My magical skill is that I kill wind-up watches

I was sorting through my jewelry box for that time when people tended to buy me jewelry and before they realized I don’t really tend to wear it. And when I do wear it I tend to break it. And I am also allergic to nickel… so there is that issue.

So I am sorting it out and I find three very nice watches I have received once upon a time. Usually for some special occasion sort of gift. Back when watches were gifts and we didn’t have Smartphones implanted in our lives permanently. Three watches that fit my small wrist size and have small watch faces so it doesn’t look weird on my thin wrists. A large watch face basically takes up my entire wrist span and looks idiotic. I have tried on a smartwatch and that looked ridiculous on me- I look like a kid wearing my dad’s watch.

The problem with wind up watches for me

But I can’t wear any of those nice watches I have received. Not regularly for Sure. And not in a way that makes it a dependable and reliable way to tell time. Because they stop working when I wear them. And fast.

They slow down and then just stop. I have to put it aside for a bit and then it will start working again- and then I can wear it again for maybe a day before it stops again- and start the process all over again. So basically 1 day out of 4 I could maybe wear one of those watches.

But if I accidentally kept wearing it, as I did with one, it will stop working and just Not work Again. Apparently, in these cases, you can bring it to a jewelry store and they can fix it. It is a problem they are familiar with. Or they used to be, back in the day.

It is a consistent, persistent issue with wind-up watches that made them pretty unreliable to use. I am totally fine with battery watches. Well, I can’t say whether battery watches were affected or not, to be honest. I went through a lot of them but I have no idea if that was more than average. Or the batteries sucked. I do know I really got sick of watches and I love that I can depend on a Smartphone now. I think battery watches were fine or it was just that I didn’t consistently wear a watch anymore due to getting used to Not wearing it all the time in order to prevent breaking it.

Hereditary quirk

This quirk is hereditary as my grandmother has the exact same problem. And if you look it up, it does run in families. Just a little family quirk.

If you look it up online you see a whole lot of speculation about Why this happens to some people.

In some cases, this quirk can be more than just wind-up watches but other tech they are exposed to regularly and go through way too fast. It is hard to confirm whether other tech involved is accurate or not. Pretty easy to confirm every time you wear a wind-up watch it stops within a day. Not so easy to confirm you are burning through More of some sort of thing than other people. That could just be perception because things are just not made to last these days.

Electromagnetic fields? Magnatism?

A whole lot of people speculate it is the fields we generate that interfere with the watch in some of us… as in our fields are wonky or strong and that is why the watches fail.

It is often suggested it has to do with electrical fields in the body. But this isn’t quite an explanation because usually it is used to explain the failure of battery AND wind-up watches.

In some very rare cases, people will put on a watch and it will just stop ticking. This phenomenon, as weird as it sounds, is due to high electrical currents in a person’s body. Depending on the level of electrical currents in your body, or if you have ever been exposed to electricity, you may have an effect on the battery life of your watch and if it works or not.

5 reasons your watch stopped working

But there are specific reasons a battery watch might fail faster on a person that are totally different. Excessive sweating, high acid, or a crap battery in it. There are, apparently, some reasons why watches fail faster. But why wind-up watches just stop all the time with some people- no one can really explain. Or why it is hereditary.


But, here is the thing, back in the day when I had this issue I went to the jeweler in town here and explained my problem… that I had this issue with watches and I accidentally kept my watch on too long and Totally Killed it. It wouldn’t work at all. And he said it happened with some people and that it just needed to be demagnetized.

That is what he did. And he revived my watch. It was back to working fine and stopping if I wore it a day or two… and would start working if I let it be for a day or two. But, again, if I wore it too long I would ‘kill’ it and have to bring it back in and get it demagnetized. So… if this theory is wrong, then the solution shouldn’t actually work- but it does work. That is exactly how I fixed mine. And exactly what my jeweler said was a thing that just happened with some families. This ‘magnetism’.

Watches that have been magnetized won’t suffer any long-term consequences, however they will need to be demagnetized to resume normal function. When your watch is running erratically due to magnetism there is no need to panic; any watchmaker should be able to tackle the job. Alternatively, demagnetizers are available fairly inexpensively on many websites or at a horological tool shop.

The truth about magnetism and watches

And other people say that electromagnetic theory is a total bullshit theory.

For a person’s electromagnetic field to have the necessary strength to erase a VHS tape (the example from the article), it would have to be so great that it would almost certainly kill that person. The same goes for a wristwatch, or any other electronic or mechanical device you might use.

If your body had enough magnetic force within it to disrupt a watch, then not only would your insides be frying at this very moment, but you couldn’t be reading this article, because your computer or phone would have stopped working ages ago. Every time you went in public, you’d cause massive disruption.

Why watches stop working

So I think they are talking around the problem differently. I think we can affect watches this way because I do. And the solution is to demagnetize them. And since that is the solution that does apparently mean I am somehow magnetizing them rather quickly when I wear them. I think it has something particular to do with the wrist, the wrist structure, and the pulse… but I really have no idea.

But the author of that article has no answer other than maybe confirmation bias.

Literally, dude, if you can never, ever wear a wind-up watch for more than a day or two it is more than a coincidence. Especially if it is more than 1 watch (Not a Faulty watch) and all the time (Not occasionally or takes a month or seems like they don’t ‘last as long’). So a well-proven and established theory. And well-established with my grandmother as well. It is just a ‘thing’. And one that isn’t a factor at all with battery watches. Plus the solution is easy enough and confirmed.

So a quirk that we have a way around if we want to wear a watch is just to go with a battery one- simple enough. And now with smartphones I never think much about it at all these days until I came across those 3 fancy watches I had as gifts I can never wear but keep because they are so nice.

So anyways…

Anyway, I remain super curious about why this happens. Occasionally, I do look to see if anyone ever did find the answer. And, nope, no one has. Pretty sure there were Better articles out there years ago when more people wore wind-up watches from people who fixed this exact issue.

Now there are just crap posts of people thinking maybe they have this problem because they ‘sort of’ go through watches faster… And more people talking about their battery watches and not mentioning the logical reasons and physical ones why battery ones can fail more often. No one likely will figure this out because wind-up watches are not really much of a thing anymore.

So I guess my superpower will always be the ability to kill wind-up watches- which is a sucky superpower. Pretty lame. I kept those watches because they were gifts. I am not quite sure what to do with them.

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