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View Full Version : Why do wrist watches stop working for some people?


weisser83
12-31-2009, 02:42 PM
I've heard people claim that wrist watches stop working for them after a very short period of time. They replace the batteries, switch watch brands and styles, etc., but to no avail -- every watch quits on them. Even when well taken care of and not dropped, damaged, or submerged, they seem to die after a few months of wearing them.

My mother and her husband both claim to have this problem. I don't know if it pertains to only analog watches or digital as well. They say "cheap" wrist watches seem to work better for them and believe it has something to do with their body chemistry or magnetism.

So, what's the "straight dope" on this?

Thanks in advance for your expert knowledge and information!

Arkcon
12-31-2009, 02:53 PM
I'd heard this before, on another forum, basically, someone was sure that a person was generating a massive, watch ruining magnetic field. And I said that I didn't believe that there is a good biophysical model for explaining how a human could generate a significant one, and I wouldn't be surprised if there is a lack of peer-reviewed research to search for one. I have no citations available.

My WAG at the time was that I tended to chew up and spit out watches rapidly, back in the day. I bashed more than a few crystals, because I wasn't careful with how I swung my arms. So I have an idea why the watch stopped, and maybe the same thing, on a lesser scale, is happening in your case.

I'd heard people say how psychics can restart stopped witches, by warming them in their hands, the heat thinning gelled lubricating oil for a time. Or something like that.

I'd also have you ask them, if they believe they have mystical body chemistry or magnetic blood that stops watches -- do they stop alarm clocks if they hug them? Can they affect other electronic devices they're near -- computers, other timers?

Maybe the whole thing is a personal confirmation bias.

Johnny L.A.
12-31-2009, 02:55 PM
One of my watched stopped recently. I can only imagine I over-wound it; but it's supposed to have a clutch to prevent that. Unfortunately an overhaul costs at least $550. :(

valleyofthedolls
12-31-2009, 03:07 PM
I think Cecil Adams did a column on this subject. I could be wrong about that and I'm most certainly to lazy to go and find it but IIRC, he said it's not true.

Speaking from own experience, every time I've worn a watch, it goes completely dead after about a month's time. This happens with new watches, old watches, cheap watches, expensive watches, battery operated watches and wind-up watches. Never tried a digital watch or a self-winding watch so I can't speak to that.

It could be a personal confirmation bias. Don't know and don't really care. I got tired of getting new batteries and going to get the wind-up I have repaired. The cost was completely out of proportion to the value of the watches. So no watch for me just my cell phone which is more than adequate.

Arkcon
12-31-2009, 03:22 PM
I also overwound watches, no one told me you're not supposed to wind them until you can't wind them anymore. I've also broken wind up travel alarm clocks in that way. I recently replaced a battery in an old watch that ran down, and it still didn't start running. Then it did, for a few hours, then it stopped, and may have started again. But I guess it's just porly made, and not making contact.

weisser83
12-31-2009, 05:08 PM
The question came up because my step-dad had a set of hearing aids that over the last 2 years have been in disrepair for at least 36 weeks. They send them in, fix and test them, but within a short time, the hearing aids don't function properly. I asked why they had so many problems with them and my mother speculated that "maybe it's his body chemistry." I probed further and she said, "Well, you know, like the way that some people can't keep watches working. We both have that problem." I called "B.S." and told her I would Google it to prove her theory wrong, but came up with no concrete answers.

Thank you all for your input. Interesting thoughts, Arkon, but they don't seem to have any problems with alarm clocks, computers or say, microwaves, but those all run on standard household AC electricity, rather than a battery.

Personal confirmation bias I can believe, plus that fact that my mother is beyond gullible and believes almost every urban legend she hears. I, however, am a bit more discerning and like to get facts whenever possible. I searched the Straight Dope archives but wasn't able to find the previous article on the topic. Can anyone point me in the right direction on that?

Also, if this phenomenon is true (a very remote possibility in my mind), are there any wrist watches that are less likely to be affected by "weird body chemistry?"

And, if it is some form of unusually high natural magnetism in the wearer, what other things in their life could be affected by this? I did a bit more searching and found ((http://blog.shoppewatch.com/2009/10/what-causes-analog-watches-to-stop.html))that, "... some people have a high electrical field in their body and they end up draining their analog watch battery in less than a couple a weeks." This, however, would not logically affect wind-up watches, though over-winding could.

I remember my grandfather having a self-winding watch powered by a person’s daily movement. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch), “this type of watch allows for a constant winding without special action from the wearer: it works by an eccentric weight, called a winding rotor, which rotates with the movement of the wearer's wrist. The back-and-forth motion of the winding rotor couples to a ratchet to automatically wind the mainspring.”

Here are a few additional theories I came across:
http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11419

So, what is it? Self-fulfilling prophecy, random chance, or (my favorite) “because Satan doesn’t want me to have nice things.”

Your input is pertinent.

samclem
12-31-2009, 05:16 PM
Speaking from own experience, every time I've worn a watch, it goes completely dead after about a month's time. This happens with new watches, old watches, cheap watches, expensive watches, battery operated watches and wind-up watches. Never tried a digital watch or a self-winding watch so I can't speak to that.

It could be a personal confirmation bias. Don't know and don't really care.
It's almost certainly comfirmational bias.

valleyofthedolls
12-31-2009, 06:00 PM
It's almost certainly comfirmational bias.

Thanks for repeating and misspelling what I already said.

Ludovic
12-31-2009, 06:02 PM
I'd heard people say how psychics can restart stopped witches, by warming them in their hands,
until their teats are no longer cold?

Markxxx
12-31-2009, 06:07 PM
I've had people say this to me and it was supposedly some magnetic field. But when I take a magnet and put it right to the watch, the watch doens't quit. You can leave the magnet up against the watch for days, and the watch always runs.

So I fail to see how if a person was putting out a magnetic field that it would solely effect the watch and nothing else

samclem
12-31-2009, 06:20 PM
It could be a personal confirmation bias.

It's almost certainly comfirmational bias.

Thanks for repeating and misspelling what I already said.
I cop to the misspelling. I don't agree that I repeated what you opined. You offered it as only a possibility. I suggest it was almost certainly the case.

Johnny L.A.
12-31-2009, 06:24 PM
So I fail to see how if a person was putting out a magnetic field that it would solely effect the watch and nothing else

How about streetlights? :D

valleyofthedolls
12-31-2009, 06:49 PM
I cop to the misspelling. I don't agree that I repeated what you opined. You offered it as only a possibility. I suggest it was almost certainly the case.

Fair enough. I should have been clearer but I do think your post should have had more substance. FWIW, while I certainly leave in the possibility of a confirmation bias, I think I was probably doing some sort of repetitive motion that unseated the battery or disrupted the mech of the wind-up watch.

samclem
12-31-2009, 06:55 PM
Fair enough. I should have been clearer but I do think your post should have had more substance. FWIW, while I certainly leave in the possibility of a confirmation bias, I think I was probably doing some sort of repetitive motion that unseated the battery or disrupted the mech of the wind-up watch.
Good post. I agree with you. I never thought that you believed in voodoo. :p

I get this kind of thing at work at least once per month. I want to grab them and shake them and say--"The watch stopped for some explainable reason. It wasn't magic. You don't have a magnetic field that caused it to stop."

Sorry for the confusion.

kayT
01-01-2010, 01:23 AM
Can someone explain to me how having every watch stop in 30 days is confirmation bias?

Snnipe 70E
01-01-2010, 01:29 AM
For me. normall a new watch is good for 11 months. Most of the time it just stops working.

Covered_In_Bees!
01-01-2010, 01:49 AM
Can someone explain to me how having every watch stop in 30 days is confirmation bias?

It's a confirmation bias for a few reasons:

1) No one is taking detailed notes as to how charged the batteries are in the watch each time they get replaced and to see how long they last.

2) No one is taking detailed notes as to how long the batteries are lasting at all, they're only estimating how long they lasted months or years after the fact.

3) They aren't taking detailed notes for any occasion where the batteries/watch lasted longer than one month.

It's all just pure recollection. The first time a watch might have died 6 weeks after ownship. Easily enough dismissed as dying only a month in. Then the next one or its batteries go out in two months but because eight weeks isn't too far off from six, unless that person was keeping a detailed log of events, they'll mentally file it away as "about the same amount of time the last one held out." Each time it dies and they mentally file it away as such, they're confirming what they suspected based on pretty much no hard and fast data, just some sort of gut feeling.

Apricot
01-01-2010, 02:08 AM
I break watches. They usually stop running entirely, and cannot be repaired with a battery change. Sometimes they slow before stopping, other times the second hand seems caught at 11 o'clock for a while before the watch expires.
I used to wonder if it was a body chemistry thing.
In my older age I've found out I'm exceptionally clumsy or not mindful of what I'm doing. I get stuff wet and smash my hands into things much more often than my husband, siblings or coworkers. I've always got random bruises. My rings especially show the wear and tear of someone who uses and abuses her hands.
I think that has much more to do with it than any particular chemistry or field thing.

For time keeping, I use my cell phone (also banged up) or a pocketwatch (I'm very very careful with them as they were my father's and grandfather's watches), or Timex children's watches, which even survive weekly washing in the washing machine (they get filthy at work).

aruvqan
01-01-2010, 02:33 AM
I cant stop streetlights, or change traffic signals, or affect anything other than a wrist watch worn consistantly, but they will die, in the case of analog battery operated watches or in the case of a very nice and expensive g-shock that was a present got it to run backwards after only wearing it 3 months. mrAru took it to a watch repair place that did g-shocks and wears it himself, and it has given 10 years of good service.

I take my watches off to shower or swim, and the only one that I have not screwed up are mechanical self winders or windup wrist watches [old school timex I got back in the 60s when i was a kid]

I also turn gold earrings of good quality black where the wires or posts go through my ears. Give me surgical steel or titanium any day.

Harmonious Discord
01-01-2010, 04:28 AM
The self winders became broken very regularly by people that were very active with their arms. Dad learned after a couple watches that self winders break if your a carpenter. Many people had this problem. To someone that doesn't connect that they did something very physical a day earlier they won't understand why the broke the watch. it doesn't have to be a selfwinder either for one impact to kill a watch. A consequence of a watch on the wrist is they do get whacked on a door frame in passing sometimes and you don't notice.

ablebodyworks
01-19-2011, 12:41 PM
I only have problems with mechanical watches. Electronic are fine with me. But I found that if I used a metal plate that hooked under the watch band and kept the watch about 1/8 inch off my skin I had no problems.

