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Magnetism in watchmaking

Magnetism in watchmaking

Technical guide
20.10.2021

Have you noticed that your automatic watch for men or women is running early or late, even though you are careful to wind it up and move the balance of the mechanism? You should know that the accepted tolerance for automatic watches in the watchmaking world is + or - 15 minutes per week. Do you know the magnetism of watches? What is magnetization, and what to do when you notice it on your watch?


What is magnetism for a watch?

Magnetism is the influence of magnetic fields on the functioning of objects and especially watches. This influence is often bad because it disturbs your watch. Magnetic fields can be found everywhere in our environment: cell phones, televisions, the wifi box, microwave ovens, etc. And then, humans too, can transmit magnetic waves. It is more or less important depending on the person, and can also be non-existent. Our automatic watches, since they are mechanical, are therefore sensitive to magnetism and may suffer from advances or delays due to this. It is therefore important to understand and take into account this phenomenon.



What happens when your watch is magnetized?

It is important to adjust your watch for comfort and aesthetics. Avoid that your watch slips, it could bother you. To do this, place the dial at the level of your wrist bone. It would be a real shame if your watch was not visible. When you stand, your watch should be partially visible and slightly covered by your clothing. Be careful not to overtighten your Milanese mesh, leather or steel strap. If you have marks when you remove your watch, your band is too tight and should be loosened. Do not wear your watch over your clothes!

Why are automatic watches sensitive to magnetism?

The components of the automatic watch are very meticulous and must be assembled in a very precise way in order for the watch to work properly. The automatic watch has small components, such as the spiral spring, which, under the effect of magnetic fields, will no longer function as it should because it will have been magnetized to other components. The closer your automatic watch is to this source of magnetism over the long term, the more it will lose precision. A quartz watch, on the other hand, runs on a battery and is less sensitive to magnetism. If it is next to a source, it may malfunction, but when it is away from this source, your quartz watch will work normally. This is why it is also not recommended to leave your watch all in the same place, if you have a magnetic source next to it.



Impact


What should I do if I notice that my watch is running late or slow due to magnetization?

If you notice that the sound of your watch is irregular, or that it suddenly loses accuracy when it had not been the case until now, it may have been subjected to a too strong field. The easiest way is to contact us so that we can demagnetize your watch. Indeed, it is a simple manipulation: you have to expose the watch to another magnetic field, which will allow the tension to be released. More and more techniques are being used by watchmakers to create components that are insensitive to sources of magnetism. However, the most durable solution is to protect your watch from the various sources. Be careful where you store your watch and also, in everyday life, to all sources to which you expose your watch.

This phenomenon remains rather difficult to explain from a scientific point of view. It is indeed widely observed by watchmakers, but scientists are still questioning this point.