Giving someone like me watch-related gadgets that I can empirically test is like handing a grail Lange over to Jack. It just brings out the unadulterated passion we have for the world of watches. Testing the new Accuracy machine by ONEOF was a great opportunity to both test something new and to talk about the most fundamental characteristic of a watch. For people who work on watches, timing is an all-consuming obsession. Almost everything we do is to make sure the timing is as good as possible. We clean, inspect, burnish, polish, oil, and adjust to make sure a watch keeps proper and reliable time, but in reality, all this work is to make sure that the wearer doesn’t have to think about it.
It goes without saying (but I’ll do it anyway) that a watch that can’t tell time is not a watch. How well it tells time these days is equal parts engineering and marketing. The marketing, however, has been so successful that +/-1 s/d is a huge deal. This new gadget aims to capitalize on this new obsession.
ONEOF recently released the Accuracy, which is a sophisticated, Swiss-made timer that comes in a very sleek brushed-aluminum housing. The machine plugs into your phone, and then by placing the watch crown down you will be able to tell the frequency, rate, amplitude, and beat error, which are the four major things we always test when timing a watch.
The Accuracy app also has the nifty feature of being able to save results. This is a great feature if you want to track how your watch maintains its statistics over time. It can also save a collection of different watches.
To test the Accuracy we brought out my professional timer. My machine is called the Witschi Chronoscope S1. This is a professional timing device capable of long-term testing, multiple positions, print outs, and just about everything else under the sun necessary for understanding the timing of a watch. Costing around $4,000, this is not a machine for someone who just wants to see how his or her collection is running – it is a reliable reference point for testing the ONEOF Accuracy.
The first thing we noticed about the Accuracy is that it needs absolute dead quiet. We happened to be testing it close to an A/C unit and had to turn the unit off to obtain an accurate reading. There was also at one point some construction going on in the offices so we had to duck into a closet to get enough quiet to obtain a reading. The Witschi on the other hand had no trouble picking up the signals regardless of ambient noise.
Once we picked up the signals the readings were decent. The results were consistently within about +/- 10% of the Witschi on these modern watches. Here again though we realized a shortcoming of the gadget: It is only capable of telling you a reading in a very limited amount of positions. Normally when we time and regulate a watch we test it in several positions to better simulate the various real-world positions your watch finds itself in everyday. Also, we do this because a watch’s rate is impacted by the position of the escapement. These positions are: Dial Up (DU), Dial Down (DD), Crown Up (CU), Crown Down (CD), Crown Left (CL), and Crown Right (CR). With any bench tester this is very straightforward. The testing stand (fancy microphone) easily pivots to test in all positions. The Accuracy however cannot accommodate this in the same way as a testing stand. Once again, however, this gadget is not designed to be a professional tool – it is ostensibly to let a collector know if the watch is running well or is in need of attention, and for that multiple positions are not really necessary. What it won't tell you however is if a large positional deviation starts to occur.
I decided to take the testing a step further just to check the performance of the Accuracy at some extremes. I took three unregulated and un-serviced watches and tested them. Here the performance got a little less impressive. I tested a vintage Ball, Eberhard, and Tudor. The readings were +8.3 s/d, +95.0 s/d, and -66.9 s/d (respectively). On the Witschi the results were +8.9 s/d, +65.6 s/d, and -43.5 s/d. Within small ranges, it is pretty accurate, but on large ranges, the accuracy appears to fall dramatically. While this performance difference is a bit dramatic, for the purposes of a consumer/collector, its not a huge deal. Whether your watch is 95 seconds or 65 seconds off, it needs service, and that is what the Accuracy can tell you.
The Accuracy is very nice in design and execution. Its beautiful brushed surface looks fantastic, and the app that accompanies it is similarly slick. It looks luxurious, and is priced accordingly. At 590 CHF it is a good chunk of change for a timer with its capabilities. For about $250 you can get a far less attractive – and bulky – timing machine that needs to be plugged in and can’t save results, but can tell you the timing results in all positions.
Should you find yourself hankering for a new watch accessory, and you want a very well designed one with the ability to time your watch and look good doing it, the ONEOF Accuracy is definitely a good choice. It combines cutting-edge technology with a great app, it is very easy to use, and has some great features. If however your objective is to accurately time the watches in your collection there are other less expensive utilitarian options available. Finally there is the free solution, which is to bring the watch to a watchmaker if you feel that something is amiss. We all have timing machines and (provided you have a good relationship with your watchmaker) it is no burden at all to quickly check it out for you. The choice is yours!
For more information on the ONEOF Accuracy, click here.