Harmonious Discord
01-19-2011, 01:04 PM
oh look another old thread I already answered and basically wasted time answering again. F###ing zombies.

Philster
01-19-2011, 01:16 PM
It's very much like eating. Some people grossly underestimate how much they eat in a day, and they will swear on anything that they've only eaten X amount of food. If someone were to monitor them, they'd be off as much as 30%.

There are people who are just good at ruining certain things -- in this case: watches -- but will swear it was a new battery (from where? Someplace that has an old stock?), or swear that they always take it off when they should, or swear that they aren't too rough with it, or that they don't over wind it... and the list goes on and on.

When it comes to certain mechanical things, the person destroying the mechanical thing will swear on anything they took care of it. Yeah, well, I know a few people that can destroy any automobile in short time, and they swear on anything that they aren't hard on cars. Okay, take a few rides with them and watch them over a period of time and you'd be mortified by what they consider 'taking care of something'.

Anyone who can't keep watches working, and swears they are taking care of them, or using the proper battery, etc: ::FINGERS IN MY EARS GOING LALALALALALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALALA::

.

Bootis
01-19-2011, 02:14 PM
I think I was probably doing some sort of repetitive motion that unseated the battery or disrupted the mech of the wind-up watch.

I think you're on to something; my watches also were always breaking, but I never broke another one after getting a girlfriend

Askance
01-19-2011, 06:14 PM
Let's make a couple of assumptions: there are a billion people who wear routinely watches in the world, and that 1% of watches are badly made and will die within a year of purchase.

In our thought experiment all 1 billion buy a watch on 1 Jan of a given year. 10 million of those watches die in that year and those people all buy a new watch. In the second year 100,000 of those who bought the second new watch have to buy a third one. In the third year 1,000 people have to buy a fourth watch, and in the fourth year 10 people need to buy a fifth watch. Those 10 people post on internet forums about how they mysteriously kill watches.

If you spread out the initial purchase of watches amongst the 1 billion over, say, 10 years it makes no difference to the maths, you still end up with 10 people who "kill" watches.

There will of course be people who treat watches badly, and watches that are worse made than others, and these factors will raise the numbers. Treating watches well and well made watches are already accounted for in our initial assumptions so those factors don't decrease the number.

Wile E
01-19-2011, 07:13 PM
...
I'd heard people say how psychics can restart stopped witches, by warming them in their hands, the heat thinning gelled lubricating oil for a time. Or something like that.

.. .

I actually did this when I was in 6th grade. I rubbed the watch and willed it work and it did, but I didn't think it was physics I thought I was psychic.

I break watches but I'm not magnetic, I just tend to whack them on things or get them wet too much. I finally gave up wearing them.

salinqmind
01-19-2011, 07:24 PM
I, Salinqmind, have killed dead more watches than you can believe. I do have a cheapie that keeps on tickin', though. It's set in a bracelet made of big chunks of lapis lazuli. Maybe that blocks the death rays.

Chronos
01-19-2011, 09:48 PM
Some watches are sold with a bad battery. A few years ago, I bought one that only lasted me a few months. Let's say that, say, one watch in ten is sold with an almost-dead battery. Now, let's say that a whole lot of people buy watches. One person in ten gets a bad watch, and so has to get a new one. OK, of those folks, one in ten will get a bad watch again. Those folks have to buy a third watch. And of those, one in ten will again be bad, so one person in a thousand will end up getting three bad watches in a row. At this point, most folks would just come to the conclusion that they have a propensity for killing watches and give up on getting another one, so you've now got one person in a thousand (a large enough proportion that most people will know such a person) who is convinced that they will kill any watch they wear.

Duckster
01-20-2011, 12:43 AM
<hijack=slight>
I know of several people who have problems with their computers. Yet I find nothing wrong. But the moment they starting using their computer again, it stops working. Over the years I've run my own experiments. I've gone so far as to build out a computer, use several applications and determine it to be functional. Then I deliver it to the person, complete with instructions so they do exactly what I just did. The computer stops working and I'm there the whole time observing. They get up from the computer and and I begin using it, only to find nothing wrong. I stop, move away and have them attempt to continue. Complete failure. (The only difference is it's their fingers on the keyboard and not mine.) I've done this long enough with several different people with a variety of computers and arrive at the same results.
</hijack>

Triskadecamus
01-20-2011, 01:05 AM
In my workplace there is one specific piece of equipment that is attached with a hinge that has to be lifted up to allow it to swing out of position. It gets "stuck" for some of my coworkers pretty much anytime they try to do it. I am always informed that it must be "jammed" by dirt in the hinge. Every time I walk over, and open it by lifting with one finger, and swinging it out. This is explained to me as being caused by them working it loose struggling with it, and me just lucking out.

The thing is, if you lift at the far end of the hinged piece, you put a torque on the hinge pin so it binds up and won't lift all the way clear. So, the retaining system that keeps it in place in use still keeps it in place. I started the one finger method when I was told "Well, I am not strong enough to lift it up like you."

Multiply that by the level of complexity of a watch, compared to a hinge. Yes, there are some people who break watches. Hell, I am one of them! But I don't need magnetic fields, or primative animism to explain it. I am careless of my watch. It gets wet, gets dropped, and if I have one, I generally have no idea when I got it.

Tris

Wheelz
01-20-2011, 08:12 AM
I cant stop streetlights, or change traffic signals, or affect anything other than a wrist watch worn consistantly, but they will die, in the case of analog battery operated watches or in the case of a very nice and expensive g-shock that was a present got it to run backwards after only wearing it 3 months. I once worked with a guy who claimed his brother made watches run backwards, and nobody could figure out why. I always found it hard to believe but he had nothing to gain by making it up. This is the second time I've ever heard this claim. I'm intrigued.

Askance
01-23-2011, 12:20 AM
Sure he does, he gets notoriety, which some people crave.

S_A_
01-30-2011, 10:36 AM
My mom has had this problem her whole life as well. She's never been able to wear any type of watch without it dying a few days later (and she's tried several kinds), wearing them around her neck, etc. They just don't work, and not because she bangs them around or winds them up too much. If she gives them to someone else it'll start working again after a couple days. She read somewhere that people who have technically "died" and then came back to life have this problem, which makes sense for her since her heart stopped beating for a few seconds when she was born...

S_A_
01-30-2011, 10:57 AM
http://blog.syracuse.com/news/2008/02/computers_go_haywire_around_ri.html

(for those with computer problems...this is a pretty cool story)

Daylate
01-30-2011, 12:11 PM
Coincidentally enough, I bought a new Casio at our local Sears early last December, (replacing an identical model purchased seven years ago that still worked, but with a dial so discolored that it was hard to read). Early in January the new one started acting squirrley, randomly loosing 1 to 10 minutes a day.

Yesterday I took it back to Sears, and discussed the problem. The had me take it into a local watch repair, and have the battery checked. I did, and the battery turned out to be very low (after only two months). So they put in a new one and the watch seems to be OK.

During my discussion with the Sears watch people they did say that they had found that some folks couldn't keep an electronic watch going more than a few days.

By the way, the reason I got an identical model is that I didn't want the hassle of going thru another 80 page instruction manual just to tell the f___ing time. Getting too f___ing old for that!

robcaro
01-30-2011, 01:35 PM
I have had a Seiko Quartz watch for nearly 20 years. I replaced the original battery after 4 or 5 years with a battery from J.C.Penny. That one lasted 6 or 7 years. I replace that one with another one from J.C.Penny and it lasted for another 10 years. Well, I no longer am living in the US, so I replaced it with a battery from a watch repair shop. No telling if it will last or not. My daughter gave me a quartz watch a few years ago and it, the watch, didn't last more than a year and a half. Certainly not as good a watch as my Seiko. I think it was a Citizen.

carrielynnmastin
12-11-2011, 03:56 AM
My ex mother-in-law had this problem but hers would stop working within hours no matter what kind if it had a battery. She went through numerous texts and was told she had more electrical current in her body than an average person...put simply. This tends to happen with people (according to her specialist) that have been exposed to electric currents at higher levels... electric shocks etc... She found that if she place a piece of felt on the back of the watch that completely covered the metal back, she no longer had this problem. My fiance's father also has this problem with wrist watches only. I suggested that he attempt the felt on the back of the watch and after 3 months his still was working. First time in years he could wear a wristwatch without a problem. Just thought I would suggest this as an idea for those that do have this problem.

Crafter_Man
12-11-2011, 10:36 AM
...was told she had more electrical current in her body than an average person...put simply. This tends to happen with people (according to her specialist) that have been exposed to electric currents at higher levels... electric shocks etc.
:dubious:

This "specialist"... was he or she an MD?

johnpost
12-11-2011, 11:15 AM
do these people ever try wearing their watches without batteries to use up some of that energy?

impatien
12-11-2011, 06:03 PM
I'm 55 years old and of sound mind and pretty much body. Ever since I was a kid with my first Timex wind-up watch, I have never been able to keep it running beyond a few days. They always lose time right away and very soon stop working altogether. I've tried many kinds of watches--battery, self-winding etc. and have never found one that would work for more than a week or two. Can't explain it.

astro
12-11-2011, 06:59 PM
My ex mother-in-law had this problem but hers would stop working within hours no matter what kind if it had a battery. She went through numerous texts and was told she had more electrical current in her body than an average person...put simply. This tends to happen with people (according to her specialist) that have been exposed to electric currents at higher levels... electric shocks etc... She found that if she place a piece of felt on the back of the watch that completely covered the metal back, she no longer had this problem. My fiance's father also has this problem with wrist watches only. I suggested that he attempt the felt on the back of the watch and after 3 months his still was working. First time in years he could wear a wristwatch without a problem. Just thought I would suggest this as an idea for those that do have this problem.

What medical test would measure your personal amount of "electrical current"?

