We've had this....June 24 2011 at 3:25 PM
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Response to people who stop watches
question before, but I could not find it with the forum's Search feature. However, I, too, have known some people who claimed that they "could not wear watches" because they would stop / not run accurately. I used to think this was simply a case of them not winding the watch, but I now suspect something more complicated is involved.
The watches you mentioned, presumerably, are antimagnetic so it would take a fairly strong magnetic field to stop them and as a result they probably would not keep accurate time after being so magnetized. Obviously, there would be no such source of a magnetic field in your living room.
In the case of your niece's watch, it might be possible that, subconsciously, she is causing slight muscle tremors in the arm that the watch is worn on that begin to interfer with the motion of the watch's balance wheel. This would explain why she has no problems with quartz watches since these do not have a conventional balance wheel in them.
All it would take would be a slight twitch of her arm muscles at the right instant every few beats of the balance wheel to begin to make it behave erratically. She and outside observers would be completely unaware of these tiny muscle tremors. If the watch movement was almost in need of servicing, there would probably be enough drag in its gear train to allow the balance wheel to actually be stopped by these muscle tremors until the watch was then shaken to start the balance wheel oscillating again.
For this stopping action to take place, the wearer's subconscious mind would have to actually be aware of the oscillating motion of the watch's balance wheel. Most people would not be able to sense this, but some people might have wrists whose nerves were sensitive enough to do this so that their subconscious minds would be able to constantly monitor the balance wheel's oscillations. Thus, their subconscious minds would form a sort of negative feedback loop with the watch's balance wheel that tries to dampen its motion.
Assuming that this theory is correct, then the next question one must ask is WHY certain people are having this effect on their mechanical watches.
The Freudian explanation might be that, subconsciously, they either don't like wearing a timepiece or that they are trying to actually stop the flow of time. If the latter is the case, then maybe their subconscious minds think that if they can stop the flow of time, then they will not age and thereby be able to live forever or that they can avoid upcoming stresses in their lives. These, of course, are only guesses.
Here's an experiment to try with your niece.
Try strapping TWO mechanical watches to her wrist with their cases diametrically opposed to each other. If, after so many minutes, only ONE of the watches is running erratically, then this would seem to be evidence that her subconscious mind is at work in the process. Most likely, it would not be able to keep track of the motion of two balance wheels at once. Either only one watch will be affected or neither will be affected.