Automatic Watch Running too Fast or Slow | What Should You Do?

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Most of the mechanical watch industry is selling automatic movements on their watches. Those watches will always require regular wearing to keep running, and that is all it wants. Simply a mechanical watch is a tool that operates on itself, and they are getting the energy with their movements from the wearer.

Automatic watches are a niche product until the wristwatch rising. Times on these are coming towards the technology of automatic winding. Unfortunately, sometimes your watch will lose time and will show a wrong time on itself. First, it might be 10 seconds of delay, and it will grow up to big mistakes which we have to correct by ourselves.

So why this happening is and what can you do about this matter?

Why is my watch running slow or fast?

Generally, we consider that 10 seconds of deviations are suitable for the watches. But if it happens mainly in an inappropriate way, we need to care about it. But this doesn’t always rely on the specification matters.

Usually, there is always a specification guide that comes with watches, and they are assuring about the accuracy. And if these specifications are not functioning with the product, there should be a wrong with it. So, for example, if it doesn’t run time perfectly, there will be another reason to change an automatic its time changes.

A mechanical item has to care with good service, and if you do it, it can last up for generations. But still, there are common reasons to happen your time slower or faster than you think.

A watch may be fast because

  • It has movements that require the professional services
  • The balance spring may have magnetized. So your watch generally goes more quickly than several hours in a day
  • There will be significant impact factors that your product affected, and it may cause the last windings to skip forwards on the spring
  • Your watches’ spring may be clinging
  • A reason may have impacted the spring keys of the product

And the reasons for being slow is are as follows.

  • Your item may need the [professional service within its movements
  • There might be a reason that causes the dial to move and make some binding on the digits. This is a reason that occurs mainly these days
  • An impact may result on the spring key’s function

Read Next: How Automatic Watches Work

Automatic watch running fast or slow – 6 Reasons that affect the accuracy

These are reasons affecting on your watches’ accuracy.


Magnetism is a huge factor that goes with the accuracy of these items. Typically mechanical watches consist of tiny metal parts, and those parts are changing due to the magnetism effects and will result in the changing of the operation. Usually, the most magnetized one would be the hairspring, and as it is the heart of an automatic product, it naturally affects accuracy.

Magnetism creates a short between-the-wheel balance, and it increases the beating rate, while a magnetized one will result in a fast run. You can demagnetize the product to prevent this from happening, and it something we can do significantly easier.

To demagnetize, you will not need to open the watch, and it will only require the right kind of tools. If you don’t have a tool for the demagnetizing, watch-makers will demagnetize it within several minutes. It is a straightforward procedure.


Temperature is also an affecting factor for changing the accuracy of automatic items. When it is subjected to a high warm or a cold temperature, the moving parts will contract or expand. As a result, they will have increased or reduced friction that affects the watches accuracy.

Many modern watches are coming to the market with the ability to handle temperature variations to some extent. The ones that do not belong to this category will hold the most significant temperature variations, and they will still show the right time.

If you throw your item on the most considerable temperature variations once or two times, it is not affecting the watch condition. But if you are prone to happen it several times to the significant variations, it will directly affect the watch. The result will be the affected and changing time.

Gravity and the Shocks

Some may be wondered about the factor gravity. But it is. Gravity is also another factor that leads to having a change in the watches accuracies, and it directly affects the external forces of the watch. That means the product has inside mechanicals on the movements on it, and gravity will affect them.

The gravity amount that your product affects will change on the situation. So we can’t precisely say how much it will affect the accuracy. But it’s nothing do much on it and bringing into a next point as shocks. Shocks are the most significant factor that can cause negative impacts on the accuracy of automatic watches.

When a person is dropping their watch or makes it prone to shocks, it directly affects the watches inner components. Eventually, the watch will not work anymore, or it will be a break. Sometimes, these droppings can cause a considerable impact on the inner components of the watch, and the result may be slow or fast running.

If you dropped your product, you would experience the faults on time, and the watch will surely need a watchmaker to work back on its right. Although some manufacturers are absorbing a shock implement on them, you need to be careful enough to care for your watch as they do not last long with everything they face.

Poor Movements and the Conditions

This will be the most common reason for resulting in a fast or slow running on watches. This is because automatic watches need regular service, the same as other mechanical pieces. That is how they are going to function correctly. Some may surprise to hear this, but it is the truth.

