in the different views.

* * * * *

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is intended for an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch, which may indifferently be an automatic, manual or battery-operated watch, when not being worn.

Specifically, the invention relates to an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of a wrist watch which allows the remote viewing thereof at any desired moment.

In the present detailed description, the term“image” refers both to a static image, i.e. that does not change over time (e.g. a photograph), and a dynamic image i.e. that changes over time (e.g. a video). The term“image signal”, instead, relates to the electronic information acquired by a device of any format, previously selected by an operator.

Any modifications or variants which, in the light of the description, are evident to the person skilled in the art, must be considered to fall within the scope of protection established by the present invention, according to considerations of technical equivalence.

With reference to the figures mentioned, the number 1 generally denotes an apparatus for the safekeeping and viewing of an automatic, manual or battery-operated wrist watch according to the present invention.

Figures 1 a and 1 b illustrate an apparatus comprising at least one support on which a watch is housable and at least one acquisition device 3 with a visualisation angle that is turned directly towards the aforesaid support 2 for the acquisition of an image of the watch. In this way, the acquisition device 3 is able to generate an image signal of the watch.

Preferably, the apparatus 1 comprises an openable box body (not shown) shaped to contain a support 2 and an acquisition device 3 oriented for recording frontal images of the watch on support 2.

For example, the box body can be a case or a safe or similar object suitable to contain a watch when not worn so that the internal support 2 moves the watch properly to keep it charged and, at the same time, the acquisition device 3 is able to record images and/or video to be shown to the user remotely and in real time.

Preferably, the box body has one or more containment seats to hold one or more wristwatches, respectively. In particular, a respective support 2 and an acquisition device 3 are inserted inside each seat.

A control unit 4 is configured to receive the image signal generated and to send it to a receiving apparatus for remote viewing through a communication module 5 specifically programmed and included in the control unit 4. The control unit 4 is connected to the acquisition device 3 electrically or thanks to wireless technology.

Preferably, the control unit 4 and the communication module 5 are programmed and configured to send in real time and continuously over time, to the receiving apparatus the image signal generated, so that a user is able to view the watch placed on the support 2 instantaneously and with a live view of the latter.

In other words, the acquisition device 3, thanks to the control unit 4 and to the communication module 5, is able to send in real time a video or image of the wrist watch at the same time as an operator uses the receiving device. More precisely, the receiving device comprises a plurality of commands that can be used by the operator to manage the operation of the acquisition device 3, so that the same acquisition device 3 takes at least one photo to be viewed remotely and in real time on the screen of the receiving device or, alternatively, so that the same acquisition device 3 records a video to be reproduced remotely and in real time on the screen of the receiving device.

Additionally, the support 2 is connected to a rotating means 6 which can impress a rotatory movement thereon about an axis of rotation A thereof. Such rotation is preferably realised so that the supported watch maintains the necessary charge for the operation thereof even when not being worn. Preferably, the rotation axis A is arranged with respect to the support 2 so as to be transversal, preferably perpendicular, to the watch dial arranged on the support 2.

Preferably, this rotating support 2 is a rotor (the rotor is commonly used for maintaining the charge of wrist watches).

The acquisition device 3 associated to the support 2 is a high resolution micro camera able to capture an image of the whole watch or of a portion thereof when placed on the support 2 from a distance preferably comprised between 1.5 cm and 2 cm such as, for example, the dial or a part thereof, which usually has a diameter comprised between 30 mm and 55 mm.

According to an aspect of the invention, the acquisition device 3 comprises a magnifying means of the watch for highlighting some details of interest. Consequently, the image or video signal acquired by the acquisition device 3 contains information related to the aforesaid acquired details, which are sent by means of the communication module 5 to the receiving apparatus for the remote viewing thereof. In fact, the receiving apparatus is further configured to receive such image or video signal in real time and continuously so as to reproduce it and make it possible for a user to have live remote viewing of the magnified details of the watch.

According to a particular aspect of the invention, the acquisition device 3 is equipped with a zoom lens, so that a magnification of the portion of interest can also be acquired, so as to make a particular detail of the watch more visible and therefore appreciable.

According to an aspect of the invention, the acquisition device 3 is placed on the same rotation axis A as the support 2, frontally with respect to the watch that it supports, in particular with respect to the watch dial, so that its visualisation angle films the latter with an orientation coinciding with the rotation axis A during the rotatory movement of the support 2.

Advantageously, the zoom lens provided on the acquisition device 3 allows a magnification of the watch to be obtained for generating a cleaner and more defined image of a particular portion of interest, so as to make a constructional detail more visible also during the movement of the support 2 about the rotation axis A.

