Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

Thread: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

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  1. #1
    Member Chronopolis's Avatar
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    Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    I was wondering if there are any studies done on this. I googled but nothing. I searched here too but nothing specific came up, so I'm guessing this topic has not been discussed in its own separate thread. But by all means, correct me if I'm wrong.
    Maybe there is no data on this at all?

    'Failure rate', as such, might mean different things to different makers - meaning, different price points - and thus some may not care since they're charging so much to begin with, and offer life-time service that also charges a lot.
    And, the parameters determining 'failure' may be different for different makers. For example, some makers may consider inaccuracy by +15 sec/day to be dismal failure, while another may not recognize it as failure till the watch stops running altogether.

    Take your standard, off the shelf ETAs, for example.
    Wouldn't ETA want/need to have this kind of info? Or, do they not? If not, I would imagine that's bcz they don't accept returns once they've sold them to various watch companies. It would up to the watch companies themselves to figure out their own warranty, etc.

    Just curious.

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    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    I would think manufactures would what to keep the rate of warranty returns as unpublished as possible. Nobody has zero return and anything over zero can sound bad...
    Parit enim conversatio contemptum; raritas conciliat admirationem.- Lucius Apuleius
    est necessry, accurate ad secundo? - Lysander magna
    iustum est horologium - Obscurus Genius

  3. #3
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    I'm sure most companies keep warranty/complaint stats but that sort of information would not likely be published. There's a lot of product info out there for defunct US companies like Elgin and Waltham but I've never seen any complaint data.
    Anything you'd find on the Web would be anecdotal I'm afraid.
    Besides, as the OP said what constitutes a failure to me might not to you.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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    Member Chronopolis's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Given that watch sales are in the 100's of millions of $$$, I am surprised that no consumer advocate group has done one.
    Where the heck is Consumer Report?
    But then, I suppose 95% of the buying public simply would not be interested in such figures.

  5. #5
    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronopolis View Post
    I was wondering if there are any studies done on this. I googled but nothing. I searched here too but nothing specific came up, so I'm guessing this topic has not been discussed in its own separate thread. But by all means, correct me if I'm wrong.
    Maybe there is no data on this at all?

    'Failure rate', as such, might mean different things to different makers - meaning, different price points - and thus some may not care since they're charging so much to begin with, and offer life-time service that also charges a lot.
    And, the parameters determining 'failure' may be different for different makers. For example, some makers may consider inaccuracy by +15 sec/day to be dismal failure, while another may not recognize it as failure till the watch stops running altogether.

    Take your standard, off the shelf ETAs, for example.
    Wouldn't ETA want/need to have this kind of info? Or, do they not? If not, I would imagine that's bcz they don't accept returns once they've sold them to various watch companies. It would up to the watch companies themselves to figure out their own warranty, etc.

    Just curious.
    I am not clear on what you consider to be a failure. Is it a component failure such as a broken wheel or jewel that is not caused by the owner? Or is it a failure of the watch setup process at completion of manufacturing. Or something else. A failure is a failure regardless of the price point. The movement either works and keeps time to factory specs or it doesn't.

    In my experience the modern mechanical watch movement produced by companies like Seiko, Citizen, Swatch, etc., is very reliable. Shock absorbing jewel mounts and the ball bearing suported rotor were implemented in the late 1940's and provided the basis for millions of reliable relatively accurate watch movements to be produced by numerous manufacturers over the ensuing decades. I have yet to return a newly purchased watch because it failed during or after warranty and I expect that my experience is similar to many others.
    Last edited by John MS; April 10th, 2011 at 18:59.

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    Member Chronopolis's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    I am not clear on what you consider to be a failure. Is it a component failure such as a broken wheel or jewel that is not caused by the owner? Or is it a failure of the watch setup process at completion of manufacturing. Or something else. A failure is a failure regardless of the price point. The movement either works and keeps time to factory specs or it doesn't.
    ... I have yet to return a newly purchased watch because it failed during or after warranty and I expect that my experience is similar to many others.
    For me, keeping time being the primary objective of a watch, I would consider a watch to have failed when it fails to do so.
    But the question is, to be more specific, would inaccuracy by +/-60 sec/day be considered OK of the spec says so?
    Or is that a case of a manufacturer selling broken watches to begin with?

    I was led to think about this topic bcz I saw some watch reviews on Amazon whereby some people -- who obviously had no idea how a mechanical/automatic watches work -- had sent theirs in bcz the watches were off by +/- 5 seconds per day.
    I thought this was insane, and stupid to abuse the warranty like that! I am not sure if the manufacturer/seller did any work to get the watch to be accurate to 1 sec/day. But would a manufacturer have to honor that kind of return?

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    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronopolis View Post
    For me, keeping time being the primary objective of a watch, I would consider a watch to have failed when it fails to do so.
    But the question is, to be more specific, would inaccuracy by +/-60 sec/day be considered OK of the spec says so?
    Or is that a case of a manufacturer selling broken watches to begin with?

    I was led to think about this topic bcz I saw some watch reviews on Amazon whereby some people -- who obviously had no idea how a mechanical/automatic watches work -- had sent theirs in bcz the watches were off by +/- 5 seconds per day.
    I thought this was insane, and stupid to abuse the warranty like that! I am not sure if the manufacturer/seller did any work to get the watch to be accurate to 1 sec/day. But would a manufacturer have to honor that kind of return?
    I'm still not understanding what you are calling a failure and more importantly what you think manufacturers consider to be a failed watch.

  8. #8
    Member Chronopolis's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    I'm still not understanding what you are calling a failure and more importantly what you think manufacturers consider to be a failed watch.
    Really? I thought I spelled that out pretty clearly. Oh well, then.
    So much for attempt at communication.

  9. #9
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    In my view a movement fails when it breaks and won't run. Poor timekeeping can usually be fixed by cleaning, regulating, adjustment. A vintage watch could be out by 60 sec/day and I wouldn't worry about it.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  10. #10
    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Movement FAILURE rate - Statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronopolis View Post
    Really? I thought I spelled that out pretty clearly. Oh well, then.
    So much for attempt at communication.
    For me, keeping time being the primary objective of a watch, I would consider a watch to have failed when it fails to do so.
    But the question is, to be more specific, would inaccuracy by +/-60 sec/day be considered OK of the spec says so?
    Or is that a case of a manufacturer selling broken watches to begin with?

    You provide one vague statement about a watch not keeping time and then ask a couple of questions for which there are no answers. So yes, I would agree that your attempt at communication failed.

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