Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?
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  1. #1
    Member canonken's Avatar
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    Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    I'm sitting here 36 hours after setting it (my new Snowflake) and cannot see any drift, which is expected. Further, knowing the watch is insensitive to position, temperature, the tide being in or out, etc. means there is no 'luck' to just happening to keep it in the right position overnight or at the right level of wind (other than dead!). In a week, a month from now, I should start to understand what I have. I know it is rated at +/-15 seconds/month and interested to see how mine fits into that.

    I ask this question partly seriously, partly in jest, but still curious as to your take. Does using a Spring Drive, which you might need to set monthly, ruin regular mechanical watches in terms of their accuracy and potential fussiness (for example, having different deviations depending on the state of wind, what position they are left in, etc.)?
    Rolex Explorer I :: Dornblueth & Sohn Calibre 99.1 :: Grand Seiko SBGA211 'Snowflake' :: Omega Speedmaster Professional :: Seiko SPB077 :: Archimede Pilot

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    Member valuewatchguy's Avatar
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    If it was part of a very small rotation of 2 maybe 3 watches it would be hard to wear anything but SD. But as I have a few more than that it is a nice plus but not essential


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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by canonken View Post
    I'm sitting here 36 hours after setting it (my new Snowflake) and cannot see any drift, which is expected. Further, knowing the watch is insensitive to position, temperature, the tide being in or out, etc. means there is no 'luck' to just happening to keep it in the right position overnight or at the right level of wind (other than dead!). In a week, a month from now, I should start to understand what I have. I know it is rated at +/-15 seconds/month and interested to see how mine fits into that.

    I ask this question partly seriously, partly in jest, but still curious as to your take. Does using a Spring Drive, which you might need to set monthly, ruin regular mechanical watches in terms of their accuracy and potential fussiness (for example, having different deviations depending on the state of wind, what position they are left in, etc.)?
    Basically the cheapest quartz can give a run for any GS's money. If an F-91W seemingly hasn't ruined mechanical watches' "experience" why a GS should do it?

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    Member BrianBinFL's Avatar
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by canonken View Post
    I'm sitting here 36 hours after setting it (my new Snowflake) and cannot see any drift, which is expected. Further, knowing the watch is insensitive to position, temperature, the tide being in or out, etc. means there is no 'luck' to just happening to keep it in the right position overnight or at the right level of wind (other than dead!). In a week, a month from now, I should start to understand what I have. I know it is rated at +/-15 seconds/month and interested to see how mine fits into that.
    Precise observations by a couple folks here have found that the Spring Drive tends to run quite a bit more accurately than the stated +/- 15 sec/mo - closer to 0.15 - 0.20 seconds per day - around 6 sec/mo or less.

    Quote Originally Posted by canonken View Post
    I ask this question partly seriously, partly in jest, but still curious as to your take. Does using a Spring Drive, which you might need to set monthly, ruin regular mechanical watches in terms of their accuracy and potential fussiness (for example, having different deviations depending on the state of wind, what position they are left in, etc.)?
    I will answer you in somewhat the same vein as your question was asked - partly seriously and partly in jest. Owning and wearing a Grand Seiko Spring Drive has ruined wearing any other watch for me. Now here I say "ruined" somewhat in jest because I still very much love wearing my other watches. But I don't think the experience of wearing anything else compares to the experience of wearing a Grand Seiko Spring Drive. But not necessarily for the accuracy, though that is a nice bonus.

    If you have a rather large collection of watches, and tend not to wear the same watch day in and day out, and therefore let your mech watches "run down" between wearings, then accuracy really doesn't matter so much as long as the "per day" +/- rate isn't insane. I abandoned my watch winders as a bad idea some time ago. If the watch isn't being worn it doesn't get wound. So the watches tend not to run long enough for the accumulated deviation to matter. They'll need to be re-set each time I wear them anyway.

    Even though (somewhat ironically) they had to use electronics to help pull it off, for me it is an incomparable experience to wear the world's only current-production watch that is truly analog (no counts or beats or steps) with a flawlessly smooth seconds sweep that is actually continuous. The watch does not keep time like a marching soldier, step, step, step, but more like a spinning planet. For me there is something amazingly serene about that. Not just how it looks (because a couple other watches simulate the effect and have a seconds-sweep that looks similar) but in knowing what the glide wheel is doing, seeing that flawless sweep, and knowing that no matter how much you slow it down, there are no steps.



    Add to that the fact that this wonderful little machine is installed in an exquisitely finished case, dial, hands, etc. And also add to that the fact that I'll probably never see another one on anybody else's wrist in my lifetime (unless perhaps I'm in a GS dealer's store - and I've not even seen anybody actually wearing one there either so far).

    While I don't think I'd be nearly so enchanted if it was less accurate than a 100% mech, the fact that it's more accurate than a 100% mech is honestly the least wondrous thing about it for me - just another bonus.

    All of that said, I still love my 100% mech watches, and I wear them more than the GS SD. I tend to wear the GS SD either when dressing up a bit, or on days when my mood could use a little pick-me-up and the reflexive smile I get from a brief stare at the marvel on left wrist makes a difference. The exquisitely polished case could easily be damaged and if that happened I know I wouldn't be happy until I sent it back to Japan to be re-polished, so it's not my daily driver. Some day maybe I'll own a "beater" Spring Drive for daily wear?

