Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Want to own an anti gravity device? Really no joke!

I knew the title would attract attention. But this is no gimmick. Windup watches are actually tiny Anti Gravity devices. In the Elgin Watchmakers book it says that if a large enough watch movement could be made it would actually defy gravity. Now the smaller ones do this on a very tiny scale, the Balance wheel(the part that moves back and forth inside the watch) is made to be unaffected by the forces of gravity or it would stop running in short time. It is mounted on two points that allow it to move freely and it has counter weights attached to the outside ring and a very very tiny spring that causes it to wind and unwind at great speeds. Thus it is not affected by the gravity and can continue to run until the mainspring runs down. Well enough of that.

Being an apprentice watchmaker and before that I have always been intrigued by watches. How they work and why they keep time. Nowadays there are more battery powered watches than windup types. Yes the digital watches are great since you do not have to remember to wind them. They have many bells and whistles too.

But the great thing about a windup watch or an Automatic winder is that they are all repairable. Now I am not suggesting that the battery powered ones cannot be fixed. I either replace the battery or just replace the entire movement with a new one and its fixed. The windup kind are much more adaptable to repair. They are very simple actually. Just some gears and a mainspring and some of what most would call bearings. Those bearings in a REAL watch are tiny man made Ruby, Sapphire or Diamond. What we call Jewels. All of the gears on a watch ride on tiny jewels like a pivot point but no pivot. The jewels reduce friction to an absolute minimum and allow the gears to move freely, lubricated of course.

Now the whole point of this post is to encourage you to buy a windup or automatic watch for your survival gear. No need to change the batteries or buy extra batteries. Just leave it in with your supplies and when it is needed it will work just fine.

Now everyone who is an old hat at this survival stuff knows about EMP. Well say goodbye to that digital watch in that event. But the REAL watch is unaffected by EMP.

Times were when the military were issued windup watches with 24 hour dials. I do not know if our military still does this. They can still be purchased though in used condition and are made by fine watchmakers of all kinds.

Now there is such a thing as an 8 day clock. This is a clock a little larger than a normal pocket watch and it has TWO huge mainsprings that allow it to run, once wound, for 8 days without winding. These are also the same type used in Aircraft for pilot use. You know the black luminous dial kind seen in all military cockpits. I have imaged one and another type of 8 day clock for reference.

The automatic winder is great for those that forget to wind their watch daily. It works on the principle of movement, arm movement. It has a mechanism that winds the watch while you wear it without you even having to think about it. Rolex(avoid these please, I will explain) has this type of movement. Many other inexpensive and reliable brands have this type also.

My thing about Rolex is not just me. My watch master(my term for him) has been doing this for 63 years and he along with other REAL watchmakers always say AVOID Rolex watches. Rolex is mainly about marketing and selling. Less about reliability. I must say though they have an outstanding case. One piece case made out of a single piece of metal which surrounds the most troublesome movement made. If you must have a watch that will impress please seek out a Patek Phillipe. This has a fine movement and puts Rolex to shame as far as being THE watch to own. If someone who owns a Rolex has never heard of a Patek then they are wannabes in the Jet Set today. They say the Patek is not a watch it is an Heirloom. $$$$ Patek $$$$, get it? Worth every penny though. A used Patek may cost as little as $2000.00 for a low end basic model 18k case and such and the top of the line USED may run 5 figures!

For those of us in the real world seek out an old Elgin, Hamilton, Omega, Titus, Timex, Bulova, Illinois, Gruen, Longines and Waltham to name a few. Bulova and Elgin made some military types including the 8 day aircraft clocks.
For those of you who worry about accuracy just remember that the trains in this country were run on time for Many, Many years with windup pocket watches. These were RR grade watches used by the conductor accurate to 3 seconds a month! They also come in wrist watches. They will say on the face that they are RR grade. Or just ask any watchmaker about them he or she will know.

Now a pocket watch with a hunter case(cover over the dial that protects the crystal)is ideal for traveling over rough terrain. It can be kept inside a jacket or pack and will be protected from damage unlike a wrist watch. They do make waterproof watches in windup form but I do not know of a waterproof pocket watch, I will check.

I hope I have given you a little info to help you make a decision on buying a REAL watch. OH one more thing, unless that digital watch has hands on it or a built in compass you cannot use it as a direction finder(pseudo compass) as many of you probably know how to do!

Any questions feel free to ask I am always willing to help out. markkent13@gmail.com


  1. You might actually know if this bit of trivia I read years ago is true.
    I read once, long ago, that watch makers used to collect the oil from the glands on their noses to use as a fine lubricant in the watches they made.
    Real or B.S.?

  2. Great Question Bustedknuckles. I will ask my Watch Master about this and get back to you. There is a high acid content I believe in our skin oil, I may be wrong. If so then it would corrode the metal parts. Great screen name. I have busted many in my life as well. Does not hurt till much later though, like when you clean them. I have always been amazed at the lack of pain initially.

    Mar Kent

  3. Well I asked the Watch Master and he said No on the nose oil. He cannot remeber the name of the lubricant used but it was not made of oil since early watches were made prior to oil being used. He is going to rack his 83 year old brain and get back to me. The lubricant used was brushed on but the name of it slipped by. I will keep you updated. Thank you again Mark