As an aside I deal with lots of dead watches as an amateur. IMO 90% of all watch issues are due to using batteries that have aged out. A lot of people don't realize that watch batteries do not have infinite storage lifetimes. Manufacturers tend to buy lots of batteries at once and some sit around for quite some time. The batteries that get put in new watches may measure OK at installation, but if they are long in the tooth and on the back end of their lifetime bell curve they will not last nearly as long as a fresh battery. In some cases you may only get a few weeks or a month out a battery when buying the watch new.

Look at it this way, if a battery will last 3 years or so in storage - it sits around after being manufactured for some time before being shipped to the manufacturer, then it may be a year before the manufacturer uses it, then the watch will be shipped and may sit in inventory for months to years before being sold. By the time you get a watch the battery might be on it's last legs. It's not uncommon.

Measure for Measure
12-11-2011, 07:17 PM
There are people who are just good at ruining certain things -- in this case: watches -- but will swear it was a new battery (from where? Someplace that has an old stock?), or swear that they always take it off when they should, or swear that they aren't too rough with it, or that they don't over wind it... and the list goes on and on. I trust there are multiple explanations.

One of them might be that a watch labeled "Water Resistant" is not water resistant. If it says, "30 m", that means it's resistant to 30 meters static pressure, which never happens in the real world. You can allegedly splash water on "30 m", but you can't go swimming.

I take care to buy watches that are rated to 50m or more. Those are suppose to work while swimming, which allowing for error might allow you to splash water on them. They will not work for diving. Neither will a 100m water resistant watch. Details are here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resistant_mark) and in the fine print of your watch instructions. Work this out before you purchase the watch.

Note that new watches, old watches, cheap watches, expensive watches, battery operated watches and wind-up watches can all be "Water Resistant" that is to say not waterproof at all.
-------

Admittedly, I've had uneven luck with replacing watch batteries. Sometimes (ok once that I can document) it was due to a scammer. Some watches have a 10 year warranty (again, read the fine print). This one (http://www.amazon.com/Citizen-BM8180-03E-Eco-Drive-Canvas-Strap/dp/B000EQS1JW/ref=sr_1_3?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1323651989&sr=1-3) has an embedded solar cell, so it will last forever, or so I claim to credulously believe (others may look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-Drive)).

paracelsus
12-28-2011, 01:13 AM
I just found this board while searching this type of question, and, yes, my experience could be biased, since I'm me and I haven't found anyone that is like me so we can compare notes. My family has noticed it though, as when I was a kid, the parents had to buy the watch batteries. I figure not every single watch battery could be that old and that frail and once replaced, the watches would run for a while again, so they weren't broken. I kill watches off and on. Got so bad when I was in my late teens that I started wearing a pocket watch. No wristwatch would live. I have a drawer full of watches, which will run if I put new batteries in them, but then die. They are not broken, they just won't keep running for me.

I also interfere with radios and tv antenna signals. GPS devices, the kind with pointing arrows, reverse direction when I hold them, as verified by every one else in the group. Tried several times, but was then not allowed to touch it again.

I finally found a watch that lives. It stops every once in a while, but then starts again, which happened last night. Had the watch checked out by a watch repairman and there is nothing wrong with it and the battery was good, but I have them replace it anyways. I have to stay away from my clock radio, any clock radio, as I've tried many brands, if I want to avoid static. The watch I have that has lived is a Swiss Army made from titanium. My skin does not eat it, as it eats metal or plating of most anything and discolors my skin. No one can tell me why, though I did have a doctor, an MD, tell me that my magnesium level was high. So, perhaps try and give them a titanium watch to see if it makes any difference.

I do not, however, seem to affect computers, as they are my job. Stuff magically starts working again when I touch it, but I believe that has more to do with user error than anything. I also electrocute people throughout the year, not just in the dry part of the year. I've tried to find a pattern of eating or activity, but haven't found anything so far. I have a pretty consistent schedule. I would love to have a nice peer reviewable study done. I think it would be quite interesting.

Lust4Life
12-29-2011, 07:44 AM
Would static electricity caused by wearing man made materials that rub up against each other, have any affect?

Also I've noticed that its not that uncommon for people with "wind up "wristwatches, to wind them up while its still on their wrist, which apparently bends the spindle or somesuch.

mamaewe
01-11-2012, 04:42 PM
I have very simular problem as did my grandmother and other family members! But I kill watches dead within an hour or 2! I seem to be a walking magnet! The problem is static related. One day I got shocked so many times that we started counting, I stopped after I hit 100 times! I have an unusually high static levels due to unusually high levels of copper in my body. I have a lovely disease called wilson's were I don't get rid of excess copper normally. When I found this out I started taking higher then normal levels of calcium magnesium and zinc. Now my static levels are much lower. But I still effect the computer, radio waves and TV! The only plus side to this is if I break a bone it heals much faster then normal. If liver problems run in your family, you might get checked for wilson's too. I think it can be high levels of many metals that does this but not sure.

bouv
01-11-2012, 05:01 PM
Whoa...double zombie!

Dr. Strangelove
01-11-2012, 05:48 PM
I break watches but I'm not magnetic, I just tend to whack them on things or get them wet too much. I finally gave up wearing them.

I wonder if the Dunning-Kruger effect plays a part here: the klutziest people are also those least qualified to evaluate their klutziness. It seems like there are probably two groups of people that break watches: klutzes who know it and aren't surprised when their watches break, and those that don't know it and blame it on wooish factors.

Commander Fortune
01-11-2012, 06:01 PM
A consequence of a watch on the wrist is they do get whacked on a door frame in passing sometimes and you don't notice.

Well, I had always counted myself among those who just inexplicably "kills" watches. I gave up wearing them ages ago. This, however, is more likely since I just run into stuff like doorframes all the time. Klutz.

misscoriander
01-27-2012, 08:55 PM
I think it's interesting that the people who are saying that it's just normal for watches or watch batteries to be faulty are ignoring the fact that there have been several people who pointed out the fact that there are people who have stopped watches and then when those same watches were given to other people, the watches started working again. If the watches were able to work again for someone else, then there's no way that it was the watch that caused the problem.

I'm a teacher and I often have my students use hand held devices to answer questions. Today one of my students' remote started having all kinds of weird problems. I didn't think much of it at first, until I had him try at least 5 other remotes and all of them had the same issues for him. The remotes he used included remotes that his classmates had just used successfully and a few of them were tried by other people right afterwards and worked fine. In that one students' hands multiple of these devices had the same bizarre problems that no one else experienced.

I'd looked this stuff up before because I had a boyfriend once who'd been one of those people who would stop watches (and for him, sometimes they'd even start running backwards, which also seems like more than just normal poor craftmanship). His skin would also eat away at metal, so if he had been able to successfully wear a watch, he'd have eventually burned a hole through the back of it. I've always thought that his issue was chemical, because his skin would irritate my skin. Someone else said that they thought this was related to having died previously, which fits for him because he was pronounced dead at birth and then had his heart stop again in his 20s. We've always joked that he was a zombie, but I was hoping to get a better explanation for my student. The poor kid's classmates were already calling him a witch.

pagzer
03-27-2012, 05:58 PM
Hemochromatosis (too much iron in a persons system) can cause a watch to stop. the iron collects in the carpals and the constant movement causes it to magnetize. Problem solved. I have this condition. I can only wear a watch a couple days and when I take it off it starts running after a couple days. when i have blood drained every week for several weeks, viola! I can wear a watch again.

Hilarity N. Suze
03-27-2012, 06:37 PM
Off-topic 1: Now it's a triple zombie

Off-topic 2: It's VOILA not VIOLA

On-topic: I stopped many, many watches of the type you have to wind. Some were expensive, some were cheap, but they all stopped if I was wearing them, and ran fine if I left them sitting on my dresser. I took them to jewelers who found nothing wrong, cleaned them, and gave them back. They would run fine for months on my dresser as long as I kept them wound, and stop within a couple of hours of my putting them on, except in the case of Timex watches, which would go for about a week.

Digital watches were a little better, except that I had one that, while I was wearing it, would lose about a minute per hour, and it would not lose a minute per hour when it was sitting on my dresser. It was kind of an expensive watch, too.

Then I found a cheap Casio, which, while it uses the same kind of batteries as the expensive digital watch, seems to keep the correct time whether I'm wearing it or not. So I have been wearing this watch since 1993. (Well, actually I am on the third one now, because things other than the timekeeping function DO wear out, for instance for awhile I had one set to daylight savings and another set to standard time, because the little things you use to set the time had broken).

It is really hard to call it "confirmation bias" when every single watch you wear, for years and years of your life, goes dead. When those watches include expensive watches that were family heirlooms and Mickey Mouse watches you picked up in a pawnshop and all those Timexes, which had a guarantee and so got traded in for new Timexes over and over again. You honestly do begin to think maybe the problem is not the watches.

corsaconvertible
04-05-2012, 06:21 PM
It's very much like eating. Some people grossly underestimate how much they eat in a day, and they will swear on anything that they've only eaten X amount of food. If someone were to monitor them, they'd be off as much as 30%.

There are people who are just good at ruining certain things -- in this case: watches -- but will swear it was a new battery (from where? Someplace that has an old stock?), or swear that they always take it off when they should, or swear that they aren't too rough with it, or :rolleyes: that they don't over wind it :rolleyes:... and the list goes on and on.

When it comes to certain mechanical things, the person destroying the mechanical thing will swear on anything they took care of it. Yeah, well, I know a few people that can destroy any automobile in short time, and they swear on anything that they aren't hard on cars. Okay, take a few rides with them and watch them over a period of time and you'd be mortified by what they consider 'taking care of something'.

Anyone who can't keep watches working, and swears they are taking care of them, or using the proper battery, etc: ::FINGERS IN MY EARS GOING LALALALALALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALALALA::

.

Sorry, but you cannot over wind a watch with your fingers. My father has been a highly regarded licensed watchmaker since 1949. What happens is: 1) the watch stops 2) the owner assumes the watch needs winding 3) the owner winds the watch, but it doesn't start 4) the watch owner believes the old "over wound" myth.

What actually happens is that the watch stopped for a mechanical reason. It could be a mainspring that is already broken, or worn moving parts, or dirt in the watch movement, or old dirty and gummy oil that needs to be cleaned. A watch movement is cleaned by dis-assembling, cleaning parts separately, re-assembling, adjusting, and re-lubricating. Sometimes parts are worn or broken and need to be replaced.

