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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


I've recently noticed that the seconds hands on both of my quartz watches aren't properly aligned to the dial markers. Does anyone else have the same issue? I'm worried it was something I did (perhaps accidentally moving the "date" wheel between 9pm-3am).

Is this normal? Perhaps one must be lucky to get a seconds hand that lines up perfectly... I'm very curious. Please let me know if you've experienced this as well. Thank you all in advance!


Regards,
V
 

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I've had the same condition on some of my quartz watches. Only once from some fault of mine. The others I think came that way, but I never noticed at point of purchase.

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Quite normal, unfortunately.

This is one reason buying quartz watches in a store is a good idea, as one can choose the watch with the best characteristics. Returning watches bought online can be a pain.
 

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Yes every quartz I've ever owned or seen.

I hate quartz for that reason. Auto is the only way.

Unless it's the Bulova Precisionists quartz.

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My highest quality quartz don't have that issue but my cheaper beaters are all over the place. Doesn't particularly bother me, when I glance at my watch I'm only taking notice of the hour and minute hands.
 

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Very, very common in quartz watches simply because of the way they work. A pulse from the stepper motor propels the second hand by a measured amount but there is no mechanical indexing at play and so alignment will always be (if you'll forgive the pun) a bit hit-or-miss. Some higher end quartz watches, such as those from Grand Seiko and Citizen, have special mechanisms built-in to try to address this issue but from personal experience I can say that these don't always work as advertised.

Longines has a new Conquest VHP model coming out later this year and at under $1,000 it may well be the most affordable quartz watch yet to feature both +/-5 seconds per year accuracy and a mechanism to ensure proper alignment of the second hand. I have high hopes for it, but will have to see how it performs when it arrives. In terms of other watches that always seem to hit the markers, try looking at RC or GPS watches. These tend to work differently from normal quartz watches, having more complex fly-by-wire set-up. My experience is limited to Citizen's range of RC and GPS watches, so I can't say whether this holds true for other brands, but I never have any concerns or doubts about these watches and I trust the alignment of their second hands even more than I do that of my Grand Seiko.

If, however, a gliding second hand really is your thing then don't think you're limited to mechanicals (either automatic or hand-winding though, for some reason, many people keep on referring to 'automatics' as if no other sort of mechanical watch existed) or a Bulova. Go grab a piece of history: an early Rolex quartz or a Patek or Omega or indeed anything with a Beta 21 movement will have a second hand that glides even more smoothly than the Bulova's. So, too, will Seiko watches with 5Sxx movements (though they're somewhat harder to find).

And if you would like to go completely the other way and get a mechanical watch with a deadbeat complication, then you will be pleased to know that due to the wonders of good, solid, mechanical indexing, the second hand of a JLC Geophysic True Second, or a Habring2 Jumping Seconds, or an ALS Richard Lange Jumping Seconds will always hit the markers.
 

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As mentioned, one quartz solution is a Bulova Precisionist or Accutron II 3-hander with a smooth sweep, does not tick.



Precisionist 96B183 with 16 beat/second sweep second hand.



Precisionist chrono 98B212



Review video link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFNuJBLu2Ek
 

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As mentioned, one quartz solution is a Bulova Precisionist or Accutron II 3-hander with a smooth sweep, does not tick.
Purely for the sake of managing expectations, the Bulovas do tick, but they do it 16 times per second. That's smoother than just about any mechanical watch out there but unlike the early Beta 21 or Seiko 5Sxx movements, the ticking of the Bulovas is perceptible so don't buy one expecting Spring Drive-like smoothness.

I have had two Precisionists and an Accutron II (still have one Precisionist) and the ticking bugs me because there is a part of my brain that just can't let it go. With an ordinary mechanical watch you can see clearly how many times per second the hand moves and thereby know its beat rate and for some reason (OCD, perhaps) I love counting ticks. With the Bulovas I am always frustrated because the ticks are just too darned fast for me to count and I end up looking like an idiot (which, in fairness, I probably am) staring at the watch for minutes at a time. Now, my old 1960s Bulova Accutron on the other hand...
 

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If it really bothers you, you can take it to a watchmaker to remove and reinstall the second hand.
 

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Luck of the draw, I'm afraid. I've had Timex, Seiko (the most consistently good) and Casio quartz where the seconds hand is spot on.
 

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Most of my watches are mechanicals, but I have recently purchased a GS SBGX115, which is a fabulous quartz watch. Service interval is 50 years(with battery changes every 3)! I also have a kinetic diver. With the GS, the second hand falls almost perfectly on the markers, which I'd anticipated, but when I purchased the kinetic I did not check this before I left the store(not in my city). I was disappointed, to say the least, when I first wore the watch I discovered very poor alignment of the markers and the second hand. There was help from Seiko, however, but I had to send it in and wait. I learned my lesson to check the watch for this at the dealers store! Rookie mistake on my part. This misalignment doesn't bother everyone but I hate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of your replies, everyone! I'm slightly relieved but disappointed that this is a common issue. I guess it's just a pet peeve :/

From now on I'll most likely either stick to mechanical pieces or take a look at the high-frequency pieces mentioned above...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quite normal, unfortunately.

