second hand movements
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  1. #1
    Member dsonyay's Avatar
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    second hand movements

    New forum member-
    I have a couple of Citizen watches Eco-drives and an older Promaster automatic.

    One question I have is about the second hand movements. On my current watches and nearly all I've ever owned before, the second hand ticks at the "once per second" rate.

    On Rolex, and some of the other high end watches I've noticed second hand movements that appear to move smoothly or maybe 5 to 6 ticks per second. Is this a particular type of movement? Is this a type of movement that separates expensive movements from cheaper ones? Or do some premium watch makers utilize the "once per second" movement too.

    On a side note, I came across a watch by Steinhart (kind of a Rolex GMT looking watch) for about 500.00. I loved the look of the watch and saw many good reviews on them. These watches have the smooth second hand movement I mentioned above too. Is this something to do with their use of an ETA 2893-2 movement?

    Thanks for answering a noob!

    David
    Slidell LA

  2. #2
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Hi and welcome to WUS. Watches like the Eco Drive and others have a quartz based movement that advances a stepper motor once a second to track the time. A one second interval is used to conserve energy and lengthen the power reserve. A watch like a Rolex or Steinhart has a mechanical movement that uses balance wheel that oscillates several times a second to advance the time. On mechanical watch the oscillating balance wheel oscillates anywhere from 6 to 10 times a second. The quartz timed watch will be accurate to around 15 seconds per month while the mechanical movement will be accurate in the range of 5 to 25 seconds per day depending on the design.

  3. #3
    Member dsonyay's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    Hi and welcome to WUS. Watches like the Eco Drive and others have a quartz based movement that advances a stepper motor once a second to track the time. A one second interval is used to conserve energy and lengthen the power reserve. A watch like a Rolex or Steinhart has a mechanical movement that uses balance wheel that oscillates several times a second to advance the time. On mechanical watch the oscillating balance wheel oscillates anywhere from 6 to 10 times a second. The quartz timed watch will be accurate to around 15 seconds per month while the mechanical movement will be accurate in the range of 5 to 25 seconds per day depending on the design.
    Thank you John-
    So are there mechanical watches that tick at once per second in the high end lines too?
    Is the "smooth 6-9 bps" movement a sign of a well made watch (in general)?
    Are all modern ETA movements like this?

    lately I've become fascinated by watches.

    My citizens keep VERY good time (I set them at work with our GPS time clocks and they stay within a couple of seconds over a few days it seems)
    For me, accuracy is a bit more important, although I have a new found love for the "old world" charm of mechanical timepieces.

    I'd love to buy a well made Swiss mechanical for under 1000 at some point. My favorite is an Omega GMT style. Beautiful watches. I like the Rolex GMT also, but the prices of these are so high I would not want to wear them.

    A couple of other watches I have an eye on are the Steinhart watches and some made by Grovana.
    Maybe these watches are not high-end to some, but 500-700 dollars is a ton of money for me and in my case is about as high end as I can go with selling my children ;)

    Thanks!

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  5. #4
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    dsonyay,

    There are mechanical movements which give that one second tick, those are called "dead beat" (seriously!) and is an expensive thing to achieve.

    While many people consider a smooth sweeping second hand in a mechanical watch as a sign of quality, opinions really differ. Generally speaking, the faster the balance wheel spins back-and-forth, the more ticks its second hand takes to travel one second, giving a smoother sweep to the eye. This is rated in terms of beats-per-hour: some watches run at a more leisurely 18000bph (five ticks per second), but some run at 36000bph (ten ticks per second). The dead beat complication incorporates gears to make the second hand moves once per second, regardless of the bph.

    You did say you are attracted to mechanical watches but then, you can get nice ones way south of $100; to be totally honest, mechanical movements all work in much the same way, using an oscillating balance wheel to keep a constant pace, regardless of country of origin. I think at this point, you should try to get over the "grail mentality" because, at the end of the day, you are interested in brand name and appearance; with more knowledge, you might be able to get a watch that you truly enjoy in the long term and likely to cost you much less.

  6. #5
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Quote Originally Posted by dsonyay View Post
    Thank you John-
    So are there mechanical watches that tick at once per second in the high end lines too?
    Is the "smooth 6-9 bps" movement a sign of a well made watch (in general)?
    Are all modern ETA movements like this?

    lately I've become fascinated by watches.

    My citizens keep VERY good time (I set them at work with our GPS time clocks and they stay within a couple of seconds over a few days it seems)
    For me, accuracy is a bit more important, although I have a new found love for the "old world" charm of mechanical timepieces.

    I'd love to buy a well made Swiss mechanical for under 1000 at some point. My favorite is an Omega GMT style. Beautiful watches. I like the Rolex GMT also, but the prices of these are so high I would not want to wear them.

