How Magnetism Affects Watch Regulation

The Impact of Magnetism on Watch Accuracy: Exploring Watch Regulation

When it comes to accurate timekeeping, many factors come into play, and one of the most significant is magnetism. The presence of magnetic fields can have a significant impact on a watch’s accuracy, making it run faster or slower than usual. In this blog post, we delve into the effects of magnetism on watch regulation and explore how various watchmakers mitigate this issue to ensure precise timekeeping. Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating aspect of horology.

The Impact of Magnetism on Watch Accuracy: Exploring Watch Regulation


Watches are not just accessories; they are precision instruments that are affected by many factors that can impact their accuracy. One of the most common factors that can affect their accuracy is magnetism. Magnetism affects the movement of the watch, resulting in faster or slower rates, and it can also cause the hairspring to stick together, causing a multitude of problems. This article will explore the impact of magnetism on watch accuracy and how it can be mitigated.

Understanding Magnetism in Watches

Magnetism can affect watch movements, even if in small amounts. The accuracy of a watch’s movement can be greatly influenced by the magnetic fields it is exposed to. Magnetism can cause the steel parts of a watch to stick together, increasing the friction between them. This increased friction can cause the amplitude of the watch to drop, which results in a shorter power reserve. In extreme cases, the hairspring can stick together, shortening it and causing a faster rate. A small amount of magnetism can affect the rate to a lesser degree. Even magnetic fields that are too weak to cause serious damage can still have an impact on the accuracy of the watch. The movement of a watch can be affected by a wide range of magnetic fields, including those found in everyday life, such as cell phones and laptops.

The Impact of Watch Regulation

Understanding magnetism is critical in regulating a watch’s movement. Watch regulation involves adjusting the frequency of the balance wheel to ensure that it keeps time accurately. This adjustment can be affected by magnetism as the magnetic fields cause resistance, leading to a decrease in amplitude, and an increase in the rate, making the watch less accurate. Magnetism does not slow down a rate, but it may be present in a movement with a slow rate due to another fault. In such cases, the regulation of the watch may not be able to resolve the issue, and further diagnostics may be needed.

Detecting and Demagnetizing a Watch Movement

There are no visible signs of magnetism affecting the hairspring coils, and it is often challenging to detect. Watchmakers use special tools to detect the presence of magnetism and measure its strength. If your watch is running faster than usual, you may suspect that it is magnetized. If you suspect that your watch is magnetized, it is essential to have it checked by a certified watchmaker. Watchmakers can use a demagnetizer to mitigate the effects of magnetism. The demagnetizer works by passing an alternating magnetic field through the watch movement. This field cancels out the magnetic charge that has affected the watch, allowing the movement to return to its normal function.  





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Magnetism is a common and significant factor that can affect the accuracy of a watch’s movement. Understanding how magnetism can impact a watch’s accuracy is vital to ensuring its performance and longevity. By detecting and demagnetizing the watch’s movement, we can prevent the magnetic fields generated by everyday life from impacting a watch’s accuracy.


  1. Does magnetism only affect mechanical watches? No, magnetism can affect all watches, including quartz and digital watches.
  2. Can magnetism cause permanent damage to a watch? In most cases, magnetism does not cause permanent damage to a watch. However, if it is exposed to a powerful magnetic field, it can damage the movement to a point beyond repair.
  3. What should I do if I suspect my watch is magnetized? If you suspect your watch is magnetized, take it to a certified watchmaker or jeweler to have it checked.
  4. How often should I have my watch checked for magnetism? It is a good idea to have your watch checked for magnetism every two years or after exposure to a strong magnetic field.
  5. Can I demagnetize my watch at home? Demagnetizing a watch requires specialized tools, and it is not recommended to attempt it at home. Take your watch to a certified watchmaker or jeweler for demagnetization.

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