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Thread: Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

  1. #1

    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

    When your watch hits dead-on 12 o’clock, is your hour hand perfectly beneath the minute, and perfectly central to the hour marker?
    How many minutes out is tolerable?

    And to add an extra level of curiosity - chronographs with central Second hand. Same question for this. Does it reset to a perfect 12 o’clock? How much “out” would you live with?

    I have a new, (AD bought) and not inexpensive watch that looks to be 1.5 mins out on the hour hand.
    And to add to that, the Chrono hand sits at the left hand edge of the fatter (than the others) 12 o’clock minute marker, rather than in the middle of it.

    It’s not much, really not much - but my OCD eye keeps catching both things.

    What’s tolerable from a QC perspective, would you think? (It’s a well known, 4-figure priced Swiss mark)

    Or am I being tricked by reflection, refraction, limits of my peepers etc?
    Or do I just have nothing better in my life to fuss over?

    Photos to follow....



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    Last edited by notenoughwrists; 8th January 2019 at 14:13.

  2. #2
    Master
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    Purely subjectively, I am relatively relaxed about the hands lining up at mid-day. A minute or two out might be OK depending on the hands.

    For me the chrono hands have to return to dead on zero though. Many do, even after decades of use, so no good reason for a modern watch not to.

    Just my subjective opinion though.

  3. #3
    Master colin t's Avatar
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    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

    Quote Originally Posted by notenoughwrists View Post
    Or do I just have nothing better in my life to fuss over?
    There could be an element of this, certainly. Although I do recall reading something about a cracked bezel pip which must also be playing on your mind :)

    Seriously though, everyone has their own individual levels of tolerance, and sometimes these might be tighter than what is applied during QC.

    If it’s irritating enough to you for you to ask the question then I suggest you raise it with the retailer or manufacturer and request that something be done to rectify.

    From what you’ve said the hour hand alignment would be fine for me personally. I’d have to see just how far out the chrono second position is, this would likely grate with me more.
    Last edited by colin t; 8th January 2019 at 13:43.

  4. #4
    Craftsman RAFF's Avatar
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    I think it should be dead on for the 12 o’clock hour, and 2 mins either side around the rest of the dial is considered ‘acceptable ‘ by manufacturers. This may change depending on manufacturer though.


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  5. #5
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I have a few old Heuer and Omega chronographs and the main chrono hand is always set to zero to the left side of the 12 marker.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  6. #6
    I initially thought this was a question of time setting. But regarding the alignment between hands - yes, I would fuss. I do like the hands aligned at 12, and a Chrono hand to hit 12.
    Last edited by JGJG; 8th January 2019 at 14:06.

  7. #7

    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

    Quote Originally Posted by colin t View Post
    There could be an element of this, certainly. Although I do recall reading something about a cracked bezel pip which must also be playing on your mind
    Yeh! Double kick in the nads!
    I’m over that whole terrible affair, as will be in London this month and pop into Rolex.

    This is a whole new outrage.....



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  8. #8
    Master Geralt's Avatar
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    This is the first thing I check with a new watch. I've been 'lucky' so far. Half a minute might be tolerable depending, but nowadays if they don't line up then it bugs me and back it goes. Bad six o'clock alignment bugs me more than 12 o'clock. No excuses for sloppy manufacture.

    I once saw a video of Casio manufacture (Oceanus) where they checked the alignment under a microscope with a video display. While I don't have that level of OCD it was good to see this level of care.
    Last edited by Geralt; 8th January 2019 at 14:22.

  9. #9
    Master
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    it would bug me too.

    As it is a new watch from an AD I would take it back to the AD for rectification. If it comes back still not satisfactory (i would expect them to line up at least within any chapter markings and a chrono hand should snap back to zero) respectfully but firmly ask for a replacement or refund.

    Or if the AD has another watch of the same type and model in stock, you could compare with that and see if any difference, then if possible get a swap.

    Some digital watches are somewhat notorious for not hitting the chapter markers all round. That though is a different issue. Alignment of hands should be correct when reaching 12 o'clock.


    M


    .

  10. #10
    Grand Master
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    On a new good quality watch, I`d expect the hands to be correctly aligned. Everyone looks at 12 o clock alignment, but a better test is to check at 6 o clock, that's show up any misalignment issues......if anyone doesn`t believe me give it a try! Be sure to wind the hands forward whilst checking, that'll take up any backlash.

