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Peter-H

Bizzare IWC chrono fault

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Hello everyone :) I hope you find this story amusing...

I bought the IW378901 a couple of weeks ago from a used watch retailer here in the south. It is 5-6 years old.

Worked great for a few days. 4 seconds a day slow, which is within what I believe is the 6 sec/day spec. I was really pleased.

Then I went skiing... Didn't fall off and didn't bang the watch and didn't do anything odd to it.

Later that day, I noticed it had gained about 20 mins! It was immediately obvious that it is running 4 secs per minute fast.

After some hours it sorted itself out. I don't know if it did it by itself or if it was me re-setting the time.

Then it was running 4 secs a day fast :) Still in spec... not bad for a ETA 7750 movement (albeit IWC-modified) which on a Fortis watch I have had for a few years manages to lose half a minute a day and one watchmaker (Hove, Sussex) won't touch it, saying it is in spec and he is a Master Watchmaker who "there aren't many of us left, you know" charges £1500/hr... so... and Fortis sent me a patronising email telling me it is a great piece of machinery and nothing in the universe is perfect, etc, and this was a major reason why I went looking for a more accurate mechanical watch and for other reasons specifically this one.

The next day, another 2hrs of skiing and again the same. This time I established that using the stopwatch on it doesn't fix the issue, and neither does winding. But it still fixed itself by the next day, just sitting there (I stopped wearing it).

But I managed to get this video which proves it

Now it runs 20 secs a day fast - no good for this watch. Obviously it is useless because you have to keep checking it against a phone :)

I bought it on the condition that it gets a full service, with all new seals (I swim almost daily). This was done by a watchmaker in the SW UK, who does trade work. It has a 12 month warranty on it.

The problem, of course, with any warranty situation is that the fault is intermittent. The shop could just send it back to that trade watch guy to fix the 20 sec error and give it back to me and I am screwed. It is entirely possible that the fault has been there with the previous owner - it is intermittent enough to sell the watch and get away with it.

Also I want to keep the watch. They don't come up often and those that do, at the right price, won't have been serviced. The price I paid was reasonable, but not reasonable if I have to pay say 3k to get it fixed properly. Also (I am an engineer) I know damn well that a "service" for say £200, trade, is just a quick look inside, some tweaks, but not the complete disassembly and examination of every part which IWC claim to do. Most watchmakers also don't change the seals because they can't get them unless they are official dealers (been around that loop before a couple of times, with the Fortis).

I contacted IWC who will not comment on how much it might cost to fix. You just get useless boilerplate replies. They told me on the phone (IWC London) that nobody there who knows about watches can be contacted... They do publish a service price list which, IF I got the right category (not sure), is about £500 for a full service, and presumably this is plus any parts. When this watch was new it was about 8k so this could be a black hole.

But my view is that unless it is fully done by IWC, the watch will be for ever suspect.

What would you do, and can any watchmakers comment on the likely fault?  I read on an IWC forum (which is broken, funnily enough) that this can be caused by a "severe shock" which wraps the spring around some pin, and that a watchmaker has to fix it. Well, this one fixes itself, but it leaves you with a large error.

Any input would be much appreciated.

 

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For a start. I don't like a watch to have a daily loosing error. If all serviced and tested correctly these  errors should be found and corrected and the rapid gain shouldn't occur. If a company like IWC aren't prepared to assist you, then I will.

shame on them. My only concern would be my ability to guarantee waterproofing.

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The 4 secs per minute (per minute) error is not a matter of adjustment. It is something else. It is something loose inside the watch, something damaged, or whatever...

These watches are marketed as pretty solid.

I have another 7750 based watch which has been hit, banged, dented all over, and it is still going.

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hi, as someone who services these day in day out its most likely I'm my opinion to be either magnetism or a sticky balance spring, the latter seems more likely as this would explain the intermittence of the issue, a, and the fact it has not received a shock before hand.  Typically service from IWC would be estimated for and any additional movement parts (wheels, plates, etc) are covered in the initial estimate, if any issues are found with any part or the watch AFTER the estimate has been accepted its IWC who pay

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Interesting. Would you say that a sticky spring could be triggered by a rapid movement, as in swinging one's arm around?

It is a dramatic error - about 7% fast.

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Yes i would go with sticky hairspring as well, sometimes tiny droplets of oil do fly about inside there......

A full service should be a full strip back to the movement plates, a full clean of all compoenents, a close inspection of all parts, and a full assemble and lubrication according to what is required, usually three different types of oils.... which is what i do....

There are a few cowboys out there who wash it in a bucket of petrol and hope for the best but thankfully they are few and far between :swoon: 

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8 hours ago, Peter-H said:

Interesting. Would you say that a sticky spring could be triggered by a rapid movement, as in swinging one's arm around?

It is a dramatic error - about 7% fast.

it would cause the coils to stick to one and other, effectively changing the length of the spring to wherever along it is sticking

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Many thanks for the replies.

The curious thing is that this watch has just had a service. I have the bit of paper

2018-02-07_072921.jpg

The letterhead shows just a mobile number and a "farm" address so it looks like a small outfit.

