Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

Thread: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

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  1. #1
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    Assuming (correctly) that I know almost as much about watch mechanics as I do about a woman's heart, what (if any) maintenance/cleaning/lubrication should I be performing as a regular regimen?

    Any web sites out there suitable for proper guidance of a ham-fisted pocket watch fancier who has absolutely zero knowledge and ten thumbs?

    Also, I've been told that once I wind my watches, I should never re-wind them until they completely wind down. Doesn't sound right to me that I should be setting my watches every time I wind them? This is of some concern, as I have developed the habit over the years of "topping off" my wind whenever I check the time.

    Thanks!

    Boge Quinn

  2. #2
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    The rule of thumb these days is to have every mechanical watch serviced every 5 years.

    I don't think there is any "real" damage caused by "topping" off a winding. Theoretically the mainspring could deform and lose it's duration of wind power but I think in practice that would take years and a regular service cycle would correct it.

  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    Wind every day in the morning. Winding all the time just wears out the keyless works faster.

    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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  5. #4
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    Thanks, guys!

  6. #5
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    I wind my pocket watch twice a day. Once at night and once the next morning.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  7. #6
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    Hi -

    Watches have a power curve that is based on the ability of the mainspring to supply power to the escapement and balance. The flatter this curve, the better.

    Given the sweet spot of most mainsprings and to avoid winding too often (Ray is right there), simply wind it in the morning when you put it in your pocket. You can check the accuracy of your watch this way as well: whenever you do this, simply check your timepiece with a known time source and note the difference, jotting it down. After a few days, you can see the cumulative difference between your fine mechanical timepiece and time derived from the vibration of a crystal or of an atom (quartz or atomic time).

    Every few days, rest the time to match that known time source and continue your observation of time differentials. You should be able then to get a feel for the isochronism of your watch, i.e. the time-keeping behavior. If you want to get fancy, keep the watch in a different position over night - set it prior to putting it down - and see how the position makes a difference. After a few days/weeks you will then see how your watch really keeps time, and can start playing with positional storage to make up for lost seconds or gained ones.

    Once you've kept records for a few weeks, you'll find the watch behaves in a fairly reasonable way. You can stop keeping track (it gets boring), but keep the records as a reference. If your watch starts losing or gaining time significantly, start keeping records again before bringing it to your watchmaker: he should thank you, since you've just provided him with a nice basis for diagnosing the problems of the watch!

    JohnF
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  8. #7
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    Many thanks, JohnF, you're the greatest. You do a fine job of explaining such things to a newbie like me.

    Do I wind just the watch I'm carrying TODAY, or the several watches in my "daily carry" rotation?

    Boge
    Last edited by Boge Quinn; December 4th, 2008 at 07:13.

  9. #8
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    If I were you, and a user of a sizable collection of pocket watches, I'd keep them all wound & synced. However, a ticking watch creates a surprisingly loud amount of noise for such a small machine, so you may not want to. But keeping them wound would save having to check the time everytime you take out a new one.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  10. #9
    Member Boge Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    I LOVE the sound of a bunch of watches ticking! Plus I'm not married, so it doesn't matter whether "she" likes it or not.

  11. #10
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Question re: Pocket Watch Maintenance...

    I got an 1883 Hampden you can hear in the next room, so I don't have it anywhere near where I sleep. It'd be like sleeping in the same room with a cuckoo clock.

    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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