    The question of what's acceptable depends on the grade of watch and the age. There are several factors that conspire against getting hand alignment correct; in some cases it may be correct at 12 but out at other points, such as 6. Wear in the movement, sprained dial feet, or a dial that's ben printed slightly off-centre can all contribute, it isn`t always a simple case of the hands not being fitted carefully enough. If a compromise has to be made I aim to get them v. close at 12 because that's what people seem to check!

    Chronograph hands not zeroing correctly also bugs me, but it can be difficult to bbe certain a hand is zeroed correctly when the crystal's acrylic and the hand sits high above the dial. Parallax errors, plus distortion, not to mention my 61 year old eyes, all add to the illusion, but sitting the watch on a flat surface then looking with one eye exactly in line should resolve this. Ideally it should be 'out' by less than one tenth of a second, and it should zero consistently. However, in some cases when a watch is old, it might vary by around one tenth. Fitting the hand in exactly the right position is a tricky job, it's something I still find difficult, and I breath a sigh of relief when the hand is back in the right place.

    - - - Updated - - -

    On a new good quality watch, I`d expect the hands to be correctly aligned. Everyone looks at 12 o clock alignment, but a better test is to check at 6 o clock, that's show up any misalignment issues......if anyone doesn`t believe me give it a try! Be sure to wind the hands forward whilst checking, that'll take up any backlash.

    The question of what's acceptable depends on the grade of watch and the age. There are several factors that conspire against getting hand alignment correct; in some cases it may be correct at 12 but out at other points, such as 6. Wear in the movement, sprained dial feet, or a dial that's ben printed slightly off-centre can all contribute, it isn`t always a simple case of the hands not being fitted carefully enough. If a compromise has to be made I aim to get them v. close at 12 because that's what people seem to check!

    Chronograph hands not zeroing correctly also bugs me, but it can be difficult to be certain a hand is zeroed correctly when the crystal's acrylic and the hand sits high above the dial. Parallax errors, plus distortion, not to mention my 61 year old eyes, all add to the illusion, but sitting the watch on a flat surface then looking with one eye exactly in line should resolve this. Ideally it should be 'out' by less than one tenth of a second, and it should zero consistently. However, in some cases when a watch is old, it might vary by around one tenth. Fitting the hand in exactly the right position is a tricky job, it's something I still find difficult, and I breath a sigh of relief when the hand is back in the right place.

  11. #11
    Thanks Paul - it looks more accurate when checked at 6 o’clock. But there is a date at 6, so slightly different to check against.


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  12. #12
    I have to agree that I am more bothered about 6 o'clock alignment as they should sit in a straight line and anything other that that leaps out at me. Chrono dials need to be bang on.
    OCD is not good, but presbyopia helps blur the error as the years pass :-)

  13. #13
    Grand Master
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    6 o clock position never lies........trust me on this one!

    Refitting hands to a 50+ year old watch can sometimes be like beating yourself with a birch-twig. You search for the best compromise whilst accepting it'll never be perfect and it can be frustrating. You also have the problems caused by limited clearance between hands combined with wear, getting the bloody things to clear each other consistently can be a challenge to say the least. Throw a warped dial with raised batons into the mix and you've got a recipe for extreme frustration......the only folks who think refitting hands is a simple job are those who don`t do it!

    I work on the basis that I`m more fussy than most people, and more capable of spotting misalignment problems, simply because it's part of what I do and it goes with the territory. On that premise, anything that leaves me is probably going to satisfy the owner.....though I`m sure someone will prove me wrong one day.

    With new watches, there's really no excuse for them not being right.

  14. #14

    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?






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  15. #15
    And this the Chrono hand (and 12 o’clock shot)





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  16. #16
    Craftsman AKM's Avatar
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    I can replicate this on both a Valjoux 7760 and 7750, by just fooling around with the backlash when setting the time / hour and minute hand. At the 12 o'clock position, it occurs when going past 12, then turning the crown back to move the hands anti-clockwise where the hour hand appears to move more quickly in proportion to the minute hand, creating the effect that the minute hand is a few minutes ahead whilst the hour hand has moved back to be dead on at 12.

    Both my watches, once set correctly have no alignment issues anywhere around the dial.

