What should I do if I have a problem with my clock/watch?
If you have a technical problem with an Atomic Time Product, ask for a technician at firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not recommend taking sync-time watches anywhere else for service or battery replacement.
How do atomic clocks/watches work?
The government owns and operates an "Atomic Clock" that is located in Boulder, Colorado. This Atomic Clock keeps time which neither gains or loses a second in 30 million years. The National Institute of Standards and Technology then sends this time to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris, France. The Bureau receives time scales from other major nations, averages those scales, and distributes the average as the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). It is this international time scale which NIST distributes via radio stations (including WWVB) and your clock or watch is programmed to interpret. As long as your clock can receive the radio signal, it will update its time to match exactly with UTC and adjusted for your time zone.
(Information from NIST - visit www.nist.gov for more info)
Will I be able to pick up the time signal where I live?
The signal covers a radius of 1864 miles from Ft. Collins, Colorado where it is broadcast. The signal is weaker on the east and west coast,
so it may take longer for the clock to pick it up in those locations.
The signal will penetrate almost all buildings, except for commercial steel buildings with few windows. If you ever experience difficulty in receiving a signal, try putting your clock near a window.
How long does it take to pick up the signal?
Each case varies depending on the strength of the signal at the time you set up your clock, the sensitivity of the receiver of the clock or watch you have, and your location. In most cases people are able to pick up the signal within a day (usually during the first night).
Will I be able to return the clock if I can't pick up the signal?
Yes. We have a 30 day money back guarantee. We recommend putting the clock in a window facing towards Colorado and leaving it overnight for a few nights, this usually always works. Also, try rotating the clock 90 degrees and keeping it away from electronics like computers which can interfere with signal reception.
Do your clocks/watches work outside of North America
All of our clocks and watches have a normal quartz timekeeping movement. If your clock or watch is brought outside the range of the signal, or doesn't receive the signal, it will keep time normally.
However, it will not be able to make any adjustments to the U.S. Atomic Clock and it may not be precise to the second. Also, some models of watches and clocks are not able to change to time zones other than Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern, so it may not be able to display time for the time zone you are in.
Do the clocks run on batteries and if so how long do they last?
Most of the wall clocks run on 1 AA battery, the alarms usually 2 AA's or 3 AAA's. The battery in most watches is the CR1620. The batteries in the watches and wall clocks usually last about 2 years. The batteries in the digital clocks usually last about a year.
My watch does not pick up the signal every day. Will it still keep precise time?
Yes. This is normal operating procedure for all of our products. Our products run on a normal quartz and do not depend on getting the signal all the time to display accurate time. When they receive the radio signal, they adjust themselves to match the correct time.
What do I do when my watch battery runs out?
Sync Time Watches:
It is recommended that you send it back to us, because after battery installation, a re-calibration procedure must be done, which can be very difficult for those not familiar with the watch. Taking a sync-time watch to a jeweler will void any existing warranty.
Most jewelers are not familiar with Atomic Watches, as they are different on the inside then a normal watch. Our charges for battery replacement is $10 and re-calibration is $5.
On Sync-Time Watches, you know you need a new battery when the second hand stops at the 12 for about 5 seconds, then jumps over to the 1 and keeps going. The second hand also may stop at any point on the watch for 5 seconds then jump if your watch is also off of calibration. A typical battery lasts about 1.5-2 years.
Junghans watches can be serviced by a qualified jeweler, as they self-calibrate themselves after a new battery is installed. Junghans recommends service by the PWH. On Junghans watches, the LCD will display 'low' indicating a low battery. A typical battery lasts from
On all products, after installing new batteries, the clock/watch will not display the correct time until it receives the synchronization signal. This can happen as soon as 5 minutes after installing the batteries, or up to 3-5 days. If your clock/watch appears to be taking a long time to receive the signal, place it in a window facing towards Colorado at night for the best chance of reception.
How do I adjust the time zone?
Sync-Time Watches: Press and hold in the crown for about 5 seconds until the second hand moves over to the left hand-side of the watch. It should be pointing to either the 'P', 'M', 'c', or 'E' for Pacific, Mountain, Central, or Eastern. If the time zone shown is incorrect, simply let go of the stem and press it in to advance it to the next zone. Once you have selected the appropriate zone, simply let go of the stem and the watch should begin adjusting in a few seconds.
Junghans Watches: Press the recessed button at 10 o'clock until you see the letter appear for your time zone. You might have to press this button repeatedly up to 23 times to arrive at your time zone.
Do I have to adjust the date/month of your watches and clocks?
No, your watch adjusts the date automatically - date information is also included in the time signal. Even in a leap year (February 29th) the watch will set the date properly.
Will my watch/clock adjust itself when I travel from one time zone to another?
No. None of our products are equipped with any sort of global positioning devices and cannot physically tell what time zone it is located in. You will have to adjust the time zone yourself when you travel.
Do I have to adjust the watch or clock for daylight saving time?
No. Your watch or clock will adjust itself overnight - provided it can receive the synchronization signal. If your clock/watch did not change for daylight saving time, it is recommended that you place it in a window facing towards Colorado at night for the best chance of signal reception. Your watch/clock may also not be receiving because of a low battery.
My timepiece is off by a few seconds. Why?
Your watch or clock is adjusted to run within +/- 0.5 seconds in a 24 hour period as a regular quartz watch. Most likely, it did not receive a signal for over a week and was not synchronized with the atomic clock in
Colorado. If you have a sync-time watch or a Zeit wall clock, it may need to be re-calibrated. You can find instructions on how to re-calibrate your product here.
When is the my timepiece synchronized?
Your clock/watch is programmed to automatically search for the signal during the night. The receiver does not operate continuously during the day in order to save battery power, and is also unnecessary considering that the quartz used to keep time throughout the day is very precise from day to day. Also, when you install new batteries on your clock/watch or re-calibrate it, it will search for the signal. The time signal is continuously broadcast from Colorado.
Can I activate the receiver manually?
If you have a Junghans watch, simply press the button at 2 o'clock and hold for 3 seconds. The hands will go to the 12 o'clock position and stay there for 9 minutes. The receiver is now manually activated. If the signal is not received within 9 minutes, the watch will go back to the
time which was previously displayed.
On a sync-time watch you must re-calibrate the watch in order to achieve a manual signal.
Why is there a difference between reception of signal during the day and night?
There is a lot of "electronic pollution" especially during working hours in urban areas. Many factors can affect the reception of the signal such as cell phones, computers, faxes, satellite dishes, etc. The watch is subject to such interferences similar to a cell phone. During the night, the "electronic pollution" is greatly reduced, and signal reception becomes much easier.
Please also read NIST's tips for better signal reception and general information here.
Does my clock/watch come with a warranty?
All Atomic Time products (with the exception of the bargain bin and 'One of a kind specials') come with at least a 6 month limited warranty:
We warrant this timepiece to be free from defects in workmanship or material for a period of six months from date of purchase. During the warranty period, such defects will be repaired or the defective instrument will be replaced, at our option, without charge. This warranty does not cover damage through accident or misuses.
ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMTED TO WARRANTIES OF FITNESS AND MERCHANTABILITY, ARE HEREBY LIMITED IN DURATION TO A PERIOD ENDING SIX MONTHS FROM DATE OF PURCHASE.
Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state. Repair or replacement please check: http://www.radiocontrolledclock.com/returns.html
Where can I find more information about atomic timekeeping in
The National Institute of Science and Technology has a great amount of information on Atomic Timekeeping. Visit their web site at: www.boulder.nist.gov.