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EMF radiation danger in quartz watches - time to switch to automatic?

The solution

...a mechanical automatic movement watch instead, but only if it's the right kind, which I'll describe more in detail in a moment.

What is an "automatic" watch?

For the benefit of those who have absolutely no idea what this is, here is a brief description:

An automatic wristwatch is typically defined as a watch with a mechanical movement that uses no battery whatsoever, and winds itself just by you wearing it and moving around normally. The fact it winds itself from you moving around is the "automatic" part, meaning "does not have to be wound manually".

If you take the watch off the wrist and let it just sit there, eventually it will stop ticking. To make it start ticking again, pick it up, gently shake it back and forth to get the movement moving, and ta-da, it starts ticking again. Set the time, put it back on your wrist and that's all there is to it.

It is usually true that most automatic wristwatches take 60 hours (2.5 days) before they stop ticking after having worn it all day, taken off and left to sit. This means that at the end of the day, if you take the watch off before going to bed, the next day it will still be ticking since not more than 7 to 9 hours will have passed over the course of the night.

Do automatic watches keep good time?

The best way I can answer this is with "good enough".

A battery powered quartz watch will ordinarily gain or lose 1 to 2 seconds per day.

An automatic mechanical watch will ordinarily gain or lose 15 to 30 seconds per day. This is normal.

If your automatic watch gains or loses more than 30 seconds a day, a watch service is needed. Bring the watch to your local jeweler and ask to have it regulated. The fee for this service on a non-luxury timepiece is around $30 to $60. If it's a luxury timepiece (like a Rolex), it will cost more.

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Published 2020 Jun 9

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