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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

Something has been bothering me about regulating a mechanical watch, -

On one hand when someone posts about their watch running 5 minutes fast a day everybody says it's too much and something's wrong with the movement (magnetized or stuck spring).

On another hand when reading about regulating they say even a tiniest adjustment to the regulator bar/screw will result in a huge difference. For example, regulating a +/- 15 seconds/day watch may prove to be a time consuming task, it being very easy to overshoot by 30 seconds or more...

So, which is it - wouldn't one just move the regulator quite a bit further to compensate for a big difference? It seems that the total span of the regulator bar could be way over the "something is wrong" 5 minutes range?

Of course, I'm not talking about a watch that's been running +5 seconds/day and then suddenly overnight it went to -5 minutes. Something probably did happen there and may require professional attention... Even then, unless it's an expensive piece I would think that regulating it should be a problem

Am I missing something obvious here?
 

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"...On one hand when someone posts about their watch running 5 minutes fast a day everybody says it's too much and something's wrong with the movement (magnetized or stuck spring).

On another hand when reading about regulating they say even a tiniest adjustment to the regulator bar/screw will result in a huge difference. For example, regulating a +/- 15 seconds/day watch may prove to be a time consuming task, it being very easy to overshoot by 30 seconds or more
..." >

You have two different statements here that aren't necessarily linked, so there's no "on the one hand/other hand" with these. There could be many reasons why a watch is running 5 minutes slow. And it indeed takes very tiny movements to make big changes when regulating a watch. So...I'm not sure what your question is?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My question is - why 5 mins a day means something is wrong? Why not just regulate it back to normal limits. A lot of times people say that it would way out regulation range, I just don't see why...
 

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Because most watches can only be regulated within a narrow range, usually less than +/- 1 minute, 5 minutes is beyond regulation.
 

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Because most watches can only be regulated within a narrow range, usually less than +/- 1 minute, 5 minutes is beyond regulation.
Not true really. It depends on the watch, but most watches with flat balance springs and and regulator pins can be adjusted far more than +/- 1 minute per day. Just for fun I put an ETA 6498 on my timing machine and moved the regulator arm to both extremes, just to see what the numbers would be. Slowest rate was about -400 seconds a day, and fastest was about +500, so a 900 second per day (or about 15 minutes per day) swing.

Now if we are talking about a free sprung balance with adjustable screws or weights (Rolex, some Omega, PP, etc....) then yes the range of adjustment is much smaller.

Now, would I simply regulate a watch that was running 5 minutes per day fast or slow? That is an entirely different question, and the daily rate would not give enough information to say yes or no.

Cheers, Al
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, I was hoping that someone had actually done the extreme measurements :) Mostly things are just stated without any evidence...

I myself moved the regulator arm about 1mm and the watch got faster about 5 seconds an hour = about 2 minutes a day... I don't have a timing machine, so I don't have exact timing, but I can safely say that my Seiko can definitely be regulated withing at least 10 minutes per day

Basically, the reason to not just re-regulate such watch, although one easily could, is because something may be wrong with the mechanism if it is suddenly way faster/slower than before. Also, if it's a newly acquired used watch with unknown service history running this fast/slow it should be serviced regardless?

Quite frankly, I would still try it myself on a not very expensive watch, especially lower end Seikos since servicing may prove to be more expensive than the watch itself unless it has more than just a monetary value to you...
 

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I think an 2824 has about 150-200 seconds on either side of neutral.

However, the throw of the regulator is not why the "off for a service" quote comes up.

5 minutes is a drastic change in the behavior of the movement, and indicates something has happened to the movement, probably bad.

If your car suddenly started to get 3 miles to the gallon gas mileage when previously it had been getting 20, would you not think to yourself, "Maybe I should get this look at..."
 
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I think an 2824 has about 150-200 seconds on either side of neutral.

However, the throw of the regulator is not why the "off for a service" quote comes up.

5 minutes is a drastic change in the behavior of the movement, and indicates something has happened to the movement, probably bad.

If your car suddenly started to get 3 miles to the gallon gas mileage when previously it had been getting 20, would you not think to yourself, "Maybe I should get this look at..."
To quote the OP, that is not the situation we are talking about here:

"Of course, I'm not talking about a watch that's been running +5 seconds/day and then suddenly overnight it went to -5 minutes. "

No doubt a change in rate is cause for further investigation - just thought you may have missed that in the original post.

Cheers, Al
 

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Thank you, I was hoping that someone had actually done the extreme measurements :) Mostly things are just stated without any evidence...

