A thread for thoughts and experiences: Mechanical Watches

A couple of weeks ago I bought a mechanical watch, something I thought I would not do. I did a fair bit of reading before I bought it and have done a lot of reading in the two weeks since. My watch has the premium version of the Selitta SW200 movement, which is a volume produced movement but appears in watches far more expensive than mine.

Things I have been told/read/discovered so far. Some may or may not be true.

New watches door may slow down a bit in the first few weeks as they settle down and may benefit from an adjustment a couple of months in. Mine was within 2 seconds per day in the first week. After I reset the time it dropped to about minus 4 seconds per day. After the 3rd reset it about minus 6 second. Not sure what is going on here.

My advice from the retailer was not to manually wind it. Can cause unnecessary wear and something to do with distribution of lubricants.

I downloaded an app on my phone called " Watch Accuracy Meter" which listens to your watch and tells you the, “beats per hour”, “seconds per day” accuracy and any “beat error”. It appears to accurate with what I am seeing and is quite addictive. However it cannot make head nor tail of my Wife’s co-axial Omega.

My watch runs faster than average when dial down, dial up and 12 o’clock down. ( when off the wrist). All other positions slower than average.

Having had a week of accuracy of 2 seconds per day, I now find 6 seconds mildly annoying, but clearly still decent.

I found some YouTube videos that show/suggest that with the correct tools, ( quite cheap) and a Timegrapher or App, it is straight forward to make a small adjustment to the speed of a movement. Particularly with a fine adjustment screw, which I have. Anyone do this themselves?? Probably not a good idea during warranty period.

I would find other folks experiences interesting. There was something else I was going to cover but it escapes me at the moment. If I remember it I will edit post.

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There’s a fascination with mechanical watches which I don’t find with quartz.
You appear to have the ‘Top’ movement. Adjusted in five positions; accuracy of +/-4 sec/day up to +/- 15 sec/day
Credit: Caliber Corner © 2022, All Rights Reserved. Source: Sellita Caliber SW200 Watch Movement | Caliber Corner
So -6 sec/day is well within this range. (Personally, I’d be happy with this and if I wanted a more accurate mechanical watch I’d look at a COSC chronometer this should run -4 to +6 sec/day.). People who want better than this should buy quartz.

If you don’t use a watch winder, you could place your watch in one of the faster positions overnight? I manually wind my watch in the morning at about the same time.

You could try to regulate it yourself, when it is out of warranty, but you risk damaging the water resistant seal. Your watch repairer will use a timegrapher and should be able to tell you if he thinks he can get it running more accurately. I might be tempted to buy a cheaper mechanical watch to experiment on. If you are determined then you need a steady hand and a good light. Bergeron screwdrivers are good.

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Thanks for the reply. Yes, I do leave it face up at night which is faster.

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I assume by mechanical you mean an automatic or self wind? I have an omega speed master which is what I would call manual, I.e. you have to wind it daily. Loses about 1 minute a week

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Yes, I do. Not quartz or digital readout.

You would need the proper case opener as well or you will scratch the back. I have a couple of mechanical watches, an Accurist with a Swiss movement dated 1963 and a tool watch put together by Kemmner with a Unitas 6498 movement with a sapphire glass back. The servicing cost was about two thirds the cost of the watch, but is essential to keep mechanical watches in good order. The one with the Unitas is about 10 years old now.

I read WatchuSeek forum, there’s a watchmaking thread. I’m thinking of getting a decent German mechanical watch as I like the ritual of winding. Perhaps Steffen Cornehl who also uses the tried and tested Unitas movement, which was originally designed for pocket watches.

I’m aware of service costs, my new watch, it cost the same as my wife’s Omega service. I am finding the mechanical movement fascinating. I have my Father’s manual wind 1940s Rolex which I wear on evening outs, but I am forever forgetting to wind it. lol. My quartz will now go in the draw.

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It is good you have the fine adjustment screw, if you do regulate it yourself then the smallest movement possible. I have used a wooden splint to nudge old watches in the past, but it is so easy to damage the balance spring. You will probably want magnifying eyeglasses or a watchmaker’s eyeglass too.

I watched a Dutch watchmaker take apart, clean, lubricate and adjust a mechanical watch on Twitch in lockdown. Amazing.