At a guess, the shop made 20% (1k) and perhaps paid out £200 on this service.

My plan is to take it back (a big hassle to travel back to the shop) and get it serviced again but if this sort of thing (excess oil, or maybe debris?) was missed, what will happen next? A watch which randomly goes into a 7% fast mode is useless. I am pretty sure the shop won't pay for an IWC service (I do want the seals done) because that might wipe out their margin.

OTOH I feel there can't be much wrong since it works otherwise. Unlike the Traser above whose stopwatch takes about 2 seconds to start moving, despite having just had a service by Traser UK after I told them of the problem :)

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I found these two on the internet. Do they sound plausible?

This can come from 3 things.
- Very high magnetism.
- The hairspring that got caught behind the regulating pins after a serious shock on the watch.
- A too high amplitude (which seems unlikely given the fact that the watch is more than 3 years old).

If a watch gets magnetized, it's usually the parts receiving the least force that are going to create problems. You could magnetize the mainspring alone as much as you want it would probably do nothing to the rate of the watch since that specific part delivers a huge amount of force. Escape wheel on the contrary are really sensitive to magnetism.

Anyway, just pay a visit to your local IWC watchmaker and he'll tell you what's wrong right away.

***

When the hairspring gets caught the sound of the ticks can sound wrong that it has a sound like a full tick and then a double speed tick. If you are right about the 4-5 secs per minute your watch will be out 108 minutes approx. in 24 hours. Having spent too much time years ago in the service department of a watch company I was shown various issues that occur in watches. This one is a simple procedure to identify and correct but I doubt the service departments will let it pass without a service with resultant time away.
If it's within the guarantee period (2 years) just put it in for a service. 
 

 

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What is the watch's water resistance ? I'm not sure if this one is as tight as you might expect.

Also, some watches can't handle extreme (cold or hot) temperatures/mediums. Just saying...

If the watch was magnetized it would be losing many more minutes or even hours PER DAY.

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According to http://watchbase.com/iwc/pilot/iw3789-01 it is 60m. This should be OK for washing and swimming. I have never had any watch leak, not even a £10 "50m" Casio.

The watch would not have got cold - it was on my wrist under a coat. Maybe down to +10C... You would really feel a piece of cold steel there.

The above posts from the IWC forum (which is currently broken) are from c. 2016 and that watch also "fixed itself" after some hours.

I don't believe the magnetisation explanation because why would it fix itself, run fine (well, slightly faster than before) and then do it again a day or two later.

Can anyone work out the IWC service cost? Their price list is here https://www.iwc.com/content/dam/service/service-prices/Service_Prices_CHF.pdf but I am not sure of the categories. IWC have not commented either - a useless company organised to look very posh.

Is there an Edit Post button on this forum? I can't find one :)

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You have rights. Return it, ask for it to be fixed or refunded. If they don't fix the problem at the first attempt, demand a refund. The watch isn't fit for purpose.

That said, I wouldn't think skiing is much good for it, especially if you do a lot of falling off :)

 

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2 hours ago, Peter-H said:

Many thanks for the replies.

The curious thing is that this watch has just had a service. I have the bit of paper

2018-02-07_072921.jpg

The letterhead shows just a mobile number and a "farm" address so it looks like a small outfit.

At a guess, the shop made 20% (1k) and perhaps paid out £200 on this service.

My plan is to take it back (a big hassle to travel back to the shop) and get it serviced again but if this sort of thing (excess oil, or maybe debris?) was missed, what will happen next? A watch which randomly goes into a 7% fast mode is useless. I am pretty sure the shop won't pay for an IWC service (I do want the seals done) because that might wipe out their margin.

OTOH I feel there can't be much wrong since it works otherwise. Unlike the Traser above whose stopwatch takes about 2 seconds to start moving, despite having just had a service by Traser UK after I told them of the problem :)

Unless the full service was from iwc the warranty is with whoever did the service. Not iwc. Also if anyone hasn’t been inside the watch between and iwc service and now the warranty will be voided as someone could have been buggaring around in there. 

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Thanks everyone. I will take it back to the shop and see what they offer.

As regards skiing, how can a watch advertised for "action" like this one be unsuitable for skiing? Are these 8k (new price) watches really so flimsy that one needs to take them off if doing anything more than walking around?

I have a phone call today with IWC who were completely unhelpful. Just a woman saying the same standard phrases. No meaningful conversation is possible.

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44 minutes ago, Peter-H said:

Thanks everyone. I will take it back to the shop and see what they offer.

As regards skiing, how can a watch advertised for "action" like this one be unsuitable for skiing? Are these 8k (new price) watches really so flimsy that one needs to take them off if doing anything more than walking around?

I have a phone call today with IWC who were completely unhelpful. Just a woman saying the same standard phrases. No meaningful conversation is possible.

That would have been amina then. She’s isn’t helpful. The issue is bad cleaning last service rather than the watch not being suitable for skiiing

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Thomas - can any independent watchmaker do a proper service on this watch, including the seals? It's a straight Q.

