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Non Tool Forum => Watch it! => Topic started by: Millhouse on September 10, 2018, 10:08:25 PM

Title: Automatic Watches
Post by: Millhouse on September 10, 2018, 10:08:25 PM
I am thinking about getting a new watch, and the more I look, I am thinking of getting an Automatic.

Having only ever had battery powered, are there any pitfalls to an Automatic watch?
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: gerleatherberman on September 10, 2018, 11:03:25 PM
Well, if you're not accustomed to changing the date/time quickly, you'll need to spend a minute setting the time on an automatic if you let it go unused for a couple of days. But, once you get quick at setting the time, it isn't really an inconvenience. :)

I recommend automatics over battery, but that is from a strange appreciation for relatively complicated mechanical designs.
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: MadPlumbarian on September 11, 2018, 12:45:44 AM
Everything has a downside, like a battery powered watch you got to replace the battery, even on a solar powered watch there’s a battery and it can lose its umph just like a car battery, an automatic is all powered by a spring, the weight swings around moving the gears winding the spring, and just like any spring it can lose its tension, so over time the hours it will run without being worn will decrease.. hope this helps any other questions ask away, I’m looking for a new watch myself..
JR
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: gerleatherberman on September 11, 2018, 01:17:02 AM
JR,
I would like to make one footnote. Not trying to step on toes, but the quality of the movement is pivotal in the longevity of reliable automatic function.

I have 40yo automatics that still wind and run down the same as they would have 40 years ago. And I have some automatics that seem to run like smurf poo after just a few years.

The best thing to do is to invest in a known Swiss or Japanese made automatic. Check the movement in the watch you are looking at, research the calibre and see if it has a good track record. :)

Decent low end Japanese may be Miyota. Mid range may be Seiko.
Decent low end Swiss may be something from the Swatch group. Mid & Mid-high range may be ETA.
Tons if movement makes and models out there. But, fortunately, LOTS of good resources to help choose the right watch. :)
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: Chako on September 11, 2018, 02:50:40 AM
I myself am increasingly finding myself fascinated with automatics. I have had a Bulova for quite a few years. I never have to worry about dead batteries...even my Citizen Ecodrives die on me. Setting the time is easy, as is getting the movement in motion once again by simply rocking the watch a few times before setting the time on it. Getting one that shows the inner workings is a sight to behold. I suggest getting a skeletonized face with an exhibition back. The Bulova shows a peak, but the Fossil watch I just acquired is flashier in some regards. I do also have a third automatic created by our own Zed. That one isn't as showy, but works rather well much like the other two watches.
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: MadPlumbarian on September 11, 2018, 04:12:24 AM
JR,
I would like to make one footnote. Not trying to step on toes, but the quality of the movement is pivotal in the longevity of reliable automatic function.

I have 40yo automatics that still wind and run down the same as they would have 40 years ago. And I have some automatics that seem to run like smurf poo after just a few years.

The best thing to do is to invest in a known Swiss or Japanese made automatic. Check the movement in the watch you are looking at, research the calibre and see if it has a good track record. :)

Decent low end Japanese may be Miyota. Mid range may be Seiko.
Decent low end Swiss may be something from the Swatch group. Mid & Mid-high range may be ETA.
Tons if movement makes and models out there. But, fortunately, LOTS of good resources to help choose the right watch. :)
No, it was just a quick discription to give an idea as to how everything has it’s both ups and downs, two completely dif cars/ truck can have the same battery, yet diff brand alternators, over time the one battery just gives out and has to be changed, yet the other could last 20yrs because how the alternator treats the battery. Just like springs in a mattress, one just might suck as to a diff brand that lasts over 20yrs, you just have to do your research on the manufacture and model.. at the same time it could be all as to how you treat it, if you use a hammer the right way keep hitting the nail on the head it will last forever, yet if you keep missing the head of the nail and keep hitting the handle on the nail or using the handle as a prybar, it’s not going to last..
JR
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: rrr47 on February 09, 2019, 03:33:13 PM
I am thinking about getting a new watch, and the more I look, I am thinking of getting an Automatic.

Having only ever had battery powered, are there any pitfalls to an Automatic watch?
I have owned a Citizen Divers automatic watch for over 30 years now and it has never let me down. They still make them today see link.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Citizen-Automatic-Gents-Metre-Diver/dp/B0006FL77E
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: Smashie on February 09, 2019, 05:11:51 PM
Just in addition Citizen now owns Miyota, who makes a large number of automatic movements for many brands of watches. The Miyota 82xx movements that can be found in their automatic divers are very robust and quite accurate given the price point. Certainly on par with the Seiko 7sxx movement. The watches are usually slightly smaller than the corresponding Seikos, but the quality is good.

Quite a few boutique brands are now using Miyota now that the Swiss are hell bent on destroying their industry for the second time in my lifetime! The first was their refusal to accept quartz.

Also look out for watches that use Selita movements which are direct replacements for the ETA Calibers. ETA has lost the patent on may of their mechanical movements so they can now be freely made by others.

Oh and don’t ignore the Seiko movements either although they can’t be hand wound out of the box, they can be modified to do so.
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: rrr47 on February 09, 2019, 07:04:18 PM
I would love an orange face Seiko, can I hand wind my Citizen?
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: Smashie on February 09, 2019, 08:23:44 PM
I would love an orange face Seiko, can I hand wind my Citizen?

Try it, some do some don’t. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive list I can find.
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: nate j on March 13, 2019, 12:33:31 AM
With regard to pitfalls of automatics, there are two major ones in my opinion:

- Power reserve:  Most automatics have a power reserve of about 40 hours, give or take 50%.  This means that the watch will run down and stop if not worn for a couple of days.  This can be mitigated if the watch has manual wind capability, or by placing the watch in a watch winder while not being worn, but regardless pretty much a PITA in my opinion, especially when compared with disposable battery watches (typically run years between battery changes) or modern rechargeable watches (typical power reserve of six months or longer).  Of course, if you plan to wear the watch seven days per week, 365 days per year, then this may not be an issue for you.

- Accuracy:  While this is dependent on the maker, movement, and idiosyncrasies of each individual watch, in general the timekeeping accuracy of mechanical watches is simply not on par with quartz watches.  For example, my Seiko automatic would typically lose several minutes per week.  Maybe not a big deal the first week, but after three or four weeks the watch would be ten or twelve minutes off.  In contrast, quartz watches are accurate within more like 15-20 (or less) seconds per month.
Title: Re: Automatic Watches
Post by: gerleatherberman on March 13, 2019, 12:48:39 AM
It depends on how efficiently a person is with changing the time and date on a mechanical watch. Since I wear them often, I can change the date and time in about 5-30 second. 5 seconds for an adjustment like DST or date difference(these apply to most quartz watches as well). 30 seconds on most mechanical watches if the date is off almost a whole month. Now, that said, vintage watches without a quickset crown position for the date can take upwards of a minute or so, since the hands have to be advanced and/or retarded to move the date/day window. Vintage watches without a date are a cakewalk to set.