This is one reason buying quartz watches in a store is a good idea, as one can choose the watch with the best characteristics. Returning watches bought online can be a pain.
I've never thought about that advantage of buying in a store. Noted for next time, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very, very common in quartz watches simply because of the way they work. A pulse from the stepper motor propels the second hand by a measured amount but there is no mechanical indexing at play and so alignment will always be (if you'll forgive the pun) a bit hit-or-miss. Some higher end quartz watches, such as those from Grand Seiko and Citizen, have special mechanisms built-in to try to address this issue but from personal experience I can say that these don't always work as advertised.

Longines has a new Conquest VHP model coming out later this year and at under $1,000 it may well be the most affordable quartz watch yet to feature both +/-5 seconds per year accuracy and a mechanism to ensure proper alignment of the second hand. I have high hopes for it, but will have to see how it performs when it arrives. In terms of other watches that always seem to hit the markers, try looking at RC or GPS watches. These tend to work differently from normal quartz watches, having more complex fly-by-wire set-up. My experience is limited to Citizen's range of RC and GPS watches, so I can't say whether this holds true for other brands, but I never have any concerns or doubts about these watches and I trust the alignment of their second hands even more than I do that of my Grand Seiko.

If, however, a gliding second hand really is your thing then don't think you're limited to mechanicals (either automatic or hand-winding though, for some reason, many people keep on referring to 'automatics' as if no other sort of mechanical watch existed) or a Bulova. Go grab a piece of history: an early Rolex quartz or a Patek or Omega or indeed anything with a Beta 21 movement will have a second hand that glides even more smoothly than the Bulova's. So, too, will Seiko watches with 5Sxx movements (though they're somewhat harder to find).

And if you would like to go completely the other way and get a mechanical watch with a deadbeat complication, then you will be pleased to know that due to the wonders of good, solid, mechanical indexing, the second hand of a JLC Geophysic True Second, or a Habring2 Jumping Seconds, or an ALS Richard Lange Jumping Seconds will always hit the markers.
Thank you very much for the detailed post. The Longines VHP does sound interesting, I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

Please excuse my ignorance, but what do RC and GPS mean? (I can guess what the latter stands for, but are they special product lines from Citizen?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If it really bothers you, you can take it to a watchmaker to remove and reinstall the second hand.
Thanks for replying :) Do you know approximately how much this would cost?

Or am I better off just trying to not be bothered by the hands?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Luck of the draw, I'm afraid. I've had Timex, Seiko (the most consistently good) and Casio quartz where the seconds hand is spot on.
That's so interesting! One would assume that the movement in your Swiss watch (albeit an ETA) performs better than a Timex. I guess not :p
 

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Thanks for all of your replies, everyone! I'm slightly relieved but disappointed that this is a common issue. I guess it's just a pet peeve :/

From now on I'll most likely either stick to mechanical pieces or take a look at the high-frequency pieces mentioned above...
I don't own many quartz, but I did buy a couple of the Bulovas, their moon watch and the military watch. You can find them very cheap, and they are really accurate (so far). At the last time change for DST, the moon watch had lost/gained zero seconds since the last change. The military had gained about 4 seconds. Both are outstanding for the money.

Thank you very much for the detailed post. The Longines VHP does sound interesting, I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

Please excuse my ignorance, but what do RC and GPS mean? (I can guess what the latter stands for, but are they special product lines from Citizen?)
I'll just butt in and say RC = radio controlled (syncs to a time signal in your country, WWV here in the US). GPS syncs to the GPS satellites, meaning they can correct for timezone as well as time. Citizen, Seiko and Casio make varieties of each.
 

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That's so interesting! One would assume that the movement in your Swiss watch (albeit an ETA) performs better than a Timex. I guess not :p
Movement performance is a different issue :eek:) Seconds hand alignment is in the lap of the gods and isn't a quality issue but one of manufacturing tolerances. It's usually caused by a certain amount of 'slack' in the geartrain. You can see this with some watches where the seconds hand 'bounces' on each tick. My Timex does this (but none of my Seikos or Casios) and still manages to hit the markers.
 

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vincek:
I own a Deep Blue App Diver. Seiko VX43 engine.
One of the few watches that the seconds hands line up with
seconds markers. Not once in awhile, all the time.

I've always considered watches with quartz engines that line
up with dial markers the best you can get. Am I wrong?

X Traindriver Art
 
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