Author Topic: Watches lovers  (Read 39987 times)

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Offline MitiTopic starter

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Watches lovers
« on: January 04, 2024, 04:40:01 pm »
Is anybody here into watches? I repair and restore them and I would like to exchange some info sometimes. Is this the right section or the project and technical stuff?

Cheers,
Miti
« Last Edit: January 04, 2024, 07:59:49 pm by Miti »
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Offline ebastler

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2024, 06:44:33 pm »
Since the "Projects, Designs & Technical" area is under the overall "Electronics" headline, I'd say that this here is the right place. (Assuming the watches you enjoy are mechanical ones.  :))
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2024, 07:17:46 pm »
(Assuming the watches you enjoy are mechanical ones.  :))

Mainly mechanical but not only, electronic as well but brands that I’ve heard of like Timex, Seiko, Citizen.
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Online andy3055

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2024, 07:39:08 pm »
Do you watch  Nekkid Watchmaker channel on YouTube?
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2024, 08:36:13 pm »
Do you watch  Nekkid Watchmaker channel on YouTube?

No but I will now. I’ve been watching Wristwatch Revival channel mainly.
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Offline RJSV

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2024, 09:01:13 pm »
YES THIS !
   Whenever I see a post subject like this I get a little excited.  Actually the whole computer gate thing got started by way of the time keeping technology, working with accuracy issues, and of course with miniaturation of construction!

Here is what I need:
   How small could you build, I'm thinking around 0.4 mm diameter device.  Having 72 moving parts...I've even purchased a 'toy' microscope in my exploration of the mechanical boundaries, (when not in some expensive lab).
   My quest is very similar to existing functions, as in the magazine I've been reading, An August 2023 printing of 'WatchTime', a magazine covering high-end products.

   While I've been contemplating just using electronics, it's a microprocessor subset, having a '6 bit' data BUS, and clock rate at.170,000 vbs,
the project would work perfectly well, in MECHANICAL FORM, at, say, 15 vps.
   If I got that right, that means an oscillating wheel balance, at 7.5 complete motions per second.  That's enough to have a decent response.

   One problem is, the thing would need some infrared (or I.R.) sensing capabilities.

   Any number of folks, here in this blog could help with the Computer Engineering portion, and (you) could do larger prototype builds, at first.

Mechanical Processor, basically,...(Don't let that part intimidate you!)

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Offline RJSV

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2024, 09:02:01 pm »
August, 2023
 

Offline rdl

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2024, 10:38:11 pm »
Off topic I guess, but the forum could use a new section for "Other Hobbies" that could be a home for the "child forums" that clutter the rest of the site.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2024, 11:37:55 pm »
I got it all wrong, I thought someone was referring to a voyeur! ;D
 
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Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2024, 11:57:49 pm »
I got it all wrong, I thought someone was referring to a voyeur! ;D

 :-DD  Good one...
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2024, 04:13:27 am »
Perhaps it would be a subcategory of "Metrology"? Make that subcategory just "Time Nuts" in general, it's fair to say that someone really into classic watches should have the capability to check and adjust the calibration at home, an OCXO or GPS reference is really cheap nowadays.
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Offline helius

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2024, 04:57:00 am »
Perhaps it would be a subcategory of "Metrology"? Make that subcategory just "Time Nuts" in general, it's fair to say that someone really into classic watches should have the capability to check and adjust the calibration at home, an OCXO or GPS reference is really cheap nowadays.
"Adjust" has a special meaning in a mechanical watch. It refers to the compensations required to maintain the same oscillation speed when the device is positioned differently with respect to gravity. Better watches are engraved inside "adjusted to 5 positions".

Once the watch is built, this never needs to be changed. To merely "regulate" a watch, all that needs to be done is turn the speed screw. But there is no way that an OCXO or GPSDO will help you at all. The best mechanical watches have an accuracy of ± 4 seconds per day, or 50 ppm. Compare to a fifty-cent quartz oscillator's typical accuracy of 6 ppm. It's clear that there are no gains to be made by typical "time nut" instruments.

But to measure the oscillation speed of the watch, you can't very well stare at the dial. You need an instrument that can detect the sound or vibration of the escapement itself and compare to a quartz reference. These days there are apps that do this using the smartphone's microphone. Traditionally, specialist watchmaker counters with this capability were needed.
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2024, 11:34:25 am »
You need an instrument that can detect the sound or vibration of the escapement itself and compare to a quartz reference. These days there are apps that do this using the smartphone's microphone.

