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Timegrapher, is there a difference?

  1. PhilF

    PhilF Nov 9, 2019

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    I have a Current (2018) Speedmaster and a Seamaster, as well as some other mechanical watches, Seiko, etc. Been considering purchasing a Timegrapher, more out of curiosity than any real use or need. My question is, what's the difference between the various models on Amazon? Seeing various brands, all with the model # 1000, also some similar units with 1900, 1600, etc with prices from $130-$300. Reading the "information" which seems obviously translated from Chinese, is mostly bad syntax/gibberish. My Seamaster is a coaxial, some models mention coaxial, but nothing further.
    So, any experience here on what to buy? What has worked for you? Is Amazon the place I should be looking? Also looking at an inexpensive ultrasonic jewelry cleaner for bracelets, looks like a $30 or so unit would work. Appreciate any insight here. Thanks
     
  2. wsfarrell

    wsfarrell Nov 9, 2019

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    This ultrasonic cleaner on eBay has worked for me for several years, as has this timegrapher. All the 1000 model timegraphers are pretty much the same, and the word "coaxial" in the title means nothing---it's just keyword spamming.
     
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  3. keepitsimple

    keepitsimple Nov 9, 2019

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    Mine is a basic "1000" version, although there seem to be several sub-versions of that too. It has a monochrome screen, and some people find a colour screen better to separate the lines more easily.
    Some have a gain control, others are automatic. Mine is automatic and it does a good job of picking up every watch I have apart from an old Certina which has a slight "ting" noise that confuses it. After a few attempts it will pick it up though.
    Amazon or ebay is likely the best source, and since they all seem pretty close in quality I'd buy on price/location.
    It's good enough for me - and I think more than a few watchmakers who don't have to gear up to the level some manufacturers demand, also use them.
    They aren't state of the art though, and you can't calibrate them if they start to drift.
    Good for - general diagnosis of how well or otherwise your watch is running - differentiate acceptable/good performance from the bad.
    Not good for - the in depth analysis needed to fix some watch problems, when a much more detailed examination of the movements sounds is needed. But you're not going to venture into those realms anyway.
    Mine tells me if I think I should have a watch serviced, and it also tells me generally whether that service I paid for has delivered results acceptable for that particular watch.
    If you have the confidence to do so, and are prepared to take the small risk of damage, regulating your own watches is made feasible with one of these. I wouldn't attempt it on a free sprung balance though ::screwloose::
    They will time co-axials OK, but the amplitude reading will be meaningless, as they can't pick up the sounds needed to calculate it correctly.
    Don't get one if you're even slightly inclined to be obsessive, because you just might find out that watches you thought were fine and accurate, aren't quite as good as you think.
    A £20 ultrasonic from Lidl works fine for what I need, but I've never used a real professional one, and I don't let bracelets get too grungy anyway.
     
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  4. PhilF

    PhilF Nov 9, 2019

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    Thank you for this input, reinforced what I had concluded, I'd be surprised if all of the "1000" Timegraphers didn't come from the same factory. Freely admit to being mildly obsessive, you tend to get that way working on & calibrating medical equipment for nearly 25 years, kinda (hopefully) goes with the job. The comments pertaining to verifying if service is needed or was performed properly rings with me, that and seeing what effect different positions have on accuracy. I'll probably order off Amazon, primarily because of the ease of return if there's a problem.
    Again, appreciate the depth of keepitsimple's response, this forum has added greatly to understanding why I really prefer Omegas.
     
  5. cholack

    cholack Nov 10, 2019

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    Thanks for posting. I was looking into this too
     
  6. ExpiredWatchdog

    ExpiredWatchdog Nov 13, 2019 9:41pm

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    All 1000 timegraphers do come from the same source. Common names are Weishi and MTG although Ofrei sells their own branded version. I highly recommend the 1900 as it can be had for a little more and has a much better color display. The two traces appear in yellow and light blue to discriminate entrance and exit pings for easier beat error adjustment.

    Milgauss timegrapher.jpg
    (Sorry I'm showing on my Milgauss in violation of OF terms of service)

    It also reportedly has a digital filter and can function properly on an Omega Co-Axial movement. I can tell you that I have put both my 9300 based watches on it and get satisfactory results, though even with the lift angle set to 38 degrees, the amplitude comes out low.

    There are a couple help pages, one shows that the crystal is temperature compensated, accurate to one part in a million and calibrated against an atomic source.

    Unless you are going to part with $1.5K for a Witschi, I highly recommend this model.
     
  7. keepitsimple

    keepitsimple Nov 14, 2019 5:53am

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    I think you'll find that while the timing results are correct, none of these cheaper devices capture the correct co-axial sounds needed to calculate amplitude properly, so what you're seeing isn't true amplitude.
    I know mine doesn't.
    The Witschi devices have a special mode to do that I think.
    If I were buying one again, I think I'd probably go for the 2 colour version you have, and it would be helpful adjusting beat error, but I don't find it that difficult to do using the one I have (provided there's an adjustable stud carrier of course).
     
  8. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Nov 14, 2019 7:30am

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    It will tell you the timing and beat error properly, but not the balance amplitude. This requires special programming that none of these low priced units have.