A Learners Question About -Fast time- on my Mil-W-3818A

Submitted by Private Squirrel on November 19, 2014 - 6:10am

Hi Everyone,

I am so excited i purchased my first  All original Bulova Mil-W-3818A (accept for the green wrist band)  two weeks ago and it arrived yersterday! (I am sorry i will the lovely pictures on the weekend)

I would really love to know why or how? 

As i am very new learning about the lovely Militray Bulova Wrist watch

My question is-

Ok it is fully serviced-   *But when i first wind it (yesterday) the first 6 hours of running time it --fastened up-- and over 6 hours it gained 32 minutes <.< (approx)  

But Amazing tonight...... now after about 24 hours running for same strange reason  it is now running correctly maybe a little ernstly but for the last 6 hours it has really bunked down sweetly.

I heard by googling that the Hair-spring can get stuck by oil or magnetic ... it started to go over my head, but i read in a few blogs that because it cannot move freely it's shortened and starts moving a lot faster.  (I hope my explanation is not to incorrect :)


Posted November 19, 2014 - 6:57am

Hi again Private Squirrel. You've purchased another military Bulova? You've caught the Bulova  addiction and there is no know cure for it. Haha! Your problem is going to be way over my level of knowledge. The Reverend will probably be the best source to help you with that. Did you re-wind it during the 24 hour period or did you let it run on one winding? You can check it to see if the watch has been magnetized. Get yourself a little cheap compass and move the watch close to it and see if it makes the compass pointer move. If it does, your watch is magnetized. That's easily fixed with a de-magnetizer. But I don't think it would run continuously for 24 hours if it was magnetized or had oil on the hair spring.

Private Squirrel
Posted November 19, 2014 - 2:51pm

In reply to by 1955mercury

Hi again *^.-

Yup i sure have lol -

The WW2 Navigation dial Franken- and it's awesome i call it the 'Navigator' because of its precision timing i hear it every day and it's my head timer . And this 3818A is all original and awesome L9 :D

Ok sorry back to the post- :)

I wind it up yerestday approx 24hrs ago, and i have not rewind this morning yet, and i have been keeping careful notes written down on the time increments with my other Bulova and also a official time my iphone 4 :)

I am not sure if it could be a reason?  because i purchased 'Green Beret' i lyk giving them both names ,  it came from the U.S  and i see it's very cold  there and here in OZ Melb it's late Spring and very warm.

1. day i wind it gained over 6 hours -32 minutes-

2. 2nd (yesterday) i wind and it started to regulate down to within -(approx) 3 minutes-

3. 3rd this morning now it's 6:45am- it's around the same about -3 - 4 minutes- (Over the last 6 hrs 10pm to 6am)

I read about about this -Magnetized- yesterday. Would you think if i place a little magnet underneath  the metal the back case ....it maybe to help?


Posted November 23, 2014 - 12:47pm

In reply to by Private Squirrel

"I read about about this-Magnetized-yesterday. Would you think if i place a little magnet underneath the metal the back case ....it maybe to help?"

NO! Do not put a magnet anywhere near your watch Private Squirrel.

Posted November 19, 2014 - 7:38am

I'd time it over a few days, making sure to give it a full wind around the same time each day. There may have been some oil or grit on the hair spring that would certainly interfer with the full swing of the balance wheel, making it run fast. If it has settled down now, what ever it was may have come loose and free of the spring. Again keep it running for a few days and see how it goes.

Another aspect to consider is the position of the regulator that is used to adjust the free length of the spring, although I'd not touch this until you have properly tested and can see that the watch is running consistantly fast or slow.

Private Squirrel
Posted November 19, 2014 - 3:09pm

In reply to by mybulova_admin

Hi ^.^

I just fully wind it .

I starting to find since yesterday it is now running a more precise setting time (to about -3 to 4 minutes- gained over 6 hours)

I am really attached to this Vet beauty   and yes i just want to care for and :D yup i will carefully fully wind every morning the same time.

I love timing all my watches it is so much fun the timing and keeping notes and especially there individual personalities which make my life.

Thank you fo the reply.




Reverend Rob
Posted November 19, 2014 - 2:20pm

'Fully Serviced' is a term much used on certain auction sites, and I take it with a grain of salt. I have never seen a watch properly serviced from any of these sources, including well known physical Auction houses, and I buy over 50 of these per year. 

Magnetisation is a real problem, and I recently saw a watch movt badly magnetized by being within 6 inches of a cellphone while it was refreshing a page. A competent watchmaker can de-mag your watch, or better still, look inside to make sure all is as it should be. Watches that have not been properly or recently serviced should not be run, the dried out residues and dirt can destroy the movt. 

It is best to safe, and whatever is causing your timekeeping problem can be easily identified by a competent watchmaker. 

Private Squirrel
Posted November 19, 2014 - 3:23pm

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Hi Revered Bob

I do have the option  to return for full refund or to send back to the U.S from here in Australia for a reservice. (I have desided to maybe not ship back as i am attached to this little beauty)

Or i could get a Service here  if the time is changing and gaining over the next week.

But over the last 24 hours i have noticed on the 2nd day of timing it  i have noticed it is now running so much better :D from 32 minutes (1st time i wind) to today about 3-4 minutes approx.


Posted November 19, 2014 - 3:46pm

In reply to by Private Squirrel

The fact that it has slowed down could be a good thing or a bad thing Private Squirrel. It could continue to slow down until it's running too slow next. I wouldn't send it back to the guy you purchased it from for another full service. The only way I would send it back would be to get a full refund. I think you would be flushing good money down the toilet in shipping charges. If you like it and want to keep it, I would contact him and tell him about the problem and try to get a partial refund to help you pay to get it serviced in Australia. Not all, but some people on the bay tend to bend the truth to the point of almost lieing. Like the Reverend said. A cleaning and oiling might mean they took a vacumm cleaner to the movement and sprayed it with WD-40. The only way you will know for sure that it has been serviced correctly is if you have it done by someone you trust and knows what they are doing.

