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Going battery free

Discussion in 'Watches' started by edjo69, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. edjo69

    edjo69 EDC Junkie

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    I have just canned my last battery powered watch. I got tired of having to have the batteries replaced and worry about whether or not they were still water proof, plus the last one to go ate batteries about one per year. So I am now down to two automatics; Marathon GSAR, Sieko 5, one mechanical Swiss Army Airboss, and two solars; Casio Riseman, Casio Aviator. I wish my ham Radio hobby could be battery free!
     
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  2. suburbDad

    suburbDad Loaded Pockets

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    I like my Casio solar. Not built too well but a great everyday watch
     
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  3. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    If you've switched to auto to save worry or money, you're going to be disappointed. The first time you get your autos serviced will cost more than a lifetime of batteries, and they're a lot more delicate than any quartz.

    If you've switched to solar to save the Earth, your Casios still have batteries; they just have on-board recharging capability.

    I like solar and auto myself, but any reason I might cite for owning either is really just a rationalization.
     
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  4. amacman
    • In Omnia Paratus

    amacman Loaded Pockets

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    This assumes just the cost of batteries, not the cost of an actual service. If you factor in an actual service when putting in batteries (checking replacing seal/gaskets) than the autos can come out ahead.
     
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  5. indigo_wolf

    indigo_wolf AKA Breezy

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    Some solars use batteries, some solars use capacitors to store secondary power. For quite a while now.

    1984 Seiko presents the Pulsar 'Quartz Solar', caliber V102A and V103; the first solar watch which functions without any problems because the battery is​
    replaced by a supercapacitor or large scale-capacitor. Ten minutes of sunlight suffice to charge the watch for ten days. When the capacitor is discharged and the voltage goes down to 1.2 Volt, the watch gives a warning by two seconds step motion instead of one step a second. In 1987, Seiko marketed the 8S23 with a residual power indicator, which contained a capacitor instead of a battery.​

    1986 In June, Casio launches its first watch with a supercapacitor instead of a rechargeable battery, the FB-50 and FB-51 with module QW-520.​
    The watch, when fully loaded, can now run for seven days.​

    ATB,
    Sam
     
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  6. BarksAtCats
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    BarksAtCats Loaded Pockets

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    Phht, supercapacitors are SO 1980s... ;)
     
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  7. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    As far as I know, you're not going to find any capacitor-based solar watches any more. That experiment didn't work out very well. Most modern solar watches have a power reserve of 6-12 months, and that's not coming from a capacitor.

    Anyway, since we're talking about a specific watch here, a Casio Riseman sports a Panasonic CTL1616 battery. I'm not sure about the other Casio.
     
  8. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    What do you reckon happens in a service? A service for an auto is going to be a lot more expensive than a battery change + gaskets + pressure test.
     
  9. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    An old jeweler once told me that if you want your watch battery to last longer just pull out the stem as though you were setting it. Naturally, it stops the watch, but it also means that you'll have to reset it when you're ready to wear it.

    This little method works for me because, although I have an every day watch, I have several watches that I also alternate wearing depending on what I'm doing (a dress one with a black leather band, a dress one with a brown leather band, one for watersports, another for backpacking, and so one). As a result of this little tip it is usually a long time between battery changes.
     
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  10. MatBlack

    MatBlack Loaded Pockets

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    How often are you supposed to get autos serviced? I got my Hamilton in 2008 and I've never taken it in.
     
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  11. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    Ugh. I see that all the time in jewelry shops. A local guy leaves his Eco-Drives open like that. For me, I'd rather not leave my watch sitting there with an opening for dust and moisture to get into the case for months at a time.

    I'll admit to being a lowly civil engineer rather than electrical in this case, but I'm not sure if hacking your quartz watch breaks a circuit or merely mechanically disengages the hands from the motor, or even ENGAGES a block to their movement. In the latter two cases it seems like you wouldn't save batteries.

    I'm really not down on OP or mechanical watches in general, but I haven't found many compelling pro-mechanical arguments that don't honestly begin and end with "I want it because I like the idea of it." Since that's my sole rationale for everything I have, I can't dispute it. The economics just don't work out. If you are going purely on economics and HAVE to have a watch (already an irrational decision in most cases) then the vast majority of us can buy a Casio F-91W, then in ten years when its battery dies, buy another one. About 6 watches into the process I intend to be dead. Total lifetime cost of watches < cost of one auto service.
     
  12. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Naturally, your mileage may vary. I've been doing it now for about 15 years, Soosh. Never had a problem, but take my advice if you want and if you don't that is perfectly fine. No harm done.
     
  13. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    We should run the experiment: Get two of the same watch, put a new battery in on the same day, hack one and let one run and see what happens.

    Searching around just now I discovered that some high-end Seikos actually DO cut the circuit when the crown is pulled. Zero battery drain.
     
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  14. amacman
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    amacman Loaded Pockets

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    My favorite place does a battery service, replace case back gasket,and pressure test for $46, The price for their auto service with pressure testing is $129, so with batteries every 2-4 years (how about we say 3 years) we have a 10 years cost of $138 and an auto cost of $129, assuming a single service.
     
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  15. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    What are they doing in their "auto service?" Is this inclusive of parts?
     
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  16. hunter s gatherer
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    hunter s gatherer EDC Junkie!!!

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    Oh boy, am going to get in trouble on this one! I haven't worn a watch since high school (1963). Just want to tell time? Get a winder or auto. Seems like everywhere I look I can find time, but if you need a watch for other more precise time functions then I guess you need the wiz bang latest, assuming your other gizmos don't provide redundant functions.
    If you have a hobby like diving from the sky or in the sea then you sure need techno. Or moving frequently around the globe globe you may need techno. Me, I'll stick to being a bit Zen, and won't mind asking you what time it is if I want to strike up a conversation.
     
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  17. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    An observational longitudinal research study ... I'm 'in' ... but, wait, I don't own two of the same watch. Dang, I was already thinking variables and so on. Soosh, meanwhile, I'll be the first to admit that my 'evidence' is strictly anecdotal.
     
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  18. Soosh

    Soosh Loaded Pockets

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    We should find a real battery-drinking watch in the first place too. I suspect that since that usually means "inefficient watch," which probably means it isn't constructed or designed to the highest standards, we're probably going to be seeing more variation due to variations in build quality than treatment, which means we'll need a lot more than two.

    And of course this won't help the owners of digital or crownless watches, like for instance my G-Shock MTG-1000, which is an analog watch but only has four buttons...
     
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  19. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    OK, never mind, Soosh. Let's call it a draw and go have a beer. It would be a fun little research project, but frankly I don't have two watches exactly the same and am too cheap to buy one exact 'mate' even "for science." Probably a lot of potentially interesting research never gets off the ground for similar reasons. (Unless, that is, we can get a federal grant to study this phenomenon.)
     
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  20. edjo69

    edjo69 EDC Junkie

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    Man this thread got some interest! My Riseman is about on year 4 or 5 so I am happy with it so far. I once had a Citizen Eco Drive that was going on 10+ years and was ticking away when I gifted it to a friend. As for my auto's I have been told by several watch specific jewelers to not bother servicing an auto, just wait till something goes wrong to get it serviced they both generally agreed that maintenance type servicing is not worth the $$ and that if and when something went wrong the cost would most likely be the same as a servicing charge anyway. That being said I am about year 5 with my GSAR, no issues at all, keeps time within tolerance of the ETA movement. I stand by my original post, for the most part I have eliminated more frequent (so far none) watch related servicing and the watches I have are all working wonderfully. Not trying to save the earth, just my sanity.