LITTLE ABOUT WATCHES...
HOROLOGICAL TRIVIA PURSUIT
Q. Is Citizen made by Seiko?
No. Citizen and Seiko are the biggest competing companies in Japan.
Q. Is Seiko Kinetic watch a new idea?
It was first introduced by Seiko as A.G.S (Automatic Generating System) in 1985, but didn't get popular until 1995.
Q. What does the "waterproof" on the back of my watch mean?
As of the 1970's, the term has been ruled out by the Federal government.
Today watches must specify the rated depth, like:"water resistant to 100 meters "(or 333feet or 10atm)
Q. How good is titanium?
Titanium is the newest metal to storm the watch market. Titanium is an environmentally friendly,
natural metal that is 40% stronger and 30% lighter than stainless steel. It is hypoallergenic because it is nickel-free. And, perfect
for water sport enthusiasts, it is extremely resistant to salt water and other forms of corrosion and
able to withstand extreme temperatures.
Q. My watch is either a chronograph or a chronometer? I can never remember this.
These are the most confused terms in watches, in fact, a chronograph can be a chronometer.
CHRONOGRAPH is simply a stop watch function. On the other hand, a CHRONOMETER is a watch that has
been tested and certified by a laboratory in Switzerland to keep time for 360 hours in five positions
with sudden temperature changes in accordance with standards.
Q. When was the first watch made?
The oldest known watch is dated back to around 1500.
Q. What is the purpose of jewels in watches?
Jewels used today are synthetic rubies. They protect the wheels and plates from excess wear and reduce friction.
Q. How long does a battery last in my watch?
In a Wittnauer Longlife the lithium cell will last 20 years; however in
the average watch, a silver oxide battery will last from 2 to 5 years and a lithium battery will last up to 10 years.
Q. Who made the first QUARTZ watch?
Seiko introduced the first quartz watch in 1969 at $1,250.00. The Swiss
made the prototype of the watch in 1967, they just couldn't mass produce it. The original
discovery was made by 2 American engineers in 1930's.
Q. Who made the first battery powered watch?
Hamilton watch factory in 1957 made the Hamilton Electric 500.
Q. What is the oldest Swiss watch company?
Vacheron Constantin, out of Geneva, was founded in 1755.
Q. What was the watch worn by the first man on the moon?
Omega Speedmaster was worn by the Apollo 11 astronaut in July 1969; however
the first watch in space was Bulova Accutron.
Q. What is the thinnest watch ever made?
Concord Delirium IV was just 0.98 mm thick including a gold case and bracelet.
Q. What was the first character on the wrist watch?
No it wasn't Mickey Mouse. Orphan Annie made her debut at the World's
Fair in Chicago in 1933.
Q. What is the most expensive watch sold?
Patek Phillippe's Henry Graves watch, completed in 1932, was sold in New York
on December 2, 1999 for $11,000,000.
Q. What brand introduced a first square wristwatch?
In 1912 it was a Cartier Santos-Dumont.
Q. What was the first watch in space?
No, it wasn't Russian watch worn by Yuri Gagarin, that came a little later in April of 1961. It was an Accutron Tuning fork watch movement as part of the instrumentation,
made by Bulova in partnership with NASA, aboard an unmanned flight.
Q. Who is the most famous watchmaker of all time?
He was Swiss born Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) an inventor of the most
significant discoveries in the watch industry: Tourbillon escapement, Perpetual calendar,
Shockproofing, Over-coil hairspring, and many more.
Q. What watch did Paul Newman make famous after the movie "Winning"?
Daytona Cosmograph by Rolex.
Q. What watch brand is attributed with lifting the Swiss watch industry out of a long decline?
Swatch - Swiss Watch by ETA S.A.
Q. Who invented the first automatic (self-winding) watch?
For decades, it has been stated, that in 1756 Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Perrelet invented a pedometer
type watch that wound itself. Just recently, a French historian has contacted me and
pointed out his book, where he attributes this mechanical discovery in 1778 to a 30 year old French watchmaker
from Lige, Hubert Sarton. I'm not a historical expert, so I'm presenting two sides.