    At heart I am a "100% mechanical" kind of guy, but the SD gets a pass for what they've achieved despite "polluting the mech with the tech".

    Enjoy your new watch. Welcome to the Spring Drive club.
    Alysandir, yokied and bobs100 like this.
    Grand Seiko SBGA375, Rolex 116610LN, and lots of comparatively economical watches that "spoke to me" - mostly Seiko.

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    Member canonken's Avatar
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Thanks for the detailed answer!

    The second-hand is one of the main things that really sold me. I've seen it before, so it was not new, but looking at the watch in the context of wanting to buy it really sealed it.
    Rolex Explorer I :: Dornblueth & Sohn Calibre 99.1 :: Grand Seiko SBGA211 'Snowflake' :: Omega Speedmaster Professional :: Seiko SPB077 :: Archimede Pilot

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    Member BrianBinFL's Avatar
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmnav View Post
    Basically the cheapest quartz can give a run for any GS's money. If an F-91W seemingly hasn't ruined mechanical watches' "experience" why a GS should do it?
    Well, the F-91W has the additional benefit of being a great bomb timer, so it would be tough for the Spring Drive to compete with that. If one needs a bomb timer anyway.

    But your point is a good one - beating the accuracy of a mechanical watch is a rather pedestrian task these days. If Spring Drive's only distinctive feature was accuracy then there wouldn't be much point in it. Thankfully there's more to it than that.
    Grand Seiko SBGA375, Rolex 116610LN, and lots of comparatively economical watches that "spoke to me" - mostly Seiko.

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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianBinFL View Post
    Precise observations by a couple folks here have found that the Spring Drive tends to run quite a bit more accurately than the stated +/- 15 sec/mo - closer to 0.15 - 0.20 seconds per day - around 6 sec/mo or less.
    Synced my Snowflake to the Atomic Clock on 1 June. It is now 7 July and has gained 9 seconds. I don't mind its being slightly fast. I, however, would not like its being slightly slow. I did advance the date on 1 July, but am thinking about not bothering with resetting the time until I change the date again.

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    Member Covenant's Avatar
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    The more time I spend in this hobby, the less enchanted I am with purely mechanical watches in general. I think the main sticking point I have is that I, perhaps irrationally, equate accuracy with quality.

    The persuit of accuracy is what makes horology interesting to me. Advancements like the tourbillion that attempt to negate positional errors, or constant force escapements that improve isochronism, or inventions like the Daniel's coaxial escapement that reduce friction. I find the "arms race" if autonomous accuracy appealing from an engineering perspective.

    So spring drive is inherently seductive for offering quartz timekeeping performance without losing the romance of mechanical. But truth be told, what is "ruining" mechanical watches for me is high accuracy quartz. Once one gets over the subconscious bias against the 1-second tick, the sheer coolness of pushing the envelope of accuracy to the limit sets in. A second hand that meets all the markers dead on without any wobble is as good a look as a sweeping hand, IMO (although not as impressive as SD's glide).
    bobs100 likes this.
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Covenant View Post
    The more time I spend in this hobby, the less enchanted I am with purely mechanical watches in general. I think the main sticking point I have is that I, perhaps irrationally, equate accuracy with quality.

    The persuit of accuracy is what makes horology interesting to me. Advancements like the tourbillion that attempt to negate positional errors, or constant force escapements that improve isochronism, or inventions like the Daniel's coaxial escapement that reduce friction. I find the "arms race" if autonomous accuracy appealing from an engineering perspective.

    So spring drive is inherently seductive for offering quartz timekeeping performance without losing the romance of mechanical. But truth be told, what is "ruining" mechanical watches for me is high accuracy quartz. Once one gets over the subconscious bias against the 1-second tick, the sheer coolness of pushing the envelope of accuracy to the limit sets in. A second hand that meets all the markers dead on without any wobble is as good a look as a sweeping hand, IMO (although not as impressive as SD's glide).
    No disagreements, Covenant. Does this mean a Citizen with the 0100 movement is in your future?

    Personally, while I appreciate (and value) accuracy, I find obsessing on it too much can, for me, detract from the enjoyment of my watches. I wear each of my watches for 5-7 days straight, so as BrianBinFL noted in post 4, I can live with their inaccuracies (my least accurate watch is a Stowa Antea B2B, +14 a day, my most accurate, my Credor handwinding Spring Drive, +0.3 a day). But there is definitely something satisfying when I wear a watch for a week and find a total deviation of under 10 seconds (my Damasko DA46 with an elabore 2836-2 movement is +6 after 9 days ).
    whineboy
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    Re: Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmnav View Post
    Basically the cheapest quartz can give a run for any GS's money. If an F-91W seemingly hasn't ruined mechanical watches' "experience" why a GS should do it?
    Totally agree with this. There's a lot more to watches than just timekeeping. It's about precision with parameters. There's an artistry and history to timekeeping, movement and dial design and the overall finishing of a watch.

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