What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

Thread: What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

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  1. #1
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    Question What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

    I have a question about watches that run, but only for 4 to maybe 6 hours........mostly I am talking about vintage wristwatches from the mid-20s tillll the 70s or so ......

    ........I find every now and then I get a watch that runs great, and keeps time very well, but not for long .......


    ......I was under the impression that it means that the watch is probably fine, but needs to be cleaned .........then last week, a guy told me that it could need a new mainspring, or any number of things......



    ........could someone set me straight on this ? and quickly, I have a Longine watch I have to decide on soon !.....


    thanks for the help......I am just getting into vintgage watches, ( been about a year now) and without knowing a watch guy, it's hit and miss learning.......

  2. #2
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

    Properly serviced and wound, a functioning mechanical (handwound) watch should last for about 36 hours (a day and a half, in other words).

    If it isn't, then it requires servicing. If it's stopping before the 36 hours is up, then it's an indication that either...

    --- Something is worn out (needs replacing).

    --- Something is broken (needs replacing or repairing).

    --- Something is jamming something else (needs cleaning or repair).

    --- The lubrication-oils have dried out (requires cleaning & reassembly).

    It's best to take your pieces to a watchmaker, explain to him what the problem is, and let him pull apart your watches to give the pieces a professional assessment.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  3. #3
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    Re: What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

    Thank you Shangas for your quick answer !.......truth be told, I buy and sell old watches, but at this stage it's mostly buy ....I have a bunch of moderately priced, but decent midrange brands ( Elgin, Bulova, Wittenaur, Waltham, Gruen and the like ) and I get them from ebay.........and they are from the mid 20s to the 80s or so ....

    ...Some run fine, some do not, some have the crowns come off in my fingers immediately, and then there are the ones I was just talking about ......they run very well, for a few hours, and then you wind them ...and they run about the same time, getting a little longer run with each wind ......


    ......The thing is, I don't want to misrepresent them, I am an honest person, so I want to know what to tell the person who would want this particular watch .......I do tell everyone who buys one ....that they should get it serviced as soon as possible, as I don't service watches and it would drive the prices up too far....( although, as I proceed, I hope to find a good watch guy and get the more valuable ones serviced...)


    ....With just a couple of exceptions I sell only watches that are running for at least 4 to 5 hours......


    so the next question is .....is it likely that the balance wheel is fine and the mainspring is good if the do run for at least that amount of time ???

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  5. #4
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    Re: What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

    oops I forgot to say that when I described the conditions of watches ( running ,not, crown comes off etc.) I was speaking of the watch as it comes to me ......not as I sell it ......wanted to clear that up

  6. #5
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    Re: What if the watch runs well, but only for 4 hours????

    You are beginning to learn the hard way. Never buy a watch in order to sell it. Ebay have already shafted the seller and they will shaft you next. By the time the seller has inflated his price by 20% to cover fees. You've paid too much.
    Now you have to sell it on. That takes you time and costs you another 20%.
    Ebay makes billions out of this process and prices just rise until nobody wants to buy, so you sell at a loss.
    Then there is the human sewage that likes to sell scrap metal as though it were the nails from the true cross. More than 50% of Ebay watches appear to fall into this category. If they are any good, a worldwide network of better informed and better funded collectors have seen it already and you either pay over the odds or you don't pay anything. The way to make a small fortune out of watch dealing is the same as making a small fortune out of aviation: start with a large one. If a watch runs for a few hours and stops, it can even be due to a ruined mainspring barrel. Expensive to put right if you can find the parts. Maybe it is just the teeth on the hour wheel that are mangled. Same outcome.
    Any watch that runs for more than 24 hours, proves that it has all its teeth and that the hands don't collide but any watch that doesn't should be seen for what it is. Broken.

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