Roger Goodgion from Sunnyvale, California asks:
What is the most accurate position for my watch (say one with a 7750 movement) to rest in? And why? Say I was going to take it off but wanted it to be as accurate as possible when i picked it back up. Does this differ much in non-tourbillon watches, say 7750 to a 2824?
We would say the best position to leave your watch when not wearing it is flat, ideally dial facing up, although you can choose dial down if you wish. This is for a number of reasons.
Even chronometer-rated watches (which are adjusted to be accurate in 6 positions) will often have the most accurate reading in this position. This is because the watchmaker adjusts the rate in this flat position and can often achieve the most accurate results when it is in this workable position. The watch may be tested and will pass in other positions, but it is this flat position that the best rate was initially achieved.
Another reason is the effect of gravity, hence the development of the tourbillon and gyro tourbillon. If a watch rests on its side the effect of gravity will pull the hairspring down more on one side and effect the timekeeping rate. This will happen also when the watch is laid flat, but across the hairspring as a whole and the effects on timekeeping are evened out.
Additionally, if a watch is placed on its side, it is often physically less stable than when it is laid flat. There is a risk of the watch falling over in the night and scratching the case, or even falling off a night stand.
If you have a watch winder you could place your watch in this. As it moves through the various axis it will make sure the balance isn’t effected by gravity in one position more than another. This will also ensure your watch has adequate power reserve when you wake in the morning, will protect the watch from scratches and knocks and if you only wear it occasionally it will ensure the oils are kept free and moving.
We suggest placing your watch dial up as there is a risk of scratching the glass if the surface you are placing it on is especially abrasive (such as a granite kitchen work surface). If you choose to lay your watch flat you could place it on a small matt or towel of some kind to prevent you scratching the case and bracelet. Some watch companies return watches in a small padded box when it comes back from a service and these are ideal for placing your watch in at night, as well as when traveling.
One last thing to remember is to keep your watch away from strong magnetic sources when it is off your wrist. Under no circumstances place your watch on top of a stereo speaker or next to an iPad (or other tablet device) all night. From speaking to colleagues in the industry we have been told that with the rise in electronic gadgets they are seeing more repairs coming to them to rectify the effects of magnets on watch movements.
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