I'm repeating myself here, but:
The POINT is, the last thing the watch owner did was wind the watch. They wound it because it had ALREADY STOPPED. They believe the myth that they over wound the watch. Mechanical watches run best when fully wound every day.

Dr. Strangelove
04-05-2012, 08:17 PM
Digital watches were a little better, except that I had one that, while I was wearing it, would lose about a minute per hour, and it would not lose a minute per hour when it was sitting on my dresser.

If you can do this in a truly repeatable way--such as naming a specific brand of digital watch, showing that it works correctly without being on your wrist and then showing (under controlled conditions) that it runs slow while being on your wrist--then you have a very good shot at winning a million dollars from the JREF. No known physical process that the human body can control could have that kind of effect, and therefore would fall under their definition of paranormal.

Mangetout
04-06-2012, 08:12 AM
The only watches I've ever had that lasted any decent amount of time are those that never needed any maintenance in the form of winding or replacement of batteries - I've currently got a Citizen Eco-Drive (solar powered) that has given me several years of very faithful service - replacing a similar one that still works, but was physically damaged beyond repair. Before that, I had a Seiko self-winder which was great - I replaced it because - again, it was scratched and broken.

Before that, I must have had dozens of quartz digital and analogue watches, and a few mechanical ones - the mechanical ones were never very good anyway - and the digital ones always failed a short while after being opened to replace the battery. I don't claim any magical powers - I think people just overestimate the durability and longevity of watches in general - and when they break, they go looking for a reason that makes them feel special.

This winter, when I was walking to the train station in the dark, I also noticed eight separate street lights that seemed to switch off (or sometimes, they were off and switched on) as I approached. I reported them to the council and they came and replaced the bulbs, and phenomenon mysteriously stopped.

The notion that ailments causing slightly elevated levels of this or that in the blood might interfere with the function of a watch has got to be bullshit - no matter what disease you have, your body isn't accumulating anything like the amount of metal in actual metal objects around the home, or you'd be dead. There's metal all around us - if the iron in your blood messes up your watch, how does it not also get messed up if you place it on top of the fridge?

jasg
04-06-2012, 10:28 AM
Until I moved off the family farm, I could not keep a functioning watch.

I now attribute my watch problems to magnetic cows.

Wile E
04-06-2012, 07:20 PM
I wonder if the Dunning-Kruger effect plays a part here: the klutziest people are also those least qualified to evaluate their klutziness. It seems like there are probably two groups of people that break watches: klutzes who know it and aren't surprised when their watches break, and those that don't know it and blame it on wooish factors.

I'm klutzy and I know it.

Until I moved off the family farm, I could not keep a functioning watch.

I now attribute my watch problems to magnetic cows.

Yes, magnetic cows are a common problem. But at least you can always find north when they are around.

Darth Panda
04-06-2012, 08:25 PM
Some people who are very sedentary (often the elderly) will have problems with automatic watches, as they wind themselves based on the movement of your arm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_watch

Vicory
07-05-2012, 10:15 AM
Forget a month! For years, I've not been able to wear a watch with any success, because a watch placed on my wrist will lose 10 minutes in less than 12 hours. I used to blame the jewelers, thinking they had cheated me by giving me old batteries. It never occurred to me that there could be something wrong with me. But, when I pulled the batteries myself, making sure of the expiration date and had batteries replaced in 9, yes, 9 watches, and tried wearing each one with no success, I just gave up.

Case in point: I put the watch on at 7AM one morning (brand new battery) and by 6:30PM that night, it was running 10 min. slow. Disgusted, I took the watch off and threw it into my softball bag. Next week, I pulled it out, and it was running perfectly - 10 min. slow. I put it on again, hoping it was just a fluke - you can't blame someone for trying! Once again, by evening it was running slow.

Someone thought it might be the pH level in my skin??? I've seen a few suggestions on this forum - placing something between my wrist and the watch, or using an automatic watch - which I am hoping to try. I'm getting sick of pulling my cell phone out for the time. Thank you for the suggestions.

Incidentally, I actually have about 15 watches: some were given to me, but the majority were purchased by my then set aside because of this problem. I would have the battery replaced then, when that didn't work, I would just buy a new watch, thinking, of course, that I had just made a bad choice and there was something wrong with the watch. I should start selling on eBay!

KarlGauss
07-05-2012, 11:03 AM
Off-topic 1: Now it's a triple zombie

No! A quad!!

johnpost
07-05-2012, 11:37 AM
zombie or no

takes a licking and keeps on ticking (the thread but maybe not the watch).

Askance
07-05-2012, 11:12 PM
Someone thought it might be the pH level in my skin??? I've seen a few suggestions on this forum - placing something between my wrist and the watch, or using an automatic watch - which I am hoping to try. I'm getting sick of pulling my cell phone out for the time.
Why would skin PH have the slightest effect on a watch's insides? I am assuming the back of the watch was not eaten through ... ? Try turning the watch around your wrist so it's on the inside, I bet it works fine since it's now so much harder to knock against things.

To those who claim it's electrical or magnetic in origin: why would any such effect happen to an electronic watch and not, say, a cell phone? The main difference of course is the presence of moving parts, meaning the problem is certainly mechanical in origin and not some mysterious force.

The Niply Elder
07-05-2012, 11:25 PM
This thread should be permalocked by the mods as it atracts the same mental people over and over, or its all a single troll with multiple socks.

Vicory
07-06-2012, 01:14 AM
[QUOTE=Askance;15242711]Why would skin PH have the slightest effect on a watch's insides? I am assuming the back of the watch was not eaten through ... ? Try turning the watch around your wrist so it's on the inside, I bet it works fine since it's now so much harder to knock against things.QUOTE]

As far as the pH level in the skin is concerned, perhaps you are right - I have no idea. As far as knocking the watch about, I am sure not. My 10-hour a day job is sitting at a computer doing research. Pretty hard to knock about a watch doing that. As far as wearing the watch on the inside on my wrist... have already tried it with the same effect. Thanks, though.

Vicory
07-06-2012, 01:15 AM
As far as the pH level in the skin is concerned, perhaps you are right - I have no idea. As far as knocking the watch about, I am sure not. My 10-hour a day job is sitting at a computer doing research. Pretty hard to knock about a watch doing that. As far as wearing the watch on the inside on my wrist... have already tried it with the same effect. Thanks, though.

Mangetout
07-06-2012, 01:29 AM
What brands and types of watches have you been having trouble with, Vicory?

Vicory
07-06-2012, 02:05 AM
Hi Mangetout - of the ones at hand:
6 Timex
1 Gucci
1 Guess
1 Acqua Indiglo (water resistant)
1 ? not sure
1 Casio

Colibri
07-06-2012, 02:14 AM
This thread should be permalocked by the mods as it atracts the same mental people over and over, or its all a single troll with multiple socks.

Moderator Note

Insults and accusations of trolling are not permitted in GQ. No warning issued, but do not do this again. If you see a problem with a post, report it.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Mangetout
07-06-2012, 02:39 AM
Hi Mangetout - of the ones at hand:
6 Timex
1 Gucci
1 Guess
1 Acqua Indiglo (water resistant)
1 ? not sure
1 Casio

That's a lotta watches - especially as you imply there are more not to hand. And are you saying that all these watches lose time when you wear them?

I'd recommend getting a watch that never needs opening. As mentioned above, I've never had a watch last very long/work very reliably after battery replacement.

Vicory
07-06-2012, 02:46 AM
Sorry, I guess it is important to know that they are all quartz; stainless steel back; and analog (although I'm not really sure that's important). There are only two with scratches on the crystal: the rest are in perfect condition. This only matters to say that they have not been banged up as the other chap was suggesting. Okay... now this is borderline obsession! I am just going to try attaching a piece of leather to the back of the watch so the metal back will not come in contact with my wrist.

Vicory
07-06-2012, 02:52 AM
Yes, each loses time when I wear it, but then starts keeping time again when I remove it. What type of watch never gets opened, and where do you find one?

AaronX
07-06-2012, 05:00 AM
Do you swing your hands really fast?

Measure for Measure
07-06-2012, 07:06 PM
If I had Vicory's problem, I would apply for the Randi $1,000,000. It would take some time. And I'm not sure he could come to an agreement with the foundation. But there's a big monetary upside and it would be a fun project regardless.

Punoqllads
07-06-2012, 08:03 PM
Until I moved off the family farm, I could not keep a functioning watch.

I now attribute my watch problems to magnetic cows.
Are you sure they problem wasn't cow magnets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_magnet)?

Hilarity N. Suze
07-07-2012, 12:19 AM
If you can do this in a truly repeatable way--such as naming a specific brand of digital watch, showing that it works correctly without being on your wrist and then showing (under controlled conditions) that it runs slow while being on your wrist--then you have a very good shot at winning a million dollars from the JREF. No known physical process that the human body can control could have that kind of effect, and therefore would fall under their definition of paranormal.

Where did you get the bolded part? If I could control it, I'd...well, I would have a nice looking watch to wear instead of this cheap Casio. I am not stopping them on purpose.

Also, I don't get why you think this would be a fun project. Randi's thing is on television, right? I can think of nothing more boring than watching someone sit around wearing a wristwatch for hours to make sure they haven't done something to make the watch slow down/stop. Watching the watch tick away for many more hours on a dresser could at least be filmed automatically and then speeded up, but the part where you wear the watch, well, that would just be bad television.

Measure for Measure
07-07-2012, 12:51 AM
Also, I don't get why you think this would be a fun project. Randi's thing is on television, right? I can think of nothing more boring than watching someone sit around wearing a wristwatch for hours... 1. No, I didn't have TV in mind.

2. I'm talking about fun to do, not fun to witness. To my way of thinking Suze and Vicory have super-powers: no watch can withstand them! Now I figure that there's a mundane explanation for this, but the bearers of this talent believe otherwise. If I were them I'd be curious about what the heck is going on. And the possibility of a cool $1 mill is certainly an incentive. I mean if there's really something in their arms that stops watches, then Science should learn about it. At least if there's a possible book deal involved.

wbeaty
07-07-2012, 01:16 AM
To those who claim it's electrical or magnetic in origin: why would any such effect happen to an electronic watch and not, say, a cell phone? The main difference of course is the presence of moving parts, meaning the problem is certainly mechanical in origin and not some mysterious force.