Even more advantageously, the zoom lens is associated with the control unit 4 and with the communication module 5 so that a remote user is able to vary the portion of interest of the watch to be magnified as preferred and therefore view it more easily in real time. In other words, a user can vary the angle of visualisation of the acquisition device 3, magnifying a particular constructional detail of the watch such as, for example, an engraving on the dial and receiving visual feedback in real time.

Advantageously, the receiving apparatus is configured to send in real time a management signal to the magnifying means in order to vary the magnification scale of the image to be acquired (or the zoom ratio in the event of the zoom lens). Additionally, the receiving apparatus is configured to vary in real time and continuously also the portion of interest of the watch, which is to be magnified and, therefore, to vary the details of the watch that the user intends to view following the magnification.

In other words, the user through the receiving apparatus is able both to receive an instantaneous visual feedback signal of the watch, or of a detail thereof, framed by the acquisition device 3 (converted as an image or video of the receiving apparatus itself to allow the viewing thereof), and to send a management signal from the receiving apparatus to the acquisition device 3 (and therefore to control the acquisition device 3) for selecting the detail of interest of the watch that is intended to be viewed in real time and to select the magnification scale thereof.

According to another aspect of the invention, to facilitate the acquisition of a good quality image, the acquisition device 3 is provided with a light source 9 able to illuminate the support 2, in particular in the event in which the latter is not in the presence of other light sources. To obtain uniform lighting, so that the surface of the watch does not have any shadows that could distort the visualisation of any of its features, the light source 9 is preferably circular and placed so as to surround the acquisition device 3, and therefore its angle of visualisation, uniformly.

Figure 2 shows a different aspect of the invention, wherein the apparatus may comprise a plurality of acquisition devices 3, including the aforementioned acquisition device 3 placed with respect to the support 2 so as to be in front of the watch.

Each acquisition device 3 has its own visualisation angle that is variously inclined with respect to the rotation axis A of the support 2 for the acquisition of a series of images of the watch arranged on different planes that are inclined with respect to the rotation axis A of the support 2. Preferably, an acquisition device 3 is placed in a housing of the support 2, so that it is possible to obtain an image of the surface of the watch facing towards the support 2 that supports it. Even more preferably, the housing is afforded in a zone of the support 2 intercepted by the rotation axis A, so that the positioned acquisition device 3 and the acquisition device 3 frontal to the watch are arranged in a mirror like fashion to each other for the simultaneous acquisition of two opposite surfaces of the watch interposed between them such as, for example, the dial and the calibre of the watch in the event that the back is made of sapphire glass.

In this way, the receiving apparatus is able to simultaneously and instantaneously show two different portions of the watch supported by the support 2 such as, for example, the dial and the back, in order to make the view of the constructional details accessible from the whole case of the watch and, additionally in the case of a back made of sapphire glass, of the operating mechanism of the watch itself.

It is also possible to replace the circular light source 9 with one or more acquisition devices 3, which are placed so as to surround the frontal acquisition device 3. The visualisation angle of these acquisition devices 3 is always directed towards the support 2, so as to improve the acquisition of particular specific images of the watch, so that they can be more appreciated.

According to another possible aspect of the invention illustrated in Figure 3a, in the event that more than one rotating support 2 is provided for housing more watches, the apparatus comprises a plurality of acquisition devices 3, each of which is associated with a different support 2, with respect to which it is arranged frontally and on the same rotation axis A. Alternatively, as shown in figure 3b, in the presence of a plurality of supports, the apparatus has at least one guide 10 operatively associated with an acquisition device 3 for the movement of the latter between a first position for acquiring an image at a first support 2 and a second position for acquiring an image at a second support 2.

In all the aspects described above, each of the acquisition devices 3 provided in the apparatus can be operatively connected to a movement means 7 that can be configured between a synchronisation condition thereof with the rotation of the support 2, according to the image to be acquired, and a non-synchronisation condition wherein the movement of the acquisition device 3 is independent from the rotation of the support 2. Preferably, the movement means 7 is configured for setting in rotation the visualisation angle of the acquisition device 3 about the rotation axis A of the support 2, in the same rotation direction and with the same angular velocity as the latter. The relative movement of the acquisition device 3 with respect to the rotating support 2, in this case, is preferably null and allows an acquisition of a constant image of the watch over time, i.e. always having the same orientation.

Advantageously, the imposition of the null relative motion between the support 2 and the acquisition device 3 makes it possible to consult the exact time of the watch during its movement about the rotation axis A and during its live remote viewing, thanks to the control unit 4 and to the communication module 5 configured to send the image signal generated to the receiving apparatus.