    I say it's a feature, though I can't be sure without having the watch in my hand to set it myself. The phenomenon varies across different calibres / movement designs.
    Last edited by AKM; 8th January 2019 at 22:43.

  17. #17
    In my experience, little can be said for certain from pics - you really need to see the watch itself...

  18. #18
    Grand Master
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    As the watch in question is a Tudor, I think the OP’s right to be disappointed. On a cheap Seiko quartz I’d accept it, but not on something in this league. The pics show the same error at 6, the minute hand needs to be retarded by around 1.5 mins. Theverror on the chrono hand is less of an issue to me, but nonetheless it’s there.

    To confirm this, I suggest you set it at 11:55 and let it run naturally to 12, that’ll eliminate any errors from handsetting and backlash etc. Likewise at 6, I think the error will still be clear to see.

    I would report the fault, tell them I’m not happy and expect it sorting out, but run the watch for a few weeks and check the timekeeping. It may benefit from a small dose of regulation at the same time.
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 8th January 2019 at 22:59.

  19. #19
    Craftsman AKM's Avatar
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    Here's my CWC when turning the hands clockwise, everything lines up:




    Here's the same watch after having turned the hands past 12 and then turned them back anticlockwise, the minute hand looks to be out of alignment but it's just the slack in the gears:



    All of my mechanical chronos do this to varying degrees but don't have any hand alignment issues when the hands are being driven.



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  20. #20
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    My sub £500 Seiko is Bob on at 6 o'clock. OCD means I now gotta check again at midnight (noon is too long a wait)

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKM View Post
    Here's my CWC when turning the hands clockwise, everything lines up:




    Here's the same watch after having turned the hands past 12 and then turned them back anticlockwise, the minute hand looks to be out of alignment but it's just the slack in the gears:



    All of my mechanical chronos do this to varying degrees but don't have any hand alignment issues when the hands are being driven.



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    Backlash is the technical term. The amount changes with different quality movements, but you will always find some. This is the why you set the hands having turned them clockwise.

  22. #22
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by me32dc View Post
    Backlash is the technical term. The amount changes with different quality movements, but you will always find some. This is the why you set the hands having turned them clockwise.
    To anyone who has a basic understand of how gears work, this is obvious.....it ain’t rocket science.

  23. #23

    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

    Well, I popped into the AD and spoke with the manager, we stuck a loupe on it and watched it work from a few minutes before 12, up to the hour (thanks Paul).
    He agreed. We checked 6 o’clock and again it seemed clear to him and agreed I should expect it to be spot on from a watch like this.
    (Equally that the Chrono hand was a hair off centred, although I said nothing.)

    He’s sent it back to Tudor, called their Tudor rep. to ask it to be attended to with priority (no idea if that helps, but it made me feel better). He said expect 14 days turnaround, apologised profusely etc etc and will give me a bell in 2 weeks.

    I’ll get some photos up in due course of the revised hands, for closure!


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    Last edited by notenoughwrists; 10th January 2019 at 11:17.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    To anyone who has a basic understand of how gears work, this is obvious.....it ain’t rocket science.
    Alright...

  25. #25
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by me32dc View Post
    Alright...
    You and I know that, I find it hard to believe that others find it difficult to grasp.

    We live in an electronic age where folks don’t question/ try to understand how things actually work, they simply accept it.

  26. #26
    Craftsman AKM's Avatar
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    Post deleted. It's not worth discussing.
    Last edited by AKM; 11th January 2019 at 13:46.

  27. #27
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    Edit: Answered my own question
    Last edited by Gerald Genta; 11th January 2019 at 13:06.

  28. #28

    Hand alignment... what’s tolerable....?

    Update!!!

    Watch returned after many many weeks back with Tudor. They replaced parts (??) and finally returned it as so;



    Now seems bob-on. Look at that Chrono hand! (Will send photo of the hour/min alignment tomorrow, don’t want to reset my watch now for the sale of this thread) - Not a clue what they replaced.... interestingly, kept getting told it was due back from Rolex, whenever goldsmiths called to update me on progress. Maybe the apprentice Son sent it back to daddy to do properly!


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    Last edited by notenoughwrists; 17th February 2019 at 01:42.

  29. #29
    Good result. One more reason why I have never liked chronos

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