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The following is a horror story that happened to my rose gold Chronomaster Moonphase. I was late for an appointment and decided to wear my Rose Gold Chronomaster Moonphase watch. I like this watch so much that I have one in SS, one in YG, and another in RG. I noticed that the date was incorrect decided to correct the date. I collect mechanical watches and for the past several months, had been wearing other non-Zenith brands. (Breitling, Omega, Chronoswiss, Maurice Lacroix, Baume Mercier). Before attempting to set the date I noticed that the time indicated 12:00. This could mean either 12:00 AM or 12:00 PM. If the indication is 12:00 PM, it certainly would not be a good time to attempt to change the date!

With all of my mechanical watches, I follow a simple rule when changing the date. I always set the watch to 6:30 in order to ensure that the date change mechanism is not engaged when I attempt to change the date. So bearing this in-mind, I proceeded to change the time on the watch but I made a fatal mistake!! I pulled the crown out to the second click and proceeded to attempt to change the time! There is one problem here:

On a Chronomaster, pulling the crown out to the second click invoked the date change function. Therefore when I twisted the crown to set the time to 6:30, I was actually changing the date. The watch was set to 12:00 AM and therefore the date change mechanism was engaged!

Needless to say, the date change mechanism of the watch was severely damaged! :oops:

Being an experienced mechanical watch collector, I can't believe that I did this! :-|

If I would have been thinking, I would have pulled out the crown to the first position and then changed the time and all would have been well. Unfortunately the crown operation on the Chronomaster is backwards from other watch brands. On other watch brands you pull the crown all of the way out to set the time whereas on the Chronomaster pulling the crown all of the way out sets the date.

My watch is now damaged and I need to have it repaired. :-(

Moral of the story:

Please be careful with your Chronomaster when setting the date.

-jim
 

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Thanks for sharing this tragic story. I hope you can get it fixed at reasonable cost. Yes, I know - I have always myself wondered why the El Primero has the second crown position for the date feature, not for changing the time. It stands out in that respect from all other movements I know. So easy to damage the date.....

Hartmut Richter
 

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Sorry for your problems. Hopefully it will not be that expensive or time consuming to fix!

Having many different watches that have date changes, moon phases, etc., I always take care in moving those first few minutes to see what will happen.

Hopefully you will come out lucky on this. If you don't mind, please keep us posted!

Dan
 

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Hi JIm,

That is indeed a sad story; heartbreaking, especially to such a beautiful watch. I'm sure they'll fix it good as new!

I have a quick question for you though. You say you have that watch in 3 different metals and I'm thinking wow, as much as I like that watch, and I do, I wouldn't think of having the same watch in 3 differeent metals but now maybe I'd consider it. I just got that Chronomaster GT Moonphase in yellow gold with a brown strap and I'm in love with that watch. I'm considering another Chronomaster XXT Grand Date in Rose Gold but I was afraid the watches would be too similar.

You obviously wouldn't think so but can you give me your thoughts on how you see your watches as different and why you decided to have 3 of the same watch in different metals. You must have thought about it long and hard before doing it. I'm trying to give myself permission to go with another Chronomaster.

Thanks Jim, I appreciate it.

Best regards,

Tom
 

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Thank you for sharing your experience. I have bought from one of my friend a moonphase Chronomaster. However I do not want to damage the watch mechanism while adjusting the month indicator. Can you please indicate me how to adjust or better is there a web address where I can find an electronic version of the user manual of the watch ?

Regards
Deha BOLU
 

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The main thing to watch out for in any watch with date feature (plus others like it, including moonphase) is not to quick-change it (providing it actually has a quick change feature, and most of the modern ones do) when the thing is about to fire. I.e. between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am. At that stage, the mechanism has built up tension in the date friction spring and a little bit of extra pressure via the quick change mechanism may break that spring. In my experinece, the old Adolf Schild calibres were particularly prone to this.

