Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

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Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Camulos »

Hi everyone,

A while ago I posted on the FB group that my Trident was running fast - picking up almost 2mins in 24hrs! I was told it may be because it had become magnetised. I am always working near speakers/ipads/guitars&basses/amps/lots of things that have magnets so that sounded very reasonable.

I was recommended to get a degaussing unit from eBay and a helpful member linked me to one (about £10) that would get the job done. It finally arrived and I used it in the way recommended in some Youtube videos, putting the watch on top and holding the button down to turn it on, then turning it round.

However, overnight it has gained 10secs so looks like it hasn't worked. I will try again, but if anyone has any tips, or suggestions what might be the problem, I'd really appreciate it. It's my favourite watch!

Thanks

Mike
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by MiniMpi »

Hi Mike,

I haven't used one, but I have heard that you sometimes have to do the process a few times for it to work properly.
Also I thought I remembered reading that you 'don't' put it directly down on the de-magnetizer.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by tempus fugit »

Mike, there is a small amount of art to demagnetizing a watch - and if you have 'only' gained 10s overnight then it may have been partially successful.

The only way to check is to use a compass - the one on your phone would probably work, but also possibly be self-defeating as it could simply remagnetize your watch, so NOT recommended!!

I use a Silva field compass - nice and easy to see the needle swing.

Simply pass the watch back and forth over the demagnetizer a few times, then check by passing slowly over the compass. I often have 2 or 3 attempts with the demagnetizer before the compass needle stays completely still - so this may be the case with your watch.

Good luck!
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by richtel »

I think the technique might be a little wrong here.

The cheap demagnetisers are only large coils on a former which are energised when the swich is closed. The unterminated laminated formers face upwards to the face of the machine meaning the magnetic field is strongest from the upper face of the box. The demagnetiser creates a strong 50Hz magnetic field- and that magnetic field is strongest very close to the machine and dissipates rapidly as you move away from it.

If you have the watch close to the demagnetiser, press the switch, and then release it while the watch is still close to the machine (in any orientation), you could have released the switch just as the magnetic field strength from the machine is at a peak and at its strongest, inadvertently magnetising the watch.

The correct technique to use the cheap machines it to place the watch on the demagnetiser, press the switch, when slowly withdraw the watch away from the demagnetiser until it's about a foot/18" away. You can do that as many times as you want, face up, face down, but the key thing is to make sure that you slowly draw the watch away from the machine while it's energised. In doing so you are subjecting the watch to a gradually reducing magnetic field and degaussing it in the process.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by scooter »

Mike

If it were me, I would take it to your local watch shop and ask them to demagnitise it for you.

It shouldn't take many minutes and should be cheap as chips.

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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by downer »

^^^ Good info, Richtel. Thanks.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by tempus fugit »

Thanks for that info Richtel. I have learnt something here myself - will give it a try next time and see if I can demagnetise in one just attempt!
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by TG3N »

Richtel is absolutely correct.

I'm no physicist, but as I understand it, a watch becomes magnetised when certain of the metal's electrons are attracted to an electromagnetic field, causing them all to spin in the same direction and combine their innate magnetic forces, instead of in random directions (their normal state, when the 'jumbled' movement cancels out the tendency to exert a spin/magnetic force in any one common direction).

A demagnetiser has an alternating magnetic field which changes direction, jumbling the electron spins again. If you switch off the demagnetiser when the watch is very close to the demagnetiser, the sudden cut-off will leave the electrons largely spinning in the last direction of the magnetic field before it was suddenly cut-off, and therefore commonly aligned as before. Instead, gradually drawing the watch away a safe distance means the electromagnetic field continues to jumble the electrons with decreasing strength, so that when the machine is a safe distance away, it can be switched off and the electrons remain in their newly-mixed rotational state.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by TG3N »

Camulos wrote:However, overnight it has gained 10secs so looks like it hasn't worked. I will try again, but if anyone has any tips, or suggestions what might be the problem, I'd really appreciate it.
Camulos, re the remaining overnight 10 second gain after demagnetising, its worth considering that although that's not a great time-keeping performance, the Elabore Grade ETA 2824-2 movement used by CW is specced to +/- 20 seconds daily, so your watch may not be that far outside accepted performance parameters. I'm not certain if Sellita movements perform to the same spec, but they are a near-identical clone, so it's maybe so (CW use both). It may be something easily fixed by opening the back and regulating the hairspring, if you know what to do. It's not wise to poke around in your watch unless you know what you're doing (and anyone other than CW doing so may invalidate the Warranty, if CW find out). CW don't hand-regulate before despatch, so it's pot luck. My trident is a consistent +15 secs from the box. Not great, but I rotate watches, so it's not worth opening & fixing and I live with it. Ensure the watch is fully wound daily (use the crown) and check the timing over a few days on the wrist. ETAs are sensitive to overnight positioning too, so play around with crown up/down, dial up/down over several consecutive nights to see which produces the least time gain overnight for you. After all that has been tried, and if you are totally certain the timekeeping is outside spec, then you could drop CW an email to see if they can address the issue under warranty.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Camulos »

Thank you for everyone's considered replies and advice. There's a lot there so I'm going to work through it - I tried again tonight using the technique described above and will keep you informed!

Is it normal for the watch to vibrate internally when placed on top of the machine and it being switched on?

Thanks!

Mike
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Lavaine »

Unless I misread, your watch was gaining 120 seconds in 24 hours. After demagnetizing, it gained 10 seconds overnight. I assume "overnight" is 8-12 hours, which translates to 20-30 seconds per 24 hours. Why do you think it didn't work? 30 seconds is a significant decrease from 120, and 20 seconds would be within spec.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Camulos »

Lavaine wrote:Unless I misread, your watch was gaining 120 seconds in 24 hours. After demagnetizing, it gained 10 seconds overnight. I assume "overnight" is 8-12 hours, which translates to 20-30 seconds per 24 hours. Why do you think it didn't work? 30 seconds is a significant decrease from 120, and 20 seconds would be within spec.
Yes, you are correct. It was probably more like 7 hrs, but that still falls short of other automatics that I have such as Steinhart, which would barely drop a second overnight. As someone pointed out above, it could be a regulating thing - I just have monitored my watch for a while and gaining ten seconds overnight is definitely worse than it was previously performing, which led me to think (based on what I read online, and suggestions I was given) that it might have been magnetised - but I am quite new to this, so still finding my way!
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Camulos »

UPDATE: Checked my watch this morning and it hasn't dropped a second! Will continue to monitor, but it looks like the degaussing technique, kindly explained to me above by several posters, has worked! Fingers crossed, and thanks to everyone who took the time to help me.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by MiniMpi »

That's great news.
Glad it worked out.
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Re: Degaussing/demagnetising my Trident hasn't worked!

Post by Thegreyman »

My Red Jag was not keeping good time and when I put it to the compass, lo and behold the needle started moving....clearly magnetised.

I bought one of the cheap de-magnetizers from ebay for about £8. Of course these come with no instructions and the youtube videos I could find were not that great. The result was that I tried to de-magnetize the watch using incorrect method of putting the watch on the device, switching it on then off before removing the watch. The compass seemed to move even more after this :? Having read Richtel's very helpful post on how to properly de-magnetize (de-gauss) the watch I've just followed that method and the compass does seem to be much less active so hopefully it has worked. I just need to monitor the timekeeping now to see if that has improved.
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