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  1. #1

    Default World's most accurate pocket watch?

    Like many collectors, I like to carry a pocket watch, one with a somewhat beat up case that I don't have to worry about if it gets a bit scratched or dented. My experience until this year was that if I could get such a watch to keep time within say 10 seconds a day, I considered that satisfactory. That has now changed. Last year I bought a model 1883 Waltham 18s open face watch on eBay from someone in Bakersfield, California. This watch is serial number 5995811, 17 jewels, marked "adjusted", in a swing out case, pendent wind and set, made around 1892-93. Something was wrong with the upper balance staff jewel, so the balance wheel flopped around and rubbed on the top plate. I bought a parts movement from Greg Fraunhoff on eBay and dropped in the replacement staff, hairspring, and balance cock with micrometric regulator, all as a unit. Everything seemed in order and the watch ran fine. I don't have a timing machine, but continued over several days to adjust the regulator. I began to notice how precisely the watch kept time. This is my regular carrying watch, spending all day in the pocket of my trousers and laying flat on the mantle at night. Two weeks ago I began putting it to a timing trial, comparing its rate with the National Bureau of Standards time signal each morning and then winding it. After 14 days of continuous running, this morning (May 3) it registered just 2 seconds fast. The maximum variation was on April 29, when it was 9 seconds fast. Most days it was 3 to 4 seconds fast. This is variation since the beginning of the trial, not daily variation. Anyone have a watch that can do better?

  2. #2

    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    Like many collectors, I like to carry a pocket watch, one with a somewhat beat up case that I don't have to worry about if it gets a bit scratched or dented. My experience until this year was that if I could get such a watch to keep time within say 10 seconds a day, I considered that satisfactory. That has now changed. Last year I bought a model 1883 Waltham 18s open face watch on eBay from someone in Bakersfield, California. This watch is serial number 5995811, 17 jewels, marked "adjusted", in a swing out case, pendent wind and set, made around 1892-93. Something was wrong with the upper balance staff jewel, so the balance wheel flopped around and rubbed on the top plate. I bought a parts movement from Greg Fraunhoff on eBay and dropped in the replacement staff, hairspring, and balance cock with micrometric regulator, all as a unit. Everything seemed in order and the watch ran fine. I don't have a timing machine, but continued over several days to adjust the regulator. I began to notice how precisely the watch kept time. This is my regular carrying watch, spending all day in the pocket of my trousers and laying flat on the mantle at night. Two weeks ago I began putting it to a timing trial, comparing its rate with the National Bureau of Standards time signal each morning and then winding it. After 14 days of continuous running, this morning (May 3) it registered just 2 seconds fast. The maximum variation was on April 29, when it was 9 seconds fast. Most days it was 3 to 4 seconds fast. This is variation since the beginning of the trial, not daily variation. Anyone have a watch that can do better?

  3. #3
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    I have a quartz pocket watch that hasn't gained a second in six months. I'm going to guess you are not impressed. :biggrin:

  4. #4

    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    I hope you had the forsite to keep the original balance cock! Please say yes.....
    Chapter 17 North Carolina
    http://www.nawcc-carolina17.org/default.htm
    Chapter 149 Early American Watch Club .. Home of Russ Snyder Illinois CD database and Henry Burgell Serial number Look-up ... excellent research resources!
    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/ http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html
    Chapter 149 Mentor List http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/mentor.html

  5. #5

    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    Yes, I still have all the original parts, although the replacement is an exact duplicate of the origingal.

  6. #6
    Lindell V. Riddle
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    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    Most of us who are looking at this are trying to not ask "futhark" if it ever occurred to him that the balance bridge, as well as practically every part of his 110 year old Waltham has a serial number on it. Although the other part will fit, a real testimony to the interchangeability of domestically produced watch parts, it is not really sound service proceedure, nor is authentically correct to "swap" such parts. That being said, I too have often marvelled at the amazing accuracy of our "Great American Pocket Watches". Which raises another question, what is produced in mass-quantities today that might be the subject of such respect 110 years from now? It's as they worked with granite, and today we play in the sand.

