Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Skeptic and his Very First Automatic Timepiece

How's the watch?  I asked Frank a first time Automatic Watch Wearer.  He was pouring over the Daily News almost hiding his face from what I thought was a fairly innocent question.

"Fine" he said "It will be fine."

Huh? I thought.  "It will be fine! What does that mean? It will be fine!" 

You see he had just bought a watch.  A really nice Stuhrling Original Alpine with its signature rose gold propeller-like adornment straddling the dial. The watch ,however, was an automatic.  A far different kind of movement to his usual Movado Sports Edition Quartz Movement.
"Does it keep time well?" I asked - rephrasing my question hoping to get some specifics on his rather vague answer.
He looked up from his newspaper frowning.

"It must work on some weird kinetic energy or something, because yesterday when I took it off, it stopped" he said.

"How long did you wear it before you took it off?" I asked

"Oh! Maybe an hour or so... but it was working fine until then."

"Oh well" he sighed thinking he had just spent a bundle on a lemon.

Oscillating Weight
"You did not give the watch enough time to wind the mainspring" I said.

"This is an automatic watch.  Instead of winding it by the crown, the rotor at the back of the watch moves back and forth while you walk.  The movement of the rotor or oscillating weight winds the mainspring.  The mainspring stores the energy which is released at a constant rate - thanks to the very efficient mechanics of the balance spring and escapement. To fully wind the mainspring, you must wear the watch for at least 10-15 hours a day. "

"Yeah right!", he said. "We will see about that."

I continued ... adamant to get my point across.  I was desperately trying to make him realize he had not just bought a lemon of a wristwatch. 
Watch Winder
"When you take your watch off, it can continue working for a minimum of 24 hours ,off your wrist, depending on the power reserve of the watch." I frowned trying to remember the power reserve capability of the Sturhrling Alpine. I knew it had to be 24 hours at least.  I found out later it has a 34 hour power reserve, so I was not too far off the mark.

"Huh!" he said raising his eyebrows with unsettling skepticism.

"No! Its true!" I said realizing that all this time I had taken it for granted that most people knew about the basic functions of an automatic timepiece. Maybe I should have made it clear that the automatic watch had no battery.

"If you don't want to wear the watch all the time and you want it to keep time, you should get a watch winder..." I trailed off.

Frank glanced at his watch and shrugged.

  Still not convinced.  He folded his newspaper, tucked it under his arm and headed out the door.
I figured if he comes to the office tomorrow wearing his Stuhrling Original Alpine, then my impromptu tutorial was a success.  Alas, if he ventures in wearing his Movado Sports Edition quartz, my well meaning tutorial was a failure.
Only time will tell. 

No comments:

Post a Comment