On my anomalies reports site, many of the "watch stopper" people report that they cannot own cellphones (which crash, the batteries rapidly drain, etc.) Some say they can't own computers, or even have cashier jobs (crashing the cash register.)

Here's a handfull of those stories about users w/computer problems from a library sci site:

"X-files," a computer jinx (http://www.doug-johnson.com/dougwri/x-files-a-computer-jinx.html)

Dr. Strangelove
07-07-2012, 01:43 AM
Where did you get the bolded part?

Digital watches are very simple devices. They have a quartz oscillator which vibrates at a specific frequency, a circuit that counts the pulses from the oscillator, and a display unit.

The quartz oscillator could change its output based on temperature, mechanical stresses, and some other things. But nothing in the range of what can happen on your wrist. For instance, at 80 degrees C, a normal quartz oscillator slows by about 60 parts per million. Not only is 80 C a ridiculous temperature for a human, but 60 ppm is nowhere enough to account for losing a minute per hour.

The counting circuit could conceivably be disrupted by electromagnetic interference. But humans can't produce radio signals, at least not ones strong enough to affect a watch. Temperature, moisture, etc. can't affect the circuit unless you are so sopping wet that water invades the unit. And in that case you are more likely to see a total shutdown rather than a slowdown.

If you are producing strong radio signals, or better yet have a time modification field centered on your wrist, then it would by Randi's standards count as a paranormal phenomenon.

The million dollar prize does not require something interesting for TV; only a suitably reproducible phenomenon and where the standards for "success" (agreed upon in advance) are met. Of course, it has to be done in a fashion that eliminates any possibility of cheating--Randi, being a magician, has a particular talent for using simple techniques for spotting cheats. If you have a real talent, you would have nothing to worry about here.

So all in all, you can win a million bucks for a day or two of work.

Maserschmidt
07-07-2012, 08:15 AM
Yes, magnetic cows are a common problem. But at least you can always find north when they are around.

That's IF you can find a big enough pan of water to float them in.

Hilarity N. Suze
07-07-2012, 08:47 PM
Digital watches are very simple devices. They have a quartz oscillator which vibrates at a specific frequency, a circuit that counts the pulses from the oscillator, and a display unit.

The quartz oscillator could change its output based on temperature, mechanical stresses, and some other things. But nothing in the range of what can happen on your wrist. For instance, at 80 degrees C, a normal quartz oscillator slows by about 60 parts per million. Not only is 80 C a ridiculous temperature for a human, but 60 ppm is nowhere enough to account for losing a minute per hour.

The counting circuit could conceivably be disrupted by electromagnetic interference. But humans can't produce radio signals, at least not ones strong enough to affect a watch. Temperature, moisture, etc. can't affect the circuit unless you are so sopping wet that water invades the unit. And in that case you are more likely to see a total shutdown rather than a slowdown.

If you are producing strong radio signals, or better yet have a time modification field centered on your wrist, then it would by Randi's standards count as a paranormal phenomenon.

The million dollar prize does not require something interesting for TV; only a suitably reproducible phenomenon and where the standards for "success" (agreed upon in advance) are met. Of course, it has to be done in a fashion that eliminates any possibility of cheating--Randi, being a magician, has a particular talent for using simple techniques for spotting cheats. If you have a real talent, you would have nothing to worry about here.

So all in all, you can win a million bucks for a day or two of work.

Bolded part was something like "physical processes you control." That is not the case. I don't even know it's a physical process, therefore how on earth could I control it? It's just pure luck that 9 out of every 10 watches I've bought have failed to keep accurate time or stopped altogether.

And if you think that sounds like I've bought a lot of watches--yes, I have. Just trying to find one that works. Which I finally did.

So "if you have a real talent" is kind of hilarious. This is not a feature, it's a bug.

Dr. Strangelove
07-07-2012, 09:26 PM
I don't even know it's a physical process, therefore how on earth could I control it?

If it's not a physical process, then you have an even greater claim to paranormal behavior.

By "control", I meant in a general sense. You don't consciously control your heart rate or temperature (although some people can with practice), but your body does. However, your body does not emit significant radio waves, either consciously or not.

You may view this talent as a bug, but you are greatly underestimating the magnitude of the discovery. It would rank among the most important discoveries of all mankind, and earn Nobel Prizes for any number of scientists. Many important discoveries started as an observation of a strange quirk of nature, and when investigated thoroughly opened up an incredible avenue of research.

Hilarity N. Suze
07-07-2012, 10:55 PM
Sorry, I don't believe in paranormal stuff, so I think I'd have a pretty poor chance of presenting this as paranormal to anyone. I also no longer have any of the watches that didn't work, although I kept one of them on my dresser for years. (It was an old watch, not one with a battery, ran fine as long as I wasn't wearing it, and before that it ran fine while my grandmother wore it for many years.)

Dr. Strangelove
07-07-2012, 11:42 PM
Sorry, I don't believe in paranormal stuff, so I think I'd have a pretty poor chance of presenting this as paranormal to anyone. I also no longer have any of the watches that didn't work, although I kept one of them on my dresser for years. (It was an old watch, not one with a battery, ran fine as long as I wasn't wearing it, and before that it ran fine while my grandmother wore it for many years.)

You don't have to believe it's paranormal--that's up for Randi's organization to decide. But the fact is, the way you've described it, it is paranormal, so what you're saying is the equivalent of "I don't believe in paranormal stuff but I think I have ESP."

If you think you still have the talent, isn't a million bucks worth going out and buying another cheap watch that demonstrates the effect?

Hilarity N. Suze
07-08-2012, 09:56 PM
You don't have to believe it's paranormal--that's up for Randi's organization to decide. But the fact is, the way you've described it, it is paranormal, so what you're saying is the equivalent of "I don't believe in paranormal stuff but I think I have ESP."

If you think you still have the talent, isn't a million bucks worth going out and buying another cheap watch that demonstrates the effect?

It's not ESP. I don't have ESP, it doesn't exist.

Beware of Doug
07-08-2012, 10:16 PM
I punish my watches terribly because a) I am hyperhydrotic and sweat like a stevedore, and b) I am left-handed and prefer wearing my watches on the left wrist, so I end up buckling them on right-handed and dropping them. I've had floppy hands, gummed-up stems, broken-off stems whose replacements never worked right, a dozen or more cracked crystals, and probably a hundred or more rotted leather bands.

Dr. Strangelove
07-08-2012, 10:45 PM
It's not ESP. I don't have ESP, it doesn't exist.

Sorry, that was intended as an analogy, not a paraphrase (i.e., the quotes weren't supposed to imply that they were your words).

Let's try another, real-world example. Randi's organization (the JREF) has tested many "water diviners". These people claim to find underground water (or other materials) using simple devices such as a pair of sticks or a pendulum. Generally speaking, these people do not believe they have a paranormal ability--they ascribe their abilities to gravity, or magnetism, or some other physical process. But in fact their claims are paranormal, because the laws of physics don't work in the way they describe, and so the JREF is happy to test them.

Of course, under controlled conditions, water diviners fail miserably, and as expected do no better than chance. The JREF has probably tested dozens of them, and sadly, none are ever convinced that they have no actual ability--they simply believe they had an off day (to their credit, and to the credit of the JREFs ability to be objective, few to none have complained about poor test conditions).

So: you may not believe your abilities are paranormal, but the JREF almost certainly will. If you really are convinced you can do what you say, I heartily recommend finding a watch that demonstrates the effect and winning the prize.

PS: I remain confused about one thing. You said "I don't even know it's a physical process", implying that you think that a non-physical process is a possibility. A non-physical process is by definition paranormal (the words are almost perfect synonyms in this context), yet you also said "Sorry, I don't believe in paranormal stuff". Can you explain the discrepancy?

BigT
07-10-2012, 11:59 AM
Sorry, that was intended as an analogy, not a paraphrase (i.e., the quotes weren't supposed to imply that they were your words).

Let's try another, real-world example. Randi's organization (the JREF) has tested many "water diviners". These people claim to find underground water (or other materials) using simple devices such as a pair of sticks or a pendulum. Generally speaking, these people do not believe they have a paranormal ability--they ascribe their abilities to gravity, or magnetism, or some other physical process. But in fact their claims are paranormal, because the laws of physics don't work in the way they describe, and so the JREF is happy to test them.

Of course, under controlled conditions, water diviners fail miserably, and as expected do no better than chance. The JREF has probably tested dozens of them, and sadly, none are ever convinced that they have no actual ability--they simply believe they had an off day (to their credit, and to the credit of the JREFs ability to be objective, few to none have complained about poor test conditions).

So: you may not believe your abilities are paranormal, but the JREF almost certainly will. If you really are convinced you can do what you say, I heartily recommend finding a watch that demonstrates the effect and winning the prize.

PS: I remain confused about one thing. You said "I don't even know it's a physical process", implying that you think that a non-physical process is a possibility. A non-physical process is by definition paranormal (the words are almost perfect synonyms in this context), yet you also said "Sorry, I don't believe in paranormal stuff". Can you explain the discrepancy?

You are using physical process in a way I don't think most people would. And I see no reason it has to be controlled in any way at all, conscious or unconscious.

And there's no reason to do any of this if she can't repeat the experiment herself first. There is indeed a large potential downside to all this: someone who doesn't believe in woo is going to be treated like they do.

And once again, like water-witching, I wish that, instead of constantly claiming explanations, people would actually test them and see if they work. Without a proven way for the phenomena to work, you're going to have a hard time convincing people. As people often say, you can't prove a negative (even though you very well can).

Oh, and the JREF apparently has a bad definition of paranormal. If something were found, it would be evidence that the science is wrong, not that anything was paranormal. Science would then expand to include this, and it would be full-on "normal." It makes me want to try various medications where we can't figure out how they work. The entire point of science is that, if an experiment is in conflict with your theories, it is your theories that are wrong. (This, obviously, does not include human error. I mean a controlled experiment, obviously.)

