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Greetings.

I'm an aspiring writer working on a crime novel. I had the idea of making one of the clues having to do with demagnetized/magnetized watches, causing them to gain or lose time. Problem is I know little about it, and I was hoping someone (or multiple people, I'm not picky) here could answer a few questions if it isn't too much trouble.

Basically any information would be of immense value, but the primary questions that have popped into my head are...

Which is the correct term for referring to a watch that has lost/extra time? Demagnetizing or magnetizing?

How long does a magnet need to be in contact with the watch before an effect can be seen?
Does the length of time a magnet is in contact with the watch effect the severity of the time disparity?

Why do some watches go faster and others go slower as a result of magnets?

What is a best case, worst case, and general case scenario in terms of an effect a magnet has on a watch? I was skimming about and noticed someone said something about losing eleven seconds an hour or something. I'm going to need some sort of basis for math equations...

I'm assuming some of these questions depend on strength of the magnet and quality of the watch. Is that accurate?

I might have some follow up questions, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Thanks in advance, watch aficionados.
 

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Welcome! We're honored you came to us for help.
I, for one would like to read this novel when it gets published!

I'm shaky on the theory so I can only speak from personal experience.
The watch was not mechanical- it was quartz. This one as a matter of fact.



It became "magnetized". It demagnetized itself over a 24-hour period (an ideosyncrasy of a quartz module) since there was no prolonged influence from the (deodymium) magnet. There was no physical contact but the magnet was within 2 inches of the watch. The magnet was moved after perhaps 10 seconds.

I noticed the watch was a few seconds off. No math involved. I simply knew the accuracy it was capable of, and the watch was now not living-up to that capability. Also, I ran the stop-watch feature, and noted that when I was done and pushed the "back-to-zero button", one of the smaller hands did NOT go all the way back to zero.

BTW for and idea on how watches are de-magnetized, check the Bing/Google video for "OFREI demagnetizer".
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Hopefully others will answer with their own experiences and more information as I'm sure mechanical watches will react differently than quartz models. I could say more but it would mostly be supposition and vague recollection.
And, if more questions arise, feel free to ask those as well. Best of luck!
 

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This is usually a problem that occurs with a mechanical watch, where the small, tightly wound hairspring gets magnetized. The hairspring is the mechanism that regulates the rate of the watch. The coils in the spring become magnetically attracted to one another, which changes the properties of the spring and alters the rate that it coils/uncoils.

Obviously stronger magnets or longer exposure to the field will affect the rate more. Some have even claimed the resting your mechanical watch on your cell phone at night can affect it.

There is no equation here to tell how much it would be affected. There are a lot of variables that would be too hard to measure accurately. Good luck with your book!
 

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Magnetism...

I have a buddy who owns a Blancpain automatic watch who asked for some advice on what to do since it was consistently running 5 to 10 minutes slow per day... Since he's in Manhattan and since there's a Blancpain boutique on the upper east side I told him to see what they suggested. He had owned the watch for several years and was a bit reluctant to go to a shop he didn't originally buy it from...

Long story short, they determined the watch was magnetized and minutes later, they had de-magnetized the watch right there in the shop at no charge... It's keeping good time now.

Anyway, I've heard there are numerous ways (probably infinite) that a watch can become magnetized... Say your little kid happens to get hold of a watch and it's mixed with certain toys that have magnets, or if you are in a warehouse standing next to an overhead crane that uses powerful magnets (yes, I'm in the steel business), etc... I don’t think the following device has the sensitivity to measure magnetism in watches but it does in bulk steel. Magnetism in steel can affect the arc of a torch flame when cutting steel and/or can affect a weld seam amongst other things...

Good luck with the book - let us know if and when it comes out...



 
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