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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another noob question, a forum search (surprisingly) turned up nothing. I think I'm searching wrong... :(

What is an "unbreakable mainspring"?
What is a "lifetime mainspring"?

I have seen this printed on the dial of some old watches. I am pretty sure I saw them on regular manual wind watches, so the wikipedia entry which says that this is an "automatic watch" feature doesn't make sense to me.

Thanks!
 

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It's vintage marketing.

It has nothing to do with automatics
 

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Another noob question, a forum search (surprisingly) turned up nothing. I think I'm searching wrong... :(

What is an "unbreakable mainspring"?
What is a "lifetime mainspring"?

I have seen this printed on the dial of some old watches. I am pretty sure I saw them on regular manual wind watches, so the wikipedia entry which says that this is an "automatic watch" feature doesn't make sense to me.

Thanks!
These are basically the same thing and describe a new type of white alloy mainspring (new at the time) that was much more resistant to breaking or "setting" (assuming the shape of the barrel) than the blue steel mainsprings that were previously in use. Watches with this sort of descriptive language usually date to the late 40s & 50s. The white-alloy mainsprings are used in both automatic watches and manual-wind watches. This is not a feature restricted to only automatic watches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to you both! that makes perfect sense.

Once again wikipedia has betrayed me! :(
 

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It also depends on the manufacturer, some makers refered to the "white" metal a nickel, chromium alloy with varying amounts of cobalt, molybdenum, or beryllium, as "unbreakable."

Some manufacturers refered to the slipping clutch system used in automatics as "unbreakable" as, at the time (and still, judging from the number of times it comes up here and other watch fora) many people believe too much winding leads to a broken spring. It should be noted that many of these also used the white metal spring material.

Now, most people think of the nickel, chromium, cobalt alloy spring as "unbreakable."
 

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I think a simple answer is; An unbreakable mainspring is a Lifetime mainspring.

Another noob question, a forum search (surprisingly) turned up nothing. I think I'm searching wrong... :(

What is an "unbreakable mainspring"?
What is a "lifetime mainspring"?

I have seen this printed on the dial of some old watches. I am pretty sure I saw them on regular manual wind watches, so the wikipedia entry which says that this is an "automatic watch" feature doesn't make sense to me.

Thanks!
 

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What happens with a regular mainspring when it is overwound... possibly the hook break soff
What happens to a automatic mainspring when you try to overwind the end slides to the next rest position in the spring barrel

I guess its ment about the outher end finalization.... but that is just a guess


ouuups - same opinion as lysander
 

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Hi all,

if we can agree that breakage is the death of a spring, all springs are lifetime springs. And an unbreakable spring doesn't exist, neither in a watch, nor anywhere else in the known universe.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Of course ... I thought this could be a advertizing slogan instead of explaining the full mechanism of preventing an overwind... like the washing agent ..."the whitest white" ... it is not possible to create a true white color nor a true black ( a quasar comes rather close to that but not on earth) - its just to make the customer emotionally "understanding" what the feature means to him...
 

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Hi there,

Isn't there some kind of clutch?
When overwound, clutch slides
??
Yes, but only in selfwinding watches, where you have no control over the winding process. And there it is not realised to protect the spring. Long before any harm is done to the spring, the teeth of the winding gears ere completely shaved.

And refering manual winding: In the load chain between your fingertips and the mainspring, the spring is the most robust link. Else you will first crack any part of the gear or get bloody fingertips, long before "overwinding" the spring.

Consider why springs break anywhere between both terminals, and almost never at their weakest sections, the terminal holes or the welded on terminal hook. So they break due to repeated changes of tension, not by too high tension. Yes sometimes the welding spot breaks, but this also happens due to load changes; the absolute load would first bend the hook.

Finally the advantage of modern alloys against steel is that they can bear a higher number of load changes, but no infinite number. So they live longer but not eternally, i.e. they break later, but not never. However, if the truth is searched, advertising is not the best source.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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no one has mentioned the DuraPower mainspring made from Elgiloy by Elgin which was guaranteed for 450 years, which you could say is "Lifetime".
Though, to be fair, Elgin was out of business and unable to fulfill the guarantee within 23 years of the introduction of the Durapower mainspring, so it's as useful as the lifetime guarantee on the Durabalance. ;-)
 

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Let me revive this zombie one more time. In my personal experience, I only seen "lifetime" or "unbreakable" on Hong Kong trash. They can't really claim anything else on the dial. It also usually says "SWISS MADE HONG KONG DIAL" 😊😉
 
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