Common Technical Questions

Automatic Watch Questions

Automatic Watch Questions

People invest in high quality automatic watches for their versatility and ability to be passed off as an heirloom, however even the best automatic watches can develop flaws ranging from magnetization to wear & tear.
The most common problems you’ll possibly encounter with an automatic watch are given below:

— The Movement —

I accidently dropped my watch and it has stopped functioning

When a watch is dropped, the force may be so severe that the axle or wheels deviate or break off from their original position. The balance staff is the most common component that breaks as a result of the impact, which is an axle responsible for the “tick tock” noise. In this case, the balance staff would need replacement along with a complete service check.

My watch stops running after I take it off

An automatic watch’s primary source of energy is movement of your wrist. Don’t worry though, as this is a common issue and is either limited to a single portion of the watch or caused by some other component. If the wearer does not move his/her watch enough throughout the day then the watch may not “charge”. With the passage of time, the mainspring, which is responsible for this “charging” action, can get lose. This means you now need more motion to charge the watch by the same amount. This is a common case that surfaces with several watches after 2 – 3 years. The watch can be fixed by replacing the mainspring.

— The Timing —

My watch has started running slowly and stopping after frequent intervals

A watch itself is equivalent to a mechanical machine, carrying several levers, gears and knobs. Just like a car’s engine requires maintenance after 3 – 5 years, a watch’s internal system also needs service. If such problem(s) arise, a complete maintenance check can take care of the problem.

My watch is running quicker than usual

This is an issue that may be linked to a number of failures. With the passage of time, a watch’s internal lubricants may diffuse into the hairspring, causing it to stick. The problem may be caused by excessive impact, and the worst case scenario may be a complete unaligned hairspring. Furthermore, the watch may have been exposed to a very strong magnetic field which may have resulted in magnetized parts.

Putting on my automatic watch makes it run slow

Remember, automatic watches may be powered by your wrist but they require an initial nudge. You need to wind them once before wearing so they will start running. Otherwise, you need to wear the watch for a sufficiently long period of time so that the mainspring winds itself. Automatic watches are known to run for 36 hours without stopping if they are worn on a daily basis. But if the mainspring is wound and the watch still runs slow, then this is a clear indicator of maintenance.
This doesn’t happen frequently and usually occurs every 4–5 years. A movement service will fix the problem.

After I’ve wound my watch, it keeps on winding continuously.

This is a clear sign that the mainspring has broken and happens in manual watches. In the case of automatic watches, there is a clutch to stop you from over-winding it. In order to rectify this problem, the mainspring has to be replaced. A checkup is also recommended to make sure everything else works fine.

— The Dial —

The dial becomes invisible or hard to see from time to time, as my crystal keeps on fogging

What makes a watch water resistant? The internal gaskets. If these gaskets are exposed to too much moisture while the crown was still open, then they may stop doing their job. For treating this problem, the gasket along with the crown and crystal have to be replaced. In addition, the watch should be serviced quickly to make sure moisture didn’t make its way through anything else. Once again, it is very much necessary to remember that water-resistance is a function that lasts as long as the seals and gaskets are in place, and fails if they haven’t been maintained on a regular basis.

At noon, the calendar behaves abnormally

If the hands of the watch advance or lag by 12 hours then reset them. You can do so by advancing the time by 12 hours.

The chronograph malfunctions as its second hand does not go back to zero

This isn’t that big of an issue and can be corrected by manual resetting of the hands. This is a common issue in mechanical chronographs. However, if the hands don’t reset themselves, this means that a proper maintenance check is required.

Quartz Watch Questions

Quartz Watch Questions

Quartz watches are much more versatile and durable compared to mechanical movements. Still, there are a number of errors that may arise in a quartz watch. Here are some of the most commonly occurring ones.

— The Movement —

What is the best course of action if my watch stops?

