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How does temperature affect watch accuracy?


A lot of effort, time and true art are spent by watchmakers who at all times struggle with the elimination of atmospheric influence on the accuracy of watches. But it is also affected by the degree of pollution, light blows, shakes, and ambient temperature.

As we know, metal expands from heat, and contracts from cold. For example, some mechanical watches change the diameter of the balance, the length and stiffness of the spiral, the viscosity of the lubricant. But around the 30s of the XX century, materials were discovered that have a low coefficient of thermal expansion or are capable of changing their stiffness with temperature changes. This made it possible to make the clock sufficiently accurate and inexpensive. For example, in a pendulum clock, when the temperature changes, the suspension of the pendulum lengthens, and at the same time, the period of its oscillation increases. To combat this, the Graham lattice is used. It sometimes appears as a lattice of white and yellow rods.

There are also extremely accurate watches, the characteristics of which are confirmed by special tests in a special laboratory. This is a chronometer. Mechanical chronometers have an accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day, while quartz watches have an accuracy of +/-5 seconds per year due to the influence of temperature. Well, if we proceed from the fact that the temperature of the movement of a wrist watch is approximately equal to room temperature, then the accuracy of the movement depends very little on the ambient temperature. For such watches (chronometers), the acceptable deviation is -40/+60 seconds per day.

In order for the watch to have good accuracy for many years, it is sometimes necessary to do preventive maintenance of the mechanism. Lubricating oil loses its properties, friction increases, and this leads to the formation of microscopic dust, acting like sandpaper.

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