Dr. Strangelove
07-10-2012, 03:59 PM
You are using physical process in a way I don't think most people would.

Really? You may be right, but it seems obvious to me that a physical process is one that is described by the laws of physics.

And I see no reason it has to be controlled in any way at all, conscious or unconscious.

Can you elaborate? As I said, I meant "control" in a fairly general sense--basically anything the body does at all that might have an effect. It's possible it's environmental of course, but HNS claimed that the key distinction is if the watch was on the wrist or not.

And there's no reason to do any of this if she can't repeat the experiment herself first. There is indeed a large potential downside to all this: someone who doesn't believe in woo is going to be treated like they do.

No doubt that she should try to repeat the experiment--I've suggested that all along. But from what I've seen and read of the JREFs investigations (including watching one in person), the latter point is not a huge problem. They've always been respectful of people, and in particular they understand very well the kinds of fallacies that people--all people--are prone to making. We all have the same brain bugs; the only difference is in how we overcome them.

And once again, like water-witching, I wish that, instead of constantly claiming explanations, people would actually test them and see if they work.

That's the entire point of the million dollar prize. They don't expect to lose, of course. The purpose is to show that under proper controlled conditions, all of these types of claims dissolve into nothingness.

That said, the money exists and they are prepared to pay out if necessary. They've said that a million bucks is more than worth the advance in science resulting from a real discovery of this nature.

Oh, and the JREF apparently has a bad definition of paranormal. If something were found, it would be evidence that the science is wrong, not that anything was paranormal.

"Paranormal" is necessarily a somewhat subjective thing. It encompasses everything that is not only unknown to science, but is outside any reasonable extrapolation of science. Although some things clearly fit into one category or another, other stuff sits in a gray area of interpretation. So in terms of the prize, paranormal is whatever they agree to. In practice, this isn't actually a problem since most of what they investigate is obvious woo.

Of course it is literally true that once a paranormal thing is properly investigated, it becomes no longer paranormal. That doesn't mean it's not a useful label before that point.

Mangetout
07-11-2012, 01:37 AM
Really? You may be right, but it seems obvious to me that a physical process is one that is described by the laws of physics.

Some people might read 'physical' to mean 'mechanical' (as opposed to, say, electromagnetic) - maybe that's what is confounding this discussion.

mathgen
03-06-2013, 10:56 AM
I have the same problem and never found an explanation; now it's getting even worst and weird! I'm 51 y.o. portuguese guy, my grandfather was a watchmaker, had a shop with many famous brands and he could never give a watch to me or to my mother (suffers the same problem) that works properly, they were always ahead or delayed, sometimes until madness! In the seventies the liquid crystal watches were popular, i had one but it didn't last for too long; after a couple of months the numbers in the display disappeared; i assumed the battery was off so i bought a new one. It worked for a couple of weeks but the same problem happened and so i put the watch in an drawer locker. Every time i opened it the watch was working and i started to use it again until it stops; call me stupid but it was the first time i realized the watch just doesn't work with... ME! After that i tried other kind of watches but the result was always the same; from my experience i can tell you this: the thinner the watch is the quicker it brakes. Now: the problem is not only with wrist watches but with all clocks around me. Years ago i started to notice a constant delay in the time shown in the clocks of computers and the cars i have; i establish a pattern: 10 minutes in three months for all of them!!! Cell phones (always had Nokias) same story until now: i have an iPhone and last year didn't show any malfunction with the clock. Among PCs and Macs, same story of 10 minutes delay in three months but now, after 2 years of good work the clock of my iMac starts to... go ahead! And it goes ahead... 10 minutes in three months for the last 6 months, until now two times. That's why i was searching the net for some explanation this is a freaking story, i found nothing except this forum... For all who experience this, no need to say that friends and people in general say that's impossible in scientific terms (thanks a lot i know that) and some start to think why do i "make up this story": do i need attention, do i need to make myself special with a bizarre story? Do i have a twisted ego? At 51 years old i don't care anymore with that but everytime i need to set the clocks i remember this "little crazy thing" about me. Three months ago i wondered if there's a club, society or any institution that studies these things but only now i really googled to look for an answer. Thanx

johnpost
03-06-2013, 11:22 AM
triple zombie or no

i had a portable sundial as a youth, it worked great. they can be purchased at camping or outdoor stores.

picunurse
03-06-2013, 12:41 PM
I've had the same problem. I took the last couple apart to see what happened. They were corroded inside, like they had been soaked with sweat.

Sydney626
06-04-2013, 12:53 PM
Listen, I'm just as cynical as the next person, if not more so. There's always an explanation, but...

I'm sitting here and I see a commercial for a watch that I would like and realize that I can't buy it because they always stop on me, which prompted me to do a google on the subject, which brought me to this board. Mind you, I've not worn a watch in at least two decades. Don't know what technological changes have happened in the interim.

As far back as I can remember, watches would stop working on me within two days. Once I would take the watch off and put it away, next time I looked at it, it would be working again. The last time I bought a watch was in my mid 20s (I'm now 47), and I decided to spend a little extra $$$ on the watch thinking it would be a different outcome. It wasn't.

I'm paraphrasing, but calling people attention-seeking freaks because they, too, have had this occur to them is the epitome of narrow-mindedness. I don't know the reason for this happening to certain people, but I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation, and I, for one, am quite curious as to what it is.

As far as other electronics, I don't know. I seem to have bad luck with printers, but I'm sure it's my impatience that's the problem.

naita
06-04-2013, 01:15 PM
I'm paraphrasing, but calling people attention-seeking freaks because they, too, have had this occur to them is the epitome of narrow-mindedness.
No one here has called someone else an attention-seaking freak.

I don't know the reason for this happening to certain people, but I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation, and I, for one, am quite curious as to what it is.
Looking at the available anecdotes, I don't think there is a reasonable explanation, I think there are many, in combination:

Pick one or more from the first set and one or more from the second:

A) Buys crappy watches
B) Sweats a lot while wearing non-water resistant watches
C) Treats watches roughly
D) Forgets to change batteries
E) Takes watches to hack watchmakers for repair

1) Confirmation bias. "My watches always stop, (except when they don't)."
2) Exaggeration bias. "My watches stop immediately, (as far as I can remember)."
3) Life on the tail end of the bell curve. Your experiences are one in a million or ten million or one hundred million and there are billions of watch wearers.

DrDeth
06-04-2013, 02:31 PM
No one here has called someone else an attention-seaking freak.


Looking at the available anecdotes, I don't think there is a reasonable explanation, I think there are many, in combination:

Pick one or more from the first set and one or more from the second:

A) Buys crappy watches
B) Sweats a lot while wearing non-water resistant watches
C) Treats watches roughly
D) Forgets to change batteries
E) Takes watches to hack watchmakers for repair

1) Confirmation bias. "My watches always stop, (except when they don't)."
2) Exaggeration bias. "My watches stop immediately, (as far as I can remember)."
3) Life on the tail end of the bell curve. Your experiences are one in a million or ten million or one hundred million and there are billions of watch wearers.

Yeah. I knew a dude who used to claim that he had the worst luck with cars. I asked him when he last had the oil changed, and he said that was all a scam, you didn’t need to that maintenance crap, just add oil.:eek::rolleyes:

CC
06-04-2013, 11:12 PM
Just to support the "you can't over-wind a watch" assertion - the guy in the watch repair shop down the block told me this, too. He even asked me to wind my watch in front of him, and when I stopped he asked me why. When I told him I was afraid of over-winding it, he said you can't do that. Basically, the spring winds up tight and can't wind any more. The only way to damage a watch by winding would seem to be to take a pair of pliers to the winder and twist it until the stem breaks. So, if a watch stops, it's not because it's over-wound.

eboltoni
06-20-2013, 04:13 PM
I was unable to wear watches for years. They would stop working after a short time, despite new batteries or wearing a new watch. Computers would malfunction, etc etc. The list goes on. Check if you have metal based fillings in your mouth. Especially if you have two different types of metal (eg gold and silver mercury amalgams). The two different metals, along with the salt in your saliva cause an electrical flow in your mouth. I discovered I was a walking battery! You may also want to research silver mercury amalgams, which are up to 60% mercury (a neurotoxin!)

Mangetout
06-20-2013, 04:48 PM
I was unable to wear watches for years. They would stop working after a short time, despite new batteries or wearing a new watch. Computers would malfunction, etc etc. The list goes on. Check if you have metal based fillings in your mouth. Especially if you have two different types of metal (eg gold and silver mercury amalgams). The two different metals, along with the salt in your saliva cause an electrical flow in your mouth. I discovered I was a walking battery! You may also want to research silver mercury amalgams, which are up to 60% mercury (a neurotoxin!)

If your fillings were making you a living battery, you would become aware of it straight away by means of the unbearable tingling sensation in your mouth. Don't feel that? Not a battery.

DataX
06-20-2013, 05:15 PM
As a watch collector I find this fascinating. I'm also very suspicious.

A couple things...

Exactly who is buying watches that wind now a days?

I get the impression some people are confusing analog watches with wind up watches. Virtually all watches that are sold now are quartz watches. These can be analog (with hands) or digital (LCD) or both. These use batteries. While there are some brands niche products that are still wind up - I don't think the are very common. I could be wrong and there might be some low end brand that still does this, but in general I think all the major ones are quartz.

As someone else pointed out - there are mechanical watches that are "automatic watches". They use the motion of the wrist to wind the watch. These are more common for men than for women - due to the size of the movement. MOST expensive watches that are sold are automatic watches. Omega and Rolex for example. If you do not wear your watch all the time - or are somewhat inactive - it is possible/probable for the watch to "die". If you then take it off your wrist - shake it - it will restart (depending on watch and how much you shake it). You have recharged it for a tiny bit longer. Put it back on your wrist and it will die again in a few minutes. Watches like this have like a 36 - 60 hour (usually) power reserve. They actually sell automatic winders to keep these watches charged when not on the wrist (basically spin the watches). Due to the price of most of these - I do not think these would be causing the problem - as people wouldn't keep buying multi thousand dollar watches (yes you can get some for a hundred or so - but they aren't usually advertised as much). But it is an explanation for some people at least some of the time.

