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Thread: Bought a Timegrapher

  1. #1

    Bought a Timegrapher

    So I've indulged my inner geek and bought a Timegrapher, spent a little time playing with it. I've told myself it's not just a toy, that it will help me determine when my watches need service. No, I would never attempt it myself, I'm mechanically inept.

    I measured a few of my watches: no surprise, the more expensive ones did better. Here's my Zenith Elite last night:



    Pretty good, then this morning, even better:



    What a terrific movement. But even the trusty 1861 movement in my Speedy FOIS acquitted itself quite well:



    It is interesting to change the dial positions while measuring to see the differences both in accuracy and amplitude, and also note the amplitude differences when fully wound vs. 24 hours into their cycle.

    OK, I'll stop geeking out now...


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  2. #2
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    I can imagine it's feels great when they perform well on timegraphers and terrible when they perform badly! Also I think we expect so much from movements; my nomos read +2.5 and (despite this being twice(?) as good as COSC)) I wasn't ecstatic about it, probably as online wis always share their good results - 0 second etc - more than their bad perhaps.
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  3. #3
    Guess it depends on your definition of "terribly." I put a watch on that has an AS1130 movement, and was unsurprised to see it was running +14s/day. That's as good as it gets. I rarely wear the same watch more than two days in a row, so as long as it's not running +30 or more, no problem. I admit I wouldn't like it running very slow, though.


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  4. #4
    Watch Geek T Bone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    Guess it depends on your definition of "terribly." I put a watch on that has an AS1130 movement, and was unsurprised to see it was running +14s/day. That's as good as it gets. I rarely wear the same watch more than two days in a row, so as long as it's not running +30 or more, no problem. I admit I wouldn't like it running very slow, though.


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    I think I've seen consensus before that most WIS would prefer fast to slow in general. I know I do (of course close is better than way off too).
    Regards, T Bone

    Even a broken watch shows correct time once or twice a day. I ought to know, I have a few!

  5. #5
    Let's make sure we are measuring the same things.

    The timegrapher measures positional variation and momentary rate. It does not measure daily error the way, for example, COSC measures daily error, which is by winding up the movement, running it for a day, and seeing how far off it is. The correlation between daily rate on a timegrapher and daily accuracy isn't all that exact.

    For me, beyond just experimenting and comparing movements, the timegrapher makes it possible to make precision adjustments. If in my normal use, I discover that a watch is running 15 s/d fast (that is, 150 seconds ahead after ten days of normal use), then I know that to make it run accurately in my normal use, I need to back the rate down by 15 s/d, no matter what the daily variation happens to be when on the timegrapher.

    Positional variation and amplitude are pretty good indicators of movement health. I learned from Archer that one thing to check is that the dial up and dial down positions should be close to each other. If they are not, it means that the balance jewels and staff have a problem. I learned that amplitude should be measured 24 hours after winding, and then there is a specification that it should achieve. If it is less, then the movement is experiencing excess friction. And large differences between positions will result from wear, because parts are able to flop around between the positions. Or, it denotes a problem with the hairspring, which may be crooked and rubbing the balance in some positions, etc.

    But merely running accurately is not a sign that a movement does not need service. By the time it has worn to the point of needing service, parts will have to be replaced. For common movements, that is not a problem. But for movements whose makers restrict parts availability, or for vintage movements that use parts no longer available, one wants to service watches before they show symptoms. It's the same reason we change the oil in our cars before gas mileage declines. If mileage declines because we haven't changed the oil, it means we've already subjected the engine to extreme wear.

    That said, a watch that is worn several times a year only can suffer from high rate of wear when worn and still take many years for that wear to amount to much.

    Rick "who loves playing with the timegrapher" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  6. #6
    Thanks, Rick. I was aware that the "timing" measurement is more an indication (along with other parameters) of the overall health of the watch. From what I've read, the amplitude readings appear to be more important in determining whether the movement is doing well. I've heard that around 270-315 is the "good" range, but I wonder if that's an over-generalization...

  7. #7
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    Excellent info Rick.

    Thanks for extrapolating this into easy-to-understand terms.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

  8. #8
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    Excellent info Rick.

    Thanks for extrapolating this into easy-to-understand terms.
    Indeed.

    Ge"thanks"off
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mlcor View Post
    Thanks, Rick. I was aware that the "timing" measurement is more an indication (along with other parameters) of the overall health of the watch. From what I've read, the amplitude readings appear to be more important in determining whether the movement is doing well. I've heard that around 270-315 is the "good" range, but I wonder if that's an over-generalization...
    Really, you learn more from the amplitude after 24 hours, where the manufacturer specs are more like 180 degrees.

    Rick "but even that is a generalization" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
    Really, you learn more from the amplitude after 24 hours, where the manufacturer specs are more like 180 degrees.

    Rick "but even that is a generalization" Denney
    Yes, I've been playing with, err, measuring the difference at full wind vs. 24 hours. Interesting. Also measured my Captain Elite this morning near the end of its power reserve--showed -35 seconds/day and an amplitude around 180. I always thought people said watches would actually speed up as they got close to running down. Maybe not at the very end?


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