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Thread: Owning A Mechanical Chronometer

  1. #1
    Craftsman Russ's Avatar
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    Owning A Mechanical Chronometer

    I donít know how the majority of my watches run exactly apart from the fact that they all gain. Weíll come back to that.

    I have however always checked any chronometer I have owned. Just on the basis that if itís certified, I would like to know if it runs within spec. They have always made it but Iíve owned 2 Rolex in the past that have just scraped under the bar at minus 4 secs per day. To be honest I was a little disappointed that they were on the back edge. My take on this was just a drift of another second would put it outside of the claim on the dial. For a new watch which they both were it was a slight irritation to me.

    I donít have any technical knowledge re how watches run in between services but I always imagine they are likely to gradually run slower over time unless they get magnetised. I hold my hands up here I could be wrong on that one. The two chronometers I have now run a pleasing (to me) plus 2 secs per day and I like the fact that every now and then I can pull the crown out and let the drift catch up.

    Thereís something in my mind that just doesnít like a watch to lose time, hence as above Iíve ended up with all gainers. Iím not too bothered about how much the others gain which is a good job for the Seikos, they always seem to gallop out of the box. Iíve never owned one that hasnít gained.

    Whatís your take on how your watches run? Certainly in these troubled times we have more to worry about. That said we might be all paying more attention to our watches just now, more than a busy normal life would allow.

  2. #2
    Apprentice
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    Do you store the watches face up overnight? If so that would explain why they tend to gain time. Invest in a timegrapher to see how each position affects the running rate and store accordingly.

  3. #3
    Grand Master SimonK's Avatar
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    Generally, a watch needing a service - specifically lubricating - will run fast, the balance moves through a smaller arc thus speeding up.

  4. #4
    Craftsman Russ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emmm View Post
    Do you store the watches face up overnight? If so that would explain why they tend to gain time. Invest in a timegrapher to see how each position affects the running rate and store accordingly.
    Yes, I would like to get a timegrapher to play with. Itís funny what you are prepared to throw a hundred pounds at in other directions and Iíve been dithering too long on that one I think.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonK View Post
    Generally, a watch needing a service - specifically lubricating - will run fast, the balance moves through a smaller arc thus speeding up.
    Interesting, thanks for that.

  5. #5
    Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    If I have a watch running -4s/d I set it 1 minute fast which means it doesn’t need correcting for at least two weeks. By that time I have moved onto wearing another watch anyway.

    Q) is it a constant -4s/d - if so then you have an accurate watch. It’s if the daily change keeps changing you may need your watch checked over.

    btw modern Rolex should be -+2sec/day

  6. #6
    Craftsman Russ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    If I have a watch running -4s/d I set it 1 minute fast which means it doesnít need correcting for at least two weeks. By that time I have moved onto wearing another watch anyway.

    Q) is it a constant -4s/d - if so then you have an accurate watch. Itís if the daily change keeps changing you may need your watch checked over.

    btw modern Rolex should be -+2sec/day
    Yes, it was a constant minus 4 so as you say no actual problem.

  7. #7
    Master
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    When you think of it, -4 SPD is pretty pheonomenal considering the tiny parts, cogs, escapement, etc, in a tiny mechanical clockwork chain. Would worry me not. Having said that, I have a watch, Tudor BB chrono' , that runs consistently @ 1 SPD on the wrist.......incredible!


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  8. #8
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    If I have a watch running -4s/d I set it 1 minute fast which means it doesnít need correcting for at least two weeks. By that time I have moved onto wearing another watch anyway.
    Same here. My watches all run + or - to some degree, so I set them fast or slow when changing in rotation.

  9. #9
    Journeyman
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    A timekeeper's performance is about the consistency as much as the observed daily deviation from a time standard. If your watch runs -4 a day but does so every day as you wear it, that suggests excellent functional quality. You have to consider that as our arm moves during the day the watch gets thrown into all manner of positions where gravity takes its effect. A watch that can beat consistently within a second (daily rate of -4, if consistent, is a change of +/-0 over the days) has to have a certain level of engineering achievement contained within it. Watches are adjusted to give an average daily deviation acceptable to be sold assuming the movements of a hypothetical wearer. If you wanted your watches to be closer to +/-0 everyday what you need is an adjustment to take into account your particular wearing habits. If the watch is good it should hold at +/-0 thereafter.

    If you buy a watch that promises -4/+6 out of the box you have to live with a watch that runs anywhere within the range. It is as concrete as that and it makes no promise to run any better than that. I always think a prospective buyer should ask "if it ran at the very limit of the stated range, would I still be happy with it?"

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