I myself moved the regulator arm about 1mm and the watch got faster about 5 seconds an hour = about 2 minutes a day... I don't have a timing machine, so I don't have exact timing, but I can safely say that my Seiko can definitely be regulated withing at least 10 minutes per day

Basically, the reason to not just re-regulate such watch, although one easily could, is because something may be wrong with the mechanism if it is suddenly way faster/slower than before. Also, if it's a newly acquired used watch with unknown service history running this fast/slow it should be serviced regardless?

Quite frankly, I would still try it myself on a not very expensive watch, especially lower end Seikos since servicing may prove to be more expensive than the watch itself unless it has more than just a monetary value to you...
When someone sends me a watch that they don't know the service history for, there are several things I look at to determine if it needs a complete service. The daily rate is usually not the one that I give the most weight to. Things like balance amplitude, positional variation, any signs of wear, dirt, or dried oils, and how long the watch runs in comparison to it's stated power reserve are some things I would typically look at.

Daily rate is typically not a very reliable indicator that a watch needs service. To put it another way, just because a watch keeps good time does not mean it's not in need of service.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Al
 

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To quote the OP, that is not the situation we are talking about here:

"Of course, I'm not talking about a watch that's been running +5 seconds/day and then suddenly overnight it went to -5 minutes. "

No doubt a change in rate is cause for further investigation - just thought you may have missed that in the original post.

Cheers, Al
One assumes it didn't leave the factory running 5 minutes fast or slow.

Whether it happened over night, or over a few years, I think the cause needs to be investigated, no?
 

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Something has been bothering me about regulating a mechanical watch, -

On one hand when someone posts about their watch running 5 minutes fast a day everybody says it's too much and something's wrong with the movement (magnetized or stuck spring).
The error will be greater than that for stuck coils.


On another hand when reading about regulating they say even a tiniest adjustment to the regulator bar/screw will result in a huge difference. For example, regulating a +/- 15 seconds/day watch may prove to be a time consuming task, it being very easy to overshoot by 30 seconds or more...
Really depends on the regulator design. Some are easier to make small adjustments with than others. But an accurate timing can be done with the coarsest regulator. It just takes patience.

So, which is it - wouldn't one just move the regulator quite a bit further to compensate for a big difference? It seems that the total span of the regulator bar could be way over the "something is wrong" 5 minutes range?
I don't think I understand your question here. However, a regulator simply slides a bridle up and down the hairspring a small amount thereby changing it's operating length. It is limited in the amount of tchange that can be effected.


Of course, I'm not talking about a watch that's been running +5 seconds/day and then suddenly overnight it went to -5 minutes. Something probably did happen there and may require professional attention... Even then, unless it's an expensive piece I would think that regulating it should be a problem
Again, your question isn't making complete sense. If you simply wear an automatic watch for several days without handwinding and it shows a significant daily error then yes it should be looked at by a watch repairman. The key is to observe the cumulative error over several days not just one. Any adjustment should not be attempted at home unless you have the tools and are very comfortable working with tiny parts in cramped quarters. A small wrong move can instantly turn a good hairspring into a birds nest.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I guess I was not completely clear on my question (which has been answered :)) - anyone who simply claims +5 mins (for example) a day is out of regulation range does not necessarily know what they are talking about. I just wanted to confirm that it is *possible* to regulate a watch that far off. Whether it *should* be done without looking at the movement first is another question (which also has been answered)

Thank you all for your comments, I apologize for not just asking a simple question and making it sound like a bit of a rant
 

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I guess I was not completely clear on my question (which has been answered :)) - anyone who simply claims +5 mins (for example) a day is out of regulation range does not necessarily know what they are talking about. I just wanted to confirm that it is *possible* to regulate a watch that far off. Whether it *should* be done without looking at the movement first is another question (which also has been answered)

Thank you all for your comments, I apologize for not just asking a simple question and making it sound like a bit of a rant
It really depends on the movement.

Some do not have that much throw in the regulator, some do. Some do not have a regulator, and require changing the moment of inertia of the balance itself, and most like cannot be regulated that much.
 

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One assumes it didn't leave the factory running 5 minutes fast or slow.

Whether it happened over night, or over a few years, I think the cause needs to be investigated, no?
Of course - if you read what I wrote you would know that's what I do mate.

Thanks, Al
 

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Yes that is true unless the movement allows that range of adjustment. You also could have a situation where a movement has been adjusted rather than serviced and it would be close to the maximum range already.
 

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In my view if a watch has been keeping good time for a while and then starts to drift off by 5 minutes a day it's better to get it checked than to do a gross regulation, even if that's possible. I've seen too many vintage watches that run badly and have their regulators cranked over to "Fast" and beyond.
 
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