You have just spotted a beautiful mecanical vintage HEUER stopwatch and want to buy it or… maybe you have found one and want to sell it. If you deal with a well known reseller, he will explain all the things you have to know and verify. However for a transaction between a private seller and buyer, with no experience with vintage timers, here are few basic keypoints to check.
The following tests are made with a ref. 512.902 stopwatch wich covers a large range of cases. Howether some very specific timers should need aditionnal tests. Don’t hesitate to send a message if you need more information.
A. Before the test
Be sure, the stopwatch is fully wound up. Also see this page to get more information about the wind up operation.
B. General condition
Ask for many pictures of the stopwatch and accessories coming with (box, warranty booklet, user guide…). If you are the seller, don’t hesitate to point out defaults (stripes, scratches…) to avoid bad surprise for your buyer when he gets the stopwatch.
C. Hands initial position
Hands should be aligned to their start position, at the top of their dial (here at 30).
D. Start and stop functions
Start and stop the timer quickly several times. Be sure that the stopwatch restarts each time.
E. Reset function
Test the reset function in different hand configurations by firmly pushing the associated button. All the hands should instantaneously go back to the initial position and be properly aligned on it (here at 30) .
F. Split function
Do this test if your stopwatch features a split function . At the first push on the split button, the split hand is stopped while the second hand keeps running. At the second push, the split hand should catch up instantly the second one. Repeat the test it in different hand configurations
G. Running test
Start the stopwatch for one hour or let the hands rotate fully. Check the hands don’t stop.
H. Advanced check
Regularity can be estimated (second gained or lost for one hour running). Start at the same time, an electronical timer (by example on your smartphine) and your mecanical stopwatch. After one hour running, note the time gap between the two stopwatches. This method is an easy way to evaluate regularity but is not accurate as professional watchmaker tests.
Without opening the case, you can verify there is no unusual sound by lightly shaking the stopwatch. If you heard something moving inside it could be an unscrewed screw, or something broken in the movement.
If you feel enought confident, open your stopwatch case to verify all is ok (no rusty part, no damaged gear wheel …). More informations about the opening case process are available here.