Q. I heard about a Museum watch, what is it?
It is a very stylish and simplistic model with and all black dial and a round dot at the top. It was the brainstorm of American designer
George Horwitt and executed by the Swiss watch brand Zenith Movado, and now part of an American Movado Group. It wound up in the Museum of Modern Art in NY.
Q. What was the watch worn by British secret agent James Bond007 in the book by Ian Fleming?
Originally it was a Rolex. Now days he sports an Omega Seamaster (I guess they pay more...)
Q. What is Rolex all about?
Rolex is a brand name that was registered in 1908 by a Bavarian born watch seller, living in London - Hans Wilsdorf.
All watches in the beginning were made for him by the small Bienne firm of Aegler. In 1914, Aeglar delivered a watch so precise that it was awarded a Class A Bulletin certificate from Kew Observatory in London.
Wilsdorf began advertising Rolex as a wrist chronometer, and in 1919 moved headquarters to Geneva. In 1926, the firm invented the first truly waterproof case called Oyster.
Today, there are 5 Rolex factories in Bienne and an assembly and finishing factory in Geneva.
Q. What is the most accurate watch ever made?
It is a OCEANUS by Casio - solar radio controlled watches
that receives a daily signal from WWV radio transmitter in Fort Collins, CO, service of NIST in Boulder for US customers, and in Osaka, Japan for the Pacific rim countries. In 2007/08 they plan to release models that would "tune in" to the European frequency in Frankfurt, Germany too.
Q. Who sets the diamonds into the watch case: a machine or a jeweler?
The best work on the fine watches is done, usually, by a hand of the best stone setter. Nowadays, however, more mass produced brands
use machines to do the setting.
Q. Chronograph long hand on my quartz Tag Heuer chronograph diver model dosen't return to "0" anymore, is it a serious repair?
Not at all. It is very simple to correct. This simple repair works on 2 most popular Swiss made qaurtz chronograph movements
that have been used by many brands like Tag Heuer, Breitling, Chase-Durer, Tissot, Xemex, Tutima, Belair, Omega, Longines, and many, many more for the past 20 years and they are: 22 jewels ETA 251.272 with 3 chronograph hands
27 jewels ETA 251.262 with 4 chronograph hands
. The "0" position of every chronograph hand is a logical one and not physical, like in a mechanical watch, so its the circuit board that is controlling where
each hand returns to and if watch was dropped or jolted hard, especially the long sweep second recording hand or minute recording hand, can get out of "whack" and return to few minutes before or after "0"/"12".
To correct this problem you need to:
Start the chronograph with the button at "2" o'clock (usual position).
Stop the chronograph with the same button.
Return all hands to zero with "4" o'clock button (usual position) - it doesn't matter where they actually return, as long as they return.
Pull the crown OUT into the time setting position, second click or all the way out position
Keep pressing the button at "2" and change the "return to" position of 60 seconds sweep second hand.
Press the button at "4" to correct the 1/10sec small hand at "2" o'clock register.
Push the crown IN one notch into a calendar changing mode and repeat the same procedure with 2 buttons and 2 remaining hands( only 1 remaining on a 3 hand chronograph)
Push the crown all the way in (in case of dive/sport watches SCREW DOWN the crown tight!)
Now if you start, stop and return to zero your stopwatch - all hands will return to the zero you set them to.
Nothing to it...but for strange reason, not a single watch factory or ETA ever published this information for the consumers!
The same technique, but a different routine and sequence will work on most quartz chronograph models made by ETA, Seiko and Citizen.
Q. Is Seiko Kinetic like my dad's old automatic watch?
Definitely not. Seiko Kinetic is a "joint venture" between an old automatic
system a new quartz one. The automatic system (oscillating weight) generates electricity that is stored in a
capacitor, which powers a quartz movement for up to two weeks without a recharge.