IWC seem to charge about 2x for theirs, but obviously one would expect them to do a proper job, no shortcuts like not changing something because you can't obtain it. I just get miffed at their unwillingness to have any meaningful conversation. I did manage to extract from her that a "watchmaker" saw the video but it sounded like their legal team barred any representative indication of costs for what this is likely to be. She was also totally clueless about what this watch was, when I asked about the appropriate service price list category. She found it eventually, just under £500 plus parts. I told her that if it costs 2k to fix it it is pointless. She sort of said some repairs do cost 2k, at which point I explained (yet again, and obviously she never looked at anything previous) that this is a working watch, not one which got run over by a lorry :) Can a spring or some part like that cost 2k? That would make these watches a ridiculous poser hobby which I am sure these particular ones aren't. The 7750 movement is renowned for being really robust.

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If it helps, I had an IWC pilots 3717 that had been botched by a previous service before I bought it.  In my case it was the day date mechanism that had been bodge mended.    IWC charged me around £500 but this involved a full service and crystal replacement as well as a case refurb.  It came back looking and working like new.   If I was you I'd either get IWC to sort the issues or take the watch back for a refund.  

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Many thanks Ong. The shop agreed to send it, at their cost, to Watchfinder which is apparently an authorised IWC repair shop. So I will see what happens. It is interesting and positive that your £500 repair included some parts.

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The shop actually sent it to the previous watch repair place, and they swear blindly it was perfect when they sent it out. I am sure it was! I don't know if they saw the video; many people seem to have a total disconnect between different bits of information and their meaning... but with an intermittent issue, it is a real problem. The shop is now finally going to send it to Watchfinder. He's not happy to pay for two "services". I could go for a refund (which I am sure he won't want to do because deep down he knows there is something wrong with the watch so if he sells it to someone else that might come back to haunt him) but if this process is duly completed, and the shop doesn't go bust during the 8+ weeks it will take to do it, I will end up with a properly serviced watch, which is not normally what one gets when buying secondhand.

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On 2/6/2018 at 16:02, Peter-H said:

... and one watchmaker (Hove, Sussex) won't touch it, saying it is in spec and he is a Master Watchmaker who "there aren't many of us left, you know" charges £1500/hr... so... 

 

:rofl: 

... popcorn_ani.gif 

On 2/12/2018 at 10:05, Peter-H said:

Many thanks Ong. The shop agreed to send it, at their cost, to Watchfinder which is apparently an authorised IWC repair shop. So I will see what happens. It is interesting and positive that your £500 repair included some parts.

 

12 hours ago, Peter-H said:

The shop actually sent it to the previous watch repair place, and they swear blindly it was perfect when they sent it out. I am sure it was! I don't know if they saw the video; many people seem to have a total disconnect between different bits of information and their meaning... but with an intermittent issue, it is a real problem. The shop is now finally going to send it to Watchfinder. He's not happy to pay for two "services". I could go for a refund (which I am sure he won't want to do because deep down he knows there is something wrong with the watch so if he sells it to someone else that might come back to haunt him) but if this process is duly completed, and the shop doesn't go bust during the 8+ weeks it will take to do it, I will end up with a properly serviced watch, which is not normally what one gets when buying secondhand.

Ho-ho, did I read this right? The shop told you they'd send it to Watchfinder (Watchfinder & Co?) for repair, ... and then instead they sent it to the shop that may've botched it, got it back, then sent to Watchfinder? :sign_wtf: 

I'd be very critical of anything else this seller/storefront did from now on. To the point of asking for full refund if it's not sorted out. Let them rip off other customers. 

Lovely watch, BTW. I'm envious. 

Edited by Chromejob

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I have spoken to the original watchmaker and got some interesting input. He says he has serviced some 5 figure number of these ETA movements. He said (I hope that the watchmakers here will recognise this) that sometimes the spring is too strong and causes some oscillating component to rotate too far. Normally the rotation is supposed to be 320 degrees or less but if it reaches about 340 it can "double-tap" on something and then you get a watch running massively fast. This condition can be created by a rapid acceleration of the watch. A certain "pilot fashion watch" brand (not IWC) suffer a lot from over-strong springs they fit to their modified ETA movements. The original spring on this watch was doing 325 degrees. He will change the spring and I am happy to give it another go, on another ski trip. He seems to know about the different types of oil and such. If it doesn't work, it will go to IWC...

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4 hours ago, Peter-H said:

He said (I hope that the watchmakers here will recognise this) that sometimes the spring is too strong and causes some oscillating component to rotate too far.

I believe this condition is known as 'rapping' - not to be confused with that awful row considered music by some. :biggrin:

 

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A to high amplitude causes a condition known as, " knocking".  The impulse pin bangs against the back of the pallet, horns.

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Could cause a fast hand movement and a rapid time error, I would check that the barrel wall is clean and the slip-spring is correctly lubricated. And that the correct strength mainspring has been fitted. Hope this helps.

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