These are called timegraphers and they measure not only the rate but also the amplitude and the beat error, two very important parameters that can tell you about the health of a mechanical watch. 

https://a.aliexpress.com/_mMuRXni

I still don’t understand how it measures the amplitude.
And yes, you don’t need GPSDO or Rb reference to adjust a mechanical watch, any quartz or even some resonators are way better than the balance.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 11:38:40 am by Miti »
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Online jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2024, 12:45:05 pm »

These are called timegraphers and they measure not only the rate but also the amplitude and the beat error, two very important parameters that can tell you about the health of a mechanical watch. 

https://a.aliexpress.com/_mMuRXni

I still don’t understand how it measures the amplitude.

One of the inputs is labeled "microphone."  Perhaps amplitude is based on sound?

One of my uncles (born 1900) was a genuine "watchmaker".  He was also great at marketing and as a young man convinced one of the department stores to let him put his bench in a display window.  That brought in business and the rest was history.  Early on, after he was retired, I spent many weekends with him learning to "pick ticks."  I no longer do that but still have an interest.

During COVID, I restored to working condition an Empire School Clock I had assembled in the early 1970's.  In order to adjust its escapement verge, I made a "beat meter" based on a MAX9814 breakout board (sound).  An LED and photodiode is another method, but I wanted something I could just lay a watch on or set on a clock case.  It also worked well with my electro-mechanical Timex watch.

I hope the attached files are self-explanatory.  Although my beat meter only measured the timing, one could probably extract intensity data from it.
 
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Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2024, 01:02:54 pm »
Perhaps it would be a subcategory of "Metrology"? Make that subcategory just "Time Nuts" in general, it's fair to say that someone really into classic watches should have the capability to check and adjust the calibration at home, an OCXO or GPS reference is really cheap nowadays.
"Adjust" has a special meaning in a mechanical watch. It refers to the compensations required to maintain the same oscillation speed when the device is positioned differently with respect to gravity. Better watches are engraved inside "adjusted to 5 positions".

Once the watch is built, this never needs to be changed. To merely "regulate" a watch, all that needs to be done is turn the speed screw. But there is no way that an OCXO or GPSDO will help you at all. The best mechanical watches have an accuracy of ± 4 seconds per day, or 50 ppm. Compare to a fifty-cent quartz oscillator's typical accuracy of 6 ppm. It's clear that there are no gains to be made by typical "time nut" instruments.

But to measure the oscillation speed of the watch, you can't very well stare at the dial. You need an instrument that can detect the sound or vibration of the escapement itself and compare to a quartz reference. These days there are apps that do this using the smartphone's microphone. Traditionally, specialist watchmaker counters with this capability were needed.

Here is an article I wrote for young watchmakers and collectors several years ago that describes the process of bringing a precision watch to adjustment.

Many have no clue that Q is an important determinant, nor that auto wind watches are not for the convenience of the owner, but to remove the variable of amplitude loss by keeping the watch at a fairly constant state of wind. 

I used to return 100 year old railroad watches to their original performance which was better than a Rolex new out of the factory.  They knew their physics and don't get me started on how Hamilton predated Ford on true mass production before statistical QA methods were invented.

https://www.historictimekeepers.com/documents/Watch%20Adjustment.pdf
Regards,

Dewey
 
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Online jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2024, 01:20:00 pm »
When I was in college, the aforementioned uncle gave me an old railroad watch (solid white gold with every pinion jeweled).  Sadly, it was stolen off me in Baltimore in 1964.  That is one day I wish I could have back.
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2024, 01:50:48 pm »
I like where this is going. I knew there's a wealth of knowledge out there waiting to be shared.
I'm just a hobbyist, nowhere close to a watchmaker, but I like watches a lot. I buy them cheap from Kijiji and I clean, repair, lubricate and polish them the best I can.
My smallest one that I repaired, cleaned and lubricated was a Movado 56 for a friend's daughter. You won't believe how tiny those parts are. I was a bit worried because it is a family memorabilia, but it went well.
A picture is attached.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 01:57:23 pm by Miti »
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Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2024, 03:05:30 pm »
When I was in college, the aforementioned uncle gave me an old railroad watch (solid white gold with every pinion jeweled).  Sadly, it was stolen off me in Baltimore in 1964.  That is one day I wish I could have back.

An interesting fact:  there is no performance gain in a 21/23 jewel RR watch vs a 17 jewel watch.  In fact, Hamilton made both a railroad grade and non railroad grade 17 jewel watch.  While there is a difference in the balance mass and balance spring strength (lower Q), I suspect several retailers adjusted them to provide value at a lower price.

