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Thread: What causes a watch to run fast? And to what degree?

  1. #1

    What causes a watch to run fast? And to what degree?

    I've a vintage watch that gains four *minutes* per day. The date of its last service is unknown, so off it will go for some TLC. As far as I know, all my other vintage watches lose a little time, its only my two bought-new autos that gain, and only 10s/d, which is pretty much what you want.

    Meanwhile Jane's Oris has, despite a service, got into the habit of gaining a couple of minutes in just 12 hours.

    What are the various things that can cause a watch to run fast? And to what degree?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    I've a vintage watch that gains four *minutes* per day. The date of its last service is unknown, so off it will go for some TLC. As far as I know, all my other vintage watches lose a little time, its only my two bought-new autos that gain, and only 10s/d, which is pretty much what you want.

    Meanwhile Jane's Oris has, despite a service, got into the habit of gaining a couple of minutes in just 12 hours.

    What are the various things that can cause a watch to run fast? And to what degree?
    It is possible that the hairspring has become magnetised or, if it has been dropped, tangled.
    Either would make it gain consistently.
    There's nothing important to read here.

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  4. #3
    MultiModerator Martin's Avatar
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    As Colin said, there's something with the hairspring. You could open it and take a look. Sometimes it's just some sticky dirt or dried oil on it, having it demagnetised is also cheap to try.

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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    As Colin said, there's something with the hairspring. You could open it and take a look. Sometimes it's just some sticky dirt or dried oil on it, having it demagnetised is also cheap to try.
    Tbh since it's a nice watch and since its service history isn't known I'm glad to have an excuse for sending it off (there are a couple other things not quite right, eg sometimes when fully wound it stops running)

    So this isn't a Help Me Out thread, this is a Teach Me Everything On This Topic thread

    PS please could you talk me through the cause/effect of the sticky oil causing it to run fast?

  7. #5
    MultiModerator Martin's Avatar
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    If some of the winds of the coil are stuck together, they will move together and not independently, so this will in fact shorten the entire spring. And a shorter spring will have a higher frequency. When tangled or magnetised or goo in between, you will have the same effect.
    Hope this helps?

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  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    If some of the winds of the coil are stuck together, they will move together and not independently, so this will in fact shorten the entire spring. And a shorter spring will have a higher frequency. When tangled or magnetised or goo in between, you will have the same effect.
    Hope this helps?
    That does I wasn't thinking of the length, I was thinking of sluggishness. Thank you

  10. #7
    Ich bin ein Ebeler! WWII70's Avatar
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    I'm in a similar boat. My 1950-1960's Ebel Cal 119 (A Schild movement) gains ridiculous amounts of time time (up to an hour a day). Also, it does not hold power; it will run nicely (but v. fast) on my wrist but then stop after about an hour when taken off. Would a tangled balance spring account for the loss of power reserve? Could a mainspring problem (slipping?) account for both running fast and loss of power reserve?

    It is back at the repairer's but I would appreciate any suggestions.
    Ebels (lots), IWC, Omega, FC, Eterna, Tag, Invicta, Movado
    If you are interested in the details http://www.intlwatchleague.com/membe...70&tab=aboutme

  11. #8
    Another possibility is that a lack of torque due to the sum of friction across the train can cause the balance to only swing a little way in both directions giving the watch a weak but rapid pulse (so as to speak). In the case of the Ebel , this is almost certainly the problem as this issue would cause both symptoms. A simple service would free everything up and give the balance a healthier period of oscillation. Of course, debris or damage, such as a cracked jewel, can cause a similar effect.

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  13. #9
    in my experience with my japanese automatic watches, when the power reserve is low or not adequate, they have tendency to run much much faster..

    that's why i give my auto plenty wound to make sure i top up the power reserve since they usually run more consisten that way..

    for ex: my Orient black bambino would start as soon as i pick it up or shake it a bit.. if i give it only several shakes and wear it, it would gain 5-10secs/ hour.
    if i give it proper wound/top up the power reserve it would only lose 1 sec/day.

    by black monster with 4R36 usually lose a bit time when worn a long time with full power reserve, but re-gain when not worn... and when the power reserve getting low (after 1 day or more untouched) they will go 'warp speed' especially dial up =)

    but strangely have a couple auto that run slower when the power reserve is low... these mechanical have their own personality =)

  14. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    Tbh since it's a nice watch and since its service history isn't known I'm glad to have an excuse for sending it off (there are a couple other things not quite right, eg sometimes when fully wound it stops running)

    So this isn't a Help Me Out thread, this is a Teach Me Everything On This Topic thread

    PS please could you talk me through the cause/effect of the sticky oil causing it to run fast?
    You already got some excellent answers regarding the fast running, do I'll share my experience with the fully wound/not running part.

    My first decent watch was an Oris Artelier Skeleton that was a wedding gift from my wife. Within a month of owning it, the watch would randomly stop. Being a skeleton design, I could plainly see that the mainspring was fully wound and that it just wasn't running. I could also see that there were a couple specks of dust on the hairspring and mainspring. There was a bit more gunk inside that was gumming up the works, so a good cleaning was necessary to get that running again.

    Long story short, even if it is a magnetized hairspring causing it to run fast, the other issue appears to signal that the watch needs a good cleaning.

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