Review of the Orbita Mechanical Watch Tester
By: John B. Holbrook, II
Copyright 2009 – All Rights Reserved
Orbita Corporation recently gave me the opportunity to evaluate one of their latest and most exciting product offerings – the Orbita Mechanical Watch Tester.
At first pass, this electronic diagnostic tool may seem incongruent with Orbita’s catalog of premium quality watch winders and cases. But those who know Orbita know the company has always strove to offer products which make mechanical watch ownership easier and more enjoyable. It’s long been a goal of Orbita President and founder Chuck Agnoff to be able to offer an affordable watch accuracy testing device. Orbita realizes that most mechanical watch enthusiasts are rather obsessive about the accuracy of their watches. Many will take their watches in for (expensive) regulation service at the slightest hint that it has fallen outside of COSC accuracy parameters of +6/-4 seconds per day. Others actually have developed the skills and acquired the tools necessary to adjust their mechanical watches themselves. Until now, watch enthusiasts could really only determine their watch’s accuracy by daily recording the watch’s variance against an atomic clock synchronized source, such as checking the website www.time.gov. This method isn’t entirely precise, convenient, or even practical if you’re trying to self adjust your watch – it could take days of observation to make even small changes. More precise watch accuracy diagnostic tools have always been available, but at tremendous cost, making them an impractical option for a watch enthusiast. Orbita has partnered with one of the industry leading manufacturers of watch timing machines for watch manufacturers, watch service providers, and watchmakers to bring the same technology used by service professionals to the market at a reasonable cost to the watch enthusiast. So the device has professional grade, proven technology, combined with Orbita's execution and mind for value.
The Orbita Mechanical Watch Tester is remarkably similar to the sophisticated accuracy measure devices I’ve seen employed by many watch manufacturers and service professionals. The watch is mounted in a sophisticated device which acts as a microphone, which listens for the “heart beat” of the watch – the oscillation of the balance wheel. Here’s a photo of my watch mounted to the microphone – the spring loaded bracket conforms to nearly any watch placed upon it:
The microphone then feeds the information to the digital measuring device, which graphically displays the information recorded:
If all this sounds difficult, let me assure you that it’s not. Simply power the device on, then place the watch on the microphone device - the device automatically detects the audio signal and begins testing. The device can be manually configured to beat speed of the watch it’s measuring, but it can automatically set itself to the correct beat speed as well - it couldn't be easier to use:
Of course, to truly get a clear picture of the accuracy of a timepiece, one needs to understand it’s positional accuracy – how does the watch behave if it’s crown up? Crown down? Te Orbita Mechanical Watch Tester can measure a watch in six different positions to provide a picture of a watch’s true positional accuracy:
The Orbita mechanical Watch Tester retails for just $995.00. Digital watch testers of this type can easily run $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 and beyond, so bringing this level of diagnostic capability at a price point below what most quality mechanical watches themselves cost is quite an accomplishment. Members of WATCH TALK FORUMS will are eligible to receive a special and exclusive discount on the Orbita mechanical Watch Tester – follow this link to purchase the Orbita mechanical Watch Tester for just $750.00!!!
I tested the Orbita Mechanical Watch Tester with several watches in my collection – it was great fun. It allowed me to quickly and easily see which of my watches were in need of accuracy regulation, and took out all the “guess work.” It’s a must-have tool for obsessive compulsive mechanical watch owners – a category which I squarely fall into. Many thanks to Orbita for providing special pricing for WATCH TALK FORUMS members!!
**Photos & Text Copyright 2008 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.