One of the smallest parts in your watch, and also one of the noisiest: The Pallet ForkPallet Fork The pallet fork is a small lever in a mechanical watch movement that is part of the escapement mechanism. It is connected to the balance wheel and typically has two small, flat pieces called pallet jewels, which sit at the end of the pallet fork. These pallet jewels are also known as pallets. [Learn More].
The Pallet Fork is one part of the escapementEscapement The escapement is a mechanism in a mechanical watch movement that regulates the release of energy from the mainspring and keeps the watch ticking at a steady rate. The escapement is made up of two main components: the escape wheel and the pallet fork. The escapement is responsible for the ticking sound of the watch, and it ensures that the watch runs at a consistent rate. As the escape wheel rotates forward, it locks and unlocks with the pallet fork, allowing a small amount of energy from the mainspring to be released. This causes the balance wheel to oscillate and the watch to 'tick'. [Learn More] in a watch movement. It is the key connection between the balance wheelBalance Wheel The balance wheel is a component of a mechanical watch movement that oscillates at a consistent rate. It receives a small impulse from the pallet fork, which is part of the escapement mechanism. The balance wheel is connected to a hairspring that controls the rate of oscillation of the balance wheel. The balance wheel and hairspring work together to keep accurate time. The oscillations of the balance wheel drive the timekeeping functions of the watch. The balance wheel is a crucial component of a mechanical watch movement. [Learn More] and the escape wheelEscape wheel The escape wheel is part of the escapement mechanism. As the mainspring unwinds, it turns the going train gears and rotates the escape wheel. As the escape wheel rotates, it pushes the pallet, which releases a small amount of energy to the balance wheel at regular intervals. This causes the balance wheel to oscillate back and forth, which in turn drives the timekeeping functions of the watch. [More Info].
It is the interaction between the escape wheel and the pallet fork that creates the familiar ‘Tik, Tok’ sound that you hear when holding the watch close to your ear.
As you’ll have noticed, the pictured pallet fork is shaped like an anchor, an escapement using such a pallet fork is typically called an anchor escapement for that simple reason. The pink elements are JewelsJewels Watch jewels are small, synthetic sapphire or ruby bearings that are used in mechanical watches to reduce friction and wear on moving parts. They are typically made from corundum. They are used as bearings for a.o. the pivots to reduce friction. [Learn More] and are the bits that actually get in contact with the escape wheel.