The main thing to watch out for in the El Primero is that the second position of the crown (pull it out fully) is NOT for the time but for the date!! If the time is between 9:00 and 3:00 it is not adviseable to change any of the date or moonphase features but to set the time to 6:00 (am or pm, it doesn't matter). At that point, there should be no pressure on the date friction springs and you can do whatever you like. Pull out the crown to the intermediate position to set the time.

Hope that helps.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Please verify that the moonphase changes over in the same time period. For example, the moonphase on the JLC Master Moon changes over in the mid-afternoon while the day/date changes at 9 PM +. So for the JLC, one should do it in the morning to be totally safe.

Just a note in case the same is true for the Zenith.

Cheers!

Dan
 

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Yes, that crown position reversal in the El Primero movements is a real danger-- it's completely different from all my other watches. In order to remember, I literally put a note card in the watch box slot holding my Concord Impresario:
crown 1st click-- time
crown 2nd click-- date
 

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I don't have a Zenith, but unfortunately I did the same thing with my Oris. The general overview manual for Oris says not to change the date between 10pm and 2am. My watch was at 9:20pm so I figured it would be safe to change, after hitting the date change button 4-5 times with no effect, I consulted the manual again. In the section specific to my model, it said not to change the date between 9:00 pm and 3 am! How do I tell if I've damaged the mechanism? I changed the time back to 6 pm and was able to change the date properly at the point and the date changed over fine today at midnight but the day did not switch until around 1:30 am. Is this normal or should I get the watch checked?
 

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Date and moonphase mechanisms are a little fiddly and often differ from each other so it's hard to be specific. If the date friction spring breaks, one can frequently still quick-set the date via the crown but the normal change at midnight won't change it any more. From what you describe, it sounds OK but you should monitor its future behaviour - both with respect to quick-change and to normal change at midnight. If the spring has weakened, it will show sooner rather than later by suddenly not changing any more and will need to be replaced.

Good luck!

Hartmut Richter
 

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So if I had damaged the mechanism, the day/date function would not turn on it's own at all? Also, is it normal for the day and date functions to change over at such different times?
 

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So if I had damaged the mechanism, the day/date function would not turn on it's own at all? Also, is it normal for the day and date functions to change over at such different times?
That is correct. If you damaged as in broke the mechanism, it would not change at all.

I don't think that there is a normal way for the day and date to change. Sometimes the day will change at 12, sometimes before, sometimes after, sometimes way after. While it is all powered from the same source, there are two gears, one for the day and one for the date. It depends on the watchmaker on how far apart they are in terms of when they flip. But given that it takes more power to change them at the same time and could stop the watch, that is why they are staggered.

FWIW, I would not consider an hour and a half differential to be all that bad.

Hope that helps!

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dan,

I'm not sure about your response here. When I broke the date mechanism on my Chronomaster, the date would change at around 3:00 AM. It would change very slowly after a period of several hours. On the other hand, when the date mechanism on the Chronomaster is working properly, it changes very quickly with a fast-click at midnight.

Regards,

-jim


That is correct. If you damaged as in broke the mechanism, it would not change at all.

I don't think that there is a normal way for the day and date to change. Sometimes the day will change at 12, sometimes before, sometimes after, sometimes way after. While it is all powered from the same source, there are two gears, one for the day and one for the date. It depends on the watchmaker on how far apart they are in terms of when they flip. But given that it takes more power to change them at the same time and could stop the watch, that is why they are staggered.

FWIW, I would not consider an hour and a half differential to be all that bad.

Hope that helps!

Dan
 

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All,

My watch is now back from LVMH USA after about 4 weeks. The repair was done correctly and it was well regualted. The bad news is that I had to have it serviced to get the problem fixed and with tax it cost me $520. Therfore, it was an expensive lesson. Please take care not to make the same mistake. I am an experienced mechanical watch collector and it happenned to me. Watch the crown position on the Zenith watches because it is backwards from other watches.

