Questions & Answers
Here we have collected some questions and answers that we are often asked. Do you have any further questions? Feel free to contact us by mail or call us.
Does an Atmos clock need oil?
Again and again, one encounters the persistent rumor that an Atmos clock—assuming the right synthetic miracle agent—must also be oiled in various places. This is not the case. Unlike many other clocks, the Atmos clock is an exception: None of the gears or the very fine pivots or rubies need oil. Neither classical oils used in large-scale mechanics nor modern synthetic oils used in micromechanics help the Atmos watch to its graceful swing. Rather, the opposite is true: even tiny amounts of oil in one of the rubies can lead to severe rate inaccuracies and significantly faster amplitude loss. In the worst case, the watch simply stops.
Oil is used in mechanics mainly where parts move quickly and thus, for example, a high temperature is generated or wear is strongly influenced. Here, classic oils are used (mostly: claw oil) to achieve a lubricating effect or, for example, to keep high friction temperatures in check in engine construction. The major disadvantage of classic oils is their rapid wear: after a relatively short time, classic oils begin to thicken and resinify. In the history of watchmaking, people have tried to combat this wear with various means, e.g. by using anti-aging stabilizers that make the oil relatively stable to aging. However, even these stabilizers lose their effect over time, and the classic oil runs a progressive aging curve in the long term.
The development of synthetic oils has opened up a new gateway for watchmaking. Significantly higher resistance to aging is the core property of synthetic oils. By adding additives, the lubricity has also been raised to a level that can cope with difficult friction conditions.
However, even these advanced oils are not good enough for the Atmos clock. Several factors account for the fact that the Atmos clock requires almost no oils at all. Sometimes the movement of the Atmos clock is frequently exposed to a wide variety of atmospheric conditions and fluctuations for a very long period (sometimes over 30 years at a time). This is where even the best synthetic oils gum up.
On the surface, however, an Atmos clock is “oil-free” for another, very simple reason: it simply does not need any oil. The unique running smoothness in the watch world, with only 120 half oscillations per hour (2 half oscillations per minute; this corresponds to a frequency of 0.01666 Hz), allows the fragile gears to mesh so gently that no wear can be detected, even over many decades. This is sometimes one of the main reasons for the comparatively long maintenance intervals (varying between 10–25 years, depending on model and condition, in our experience). Thus, the quiet movements of the Atmos give the watch not only its elegance but also its longevity.
That’s why an Atmos watch already comes from the manufactory as “dry” as possible. The individual gears and pivots are almost clinically pure. The only lubricant you should find on an Atmos watch is well hidden in the mainspring barrel. There sits a spring worm that carries a wafer-thin film of synthetic oil, which guarantees that the spring will remain rust-free and able to do its job in the Atmos for years to come.
How do I level my ATMOS without a bubble level, or if the bubble level does not read correctly?
Many interested people underestimate how important it is that an Atmos clock is precisely leveled. The correct adjustment of the clock influences the accuracy very much. We have had experiences with ATMOS enthusiasts whose watches ran too fast for up to 45 minutes a day. As it turned out, the problem very often lay in improper alignment of the rotating pendulum.
In the newer models, all Atmos clocks have a small spirit level built into the center. It is also called a “bubble level”. This makes adjusting the Atmos clock very easy. Here you use the two rotating feet on the front left and right of the base plate to center the clock.
Many of the bubble levels are unfortunately not correctly installed—or “sunk” with the time—so that they do not always reliably indicate the absolute horizontal position of an ATMOS. This leads to the fact, that an ATMOS owner aligns his watch with the bubble level, but the good piece does not run, because it is not exactly level and plumb.
There are several ways to manually adjust your watch—depending on the model of the Atmos. Very often, this will align the watch better than using a spirit level that is only placed on the case. You are ensuring that you are not aligning the pendulum with the case, but that the pendulum is plumb with its suspension (the plates).
Some ATMOS models have a central locking screw underneath the pendulum, located in the base plate. Try to center the pendulum to this locking screw — use the pivot feet as usual to do this. If the pendulum is centered over the locking screw, your clock should be correctly aligned.
If your clock does not have a locking screw under the pendulum, proceed as follows:
View the clock from the side (if possible). The goal is to have a clear view of the bottom end of the pendulum, where it passes through a narrow opening in the plates.
At the bottom end of the pendulum, you can see this break-through: the pendulum passes through a milled opening here. Now try to center the pendulum using this opening—also use the rotating feet for this as usual. If the small plate is centered just above the opening, you have adjusted your clock correctly.
Time change on the ATMOS—How do I “change“ the time on my ATMOS?
The time change is for many ATMOS owners something unfamiliar and therefore complicated. You can also really do something seriously wrong in the process.
- Never turn the minute hand backward!
- Do not touch the dial with your index finger! The smallest sweat particles lead after years to stains on the dial, which can not be removed.
When changing the time from summer to winter time (i.e. the time is set back by one hour) on your Atmos, proceed as follows:
Let the rotating pendulum move to the right until you reach the reversal point—that is, the point where the rotating pendulum stops short. There you lock your clock, i.e. push the locking lever to the right so that the rotating pendulum cannot run any further. Now turn the minute hand forward 11 turns (hours) to set the new time.
Then carefully release the locking lever again. Done.
What to look for when buying an Atmos clock? Our tips!
You buy what you see! Therefore, try to inspect the watch itself, or photos of the watch very carefully. Pay attention to the case corners, often there are so-called “stress cracks” that are irreparable. These occur mainly in model series such as the caliber 528/8 and caliber 519, but are also not uncommon in other calibers and models.
The dial also plays an important role. Often, this shows discolorations or scratches. Take a close look here. The general condition of the case gilding should always correspond to the age. A watch with too many spots was usually not treated with care.
Ask the seller about the history of the watch, there may be indications of repairs already made.
What should I look for when shipping or having an Atmos clock shipped?
The most important thing is always to lock the pendulum completely. Depending on the model, there is always a locking lever (under the dial or the base), and often an additional locking screw centered under the clock. The lever must be moved to the right side when the swivel pendulum is swung all the way to the right. Make sure that the lever is pushed all the way to the right, there is often a little resistance at the end that needs to be overcome to get the lever to lock firmly into place. If you have the additional locking screw centered under the clock, tighten it by hand. You can find more detailed information in our instructions.
Now we recommend packing sufficiently soft. The rule of thumb applies: always double pack. For example, roll the watch itself very thickly in bubble wrap, then place this package in a large cardboard box (please always significantly oversize, never shoe boxsize) and stuff all corners and edges with soft cushioning material. The watch must be softly padded, do not use styrofoam. Once the watch is softly packed, you can send the package on its way.
How do I determine the year and model of my Atmos watch?
There is no official list that can be used to determine the year of manufacture of your clock. We fall back on our data, which we have collected over the years. We would be happy to help you determine the model and year of manufacture of your clock. Just send us an email with a picture of your clock and the serial number. This way we can easily determine the year of manufacture of your clock for you. You will find the serial number stamped in the center on top of the watch.