Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?
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  1. #1
    Member TimeSaver's Avatar
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    Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Over the last year since finding WUS, I've always found discussions about accuracy and mechanical watches a bit puzzling. I personally have always loved the idea of a mechanical timepiece that has the ability; by virtue of true ingenuity, craftsmanship/artistry, and mechanical engineering; to create an aesthetically beautiful timepiece that can keep accurate time. Despite all the countless variables of temperatures, position, materials, precision tooling, and the multitude of tiny pieces that create a watch, it's amazing to think that it's possible for watch to stay + or - a few seconds/day.


    As much as I respect member's opinions that they don't care about the accuracy (they'd be happy with +/- 20 seconds/day), I sincerely struggle to understand responses that we "should just get a quartz or use a cell phone" if accuracy is such a hang up. I'm trying to understand why accuracy isn't a little more of a priority or appreciated more by some.


    Heritage, reputation, prestige, etc... --- all of which are nostalgically important to me also --- ultimately, we can't neglect that it's a TIME piece. It's still a watch with a function - to tell time with some degree of accuracy, wrapped up in a package that is individually appealing to us. Otherwise, aren't we just buying a pretty, shiny bracelet---"men's jewelry"? I thought part of what made us a WIS was an appreciation for the watch and what a watch is meant to do. Otherwise, why does the industry focus so much money and time towards making watches that come closer to an ideal of timekeeping, even in the extremes of external environments.


    If I were to pay $5 for a mechanical watch, my expectations for accuracy would be measured. If the watch were "expensive" (I know this is a relative term), should our expectations for accuracy be higher? The point has often been made that less expensive watches can be accurate within COSC specs too, but that's just a bonus, isn't it? It's true that a $10 quartz watch could be more accurate than a mechanical, however shouldn't we celebrate the fact that the mechanical watch can and should also be accurate?


    I know lots has been written about accuracy, but I just thought I get more recent and general opinions as to where people stand on this.

    BTW, this is not a slag against quartz watches either...I'd love to have a HEQ too.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    I am a little bit divided ehen it comes to accurancy. I want my high end watches to perform better than the standard COSC, but am not fussed about them being adjusted by me to show exact time.
    An expensive watch should be as accurate as posible, and of course more accurate than a cheap one.

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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    My 007 was practically COSC standard accuracy the first couple months I owned it. 10 months later it loses a minute a day. I plan to have it regulated. Accuracy should be an important goal for any watch.
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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Thank you Janne for weighing in a potentially contentious issue. I actually agree that I shouldn't be so @n_l retentive that I have to have my watch spot on to an atomic clock (even though I have to admit I get a little tingle when it is). I'm just trying to understand why a WIS would apparently disregard it. I don't endorse obsessing about split second accuracy, but I simply respect a manufacturer that can create a work of art that also maintains some aspect of precision.

    I know I could just get a Precisionist, but as I alluded to earlier...I'm looking for the package of aesthetics, engineering, heritage, reputation, finish and quality. The aesthetics of the Precisionist missed it's mark for me, otherwise I'd have one.

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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horologic View Post
    My 007 was practically COSC standard accuracy the first couple months I owned it. 10 months later it loses a minute a day. I plan to have it regulated. Accuracy should be an important goal for any watch.
    I wonder --- of the people that have mentioned that they don't care that much about accuracy, how many would be frustrated or disappointed if their watches gained 30 s. or 1 minute/day. I would be incredibly disappointed.

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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    I have an outstanding watchmaker that understands my obsessive nature. He can, if given the time, make a watch run at +.5 seconds per 24 hours or better. When he did an overhaul on one of my Breitling’s, I timed it at +.75 seconds over 4 days. If I could have all of my watches run like that, I’d be a very happy man. I do expect my more expensive (COSC) watches to run better than the norm.
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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    I have sneaking suspicion that most people on the forums don't know what it actually means to be COSC certified and for them, a watch that indicates a daily deviance of anything between 0 to 4 seconds either way would be perfectly fine.

    On a wider look, in my world, if a few seconds fast on my watch means that I am late for things, then it isn't my watch I need to have looked at but my own approach to time-keeping.
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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Outside a magnetized watch or mechanical failure, they're all accurate enough for almost every purpose inside a day.
    And, setting the time in the morning/checking time accuracy is a pleasant ritual.

    Who's to say what optimization axes each of us should use when selecting time pieces?

    <insert automotive analogy here to the groans of the reader>

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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Quote Originally Posted by falcon4311 View Post
    I have an outstanding watchmaker that understands my obsessive nature. He can, if given the time, make a watch run at +.5 seconds per 24 hours or better. When he did an overhaul on one of my Breitling’s, I timed it at +.75 seconds over 4 days. If I could have all of my watches run like that, I’d be a very happy man. I do expect my more expensive (COSC) watches to run better than the norm.
    I need to meet with your watchmaker. If I say that you referred me, is he going to think..."Oh no, not another one of those guys?"
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  11. #10
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    Re: Accuracy and mechanical watches --- silly hang up?

    Quote Originally Posted by drunken monkey View Post
    On a wider look, in my world, if a few seconds fast on my watch means that I am late for things, then it isn't my watch I need to have looked at but my own approach to time-keeping.
    I can't disagree with you. I'm not so worried about being 18 seconds late for a meeting either. :)

    I just hope that a watch I've paid some decent money for should have some level of expected consistency.

    Estrickland,
    I share your opinion that setting your watch can be part of the tactile bonding experience with the watch, but I'd be just as content just winding it each day knowing that I don't have to constantly set it. If it's off by too much/day, I dread the idea of not knowing how off I may be by the end of the week. It weakens my faith in the dependability of my watch.

    Thanks for your feedback.
    Last edited by TimeSaver; February 17th, 2013 at 06:54.

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