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I will certainly give it a month or two before an adjustment. Whether a pro or myself.

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I’ve got a couple of mechanical watches, both Omega’s, an speedmaster with the manual wind and acrylic crystal and an auto aqua terra, the speedy is more accurate despite the better coaxial movement in the AT which is probably due a service now. I also find the speedy more user-friendly if you’re not wearing it every day as you don’t need to keep it on a winder and it doesn’t have a screw down crown. Both have been relegated to the nightstand pretty much full-time since I got an apple watch a couple of years ago. Mechanical watches are always fascinating to me though, they have something about them that you don’t get with quartz movements…

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My Omega Speedmaster gains about 5-10s per day. I wind it every morning I wear it, which is most days in the year.

It was much more accurate just after its last service - about 1s per day - but after a month or two it had settled back (ironically) to what it was doing before the service.

I used to correct the time every day, using an RC Casio G-Shock. However, last time I chatted to an AD about it, he recommended only adjusting the time every few days to reduce wear. So, now I leave it until it’s running about 30s ahead of the G-Shock then knock the minute hand back by one so it’s 30s behind and repeat. It means I spend less time fiddling, my watch is never wrong by more than 30s, and it (maybe) extends the life of the watch.

Mark

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It will settle with wear but that time variation is quite normal, my seikos with 6r15 movement gain between 5. -10 secs a day which is normal. It’s not a quartz watch so enjoy it for what it is, a marvel in miniature mechanical engineering

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Both my Omegas, a manual Speedmaster Pro and a Seamaster Aqua Terra automatic, hover around 2/3 secs a day. Really pleased with that. Both are Co-Axial movements with transparent case backs.
There is nothing like a mechanical watch… :sunglasses:

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I find watchcheck is a great app for timing my watches and clock’s accuracy, keeping track of positions etc.

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But I’m personally not too bothered by accuracy. I change watches often enough that it doesn’t become an issue. And if I need the exact time I can just check my phone, but 99% of the time give or take a minute is fine.

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Accuracy and watches/clocks which use a mechanical escapement to regulate time keeping are a fascination for me. As a teenager I had a second hand Tissot Seastar, I tweaked the movement over time to keep within a few seconds a day. I loved that watch until I had an unfortunate encounter with an industrial magnet.
More recently I bought a non-working Vedette ‘transitor’ wall clock, because I liked the 50’s style of the face and mounting board. Once cleaned and a new battery installed the electrically timed mechanical escapement worked but kept poor time. After couple of months of very gentle adjustment, setting the second hand to the pips on the radio each day and checking the error the next day I managed to get it to regulate very well indeed, to the point that i don’t touch it between spring and autumn British Summer time shifts. I am astounded at how well my 60 year old mechanical clock keeps time.

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Congrats on the new purchase!

Sounds like you new watch is still settling down. Give it a few more weeks before testing it for accuracy. My experience is that it takes at least a month of consistent wearing before a mechanical watch is broken in.

IMV consistency in daily deviation is the most important measurement for accuracy - ie a watch is more mechanically accurate in running consistently 10 seconds fast a day than a watch that runs in a range of +/- 3 seconds a day.

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I think most owners of mechanical watches are happy with a watch which runs consistently slightly fast than one which runs slow or inconsistently. But I don’t usually need to time things to the second or fraction of a second. Generally mechanical watches are more accurate when they are worn regularly. I think of them as beautiful intricate machines even as a form of jewellery.

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These days you can buy cheap but efficient watch demagnetisers. So your Seastar could be brought back from the dead, though industrial magnets are best avoided when wearing a watch.

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Indeed @Stokie so I have seen, but my accident occurred back in 1980 and to some extent I was looking forward to one of those newfangled quartz regulated analogue watches, so I didn’t seek help to get it fixed.

Careless I know but I also managed to tap my much newer Tissot on the back of a guitar amp speaker magnet with much the same result, running fast by 10 to 15 minutes per day, luckily I persuaded the dealer to get it repaired under warranty and ever since it has run beautifully, instead of being 15 to 20 seconds fast per day which seems quite common amongst modest watch brands, it now needs very little or no adjustment over months. The repair shop must have taken care when setting its regulation.

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