Resting positions. A theory.
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  1. #1
    Member J_NL's Avatar
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    Resting positions. A theory.

    When a mechanical watch is placed flat on its back with the dial facing up, the balance wheel and balance spring remain in a virtually horizontal position with only some downward gravitational pull. When placed on its side, whether in the 12, 3, 6 or 9 o'clock position, I would assume that the vertical gravitational pull in the balance spring, will always be slightly larger than when its placed in a dial-up horizontal position. This because the balance spring as positioned in the balance wheel, is more wide than deep. In other words the distance from the center of the balance wheel (the staff) to the rim of the balance wheel, is greater than the up-to-down-distance of the balance staff. So when a watch is placed in any vertical position, this would always mean there is more friction from gravity and this would mean more resistance to the balance wheel when in swing. Thus my theory is that when placed in a vertical resting position, a mechanical watch will inevitably slow down. Always. In other words, which vertical resting position would not matter at all. Does this make sense or am I missing something?

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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    I try not to sweat the small stuff.
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    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_NL View Post
    When a mechanical watch is placed flat on its back with the dial facing up, the balance wheel and balance spring remain in a virtually horizontal position with only some downward gravitational pull. When placed on its side, whether in the 12, 3, 6 or 9 o'clock position, I would assume that the vertical gravitational pull in the balance spring, will always be slightly larger than when its placed in a dial-up horizontal position. This because the balance spring as positioned in the balance wheel, is more wide than deep. In other words the distance from the center of the balance wheel (the staff) to the rim of the balance wheel, is greater than the up-to-down-distance of the balance staff. So when a watch is placed in any vertical position, this would always mean there is more friction from gravity and this would mean more resistance to the balance wheel when in swing. Thus my theory is that when placed in a vertical resting position, a mechanical watch will inevitably slow down. Always. In other words, which vertical resting position would not matter at all. Does this make sense or am I missing something?

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    A good theory can of course be tested for, and if successful, validated. Yours is a good theory, so a candidate for possible validation. However, if I understand things correctly, existing evidence doesn't support this--using COSC stats, three COSC positions are vertical, and there is some variation for each of these, and these are NOT consistently slower than the other two standard positions, dial up, or dial down. Also, since of course there are often 5 points of adjustment in a modern automatic movement, and sometimes more, they are all working together as part of an orchestrated system, designed to counteract fluctuations due to gravity, movement and so forth--so, an interesting theory, but I don't see any evidence to support it.

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  5. #4
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    I just chuck, sorry, gently place, my watches dial up when I’m not wearing them and leave them to their own devices.

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    Member J_NL's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    A good theory can of course be tested for, and if successful, validated. Yours is a good theory, so a candidate for possible validation. However, if I understand things correctly, existing evidence doesn't support this--using COSC stats, three COSC positions are vertical, and there is some variation for each of these, and these are NOT consistently slower than the other two standard positions, dial up, or dial down. Also, since of course there are often 5 points of adjustment in a modern automatic movement, and sometimes more, they are all working together as part of an orchestrated system, designed to counteract fluctuations due to gravity, movement and so forth--so, an interesting theory, but I don't see any evidence to support it.
    I was looking for a way to slow down a watch that runs a tad fast and I knew about resting positions to achieve this. This is what got me thinking about the relationship between vertical and horizontal distances as seen from the very center of the balance staff. Since the horizontal distance is wider than the vertical distance when placed with the dial facing up (or down), I assumed that the gravitational pull on the balance spring, should in theory always be greater when the watch is placed in a vertical position. Hence my assumption that this means that it can only slow down a watch. But I know that this will be virtually impossible to proof.

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    Member Time Exposure's Avatar
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    Resting positions. A theory.

    Crown down for me.
    If your watch shows noticeable variations in timekeeping in different positions, I would consider having it serviced. I have seen Rolex issue a statement about positional timing adjustments, but it's from 50 years or more ago. Not sure it is still relevant.

    Last edited by Time Exposure; August 5th, 2019 at 22:50.
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Definitive thread by Archer on this but I cannot find it now.
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    Member ffritz's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by J_NL View Post
    Thus my theory is that when placed in a vertical resting position, a mechanical watch will inevitably slow down. Always. In other words, which vertical resting position would not matter at all. Does this make sense or am I missing something?
    You're missing that a bit more friction only causes the amplitude to go down a little, but that has no effect on the beat rate. There is no correlation between amplitude and beat rate, at least in small increments. You'll often see this on the timegrapher. The amplitude is usually higher in the dial up / dial down positions, but the fastest / slowest beat rates can basically be in any position.
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    Member NC_Hager626's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Longjean View Post
    Definitive thread by Archer on this but I cannot find it now.
    I may have found the thread you were referring about - see post #18:

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f20/po...-630284-2.html

  11. #10
    Member J_NL's Avatar
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    Re: Resting positions. A theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by ffritz View Post
    There is no correlation between amplitude and beat rate, at least in small increments. You'll often see this on the timegrapher. The amplitude is usually higher in the dial up / dial down positions, but the fastest / slowest beat rates can basically be in any position.
    Thanks for pointing this out. Any idea as to why it works like that? I'm neither a watchmaker nor an engineer so my thinking is perhaps a bit simplistic.



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