-jim


Sorry for your problems. Hopefully it will not be that expensive or time consuming to fix!

Having many different watches that have date changes, moon phases, etc., I always take care in moving those first few minutes to see what will happen.

Hopefully you will come out lucky on this. If you don't mind, please keep us posted!

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes, I did think about it long and hard before doing it. There are several good reasons:

  1. The Chronomaster Moonphase watch is a wonderful value for the money especially if you acquired your watch three or more years ago before Zenith realized that they could command the same prices as Jaeger Le Coultre.
  2. I really love the look of the Chronomaster Moonphase watch. It has everything that I want. Being an amateur astronomer, I also like the moonphase. I realize I could get moonphase informaiton from the internet, but it is just more fun to have it on your watch.
  3. I have the watch in SS, Red Gold, and Yellow Gold. The SS has a black dial and is really very readable and the dial is very striking. The black dial and the sapphire crystal produce a purple reflection in certain lighting settings. It is really quite cool.
  4. The Yellow gold version has a white (enamel colored dial) It is very easy to read and the yellow gold is a very nice color. (some yellow golds are too light or too bright). I really like the bright white dial. It is really a unique look.
  5. The red gold version with the silver guiloche dial is one of the best looking watches in my collection. In my opinion, this watch is as good looking as many Pateks that are out of my price range. This watch is the bomb!
All in all, each of these watches with in different metals and dial colors in very distinctive looking. To me, Zenith has created the perfect watch both asthetically and functionally. :)

I hope this is food for thought.

Best Regards,

-jim


Hi JIm,

That is indeed a sad story; heartbreaking, especially to such a beautiful watch. I'm sure they'll fix it good as new!

I have a quick question for you though. You say you have that watch in 3 different metals and I'm thinking wow, as much as I like that watch, and I do, I wouldn't think of having the same watch in 3 differeent metals but now maybe I'd consider it. I just got that Chronomaster GT Moonphase in yellow gold with a brown strap and I'm in love with that watch. I'm considering another Chronomaster XXT Grand Date in Rose Gold but I was afraid the watches would be too similar.

You obviously wouldn't think so but can you give me your thoughts on how you see your watches as different and why you decided to have 3 of the same watch in different metals. You must have thought about it long and hard before doing it. I'm trying to give myself permission to go with another Chronomaster.

Thanks Jim, I appreciate it.

Best regards,

Tom
 

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All,

My watch is now back from LVMH USA after about 4 weeks. The repair was done correctly and it was well regualted. The bad news is that I had to have it serviced to get the problem fixed and with tax it cost me $520. Therfore, it was an expensive lesson. Please take care not to make the same mistake. I am an experienced mechanical watch collector and it happenned to me. Watch the crown position on the Zenith watches because it is backwards from other watches.

-jim
So sorry to hear about the price. It really sounds like they cleaned everything and made everything right. $520 sounds a tad high to replace the parts I was thinking about. Then again, I am in the insurance industry and not the watch industry, so what do I know?!?!? ;-)

I read your other post about the time changing over slowly versus quickly. I am sorry, but I have not had that particular movement apart so I do not know how it will behave. I only guessed based on other movements I have seen apart.

But I am glad you got it back and everything seems to be ok!

Take care,

Dan
 

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The ChronoMaster Cal. 410 changes instantly at whatever time it does - could be midnight, could be 3:00 am but when it goes, it certainly goes "Click"! I would expect the Cal 4001/4009 to do the same.

Hartmut Richter
 

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The ChronoMaster Cal. 410 changes instantly at whatever time it does - could be midnight, could be 3:00 am but when it goes, it certainly goes "Click"! I would expect the Cal 4001/4009 to do the same.

Hartmut Richter
I'm with you on that Hartmut, but I believe he said that it would change very slowly after the problem. I am not sure how that could happen, which is why I posted what I did. An interesting problem, which he resolved by having the experts fix it.

:-!

Dan
 
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