In other words, a static image of the watch will appear to the user of the receiving apparatus remotely, as though it were stationary, despite the latter rotating about the rotation axis A.

According to an aspect of the invention, the movement means 7 of the acquisition device 3 comprise a frame 7b shaped so that the support 2 and the acquisition device 3 both rotate around the axis of rotation A in the synchronisation condition, i.e. preferably in the same direction of rotation and with the same rotation speed. More precisely, the frame 7b is connected integrally to the support 2 and extends itself cantilevered along the axis of rotation A to support the acquisition device 3 in a position preferably frontal (and spaced by a predefined distance) to the quadrant of the wrist watch so as to record an image or a video of the latter. In other words, the frame interposed between the support 2 and the acquisition device 3 defines a single (and fixed) body able to rotate around the axis of rotation A so that the image is stopped with respect to a reference system attached to support 2.

In one of the preferred embodiments of the invention, this frame is constructed as an elongated cage extending between two opposite ends in which one at least partially surrounds the support 2 and the other

defines an anchorage for the acquisition device 3.

Advantageously, the control unit 4 is configured so that the remote operator, through the receiving apparatus, is able to instantaneously control the relative movement that takes place between the support 2 and the movement means, to view the watch instantaneously also according to different viewpoints and to check, and if necessary vary still instantaneously, the operating conditions of the acquisition device 3, of the light sources 9 and of the movement means 7 to acquire the image or the images of greatest interest of the watch during the use of the apparatus 1. For example, in the event that the watch that is to be viewed is a mechanical type watch, the support 2 on which it is arranged is not moved perpetually to maintain the charge of the watch itself, since it must be periodically stopped to respect rest intervals in which the springs of the charging mechanism are able to be discharged and then charged again. The control unit 4 is consequently configured so that the acquisition means 3 is able to visualise the watch with the movement means 7 stationary or moving and, in both cases, in the synchronisation condition or in the non-synchronisation condition. Furthermore, each of these possibilities is advantageously selectable by the remote operator through the receiving apparatus instantaneously for personalising the view of the watch according to requirements.

In particular, the control unit 4 is configured to manage the change from the synchronisation condition to the non-synchronisation condition according to the contents of a request signal to access the images in real time coming from the receiving apparatus.

For example, if the support 2 is turning about the rotation axis“A”, the movement means can:

- impart a rotation of the acquisition means 3 in synchrony with said support 2; or

- block the rotation and keep the acquisition means in a fixed position (image not synchronised with the rotation of the support).

It is also to be noted that the receiving apparatus is configured to vary the synchronisation and non-synchronisation condition in real time.

The invention, as illustrated in figure 4a, is provided with a single actuator 8 operatively connected to the rotating means 6 of the support 2 and to the movement means 7 of the acquisition device 3, to simplify the possibility of obtaining a movement in the synchronised condition. Alternatively, according to the aspect of the invention illustrated in figure 4b, the apparatus may comprise a first actuator 8 operatively connected to the rotating means 6 and a second actuator 8 operatively connected to the movement means 7 for a more independent management of the rotation of the supports and the movement of the acquisition devices 3. In fact, while the support 2 is placed in rotation by the actuator 8 operatively connected thereto, the acquisition device(s) 3 is/are kept in a fixed position with the visualisation angle thereof directed towards the aforesaid support 2. In this case, the orientation of the acquired image will vary over time, but the possibility to visualise it with a constant orientation on a remote receiving apparatus will be guaranteed by the control software of the remote receiving apparatus itself.

Regardless of the number of supports and acquisition devices 3 provided, the invention may envisage the control unit 4 being programmed for setting the synchronised condition or the non-synchronised condition of the acquisition device 3 as a function of a remote command received via the communication module 5.

A receiving apparatus, for example a digital device, is able to communicate through a wired network or wireless technology with the communication module 5 of the control unit 4, thus realising a system for the safekeeping and live viewing of a wrist watch. The receiving apparatus can be interfaced with the communication module 5 and is programmed for the live reception and viewing by the user of the image signals sent by the communication module 5. In other words, the acquisition device(s) 3 generates/generate an image signal that is received by the control unit 4 and sent instantaneously to the receiving apparatus via the communication module 5, so that live visual feedback can be obtained for the remote control of the viewed watch, if individual, or of various watches simultaneously or of various views of the same one, in the event that a plurality of supports 2 and/or acquisition devices 3 is provided.

Furthermore, the receiving device is programmed to send operative commands to the communication module 5 of the control unit 4.

The operative commands, for example, are adapted to control the rotation of the supports 2, the movement of the acquisition devices 3 independently from each other or to synchronise them and possibly the intensity provided by the light sources 9.