Q. Why does my military Bell & Ross, Sinn, Fortis or Tutima stop on a watch winder?
You need to know that the movement they use is Lemania 5100 and it only winds in one direction - counterclockwise, so change the setting on your winder to rotate in that direction and
the auto-wind system has only 2 wheels, so its very inefficient and requires a lot of wear time to fully wind.
Q. What exactly does shock resistant mean?
As defined by the US Government Regulatory Agency it means that a watch can
withstand the impact of being dropped from 3ft onto a wood floor.
Q. Why is it important to service watches and how often should it be done?
Watch movement is like a fine automobile engine and needs to be regularly lubricated to run smoothly.
With time old oil deteriorates, brakes down and dries up, increasing friction between movement's parts, thus making watch run slow.
If left unchanged, old lubricants will turn to fine dust and, like fine sandpaper, will wear out pivots of watch wheels.
Mechanical movements should be serviced every 3-5 years, and quartz 8-10.
Q. My old faithful Accutron 218 tuning fork watch is gaining a little?
With older style tuning fork Accutron models 214, 218, etc., you have a "built-in" error that can be put to work for you. If placed in a vertical position with "6" down, it will lose 2 seconds over night, with "12"
down, it will gain 2 seconds. Thus by placing your Accutron at night the right way for the situation, you can control the accuracy even closer. Just remember: six down is slow down.
Q. What is a TACHYMETER (TACHYMETRE) scale and how does it work?
WHAT IT DOES
The tachymetre scale can be used to compute many things, but it's primary
purpose is to compute the speed after noting how long it takes to travel a
fixed distance (e.g. one mile or kilometer). The dial is a
scale which computes the function:
Tachymetre Dial = 3600 / Elapsed Time in Seconds
The scale is valid for all elapsed times from 7.2 seconds to 60 seconds. If
the duration of the event is outside this range, then the answer on the dial
HOW TO USE IT
For example, suppose you wanted to measure the average speed a racecar was
traveling. After starting the chronograph function when the car passes the
starting line, and stopping it after the car travels exactly one mile, you
note that the chronograph hand is pointing at the 4 o'clock position (i.e.
20 seconds have elapsed)
Looking beyond the 4 to the Tachymetre dial reveals the chronograph hand
pointing at 180. This means that the average speed of the car would be 180
Let's say, instead of the race car speed, you are measuring something much
slower, like sailboat speed. In this case, you need to use a shorter
distance because the elapsed time must fall within the 7.2 - 60 seconds
range. For this example, let's say it took 36 seconds for your sailboat to
travel 1/10 of a nautical mile. Reading the tachymetre dial gives a speed
of 100 knots. However, since we only traveled 1/10 of a nautical mile, the
actual answer is 1/10 of that or 10 knots.
Now let's say you wanted to measure the speed of a VERY, VERY fast airplane:
after traveling 10 kilometers, you noted that 10 seconds have elapsed. The
tachymetre dial gives an answer of 360 but we traveled 10 Km. Therefore,
the answer is 10X360, or 3600 km/hour.
There is really nothing magic about using the Tachymetre dial to measure
speed. You can also use it to measure other things, like gas consumption.
Suppose it took 50 seconds to burn up a gallon of gasoline. Reading the
tachymetre scale shows that you are burning 72 gallons of gasoline per
Q. What is a Minute Repeater?
A Minute Repeating watch tells the time both visually and audibly.
A slide on the side of the case will activate two hammers in the movement.
These hammers strike two gongs curled within the case.
First one hammer strikes a gong of lower tonality; it will count out the hours.
Then both hammers will strike both gongs alternatively to count out the quarter hours
after that hour, and then the second hammer alone striking a gong of higher
tonality will count out the minutes after that quarter hour.
The repeating mechanism was developed by an English watchmaker Daniel Quare in 1690.
The early repeaters used bells. At the end of the 18th century,
two bent-wire gongs became the more popular system.
