Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

Thread: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

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  1. #1
    Member Derek N's Avatar
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    Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Hi all,

    About 3 weeks ago, I synchronized all of my watches to the exact time using the official U.S. time clock: http://time.gov/timezone.cgi?Hawaii-Aleutian/s/-10/java

    At that time they all kept steady accurate beats per second when compared to the U.S. time clock. Throughout the ensuing weeks, I've noticed that all of them started to run a bit faster or slower. Well, finally I was able to take data on all of my watches accuracy; and was surprised with the results:

    GW-200 +3 sec
    GW-200 +3 sec
    DW-5600 +10 sec
    DW-5700 +8 sec
    DW-6600 +6 sec
    G-2310 +3 sec
    G-8000 +2 sec

    ProTrek PRG-80T +2sec

    Citizen Professional Divers 300M (Titanium) +2 sec
    (solar powered quartz mechanical)

    Seiko 7S26-0350 (black monster) diver -1 sec
    (automatic wind mechanical)

    Now based on these results, it appears that my mechanical watch is running much more accurately than the quartz digitals. Why is that? I've always had the impression that quartz powered watches were much more accurate than their mechanical powered brothers. I don't get it, can someone with better horological knowledge enlighten me about this. :thanks

  2. #2
    Member Seamaster73's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Quartz watches are much more susceptible to temperature than mechanicals, which can make them run fast or slow.

    Also, remember that a quartz watch's daily rate is pretty static, so if a quartz watch loses a second a week, after ten weeks it will be -10s. A mechanical watch, on the other hand, can lose or gain depending on positioning. If you understand this, you can position your mechanical overnight to cancel out the loss or gain during the day. So, say your mechanical gains a second a day on your wrist, but loses a second overnight on your nightstand, after ten weeks it would be +/- ZERO, and hence MORE accurate than the quartz.

    YMMV, of course. And most mechanicals don't run to anything like quartz accuracy. COSC standards, which certify the most accurate mechanicals, require accuracy to within -2 to +4 seconds per day. G-SHOCK will always beat that. So a G-SHOCK will always beat, say an Omega Seamaster for accuracy, not that Omega buyers care. I have to say the accuracy you are getting from your Seiko 7S26 is astonishing for a watch with that kind of cheap unregulated movement. None of my 7S26s come close.

    Having said that, my most accurate watch is my Seiko Marine Master 300. On and off my wrist for three weeks, it has gained/lost ZERO, which puts it ahead of my G-SHOCK G-2000 which has gained a couple of seconds in that time. All down to the positioning I described above.

    HTH.
    Last edited by Seamaster73; July 15th, 2006 at 11:11.

  3. #3
    Member pritch's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Interesting post seamaster! I'll have tro try the positioning with my mechanicals.

    I guess sometimes you can just luck out and get a good one - I have a cheap Chinese automatic that is just as accurate as any of my Casios.

    On the other hand I have a fake Pro-Trek here that has gained 40 seconds in one week!!! I've never seen another quartz be so inaccurate.
    55 watches. 30 Casios. Appalling bank balance!

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  5. #4
    Member Seamaster73's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Quote Originally Posted by pritch
    Interesting post seamaster! I'll have tro try the positioning with my mechanicals.
    Try crown up and crown down. Record the time before you go to sleep and when you get up, this gives you the positional variation.

  6. #5
    Member AdamC's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    I have to say I find your findings baffling, Derek. It would be rare to have a quartz so inaccurate as that (let alone 9 of them!) and as Seamaster said, the accuracy of your monster is nothing short of astonishing. For comparison, my BM is running at about +7s per day (admittedly it's brand new, but from what I've heard +5-20 per day is typical for a 7S26) while my two quartz are running at +3 seconds per month or better.

  7. #6
    Member ColdHit's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Wow, that's a weird test. It must be temperature variations in your area. I have two of the watches you described, the Citizen EcoZilla in steel, and the ProTrek 80. My two watches are spot on with no loss or gain in seconds. I have been very impressed.
    ...It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live!

  8. #7
    Member cmoy's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Very interseting Derek! Thanks for thr report! BTW You NEED an atomic G! :-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek N
    Hi all,

    About 3 weeks ago, I synchronized all of my watches to the exact time using the official U.S. time clock: http://time.gov/timezone.cgi?Hawaii-Aleutian/s/-10/java

    At that time they all kept steady accurate beats per second when compared to the U.S. time clock. Throughout the ensuing weeks, I've noticed that all of them started to run a bit faster or slower. Well, finally I was able to take data on all of my watches accuracy; and was surprised with the results:

    GW-200 +3 sec
    GW-200 +3 sec
    DW-5600 +10 sec
    DW-5700 +8 sec
    DW-6600 +6 sec
    G-2310 +3 sec
    G-8000 +2 sec

    ProTrek PRG-80T +2sec

    Citizen Professional Divers 300M (Titanium) +2 sec
    (solar powered quartz mechanical)

    Seiko 7S26-0350 (black monster) diver -1 sec
    (automatic wind mechanical)

    Now based on these results, it appears that my mechanical watch is running much more accurately than the quartz digitals. Why is that? I've always had the impression that quartz powered watches were much more accurate than their mechanical powered brothers. I don't get it, can someone with better horological knowledge enlighten me about this. :thanks

  9. #8
    Member Buzzbait's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    No data from my test yet. I'm going the full month on each G-Shock, to compare against the Casio claim of plus or minus 5 to 15 seconds per month. No extrapolations.

    You Seiko Monster is extraordinary. I have two Seikos with that movement. One gains 17 seconds per day. The other gians about 5 seconds per day.

  10. #9
    Member Derek N's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    I guess if Casio claims about +/- 5 to 20 seconds a month, then my G's running +2 to +10 seconds faster for 3 weeks is spot on.

    Chris, I am very tempted to get the Atomic, but fear that it may not catch here in Hawaii. I would like to get a cheap one first (maybe a GW-300) to test it out. Anyone here in the forums from Hawaii know whether atomic signals catch down here?

    As for the Seiko Black Monster, I wear it almost constantly; even at night. Now that I read all of your comments about how much time it gains/loses per day; I want to reset it and measure again. I'll get back to you all on this one.

  11. #10
    Member RWare's Avatar
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    Re: Accuracy of Digital vs. Mechanical watches

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamC
    I have to say I find your findings baffling, Derek. It would be rare to have a quartz so inaccurate as that (let alone 9 of them!) and as Seamaster said, the accuracy of your monster is nothing short of astonishing. For comparison, my BM is running at about +7s per day (admittedly it's brand new, but from what I've heard +5-20 per day is typical for a 7S26) while my two quartz are running at +3 seconds per month or better.
    Quartz are typicaly + or - 15 to 30 sec per month. A lot will do better, say +or - 5 sec. So Derek's watches are inline with cheap quartz watches, which G-Shocks really are.

    I agree thay is outstanding accuracy for a BM!

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