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Thread: Will an automatic watch work in outer space?

  1. #1

    Default Will an automatic watch work in outer space?

    As automatic wrist-watches usually rely on gravity and kinetic energy in the rotor to wind a watch, would an automatic watch work happily in zero-gravity outer space and on the moon? And did Omega try it?!

  2. #2

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    It will certainly work if it is wound by hand.

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    Member simonk's Avatar
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    Of course it will work, qv. Sinn 140/142.

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    Yes. Seiko 6139, first autowind chronograph in zero G. http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2013/11/seiko-6139-pogue/

  5. #5

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    Thanks lads! It kept me up all night wondering... now to book myself on the next moon mission.

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    You don't need gravity for inertia and momentum to still exist, so yes, it will work fine. Possibly even better since the poise of the balance may matter less....

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    As rodabod says it will wind with inertia of the rotor, but that needs acceleration/deceleration so I think it wouldn't work if you just left it on a watch winder. Planning a trip ?

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    Member simonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reg-life View Post
    ...so I think it wouldn't work if you just left it on a watch winder...
    Unless the winder was set to switch itself on and off, as they usually do.

  9. #9

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    The effects of gravity rather than inertia puzzled me; gravity causes the rotor to 'drop' and thus wind - the wearer is not conscious of this and it winds with the slightest movement. But without gravity, would one have to consciously shake the watch to wind it by gaining sufficient inertia?

    I'd love to visit the moon if only to prove it wasn't all filmed on a TV studio set! :-)

  10. #10
    Moderator Revo's Avatar
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    isn't centrifugal force a form of gravity? and isn't that what swings the rotor? (Serious question: I have no idea.)

    Everyone knows that a Smiths W10 was the first watch on the moon but Omega had the advertising budget
    "Early this year I saw ex-army watches exhibited in a showcase at a little under 4 each. A week or two later I succeeded in buying one of them for 5. Recently their price seems to have risen to 8." (George Orwell, "As I Please", Tribune, 29th November 1946)

  11. #11

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    Centrifugal force doesn't apply in this case! If you rotate an extended wrist the rotor moves about its axis under gravity (and thus winds) - in theory there in no gravity in space. But if you move the wrist horizontally in a flat left to right arc (ie accelerating from stationary) the rotor only gains inertia when you stop (deceleration) and thus rotates about its axis without gravitational influence.... or does it?!

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    I pretty sure the rotor will move in relation to the rest of the watch with any acceleration (positive or negative). Acceleration of the watch would be any change it its velocity (increase or decrease) or any change in direction (velocity vector). Though, not sure if it will move enough for the watch to function properly.

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    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    read the last paragraph on page 2 -

    http://www.fortis-watches.com/upload...eport-FOCC.pdf




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    Getting a physics lesson from MWR. Love it!

  15. #15

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    There is gravity in space...........That is why objects orbits near earth fall back to earth and objects further out then become subject to gravity from other sources, with greater gravity than earth. Picture the black hole, it draws everything into it by it's gravitational force.
    Another example is astronauts seem to float in zero gravity in space but actually what is occurring is they are falling back to earth at the same rate as their spacecraft, making it appear that they are "floating" relative to the spacecraft.

  16. #16

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    The better question might be.............If time slows down in space as you reach the speed of light............Then which watch manufacturer is best suited to build a watch that can be automatically regulate itself as the watch (and you) speed up towards the speed of light so that when you arrive at your destination, you have the correct time? And then instead of a "officially Certified Chronometer" What would the watch be called ?

  17. #17

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    Ah yes but surely, if the space-ship is travelling at near the speed of light, the passengers sat inside the space-ship are still travelling at the same relative speed as when they left planet earth. 1 second here ticks at the same rate as 1 sec in the space shuttle travelling at 60,000mph ... does it not.. regardless of gravity?

    I blame Kelloggs for putting spacemen in their corn-flake packets!

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    Bren, nope

    Special and General theories of relativity state that the faster you go, the slower times goes.

    Put a watch in a spaceship and send it accelerating away, the faster the spaceship goes the slower the watch runs, at the speed of light the watch will stop running, by then its mass will also be infinite.

    The clocks in GPS satellites have to compensate for that very reason.

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    I'm moving on, this discussion has given me a splitting parsec....

  20. #20

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    I guess clocks in GP Satellites are not mechanical but are solar powered LCD/LED... would they stop running too at the speed of light?

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