If anyone needs their automatic watches to be last long, they have to take care of it properly, and it needs servicing from skilled watchmakers. The most common problem with having a service is that your item is full of oil, dry lubricants. It may be old. These are the natural factors that are increasing the part frictions that lubricants are mostly needed.

If you ignore on-time services, it results in operating without the needed oil. So there is increased friction for several parts, and they might be broken eventually. So if you don’t have on-time service modifications, the service to that will be so more extended than the ones you cost in the regular services.  

No proper winds on the watch

If Automatic watches don’t wind properly, it can cause a reduction in the watch run. This is a general thumb of rule for every watch to be accurate, and not having a proper winding will happen for many reasons.

The first concerning reason would be the slip clutch worn. Watches have a mainspring of a Y shape, and we use it to create little folds to slip freely on the mainspring drum. It happens right after the manufacture is wound enough. If this mainspring is too old, the fold will drown in not functional areas that will reduce the correct pressure towards the wall of the mainspring drum.

If the mainspring cannot create friction against the walls, it results in an excessive spin. So it results in a loss on the power reserved once it had.

Another reason is the breaking grease we use to have friction towards the drum wall. When the braking grass is not enough, the mainspring will start to slip before we required it from the watch. Results are always happened to have a worn slip clutch.


When watches are fogging, it means that your it is not sealed tightly. If the gaskets on your watch haven’t been lubricated enough or aged for a point not tightly sealed for the surface, water enters onto your product.

Gaskets wear-outs are happening and being damaging due to two reasons as temperature and not enough lubrication. If you are outside at a temperature like 15V or 40C or more, those are the extreme temperatures. So they are directly affecting the gaskets and will increase the size of your time or make it shorter.

How to fix a watch that runs fast or slow?

Following these steps will result in fixing your watch from running slow or fast.

Testing the movements

You need to understand that how your product is performing and what its accuracy is. There are many apps outside which lead you to calculate the accuracy for 24 hours, and it will not be the best way to calculate. Using a timegrapher as a machine or a tool will be an increasing measure to find the health of your watch.

Timegraphers are working by using a microphone, and it is listening to the movements beats. So it is displaying those on the screen to get the information on the beating rates of the movement.

It does not only measure the rate and will also measure the beat errors and the amplitudes that occur within seconds. So there is detailed information you can get on how healthy your movements are or whether they have an accuracy error.


Sometimes your item might not need a full service. However, it may require some regulation. Regulating can adjust the beating rates for the proper and determine whether it is fast running or slow. Regulating can be done within minutes, so it is an easy measure you can take from watches.

Movement Adjusting

You can also adjust the movements to fix the fast or slow running issues on watches. This process will happen through the balance wheel adjusting, and it can adjust the balance for several positions. So it directly affects the accuracy level corrections.


If the product is magnetized, consider demagnetizing it. You can do it by yourself or by getting help from a professional.


Make sure to have a regular service to prevent frequent problems. Regular services are helping you to understand the errors that occur by the low lubricants or by old age. So it is the best solution to have a good service for often.

Read Next: The Best Automatic Watches Review

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question 1: Should automatic watches be kept running?
Answer: Yes, it is better to keep it running to have good accuracy. And also, it would be the most practical way to avoid your watch from happening several complications.

Question 2: Is it normal for an automatic watch to lose time?
Answer: It is absolutely normal to lose three minutes for months and 5 seconds for one day. Five seconds for one day is the right time amount your watch should fail, and if more than 5 seconds are losing, there might be an internal problem or a power-consuming problem on your watch.  

Question 3: Can a slow watch be fixed?
Answer: Slow watches are capable of fixing on our own or by getting help from professionals. It is based on the problem you have, and minor issues can be fixed by always yourself.

Question 4: Do watches run faster when fully wound?
Answer: A fully wound watch is running slower than the partial ones. This is because the mainspring, which has been tight wounded, will not pull the watch effectively as usual.

Question 5: Is it bad to let automatic watches stop?
Answer: It will not be bad, and when they don’t work anymore, they will be completely safe. It is only the movements, and they are not running anymore because of an unwounded mainspring. When there is a fully not wounded watch, its mainspring will not produce power for the movements on the watch to run correctly.


Automatic watches are causing to run fast or slow due to several reasons. To the temperature it has, and it will lead to gravity too. It depends, and the reasons are varied to one person to another. So if you want to have an accurate watch, you might better following these things to have good accuracy with you.

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