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Why Perfume Will "Stop A Clock"

From The American Horologist magazine, May 1946

Why Perfume Will "Stop A Clock" 

A noted Swiss watchmaker, Paul Woog, went on record recently to explain in a general way why perfume will often as not stop the best "attuned" watch. Particularly, the miniature watches those of the gentler sex seem to favor over heavier models.

Before going into detail, he explained that some women can wear wrist watches for many a year without mechanical trouble or failure on the part of the timepiece mechanism. On the other hand, some with the same style watch scarcely can begin to wear it before it slows down quite noticeably or stops entirely.

In an attempt to explain this apparent phenomenon, not a few theories have been advanced. Not the least of these is the unfounded idea that the differences in arm movements between wearers has a tendency to affect the watch movement. Some noted jewelers have ventured out onto the well-known limb to voice the one-sided opinion that "personal magnetism" has a lot to do with affecting the wheels and springs of the delicate works-so, mysterious are the ways and whys of the human system where such things are concerned!

According to Woog, however, this is nothing less than pure, unadulterated poppycock. He does believe, and has proven even to the most skeptical, that perfume does definitely have a tendency to be easily taken up by oil. Thus, as he explains in technical but blunt terms, there may be a thin layer of perfume molecules formed on the surface of the oil. This in turn affects its lubricating quantities -and eventually stops the watch entirely.

Jewelers who have tried out Woog's theory agree that there may be some basis for what he advances, so until something better is shown, this idea may well rest on its laurels.


- Ray Freedman.


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