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Damaging the GMT set by adjusting the date?

1161 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Saswatch
At the end of last year I got a Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT, but when it arrived the box was a total mess and on investigation I found that I was not able to set the GMT hand. After several months of back and forth with UPS I took the watch in to get a quotation on the repair for this, for the insurance. The repair quote has just come back but the notes suggest that 'User quickset at wrong timing resulting in damaging of movement components'. They quotation also notes that the date turns over at about 4am, which I was not aware of (as I have never actually worn the watch).

I realise that setting the date between 9pm and 3am is a bad idea, and I am reasonably sure I didnt do this when the watch arrived, although proving that is now impossible. But even so, would doing this affect the setting of the GMT hand as well? Would impact damage really not cause this type of problem with setting the GMT hand?

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Doing that might affect the date change gear, not sure why it would affect the GMT hand. I've also accidentally done that a couple of times with Sellita movements, they behave weirdly if you try to change the date during the automatic changeover, but I've never permanently damaged any of them doing that. My 6R21 based Seikos that I had just wouldn't let you do that, there was some kind of clutch that disengaged the quick-set function during a changeover.
Just an update - I have dropped the case. Honestly, its totally depressing and there isn't really much I can do. Up until about a week ago, I was sure that this was not a problem that I caused. But in the last few days I am trying to remember the order of the actions I took on a specific day five months ago, and the reality is that I can't guarantee or prove that it wasn't me. All I can say is that I have many watches with a date complication, and the only one that has had any problem at all, arrived in a box that looked like it had been used for soccer practice and had a problem within minutes of opening the beaten up box. I am not denying that 'this damage cannot be caused by mishandling' but its still really frustrating.

I am pretty sure that this was not the seller. Throughout this process, the seller has really been the only person supporting me in this, and the watch had been opened to include more bubble wrap (thank goodness for that!) but the watch had stickers on, etc, the seller was open an communicated well, and they had a great review rating.

I don't have the watch at this point as it's still in the repair centre, so I can't verify the issues around how it functions normally and whether it really is broken at this time, but the GMT hand did not move or set at all when I checked it, and that's a pretty fundamental issue which is clearly a problem. I am also not sure about the whole 'date clicks over with the GMT hand'. I have seen a single YouTube review that says that this is how it functions, but it seems such a ridiculous design flaw that I really don't believe that this is the case and I haven't been able to verify this 'feature'. If true, since I set the GMT at -8 hours from my local time, the date will essentially be wrong for 1/3 of every day. There seems absolutely no reason for this to happen.

Anyway, many thanks for the feedback. The real big frustration here is that UPS managed to mess up the delivery at several stages (they refused to deliver first time even though I paid the import tax because their system didn't show my payment, then the box was totally messed up, then they stonewalled me......) and after 5 months with fighting for some kind of resolution or getting them to take responsibility, I have had to drop the process and I am out about US$650 for the repair too. I will think twice before getting a watch delivered internationally in the future.
Pretty much all GMTs operate in either one of two ways.

"Caller style:" Crown position 1 - turning the crown backwards advances the date using a quick-set function. Turning the crown forwards jumps the 24-hour hand ahead, separate from local time, in one hour increments. The 24-hour hand and date are not connected at all, and the date only goes in one direction, as with a normal 3-hand movement.

"Traveler style:" Crown position 1 - turning the crown forwards or backwards will jump the 12-hour hand forwards or backwards in one-hour increments. This does not move the 24-hour hand. Since position 1 is for local time adjustment, and position 2 is for regular time setting, there is no position left for quick-set date, and so traveler movements don't have that (except ones with separate pushers or some other system). A traveler movement changes the date by rolling the local hour hand around until it passes midnight in either direction. They can roll their dates backwards.

The FC movement is a hybrid of these two types. The base movement is a Sellita SW-200, which is an ordinary 3-hander, and then they stuck a GMT module on it. Alpina has a similar watch. Citizen owns both, so they can share stuff like that.

At Crown position 1 - turning the crown forwards advances the date via quick-set, as it does on the normal SW-200. Turning the crown backwards jumps the local time forwards only in one hour increments. Because you can't jump local time backwards, the date is not connected to local time, as it is on a standard traveler style movement. It's instead connected to the 24-hour time, and when the 24-hour GMT hand passes 00:00, that is when the date will roll over to the next day.

To use it as a traveler, you'd set the 24-hour hand to home time using time set Crown position 2, then go back to position one, and jump the hour forwards until it reads correct local time. To use it as a caller, you'd just reverse what the two hands are indicating, put set it the same way. Time set so that the 24-hour hand shows the time zone you want to keep track of, then jump the local time forwards until it shows current home time.

It's not a "design flaw," that's how the movement is supposed to work. Functionally it works much better as a quasi-traveler than a caller, because if you're using the 24-hour hand to track somebody else's time zone, the date will advance when their time zone passes midnight, not yours - though while traveling, the date will advance when home time passes midnight, not the time where you actually are.

The movement is kind of a hack. It kinda made sorta sense for somebody who wanted to be able to jump local time, because there weren't any commercially available movements that did that cheaper than the Kenissi. Swatch keeps theirs in house, as does Seiko. Now that Citizen has the Miyota 9075 though, there's little reason for it to exist. Except the Miyota isn't Swiss, so FC won't want to use it.

It's possible LJP might get a version though, so that way their "Swiss Made" brands can offer a true traveler type with bi-directional local time adjustment.
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