Magnetic fields would be another. Rolex, IWC, and Omega (and I'm sure others) sell anti-magnetic watches. The Rolex is called the Milgauss and Omega just came out with this one...

http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2013/03/watch-of-the-week-omegas-anti-magnetic-watch-movement.html

I couldn't find the cite right now, but I believe I read Omega claiming some significant (might have been ~20%) of the watches they get for repair (in one country) are due to magnetic fields. In the watch ads/reviews for these products - MRI machines are listed as a potential hazard. I haven't really heard of people that needed their watches degaussed, but it is supposed to be an issue for people in some fields (no pun intended). I am not sure if this effects mechanical more than quartz. A symptom is supposed to be watch slowing down. In theory it could be something as simple as an overly strong refrigerator magnet (for the seal).

Harmonious Discord
06-20-2013, 05:52 PM
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future.
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future
Especially on old threads.

Dr. Strangelove
06-20-2013, 07:27 PM
I couldn't find the cite right now, but I believe I read Omega claiming some significant (might have been ~20%) of the watches they get for repair (in one country) are due to magnetic fields. In the watch ads/reviews for these products - MRI machines are listed as a potential hazard. I haven't really heard of people that needed their watches degaussed, but it is supposed to be an issue for people in some fields (no pun intended). I am not sure if this effects mechanical more than quartz. A symptom is supposed to be watch slowing down. In theory it could be something as simple as an overly strong refrigerator magnet (for the seal).

My Omega Speedmaster Automatic certainly had that problem. I had been using some strong neodymium magnets and the watch started keeping very poor time (off by >1 min per day). They repaired the watch under warranty. I wonder, though, if they noticed the problem and replaced the spring with an anti-magnetic one, because I've continued to work with magnets (a little more carefully, but not much more so) and I haven't had a problem since. Maybe they decided that avoiding future returns was worth a small extra cost.

digs
06-21-2013, 12:04 AM
Quadruple Zombie!

(and, on topic, I can stop watches and scramble the magnetic strip on a hotel key card.)

naita
06-22-2013, 01:45 AM
I was unable to wear watches for years. They would stop working after a short time, despite new batteries or wearing a new watch. Computers would malfunction, etc etc. The list goes on.
This indicates you are either a very careless person or very "unlucky" or both.
Check if you have metal based fillings in your mouth. Especially if you have two different types of metal (eg gold and silver mercury amalgams).
So fillings with just one type of metal is also a problem? Because that's what the word "Especially" means.

The two different metals, along with the salt in your saliva cause an electrical flow in your mouth. I discovered I was a walking battery! You may also want to research silver mercury amalgams, which are up to 60% mercury (a neurotoxin!)
How is the neurotoxicity of mercury relevant to watches stopping? Are you deliberately trying to discredit yourself? And even if your fillings created a weak galvanic cell in your mouth, how is that supposed to stop watches and computers? Do you know _anything_ about electricity? Voltage, current, electrical resistance and so on? Because it looks like you're just engaging in ignorance based magical thinking.

randomface
06-22-2013, 09:28 AM
My ex grandfather in law made claims of his skin producing something that corroded or pitted metal. I thought he was full of crap or had just bought poor quality materials. Then he showed me some of them, and they did indeed show odd coloring and pitting.

He blamed it on being exposed to different things in Vietnam and claimed that for years afterwards he had a strange smell sometimes when he sweat too much. He said that these effects went away a few years after coming back, but by then he was used to not wearing jewelry or watches so he never started wearing them again.

Any possibility to what he was telling me?

samclem
06-22-2013, 06:22 PM
My ex grandfather in law made claims of his skin producing something that corroded or pitted metal. I thought he was full of crap or had just bought poor quality materials. Then he showed me some of them, and they did indeed show odd coloring and pitting.

He blamed it on being exposed to different things in Vietnam and claimed that for years afterwards he had a strange smell sometimes when he sweat too much. He said that these effects went away a few years after coming back, but by then he was used to not wearing jewelry or watches so he never started wearing them again.

Any possibility to what he was telling me?

Over time, if you wear a gold filled wristwatch, your sweat can eat away the gold filling. It might take 20-30 years. It can be accelerated by an acidic diet--tomatoes, etc. If you were wearing a stainless wristwatch, it won't oxidize.

rogerbox
06-23-2013, 12:41 AM
I think this subject is one of the hallmarks of skeptical vs. non skeptical thinking.

Even supposing the tiny filings in your mouth were using the spit to make a battery, so what? It would be a few hundredths or thousandths of a volt, yet your watch can be right next to a car battery starting and it will be thousands of times stronger and not interfere with a watch whatsoever. We're constantly around microwaves, house A/C voltage, wifi signals etc but somehow a NON DETECTABLE "current" from your body is breaking a watch? Go get a simple digital multimeter and measure your "current" (there is nothing magic about it) and show how you're so much more "charged" than anyone else?

NickyGee
07-22-2013, 06:42 AM
I came through to this site after trying to find out why my new watch wont work when I wear it. If I leave it on the dressing table it keeps perfect time but as soon as I put it on it starts to loose time. I have no idea why this happens but wonder if it is due to some extra electricity in my body, wind up watches were no use at all for me as none of them would work but I have had loads of digital watches and up to this one they have all worked perfectly regardless of what I paid for them.

I have not found I have any adverse effect on anything apart from watches, they only other 'symptom' if you could call it that is I have often got an electric shock if I touch metal stair rails and give a shock to some cats if I go to stroke them.
If anyone has found a way to 'cure' the watch problem I would love to know, I have tried putting elastoplast on the back of the watch but this does n't help.



I'd heard this before, on another forum, basically, someone was sure that a person was generating a massive, watch ruining magnetic field. And I said that I didn't believe that there is a good biophysical model for explaining how a human could generate a significant one, and I wouldn't be surprised if there is a lack of peer-reviewed research to search for one. I have no citations available.

My WAG at the time was that I tended to chew up and spit out watches rapidly, back in the day. I bashed more than a few crystals, because I wasn't careful with how I swung my arms. So I have an idea why the watch stopped, and maybe the same thing, on a lesser scale, is happening in your case.

I'd heard people say how psychics can restart stopped witches, by warming them in their hands, the heat thinning gelled lubricating oil for a time. Or something like that.

I'd also have you ask them, if they believe they have mystical body chemistry or magnetic blood that stops watches -- do they stop alarm clocks if they hug them? Can they affect other electronic devices they're near -- computers, other timers?

Maybe the whole thing is a personal confirmation bias.

naita
07-22-2013, 07:11 AM
I came through to this site after trying to find out why my new watch wont work when I wear it. If I leave it on the dressing table it keeps perfect time but as soon as I put it on it starts to loose time. I have no idea why this happens but wonder if it is due to some extra electricity in my body, wind up watches were no use at all for me as none of them would work but I have had loads of digital watches and up to this one they have all worked perfectly regardless of what I paid for them.

There's no such thing as "extra electricity" in the body, apart from static electricity which isn't caused by anything to do with your body, but your choice of clothing, footwear, furniture and carpets.

If your watch loses time when you wear it there is something wrong with it mechanically.

Arkcon
07-22-2013, 12:45 PM
But hey, O.P. latest necromancer, thanks for quoting my years old posting. It sure saves me the time of mentioning it all again. Many people over the years have posited that there must be some personal human magnetic electronic field, but they've never come up with any proof.

Here's a WAG. Some watches are crap. They're not built with sufficient care, and they stop working, for no reason except, their parts don't fit with the precision a hilly miniaturized mechanical device needs to work under all conditions. That's why the very expensive watchmakers all harp on their "precision engineering" -- in addition to the gold content of the case, or the features the watch has, it must simply be harder than it looks to assemble a durable watch.

Hilarity N. Suze
07-27-2013, 11:52 PM
I think this subject is one of the hallmarks of skeptical vs. non skeptical thinking.

Even supposing the tiny filings in your mouth were using the spit to make a battery, so what? It would be a few hundredths or thousandths of a volt, yet your watch can be right next to a car battery starting and it will be thousands of times stronger and not interfere with a watch whatsoever. We're constantly around microwaves, house A/C voltage, wifi signals etc but somehow a NON DETECTABLE "current" from your body is breaking a watch? Go get a simple digital multimeter and measure your "current" (there is nothing magic about it) and show how you're so much more "charged" than anyone else?

All right. I am about as skeptical as anyone. Here is what happened:

1st watch: this was a very fancy watch given to me by my grandmother. An Omega. Pink gold, dial set with diamonds and rubies (small ones). Obviously too fancy to wear to things, as I was about 12 at the time, but I loved it. I kept it wound and on my dresser, and for some years it kept perfect time. After a few years I had some fancy thing, initiation to Rainbow Girls or somesuch, that I deemed fancy enough to wear this watch. Before the end of the evening, it had stopped. I think I had it on for about half an hour before that happened. Back to the dresser.

Back to keeping perfect time, again.

2nd watch: A Bulova. I found this watch somewhere--I think Disneyland. Turned it in to lost & found. After a year, no one had claimed it so they sent it back to me. It was the kind of watch a lot of links, and I have a very small wrist, so until I could get it sized, I kept it in my purse, and it worked. As soon as I had the links taken out so it fit my wrist, it stopped working.

Being that it looked like a good watch we took it to a jeweler, who cleaned it, and whatever, and didn't find anything wrong. (This was the same guy who had taken the links out.) It was running when I got it back. Shortly after I put it on, it stopped again.

3rd watch: A cheap Timex. Guaranteed for 30 days. Stopped working before 30 days. Returned. Got another one.

4th watch: A cheap Timex. Guaranteed for 30 days. Stopped working before 30 days. Returned. Got another one.

(Repeat 3 or 4 more times)

Then I started wearing my father's old watch. I don't remember what brand, but it was a good one. It was huge, girls didn't wear men's watches then, it flopped around on my wrist something crazy so I pushed it up above my elbow (very chic, yes). IT WORKED. IT DID NOT STOP.

Meanwhile, if I wanted to look chic, rather than unchic, I would occasionally wear the Omega, which looked very nice even if it didn't keep good time. What I mean to say is that it worked as a bracelet, but I never could rely on it if I had to be somewhere like back in the dorm by curfew

Now all this time I had never even heard of "people who stop watches."