  7. #7
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    Oh, I don't know. I think each age has a tendency to look back, as we do now, and declare some previous time as "the golden age" of whatever. And to your point, Mr. Riddle, we tend not to think about what our time is "the golden age" of. Indeed, it is difficult to do, because we lack the historical perspective that our successors will have on our age.

    Yet in 100 years, you can be sure that future generations will look upon our time and say much the same we now say of our forebears. "Isn't it amazing they could so so much with so little... and look at us today."

    In direct answer to your question, it will probably be something we take for granted today that causes that reaction. Maybe our SUVs... maybe our digital cameras. Who knows... if we knew that now, we'd stockpile those things so that, after the years had passed, we would have amassed a fortune.

    - Greg

  8. #8

    Default Re: World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: Greg Davis)

    I hope this is not a repeat of the reply I posted a few minutes ago, but don't yet see on the thread. I've been off this forum for several years and am having to relearn the ropes.

    Having started this thread 12 years ago and subsequently survived brain cancer, 16 weeks of hospitalization, and 2 years away from home, I have found some solace in having several of my pocket watches cleaned and adjusted professionally by Peter Kaiser of Peter's Watch and Clock Repair in Santa Rosa, California. I have been very satisfied in general with the results. Regarding my American Waltham Watch Company Model 1883 in the swing-out case, Mr. Kaiser restored the original balance cock and installed a new case sleeve and a new unbreakable mainspring. The overhauled watch is a self-starter, not requiring a twist to get the balance wheel turning. The curious thing about it is that it was initially running several minutes slow after just a few hours. Even turning the regulator up to the maximum fast setting did not appear to solve the problem. However, I kept winding it every day and, gradually, it began to keep better and better time. I've never had a watch that had been serviced require this kind of break-in before. So, it appears that I'll have to just keep tweaking the regulator on a daily basis to see if it will run as well as it formerly did.

  9. #9

    Smile Re: World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: futhark)

    Here's something that was written 'back in the day' on the regulations of watches. You might want to download it so that you can blow it up a little to make it easier to read.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1917_Oct-17_The_Regulation_Of_Watches_LR.jpg  
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  10. #10

    Default Re: World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: Greg Davis)

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
    I have a quartz pocket watch that hasn't gained a second in six months. I'm going to guess you are not impressed. :biggrin:
    I have a nice new Seiko railroad pocket watch that keeps good time for a carry watch.

  11. #11

    Default Re: World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: Firegriff)

    I saw a couple of videos on YouTube about a balance wheel mechanism that moves around in all positions to maintain accuracy. Also a twin balance wheel that feed off of each others movements. I'm sure they may be modern but they looked to be accurate. I hope this counts. Oh, in the future, computer mice with cords will be the big thing for collectors.

  12. #12
    Registered User Paul Sullivan's Avatar
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    Default Re: World's most accurate pocket watch? (RE: TomCarroll)

    Last year I bought an Illinois 16s, grade 706, model 9, adjusted to 3 positions made in 1923. What attracted to me to purchase it was the extremely heavy Silveroid case it came in (the diameter of an 18s), the fact that the case had a "Missouri Pacific Lines" medallion on the back, and it was cheap. When I got the watch I could see that it had been well cared for. The enamel double sunk dial was perfect, the movement very clean and the regulator centered. I set the time, wound it up, noted the initial error via NIST, and put it in my pocket. For about 10 days I tracked the error which varied from -3 to +6. After that I just kept on carrying it for a total of 55 days. Usually I put it face up on the night stand at night or sometimes put it in a display box at an angle and tried to wind remember to wind it at about the same time each day. After 55 days, from 8/11/13 to 10/4/13, the watch showed an average error of -0.12 seconds per day or -6.6 seconds off from the initial start. I've never worn a watch this long before or since and perhaps it was fluke.

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    As far as an accurate pocket watch the late George Daniels made some amazing one off models.

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