The first and foremost thing you should do is try replacing the battery. Most quartz watches can run on a single piece for 2 years but sometimes the battery may run out earlier. Take the watch to a technician, who will check the battery and install a new one if needed.
The watch doesn’t turn; the second hand moves back and forth in the same place.
The back and forth movement means that the watch is functioning properly as far as the electric circuits go. The problem can be isolated to the mechanical portion of the watch, especially the internal gearing. Quartz watches are electrically powered so do not have enough energy to move through small obstacles compared to mechanical watches. To get rid of the problem, you’ll need to have your watch’s movement serviced. If the problem persists, then perform a complete maintenance.

My watch stops running as soon as I put it on

The problem can be attributed to a defect in the circuitry. One of the main reasons behind this can be explained through simple heat expansion laws. As the temperature increases, the components inside the watch expand. Such an expansion may result in the lodging or dislodging of a vital contact. As the components are very tiny in nature, a small change in temperature can lead to defect, i.e. the temperature difference between your wrist and the room. Most probably this is the result of breakage in a circuit connection due to increased temperature. The problem can be fixed by replacing the circuit by taking it to a watch technician.

My watch stops operating at 12 AM

The calendar trip procedure or mechanism may be the reason behind this which may interfere with the watch’s time mechanism. Take it for service to have this problem fixed.

— The Timing —

The second hand misses out a couple of seconds

If the second hand starts skipping seconds at a time, then this means that your battery is approaching the end of its life. This is an inbuilt feature in many watches to alert the wearer that it’s time to replace the battery. Replacing the battery will solve the problem.

— The Battery —

The battery life doesn’t last a year; is it related to excessive usage of the battery?

Using the chronograph will undoubtedly shorten the battery life. It is vital to understand that a watch runs for 2 – 3 years when its function is limited to timekeeping. However, when the chronograph is turned on, there are several functions to power through, which means the battery dissipates faster. This is why some watches have an automatic feature to turn off the chronograph if they haven’t been used for some time. In order to extend battery life, make sure you keep a check on the chronograph.

Should I replace the battery after a year has passed?

While it’s true that with watches that do much more than just keeping time, the battery runs out after a year, however it is advised that you let the battery finish its life before replacing it. The reason behind this is simple. Opening the case may tamper the water resistance seal. If this happens, then you will need to spend much more than the cost of a battery.

How long can batteries last?

The lifetime of a battery is dependent on the condition, type and complications of a watch. But no matter how complicated your watch is, the battery should at least for 1 year.

After I replaced the battery, the alarm stopped working

This isn’t caused by the battery, rather it’s a result of a malfunction in the alarm contact spring. Take your watch to a service center if this happens. Other factors that may contribute to this problem include incorrect installation of the case or a problem with the contact plate.

— The Digital Display —

The display has gone black and the numbers are no longer visible

This is one of the worst things that can happen to a watch and usually takes place after a severe shock or impact. Think of the display as an extremely thin glass filled with conducting liquid. If the glass breaks, the fluid may leak or get contaminated. This is very expensive to fix depending on the value of the watch, and replacing it is more viable than taking the risk of repair. A high end watch requires service or replacement by the manufacturer.

My display shows incomplete digits and/or letters

This may happen if the contacts that connect the display to the circuit are damaged. The damage is usually caused by shock or corroded contact points. This causes a voltage imbalance within the watch, i.e. some parts of the display don’t get enough power. For watches that are not that expensive, repairing this problem can be as costly as the watch itself, while for high priced watches a repair will seem reasonable compared to the price of the watch itself.

The hands work but the display fails to show the changes

Watches that display time both analog and digitally are in fact two watches ‘glued’ together. It is very much possible that a flaw in one watch leaves the other one perfectly fine. Such watches must be sent over to a service center for repair operations.

— The Push Buttons —

The buttons don’t work; they either don’t get pushed in or don’t return to their original position.

When a push button is pressed, a stern attached to their underside moves to alter its position. When the button is released, the stern is pushed back out by a tiny spring. With the passage of time, dirt can accumulate within the tube that can cause the spring to lose function. Replacing the spring with a new one will solve the problem. A complete maintenance is recommended after this procedure.