Private Squirrel
Posted November 19, 2014 - 4:04pm

In reply to by 1955mercury

Hi ^.^

I agree i very love the unquie L9 moment, as i love the late 50's watches :D

But i think i will ask for a -partial refund- for servicing here , a watchmaker yesterday said they would charge me 160.00 just to check it's timing on there regulator device in there shop.

But i am not doing that , my parents have a jeweller they have been waiting there jewellery for years.    I know it will cost me but there is no way it's leaving OZ it's my little "Green Beret" :)

* I noticed this morning winding it carefully to full  it has gained 5 seconds each minute, which it was doing on the first day.


Reverend Rob
Posted November 20, 2014 - 1:42pm

5 seconds in a minute is 300 seconds per hour and 120 minutes per day, which is totally unacceptable. 

$160.00 to put on the machine to check the rate is extremely high. That is the price of a full service of an Automatic with calendar around here. 

Just a note on magnets and compasses.....

As mentioned, keep all magnets away from  the watch, and keep it out of any electromagnetic fields. Cell phones can and will cause problems, especially to older mechanical watches. The compass test for magnetism generally is some urban myth, (like over-winding)  because the compass needle is a magnet, and it will react to any ferrous metal, in addition to the Earth's magnetic field. What you are seeing it do is either react to a field or a metal, and ferrous metals live inside your watch, so a positive result is almost guaranteed. It won't react to stainless or precious metals of course. 

Your jeweller, if they have a watch repair dept with a watchmaker there, will be able to de-mag the watch and give you an honest assessment of your watch. 

DO NOT use a tunnel-type tool demagnetizer on any watch. 

Private Squirrel
Posted November 21, 2014 - 5:31am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Hi Revenered Bob

Thank you for great comment-

I didn't try any experient's with magnets :)

It's funny about gaining 5 seconds- on the 2nd full wind it continued it's gain of 5 seconds again. So it has been taken the watchmaker today and now i just have to wait until i  hear back from the watchmaker. 

I hope everything is ok..

Posted November 21, 2014 - 8:12am

a note about serviced watches. New mainsprings have a tendency to need to burn in. this means they have to wear against the coils of the springs to spread the lubricant. This sometimes take several complete winding cycles before they operate smoothly. Your description of the time changing day by day and seems to get better after a full run of the spring lends me to believe this is what is happening. Another possibility is dirt or oil on the hairspring. this can cause the coils of the hairspring slip agains each other and make the watch run faster. Any competant watch repair shop can time your movement to see what is happening and charge should be minimal $20-$40 (US) what they are wanting to charge is service to clean and completely go thru the movement. I would contact the seller of your watch and let them know it is running fast. Then tell them if the watch does not burn in the mainspring within 5 days and start running properly, refund all or some of the money you spent,

Private Squirrel
Posted November 22, 2014 - 3:54pm

In reply to by timebandit


Thanks for the great interesting information on the new mainsprings burn, i think it might be true and maybe needs to be cleaned a bit. And i decided to ask the seller for a partial refund which i received.  As i could not part with the watch :)

Richard Callamaras
Posted November 21, 2014 - 9:45pm

Rev, why should you not use a tunnel demagnetizer.

Reverend Rob
Posted November 22, 2014 - 8:04pm

In reply to by Richard Callamaras

The tunnel types require that you draw the part or piece through them, and when we tried it at school, it only magnetized the movement, sometimes very badly. It works great on screwdrivers and the like, but does weird things to movts. The best types are the flat surface instantaneous ones. Greiner AG makes a kickass one, for about $250. 

Richard Callamaras
Posted November 21, 2014 - 9:54pm

Hey squirrel! I should hand the lady maxim running by the end of the week. I'm going to redial it. I'll post when it's done. won't be done till February. Now, about your watch...If it is a legitimate military, I would recommend getting it serviced and keeping it. All original ones are rare most are not restored properly so a original or an accurately restored model is a real gem!! Develop a strong relationship with a local guy our use some guys from this site. Plenty of great talent in here.I have certainly used more than a few of them :-) they are correct when they say there is no cure.

Private Squirrel
Posted November 22, 2014 - 4:03pm

In reply to by Richard Callamaras

Hi Richard

Thank you for the comment-

Yup my 'Green Beret'  i named  because of it's history and a respect of esteem feels to be of course deserving. And when i saw all the detailed pictures of the moment and dial i knew there was a amazing watch there. (I will post pics when i get GBL9 back :D


Richard Callamaras
Posted November 21, 2014 - 9:55pm

As far as a refund any reputable seller will oblige.

Richard Callamaras
Posted November 22, 2014 - 4:46pm

I haven't seen photos of it. Do you have them posted so I can check it out?

Private Squirrel
Posted November 22, 2014 - 5:39pm


I do have Excellent pic's from the listing but i just want to wait until i get my watch back from the watchmaker and i think i may  add same new pic's. :)


Private Squirrel
Posted December 12, 2014 - 9:51pm


-Just a update on the Service-

I got my 3818A back from the Watchmaker last week and in the summary it was noted that the Hair spring was -flooded with a lot of oil-

But now it's running Beatuifully. :)

I took same pictures yesterday and i am about add them i think i will post then in a -New Topic- *My first Mil-W-3818A*

Posted December 12, 2014 - 10:06pm

That's great Private Squirrel. It should perform well for 4 or 5 years now.