Also somewhere along the way I got a vintage Mickey Mouse watch that had apparently been keeping good time for I don't know how many years and, like the Bulova and Omega before it, it ticked right along--as long as I didn't wear it.

Now obviously I don't stop every single watch, because there was that one of my father's. My conclusion was that women's watches were just shit compared to men's. But you know how college broadens your horizons and all that shit, I started running into a lot of people who knew someone who stopped watches. What would happen was they would say something like, "Why are you wearing that enormous man's watch on your upper arm," and I'd say something like, "It's the only one that works!" and then I would get some anecdote about somebody else who just couldn't wear a watch.

So that's why I think it's A Thing. Note that now I have a Casio, which I've been wearing since 1990 or thereabouts, and it works just fine. I have been through three of them, but it's not because I stopped them, it's because the little things you use to set them wore out (and if it weren't for daylight savings time, that wouldn't be a problem because I would never have to set it).

Before getting the first version of this Casio, I had another digital watch. It didn't stop, but it did run slow when it was on my wrist, and seemed to work just fine when sitting around on my dresser.

naita
07-28-2013, 05:50 PM
So that's why I think it's A Thing. Note that now I have a Casio, which I've been wearing since 1990 or thereabouts, and it works just fine. I have been through three of them, but it's not because I stopped them, it's because the little things you use to set them wore out (and if it weren't for daylight savings time, that wouldn't be a problem because I would never have to set it).

Before getting the first version of this Casio, I had another digital watch. It didn't stop, but it did run slow when it was on my wrist, and seemed to work just fine when sitting around on my dresser.

To quote myself:

Your experiences are one in a million or ten million or one hundred million and there are billions of watch wearers.

If there are people who stop watches, it's due to a combination of the reasons I gave in the rest of that quoted post. Unless you think that qualifies as "A Thing", it's not "A Thing".

And being as skeptical as anyone is damning yourself with faint praise. From my experience "anyone" is rarely skeptical enough to realize their personal experience might be a statistical anomaly.

rogerbox
07-30-2013, 11:07 PM
snip

So what do you think is causing the watches to stop?

Hilarity N. Suze
08-01-2013, 12:34 AM
So what do you think is causing the watches to stop?

Well, obviously it was either something I was doing, or I just got the world's worst string of bad watches. I guess you missed the part where more than one of them got taken to a jeweler who couldn't find anything wrong with them.

At the time I started dating my husband, I was still in the thing where I bought a Timex and then traded it in every couple of weeks for a new one, since the watch had stopped and it was guaranteed. He mentioned that his last two girlfriends also stopped watches. I have no idea what else we had in common besides stopping watches and him.

If anyone is doing a survey on factors common to people who stop watches, it seems to me that most of the people who have claimed this are, like me, female. I will add another one: birth control devices/pills didn't work well for me either. Half my children were conceived while I was using birth control. In one case it was an IUD so it's not necessarily that I was doing it wrong. According to my Ob/Gyn I wasn't even one in a million for that.

Mangetout
08-01-2013, 02:14 AM
...or I just got the world's worst string of bad watches.

Given the number of people in the world, and the number of watches, that's going to happen to some people just by chance - and to those people, it's going to seem like something too unusual to be chance.

martyd101
08-27-2013, 07:10 PM
When I was 16 my mother gave me a lovely watch - Seiko. It died 8 months later. We sent it back and they sent us another. That one died within 2 months. I sent that one back and they sent me another with a letter that stated that for some reason the batteries kept dying and that it might be my body chemistry.

Since that time, I've bought many watches. They last from one month to a year or so but they ALL die.

Maybe I'm just clumsy.

DataX
08-27-2013, 07:58 PM
IMHO - In the future it would be really helpful if people would post weather the watch is:

1) Digital/Quartz
2) Analog Quartz
3) Analog Mechanical Wind
4) Analog Automatic
5) If seiko - is it kinetic. If citizen - is it an Eco-Drive?

There are plenty of factors that people aren't including - Not to pick on Hilarity's posts, but:

her Omega watch - they are supposed to be serviced every five years. No note on weather this occurred. No mechanical watch is expected to last as long as hers did without servicing (maybe she had this done). The fact that it works better while not being worn (motionless) doesn't mean much.

Her Mens watch - if it was an automatic - this all could totally be understood based on the way she was wearing the watch.

Watches aren't magic. They work by well understood forces. It wouldn't surprise me if someone got a note blaming body chemistry or something, but I'd think its 1,000,000 more likely that someone is exposed to a magnetic field that they are unaware of (that there are actually watches SPECIFICALLY designed to protect against) than it is body chemistry. AFAIK - there are no major watch manufactures that sell a watch that is Anti-Body Chemistry - while Rolex, IWC, and Omega each manufacture watches designed to protect against magnetic fields.

You wouldn't feel it if you were exposed to a magnetic field.

I would expect it to only effect analog watches though.

Here are the tools to fix/detect it....

http://www.ofrei.com/page_220.html

Never seen any for body chemistry/personal electric fields

samclem
08-27-2013, 10:29 PM
Never seen any for body chemistry/personal electric fields

I've never seen those either. Nor have I seen watches designed to prevent pink unicorns from stopping your watch, Hmmm? Wonder if there's a reason manufacturers don't make such watches. :)

Hilarity N. Suze
08-27-2013, 10:55 PM
The Omega watch was a really old watch and it was serviced right before I got it.

All I remember about the men's watch is that it had a radium dial (or some kind of dial that glowed in the dark. It was old, too, so possibly radium).

They were all the kind you had to wind.

to martyd1101, hi fellow watchkiller, I recommend a Casio.

eburacum45
08-28-2013, 04:01 PM
Hey, I'm a watchkiller, too - but I know exactly what the problem is, and I can't be bothered to fix it. Any electronic watch I get - even one that has self-correcting time thanks to a radio signal - always seems to display random garbage whenever I look at it. Usually a stopwatch, or a complicated alarm system or similar.

The answer is that I use my bicycle just about every day, sometimes for extended periods. As my wrist is constantly in a flexed position, it activates the control buttons on the watch at random, and persistently. This basically randomises the display.

There are special watches for cyclists like myself- but why bother- my mobile phone tells me what the time is quite accurately, thank you very much.

DataX
08-28-2013, 04:17 PM
Hey, I'm a watchkiller, too - but I know exactly what the problem is, and I can't be bothered to fix it. Any electronic watch I get - even one that has self-correcting time thanks to a radio signal - always seems to display random garbage whenever I look at it. Usually a stopwatch, or a complicated alarm system or similar.

The answer is that I use my bicycle just about every day, sometimes for extended periods. As my wrist is constantly in a flexed position, it activates the control buttons on the watch at random, and persistently. This basically randomises the display.

There are special watches for cyclists like myself- but why bother- my mobile phone tells me what the time is quite accurately, thank you very much.


Hmm - now that you mention this I've gone through several Suunto watches - probably five and more than that heart rate monitor belts. Watches aren't necessarily water resistant with the pushers being engaged. The Suunto watches I really liked for their data functions (actually most of that could be stored on the belt). I always assumed this was related to me literally drenching them with sweat. I didn't wear them that much when not exercising, and problem seemed to be very correlated to excessive sweating. I think most of them still worked fine for time functions - but they started to have problems communicating with the belts (sometimes replacing the belt helped, sometimes it didn't). Some did have the displays get messed up (which I assumed was due to sweat leaking inside).

The manual recommend wetting the belt with water (both polar and suunto). I ended up reading people talking about EKG gel helping - I bought some and it definitely helped. I know you weren't talking about HRM, but just thought I'd add this anyway :)

Widowson
02-01-2014, 07:34 AM
I had this same problem when I was a young man. Many a nice watch died on my arm after several days to a couple of weeks. I had to stop wearing them and bought pocket watches from then on. Then companies started making watches with their cases made entirely of plastic. They were cheaper than metal case wrist watches, so I tried one. The watch never died until the battery went. The drawback was you couldn't access the battery as the case was solid plastic. I bought a 2nd plastic watch several years later. This time the case was plastic, but the back of the watch had a metal plate so you could change the battery. It died within several days. I bought a nice Bulova wristwatch in my mid 30s and have had no problems at all since. I seem to have grown out of whatever the problem was, but believe me the problem is real. I have 2 sons. One is 6 foot 3 and 300 pounds. He is pretty rough on anything he owns. He does not have this problem. My other son is 6 foot and about 200 pounds and a lot more careful with things and has the same problem as I had. Go figure!!!

rogerbox
02-03-2014, 11:43 AM
So the watch with the metal back "died" after several days, meaning you changed the watch battery and it still would not work, or did you buy a watch with an already ran down or old battery?

AskNott
02-03-2014, 01:04 PM
My brother wrecked a few digital watches and credit cards at work before he made a solid habit of leaving his watch, calculator, and wallet in the car. He makes his living working on MRI systems, and the massive magnets kill those things in a flash.

davidshockey
02-03-2014, 02:53 PM
When I was a boy I knew a man who could not wear wrist watches. He was the pastor in our church. He said that within a couple of hours of putting on a mechanical or electronic watch it would stop. There is no time in two hours for him to be too rough with the watch. It is unlikely that batteries on different watches would run down within a couple of hours and that doesn't explain why mechanical watches would stop. This is someone I trusted (still do) and I believe what he says.

Years later I had a job installing time clocks that read peoples' fingerprints to confirm their identity. We ran across a few people that we couldn't get good fingerprints on. In some cases they had worn down fingerprints because of the work they did. In other cases they were old and had wrinkles in the fingertips. We could always get a reading on these people - just not a good enough reading that we could reliably use to identify them.

Except one person. A lady in her mid-thirties came to a clock to get registered and put her finger on the reader and we read nothing, zero quality, zip. I thought that was odd and checked her fingertips. She had what appeared to be good fingerprints. I asked her to wipe her hands with a wipe and try again. Nothing. Cleaned and restarted the clock. Nothing. Tried other peoples' prints and had no errors. Tried her again. Nothing. I made a comment about how strange it was and she volunteered, "I'm one of those people who can't wear watches."

I know it's anecdotal but I have to say that I've seen this in action.

Doug K.
02-03-2014, 07:48 PM
This thread appears to have a strange effect on calendars!