How does weightlessness affect a watch?
Like Tree27Likes

Thread: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 40
  1. #1
    Member OnlyOneMore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,635

    How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    ... or does it.

    As I struggled against gravity to hoist myself out of bed this morning, it got me to thinking about what the challenges are (if any) to using a mechanical watch in space. Obviously positional variation would go away as gravity would no longer interact with the balance, but how would a watch maker compensate for that? Even a watch with perfect isochronism, the balance is being impeded by gravity. Held back, friction against the jewels increased.

    I'm also thinking the hairspring has to be "weakened" because it's not oscillating against gravity. In my mind without gravity the watch would run fast and this would need to be compensated for and that probably applies to the rest of the train as well. Would the pivots float in the jewels reducing friction and causing a speed increase or would the surface tension of the oil maintain a consistent resistance.

    And lastly how would engineers compensate if any or all of my theories are correct. How do you adjust/regulate a movement when you can't be in the same environment and physical conditions you are trying to counteract.

    Or maybe it runs normally

  2. #2
    Member Blue Note's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    770

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    From what Iíve read watches run normally in a weightless environment. It was thought a manual wind watch would be necessary (hence NASAís selection of the Omega Speedmaster) but Col. Pogue took a Seiko 6139 automatic non hand wind chronograph on his Skylab mission and reported that normal inertia from arm motion was enough to power the watch. The Speedmaster X33 is still issued to astronauts. Iím not an engineer and canít answer your other questions but suspect that governmental space engineers would be more concerned about functionality and reliability for short term space flights than the effect of weightlessness on long term wear.
    We may be lost but we're making good time.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    898

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    First, you arenít weightless anywhere in the universe, and gravity does act on you wherever you are. Further away from large planets gravity does effect you less and in orbit you do feel weightless.

    No, jewels hold gears in place regardless of gravity so there will always be contact forces. However, friction is effected by gravity so the friction is likely to be effectively more evenly spread and therefore positional variation is likely to be reduced when away from large planets. However, even if friction were lower, the watch would slow down instead of speed up because less friction means more force applied to the balance, which means greater angle of rotation, which means lower frequency, which means a slower watch. However this does not happen.

    There is air in the watch and it isnít necessarily air tight, so after some time in free space (not a space ship with an air supply) the escapement may feel a reduction in internal air resistance and the balance may move freer. However, this is not going to happen in a space ship and also would be absolutely negligible as air resistance on that scale is minuscule.

    There is no difference between using an automatic or manual watch in a space ship to using one on Earth, and manufacturers do not do anything different when making them for such use (except maybe use a non-shattering crystal in case of accidents). Omega, Seiko and I believe Rolex have all been used in space successfully with no detrimental impact to performance.
    sidunawatch and RSDA like this.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member TwentiethCenturyFox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    11,852

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    Plus one on the Speedy and Col. Pogue Seiko posts. Two incredible watches I am proud to own.

  6. #5
    Member sticky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    South Yorkshire
    Posts
    54,795

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    Never having been in space I can’t say for certain but as far as I know watches operate normally in space. I dare say that without the help from the Earth’s gravitational field autos would need a little more activity than usual to keep them charged.

  7. #6
    Member Champagne InHand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    840

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    You can wear a G-shock too.

    I had an Omega Quartz Space Shuttle chrono at one time. Just on spacewalks do they require the hesalite crystal for safety in case of shattering. Plenty of watches have orbited just fine.

    However like with diving I would probably stick to quartz unless NASA or the ISS issued something else.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #7
    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Near this half dollar
    Posts
    7,085

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    I adds 2 1/2 years to the recommended servicing schedule.
    RSDA and Bradjhomes like this.
    "Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience." -Ben Franklin
    Damasko | Hamilton | Longines | Mido | Orient | Oris | Rolex | Timex



  9. #8
    Member Carl.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    3,232

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    I would have thought the answer sort of obvious with the speedy being used in space as well as the Strela, otherwise pretty normal watches.
    Champagne InHand likes this.
    If I fail to reply to your inane post just assume you are on the ignore list.

    I bought a knackered clock.... https://carlsclock.blogspot.com/ Updated 29/4/19

  10. #9
    Member Michael Day's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    3,056

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Champagne InHand View Post
    You can wear a G-shock too.

    I had an Omega Quartz Space Shuttle chrono at one time. Just on spacewalks do they require the hesalite crystal for safety in case of shattering. Plenty of watches have orbited just fine.

    However like with diving I would probably stick to quartz unless NASA or the ISS issued something else.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    EVA might be a problem for G-SHOCK. The temperature variations are what kept mechanicals in the space program. Even the Speedy X-33 isn't rated for EVA.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    BarracksSi likes this.
    Mavan Enthusiast
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    The time is secondary.

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    houston
    Posts
    104

    Re: How does weightlessness affect a watch?

    That's twice this week that I've seen it claimed that amplitude is connected to the time interval of the balance. I don't believe that it is in any significant way, except at the extremes of knocking or barely moving. When knocking, the natural deceleration to zero is interrupted. At very low amplitude, the impulse imparted by the pallet jewel dominates. That tiny amount of time that the pallet jewel is "kicking" the balance, it is outside of it's natural oscillation time. The same thing happens to pendulum clocks. Too much amplitude and the pendulum may hit the case, too little and the energy imparted by the verge and crutch rod artificially swings the pendulum vs. the natural effect from gravity. That's my understanding anyway, for what it's worth. A balance wheel is like a pendulum and the hairspring is like gravity.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    ffritz likes this.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Similar Threads

    1. Replies: 19
      Last Post: December 8th, 2015, 01:09
    2. HOW DOES ONE DATE A WATCH, AS IN WHEN IT WAS MADE?
      By davemill in forum Public Forum
      Replies: 17
      Last Post: February 23rd, 2012, 20:17
    3. So how does one really compare watches?
      By autonoob in forum Affordable watches
      Replies: 15
      Last Post: January 22nd, 2012, 20:27
    4. How Does One Lose A Watch?
      By wuyeah in forum Public Forum
      Replies: 25
      Last Post: December 29th, 2010, 18:23
    5. Replies: 65
      Last Post: October 2nd, 2008, 18:56

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts