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Author Topic: How to Retrofit a Pocketwatch?  (Read 6852 times)
Doctor Z-kun
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« on: March 17, 2009, 04:00:07 pm »

Er, I'm not even sure if "retrofit" is the right word for what I want to do....

I've got a cheap Fullmetal Alchemist-inspired pocketwatch, but I hate dealing with the batteries for it (it always takes forever to find a store that sells them!). Also, the quality of some of the parts is rather poor. For instance, the latch got bent out of shape and the plastic covering the watch face somehow managed to get cracked even though the watch was closed. I rather like the aesthetics, so I was wondering what the best way of hybriding this with an antique wind-up watch would be? This is my first pocket watch, so I wouldn't know what to look for in a higher-quality one. I presume I need to find one of similar size and shape so I can swap out the covers and faces, but I don't know exactly how to go about taking apart the hinges, what to look for, etc.


« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 04:06:09 pm by Doctor Z-kun » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2009, 07:11:48 am »

I have moved this to Chrono, as the people here will be more able to help you.

What you want is to find out the size of the case (I hope it is a standard size..), then purchase a working mechanical pocket watch mechanism that fits your case. As long as you don't mind winding your watch every day or so, mechanical is the way to go. This will replace all the insides that are in there already, such as the non-working seconds hand etc.

I will leave it to the experts to tell you exactly how to go about this.
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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 01:44:44 pm »

Fair enough; I wasn't exactly sure where to put this thread in the first place, to be honest.

I did make a bit of a mistake though; the big seconds hand works, but it's the little tiny clock drawn on the face that doesn't work. I have no idea what this tiny clock's supposed to do. It's just a drawing, though.

What measurement would I need - the circumference, diameter, both, other? Winding it daily sounds like much less of a hassle than going to six or more different stores to find the right batteries. Cheesy You would think Radioshack would have them, but it turns out that it's not necessarily true.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 02:39:12 pm »

the little tiny clock drawn on the face that doesn't work.
Huh
If it's just printed on (like the numbers!) then of course it's not going to work.
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HAC
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 07:31:56 pm »

Well, its most likely that what you want to do will be pretty much a difficult task, if not impossible.  Most quartz pocket watches use a small wristwatch movement held in place by a plastic retaining ring. you might be able to fit a smaller mechanical, but then you will have to deal with issues around the winding/setting stem (you most likely won;t find one long enough, even with a stem extender), and its quite likely that the threads on the crown will be wrong. The largest movement you will easily find new today, would be a Unitas 6497/6498, and those run around$175.00. Will it fit? Probably not easily, and you will have real problems with fitting proper case clamps or case screws (those are the bits that secure a moevent into a case, in a pocket watch.) Antique pocket watch movements will be harder to fit, as the way the winding/setting stem is fiited is the exact oppsoite of a modern watch, and your case probably cannot be adapted to a case sleeve and stem. The correct length of stem to porperly engage the keyless works is a tricky bit, even with a proper case.
  What you might be able to better do, is to see if a better quality quartz movemtncan be fitted. A good swiss quartz mopvement should only run about $15.00 or so, and I'll wager that you can find on ethat will fit in quite easily. (watch out for the hand hole sizes, though).
  As far as winding a pocket watch, I usually wind mine once a day. Power reserve on a good one should be about 30 hours or so, perhaps as much as 36. A good quartz movement should easily run well over a year one one battery. Cheap quartz movements have a lot of friction, and very poor tolerances, so they tend to burn through batteries pretty quickly.
  I have a modern Bulova with an ETA quartz movement, and its going on over two years since the lastt battery change.
Hope that helps, not trying to discourage you, but if it were me, I'd look at either a new watch, or seeing if a better quartz movement could be swapped in..

Cheers
Harold
 
 
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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2009, 07:21:17 pm »

Ah, thanks! Pity about the difficulty/impossibility of going to a winding watch, but now that I know that I can at least upgrade the quartz....

I see what you mean about cheap movements devouring the battery; I looked at the movement the other day and the gears et al were plastic!
I haven't gotten the chance to do the exact measurements yet, but would something like this be good?:
« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 07:35:02 pm by Doctor Z-kun » Logged
HAC
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2009, 07:29:16 pm »

That's a good movement, but I'll take a chance and bet that the one in your pocket watch is more likely a smaller movement, perhaps a Miyota (Citizen)
What I;d suggest you do, is remove the back of the watch to see what size and shape of a movement you have (with luck, the movement will be identifiable).
A suitable replacement should be easy to find after that...

Cheers
Harold

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Doctor Z-kun
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2009, 07:38:39 pm »

The movement in my watch is about 28mm in diameter. It's a circle. There's some extra space around it though; there's a plastic ring that holds it in place, but is easily removed.

What's the significance of the jewel count?


EDIT: My mistake - 28ish mm, not 18mm. Ah, now I feel a tad embaressed.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 07:45:07 pm by Doctor Z-kun » Logged
HAC
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HAC_N800
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 01:24:29 am »

On jewel count...

An excellent explanation can be found here:
http://elginwatches.org/help/watch_jewels.html


Basically, jewels act as bearings, the higher the number the better (usually, but not always) the movement.
The one good thing, is that its fairly easy to replace a jewel, whereas its a major job (and pain) to re-bush a non jeweled pivot


Cheers
Harold
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