    A couple of other watches I have an eye on are the Steinhart watches and some made by Grovana.
    Maybe these watches are not high-end to some, but 500-700 dollars is a ton of money for me and in my case is about as high end as I can go with selling my children ;)

    Thanks!
    There is at least one current manufacturer of a mechanical watch that uses a single second advance. The name escapes me right now but it is very expensive. Yes, all ETA and most other mechanical movements run from 18,000 to 36,000 BPH (beats per hour). Most ETA movements run at 28,800 BPH. Yes, the Omega and Rolex GMT watches are lovely, but well above $1k. The Steinhart, Debaufre and Grovana watches offer GMT functionality in very nicely designed watches for under $1k. They use the well regarded and accurate ETA 2893 movement. I've enjoyed a 39mm Steinhart Ocean GMT for about 3 years.

    When I need my accuracy fix I look to three Seiko products in my collection. One of them is accurate to around 10 seconds per year and cost under $100.00

    I've been collecting wristwatches actively for over 10 years and pocketwatches since the early 1980's. I've built a small but enjoyable collection around watches that are maybe not as common or well known but have interesting traits nonetheless. I try to avoid the bandwagon effect that can envelop new watches by asking whether the design really has staying power. That way I have managed to keep the collection size and cost under control and still have a lot of fun.
    Last edited by John MS; December 8th, 2011 at 07:40.

  7. #6
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    I've been collecting wristwatches actively for over 10 years and pocketwatches since the early 1980's. I've built a small but enjoyable collection around watches that are maybe not as common or well known but have interesting traits nonetheless. I try to avoid the bandwagon effect that can envelop new watches by asking whether the design really has staying power. That way I have managed to keep the collection size and cost under control and still have a lot of fun.
    Right on, John; even as a child I figured out that enjoyment one gets out of an item is not proportional to price, but dependent on knowledge and the true appreciation the said knowledge brings. For me, the most enjoyable watches that I have are Pobedas, the lowest-end watches ever made in Russia (produced between 1946 and 2004), but they are plucky little watches that exude a happy vibe, and that's something I find very appealing.

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    Member Swingline888's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    As stated above, 99% of mechanical watches have smooth second hand movements and 85% or so quartz watches tick once per second. Many people on WUS enjoy mechanicals for varying reasons. I suggest you do a lot of research before you even consider making a purchase on a watch. Really get to know a lot about watches before you make your choice. Many people new to watches often believe Rolex to be the best company, and while it's a good watch, there are many watch brands the are in a totally different, higher level than Rolex. In addition, many companies that non watch people think are cheap brands, like Seiko, Orient, etc that actually make some very good watches. Mostly what I'm saying is make sure you really get to know watches! Watch collecting / researching can be a very very enjoyable thing, and searching for the right watch for you is most of the fun! There's a lot to learn about watches, have fun!

  9. #8
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Seele View Post
    Right on, John; even as a child I figured out that enjoyment one gets out of an item is not proportional to price, but dependent on knowledge and the true appreciation the said knowledge brings. For me, the most enjoyable watches that I have are Pobedas, the lowest-end watches ever made in Russia (produced between 1946 and 2004), but they are plucky little watches that exude a happy vibe, and that's something I find very appealing.
    Yes, there are lots of interesting vintage watches to be found sometimes for little more than a song. For example I enjoy two Omega Constellation Chronometers running the F300 hz fork movement. I love the 1970's style, the tuning fork movement and that the price was very reasonable.
    Swingline888 likes this.

  10. #9
    Member BlackLight's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements


  11. #10
    Member dsonyay's Avatar
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    Re: second hand movements

    Thanks for all the good tips. I came across this forum from researching information I had about watches and how they work. I'm not looking to start a collection, although I can see how addictive this can be. I'm in pursuit of a watch that can handle wet environments because I work on the water quite a bit, both maritime and inland. I'm a hydrographer for the US Navy (as a civilian now). I travel overseas a lot and because of this I'd like a GMT style bezel w/ inner GMT hand. This led me to watches such as Orient, Steinhart, and a couple others.

    I admit, I'd love to own an Omega - but it's just out of what I'd be willing to spend (well maybe later on when I have the funds)

    and yeah that Seiko vid was nice!

    I currenly own three Citizens- One is a "dressy" Eco-drive Titanium Dive Watch. A gift from my mother-in-Law. Very nice and in mint shape. I only wear this one on special ocassions. ( http://www.righttime.com/pre-owned/m...875h04045m.jpg ) Keeps superb time!

    The other is my favorite: It's another Citizen eco-drive Titanium dive watch w/chronometer ( http://glennmoller.com/?p=136). I love this watch. It looks "uber-cool" and keeps time very accurately. I wear it just about every day, unfortunately it is heavily scratched on the crystal and needs replacement. Mother-in-law bought this one too. The nicest thing she's ever bought for me.

    My last one is also Citizen- an older Promaster from around 1996. Quartz Drive w/black rubberized strap. My wife bought this for me when I was about to deploy with the Navy. It replaced a broken Swiss Army watch. It's pretty banged up over the years, scratched glass and body :( But it keeps good time as well. I like to wear it when I run or go to the beach. ( https://forums.watchuseek.com/attachm...0100-02e-1.jpg )

    I had a bad habit of leaving these watches on while working in the yard or under the hood of my cars- this is where so much cosmetic damage happened. Luckily my dressy watch has been spared.

    Thanks everybody!
    Last edited by dsonyay; December 9th, 2011 at 23:33. Reason: spelling!

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