Also, prior to 1925 or so, all precision watches were timed for 24 hours after each touch against a factory clock set by astronomical observation.  So while they had nomographs and "cheats", multiply each of my trials by one day!  Think of the logistics of doing 100s of watches!!!

And, did you know that the 1922 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the invention (in the true sense of the word)  of the elastic invariable material Elinvar specifically to result in the perfect mechanical oscillator for timepieces (navigational chronometers).  Today all mechanical watches use some variant of this alloy to reduce variations due to temperature.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2024, 05:57:10 pm by watchmaker »
Regards,

Dewey
 

Online jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2024, 03:32:21 pm »
Think of the logistics of doing 100s of watches!!!

And because of sympathetic synchronization (if that's the correct term), they couldn't be all stacked together.  Thanks for those details.  I was aware that 21/23 jewels made no meaningful difference in accuracy.  It was just nice to see it on watch. 
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2024, 06:30:50 pm »
I started my working life as an apprentice horologist, but after a year or so got so I could not stand the sound of ticking from all the repaired clocks waiting collection, so when I also became allergic to the vapours from the ultrasonic cleaning machine I left and got into heavy engineering via my brother in law who ran a fabrication company.   
 

Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2024, 11:21:28 pm »
I am just a mechanic.  Hoping to become competent in EE in the next couple years.
Regards,

Dewey
 
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Offline peter-h

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2024, 09:38:31 pm »
This is a fun topic.

I was always quartz (mechanical presentation) but when on one trip the battery went flat and I could not get a replacement I said Sod It and bought a self winding watch. Originally Traser (tritium hands; nicely visible at night) and eventually I ended up with a used IWC on which I got ripped off, first by the shop and eventually (to fix a latent defect which caused it to intermittently gain 3 seconds per minute) by IWC who are basically crooks. It works well now and is in the few seconds per day area.

Never buy one of the fancy Swiss watches.
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Online jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2024, 09:48:48 pm »
Never buy one of the fancy Swiss watches.

Well...yes and no.  My dad's Movado is gold and keeps good time.  But my Timex also keeps time, and in Cleveland, Ohio, USA the loss will not be so great, when I am robbed.  See post #16.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2024, 08:43:30 am »
This is a fun topic.

I was always quartz (mechanical presentation) but when on one trip the battery went flat and I could not get a replacement I said Sod It and bought a self winding watch. Originally Traser (tritium hands; nicely visible at night) and eventually I ended up with a used IWC on which I got ripped off, first by the shop and eventually (to fix a latent defect which caused it to intermittently gain 3 seconds per minute) by IWC who are basically crooks. It works well now and is in the few seconds per day area.

Never buy one of the fancy Swiss watches.

The man I worked for in the early 1970's who was a Polish immigrant via the German army, He was given the choice during the war of joining the german army or going to a "work camp" and at the age of 16 I think any one would have chosen the army where he got trained as an instrument maker/fitter. He surrendered to the British as soon as he could and set up his watch repair business in Cambridge, any way I digress, he would get a Rolex to keep to a few seconds a month making adjustments to everything from the balance staff upwards, taking several day or even weeks to do so, each watch would spend at least 24 hours on the timing machine recording every tick, he could also tell what was happening by litinig to the amplified ticks.
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2024, 03:11:03 pm »
Quote
Well...yes and no.

What I had in mind were scams like

- standard service is £600
- we can't service the watch if the ceramic case has a scratch on it (new case £1800)
- other service shops can't get some parts
- parts removed are not returned to you so you can't check if you were charged for replacing a good item
- no correspondence is entered into re the nature of the fault
- basically everyone there is a complete thicko who tells you nothing

The above is IWC UK but they basically all do it. The general idea is that a £600 service every year is what you are supposed to do.

Rolex are running a new scam now: you can't just buy one from a shop. You have to have a "relationship" with the shop i.e. buy other stuff beforehand. It is a way to prop up prices. Obviously there are ways around it but you just pay more. Rolex are not especially good watches either; they are just desirable "bling" items.

Most Swiss watches share a movement from ETA / Valjoux and most of the popular "chrono" mens ones in the few k - 10k range use the 7750, whose trade cost is roughly £200. It's all on google... But even PP (who mostly make their own movements - this is the "you never own a PP watch" advertisement) buy in many parts so the "own movement" debate is fuzzy, and we are now into 20k-100k sort of price range.

If I buy again it will be a solar Tissot, about £800. I just can't tell how well it works in the winter, with long sleeves worn.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2024, 03:22:09 pm by peter-h »
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