WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

Did Spring Drive accuracy 'ruin' standard mechanical watches for you?

13137 Views 101 Replies 47 Participants Last post by  Angler
I'm sitting here 36 hours after setting it (my new Snowflake) and cannot see any drift, which is expected. Further, knowing the watch is insensitive to position, temperature, the tide being in or out, etc. means there is no 'luck' to just happening to keep it in the right position overnight or at the right level of wind (other than dead!). In a week, a month from now, I should start to understand what I have. I know it is rated at +/-15 seconds/month and interested to see how mine fits into that.

I ask this question partly seriously, partly in jest, but still curious as to your take. Does using a Spring Drive, which you might need to set monthly, ruin regular mechanical watches in terms of their accuracy and potential fussiness (for example, having different deviations depending on the state of wind, what position they are left in, etc.)?
1 - 5 of 102 Posts
I’ve had a higher standard for Spring Drive from the beginning, so when it soundly beat all my other watches it was not a surprise. I guess I took it for granted - after all, all that hi-tech chip and hardware was supposed to beat the good old lever escapement.

If anything I now have more appreciation for mechanical watches that manage +1-2s a day relying on nothing but toothed gears and oil.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
The finish of it ruined other watches for me for sure.

Accuracy though... I've seen Spring Drives here that were spot on for several days or more, mine has been fairly standard. Of course, Spring Drive's aim wasn't necessarily high accuracy quartz, but perhaps I expected a bit more because the mechanism behind it looks so advanced.

See less See more
I would pose a hypothetical to people who fall into that third camp. Suppose that Timeless were to develop a new movement, we'll call it the TLW1. The TLW1 is totally, 100% mechanical, but it's crazy advanced. You've never seen anything like the TLW1, and it's accurate to an amazing 0.5 seconds per day. It's totally immune to the effects of position on timekeeping, and the amount of energy left in the mainspring doesn't affect the accuracy either. That is to say, it's exactly as stable as a spring drive.

Now ask yourself, if it's the organic qualities of a mechanical that you like, do you prefer the TLW1 or the spring drive in this instance? They behave identically, it's just one is totally mechanical. If your answer is that yes, you'd still prefer the TLW1, that suggests to me that there must be another factor in your preference for mechanical movements.
George Daniels' watch could actually hit 0.5s a day, and in his lifetime he insisted that 1s/d watches could be produced reliably (...if you had god-level watchmaking skills like him).

I suppose humans like doing things the hard way. It's the kind of excitement you experience when you go to an air show and see a WWII-era plane, with its rickety propellers and roaring engine, draw circles in the air. The feeling's not the same when a modern jet fighter does it, although jet fighters are exciting in their own way and actually useful in the real world.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Even if you assume Spring Drive will be around that long, your great great grand child will not be able to find the electrical parts for your model. Perhaps a full movement change may be possible. You can always turn another gear, but wind another coil or print another mini ancient electrical board, not so much.
Seiko stashes parts for reasons like this, as any manufacturer would, and even if Seiko were to vanish into thin air, somebody will acquire those parts and sell them just like we do in vintage watches.

As for electrical parts, it is true that parts for Hamilton's electric watches and Bulova Accutrons cannot be made, but people still repair and enjoy them. The fact that parts cannot be replaced doesn't take away their enjoyment. So are most antiques.

For Accutrons your statement actually applies backwards: we can make new tuning forks and coils, but the blueprints and worksmanship that produced Accutron's microscopically toothed gear and pawl have been lost. So sometimes, we can't always turn gears either.
Two years ago, I was lucky enough to purchase a pristine 1970's Tuning-Fork Accutron. The second-hand sweeps ever so is mesmerizing. I had been drooling for a Spring drive but this forum site informed me of the need to ship the watch back to Japan for any service. That is unacceptable. At least it is a deal-breaker for me. Per this thread, others have accepted that limitation to join the spring drive club.
I once owned a Railroad Accutron and I guess Spring Drive was the next logical choice. The cool thing about Spring Drive is that you get to see the insides too. And like others said there is no need to worry about Spring Drive service. Those last far longer than 2-3 years. Arguably there are more people in the world who can repair Spring Drives than those who can repair Accutrons.
1 - 5 of 102 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.