Q. What is the purpose of the rotating bezel on the watch?
Rotating bezel on the watch serves as a reference point. Mostly divers use bezels with 0-60 minute scale.
At the beginning of the dive, you align the "0" point or a triangle of the bezel to the minute hand. As the dive
progresses minute hand will show duration of the dive along the number scale on the bezel. Because the diver's air tanks hold 15-20 minute of air
this amount of time is usually marked off in a different color form the rest of
the scale. Today's sport watch bezels are uni-directional - counterclockwise only. That's done with diver's safety
in mind, so if the bezel is accidentally bumped during the dive it will show less air time than it actually is. Watches
that are used by pilots or with other gradation, like 24 hours, normally made to rotate in either direction for convenience. Scale from 1-24
is used on watches with a 24 hour second time zone hand, thus the bezel can track a third time zone.
Q. I'm not very active during the day, is it OK to manually wind my automatic watch with a crown?
It is OK to do it occasionally, but not very often, especially, not every day, and particularly, when your watch is equipped with a screw down crown.
First, by winding with a crown, the reverser wheels of an automatic system will wear out faster. Second, the resting hole of the stem inside the main plate will enlarge and wear out quicker, and lastly,
the screw down crown system and/or threaded case tube, will wear out in no time as it not designed by the manufacturer to be used so frequently. If person is not active to keep an automatic watch running
well through the night, invest in a simple automatic watch winder
to solve most of these problems. Or, use your free manual labor,
and just grasp watch by watchband securely and in a back and fourth motion, keeping the crown toward and away from you, so as to let the oscillating weight to move in the same fashion inside, give the watch a 50-75 gentle shakes
before going to bed.
Q. My mechanical watch is gaining some time during the night and I'm not even wearing the watch?
Sometimes, a simple remedy can solve this little annoyance. Before going to bed, place your watch on a nightstand sideways, with a crown pointing up or down.
This will create more friction and resistance on the balance staff, thus will slow it down a little, maybe 5-10 seconds per day. Just remember, that laying watch in dial up or down position offers the less resistance for balance and
crown up or down - greater resistance. Now, if your watch is a very finely 5 position adjusted timepiece, positional error will not be this great and you would have to seek a professional watchmaker's help to regulate it better.
Q. What type of accuracy should I expect from my mechanical watch?
That a lot of times will depends on pure luck. Sometimes, somewhat inexpensive watch will run perfectly from day one and a very expensive chronometer will need to be adjusted over and over again.
But a good rule of thumb, is a freshly lubricated or a brand new mechanical watch should run about "+/-" 10-15 seconds per day and a certified chronometer -2+8 seconds per day. Many factors can affect this rate, for example, how active or inactive a person is during the day,
what position the watch is in most of the day, how rough the owner is by subjecting the watch to extreme shocks or jolts, and when was the watch serviced last (that should be done every 3-5 years).
Q. Is it true that Rolex doesn't make their own chronograph movement after so many years?
It was true until year 2000, first Rolex used a manual wind Valjoux 72 model, than switched to Rolex modified El Primero movement by Zenith, and now they developed their own Caliber 4130
, that I recently had a pleasure of taking apart - very nicely done
LITTLE ABOUT WATCHBANDS...
Q. I would like to get some education about another important subject of watches - watchbands.
Visit an answer page
on our new website that is devoted only to watchbands!
LITTLE WATCH FUN...
Q. I now know more about watches than I ever thought I should, and would like to read something fluffy, yet good.
We're now done learning, its time to play. Enjoy some of our watch poetry and jokes to brighten your day!
I Am A Watch
These are some typical questions I get from customers in the store.
Based on my 25 years of experience at the bench I compiled these answers. I welcome your opinions and comments. If there is something You wanted to know about wrist
watches, but did not know who to ask - just send me an e-mail
FELIX ZALTSBERG, AWI Certified Master Watchmaker
RightTime.com, Denver, Colorado, USA