Here’s a handy tip that one of the more veteran watchmakers at work offered me this week: If magnetism is proven not to be the problem when a client brings in a fairly new (or recently serviced) mechanical watch and expresses that it is not keeping time very well, pay careful attention first to the beat error. Don’t even bother paying attention to the rate of timekeeping yet. If the beat error is off by more than one or two tenths of a millisecond, adjust that first. Many times, in this type of scenario, you will find that the watch had been subjected to a minor shock (short fall, hard knock, etc.) and the carrier holding the stud for the hairspring had shifted slightly. As the pin-regulator typically rides on the stud carrier, it shifts as well, causing an unwanted variation in the rate of the timepiece. Moving the stud back to its rightful position reverses the beat error, in turn remedying the variation in rate. It won’t work every time, but it works out often enough that it is a tip that is well worth keeping in mind.
Note that this trick only applies to watches that are not freesprung and use a pin-regulator to make adjustments to the rate of timekeeping (translation: if the watch in question is a modern Rolex, you’ll never have this problem).
If you missed November’s Wisdom from the Experienced check it out here.