Degauss or not Degauss?

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Macdaz
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Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by Macdaz »

I've long known the impact of magnetism on watch movements but it has never caused me an issue. This week I received a Marloe which was running like the clappers. I broke out the compass (and Lepsi) and sure enough it was magnetised. I bought the same cheap de-magnetiser from Amazon that I imagine everybody has got, did the business and sure enough the watch is now running at +9spd. Well within tolerance.

So...I have C8 Flyer which has always run at +20 spd, it's never occurred to me to check it. I did...yep magnetised. So I did the business but this time the watch is now running at +25spd.

Ok...so I checked my other watches. My C65 GMT consistently runs at +2spd but according to the compass (and Lepsi) it is magnetised. And my Super Compressor ran at +6spd out of the box I put that against the compasss and the needle went berserk. (A quick check today has it running at +<1s in the last 12 hrs)

So overall, I've no idea what is going on!

Can degaussing cause any damage? (When I did the Marloe it actually stopped the watch whilst it was demagnetising).
Does being magnetised cause any other problems? I don't like the idea that the C65 and SC are magnetised, but I don't want to risk messing up the accuracy as I'm really happy with them both.

I thought I understood physics, but now I'm not so sure!
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by Bident »

Macdaz wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:53 pm
I've long known the impact of magnetism on watch movements but it has never caused me an issue. This week I received a Marloe which was running like the clappers. I broke out the compass (and Lepsi) and sure enough it was magnetised. I bought the same cheap de-magnetiser from Amazon that I imagine everybody has got, did the business and sure enough the watch is now running at +9spd. Well within tolerance.

So...I have C8 Flyer which has always run at +20 spd, it's never occurred to me to check it. I did...yep magnetised. So I did the business but this time the watch is now running at +25spd.

Ok...so I checked my other watches. My C65 GMT consistently runs at +2spd but according to the compass (and Lepsi) it is magnetised. And my Super Compressor ran at +6spd out of the box I put that against the compasss and the needle went berserk. (A quick check today has it running at +<1s in the last 12 hrs)

So overall, I've no idea what is going on!

Can degaussing cause any damage? (When I did the Marloe it actually stopped the watch whilst it was demagnetising).
Does being magnetised cause any other problems? I don't like the idea that the C65 and SC are magnetised, but I don't want to risk messing up the accuracy as I'm really happy with them both.

I thought I understood physics, but now I'm not so sure!
Sometimes it can take multiple cycles of demagnetization with the demag device. Give the C8 a few more times and see what happens. Also, you should hack the movement from what I’ve read while demagnetizing.

I am not aware of any damage caused by degaussing, but I don’t know for certain. I’m also not sure about leaving a watch in a magnetized state because it is more accurate. I faced a similar situation and elected to degauss, later regulating the watch.

Not terribly helpful, I’m sorry to say. Hope you sort things out.
Best regards,
John
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by Deks »

Aren't you only suppose to only degauss when the watch has been run down and stopped?
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by H0rati0 »

The watch should be stopped to degauss, but running down does not matter AFAIK. What I will say is that magnetism can do strange things to watches, so if you have something strange going on, always worth demagnetising.

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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by MiniMpi »

I didn't realize that the watch had to be stopped....
I'll try my C65 Pepsi GMT again at the weekend so.
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by Macdaz »

MiniMpi wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:07 am
I didn't realize that the watch had to be stopped....
I'll try my C65 Pepsi GMT again at the weekend so.
It didn’t occur to me either until I saw how the seconds hand behaved when I degaussed the Marloe. The watch was clearly not enjoying the experience!!!
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Macdaz wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:39 am
The watch was clearly not enjoying the experience!!!
When you think about it, it must be the horological equivalent of a visit to the chiropractor. Bloody painful, but at least you walk straight afterwards.
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Re: Degauss or not Degauss?

Post by richtel »

Thinking about it from an engineering point of view I think there could be a couple of things going on.

1- The effect of watch magnetisation that we're trying to avoid or remedy is that caused by some aspect of the regulating apparatus being affected. In general that tends to be the hairspring coils becoming attracted or repulsed by each other which changes the profile of the spring and the natural harmonic frequncy that it has in combination with the balance wheel. Most of the time with coils attracted to each other that manifests in an effective shortening of the hairspring and so the oscillation frequency increases- the watch speeds up.

The degree of magnetisation needed to noticably affect timekeeping won't be binary and there could be degrees of magnetisation which don't affect timekeeping or perversely might even improve timekeeping. When a watch is being regulated, one of the first things you need to do is to make sure the watch isn't magnetised so that at least you've got a level playing field to begin with.

2- The watch regulating apparatus might not be magnetised even though the compass would disagree. There are definitely some pieces of a watch assembly other than the hairspring which could become magnetised without affecting timekeeping. The brass wheel and gear components and high quality austenitic stainless steel (like 316 grade) are inherentic non-magnetic but in some circumstances, even 316 stainless can become magnetised if work-hardening or heating changes the crystalline structure. On top of that, some martensitic steels (which might be found in spring bars, screws, springs and levers) can definitely become magnetised but unlikely enough to affect timekeeping.
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