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Author Topic: Learning watch repair  (Read 2436 times)
DrArclight
Zeppelin Captain
*****

« on: February 12, 2011, 05:38:57 am »

Well, I just completed my very first complete disassembly and reassembly of a pocket watch.  It was a small Everswiss that my mom gave to my dad 30 something years ago.  It hasn't run in ages, and after my tinkering with it, ...it still doesn't run.  Granted, the movement is much freer now than it was before I worked on it.  When it was first handed to me, I couldn't even get the mainspring to release without turning the crown backwards.  Now the mainspring will at least unwind, and if I use a blower bulb to puff air over the balance wheel, it will tick a few times.  I'm thinking that once I get my oil pins in I should be able to clean this thing up and get it going.  It doesn't have a lot of monetary value, but it is a sentimental piece.

And I have 6 more broken watches coming from E-Bay for me to tinker with before I tackle the cleaning of my grandfather's 1951 Bulova 17AH and the wonderful Heirloom I was just handed:  My other grandfather's cousin's 1880 Waltham 845.  The Waltham runs, but the crystal is shattered and I figure it could use a good cleaning.  It's a size 18 watch so it should be significantly easier to work with than the tiny Everswiss.

That bloomin Everswiss is complicated though.  There is only 1 bridge and the pallet bridge is a sort of circle with 2 tabs that is screwed to the main bridge.  Everything has to be in perfect alignment or the watch won't fit back together.  And heaven forbid you sneeze while the bridge is off.  Spent 45 minutes looking for the pallet fork and escapement wheel after that.   Grin



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watch_guy
Deck Hand
*
United States United States


« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011, 04:48:37 pm »

Save the Waltham 845 for later. This is a very high quality movement, and it's best not to take a chance on it until you get some more experience with dissassembly and reassembly.

As a full-plate watch, it's going to be somewhat difficult to reassemble. Many people break the pallet arbor the first time they reassemble one. There's a trick that avoids this-namely that you assemble everything on the top plate rather than on the pillar plate as in a 3/4 or bridge model. Also, as a 21j watch, you will have 4 additional sets of hole and cap jewels as compared to a 17j and lower watch(unless, by some chance, yours uses a jeweled mainwheel-something which 19j and 21j model 1892s did after a certain serial number which I don't recall offhand). Also, the keyless works(winding and setting mechanism) on the Waltham 1892 always gives me fits to get back together correctly, despite the fact that I've done half a dozen of them.
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DrArclight
Zeppelin Captain
*****

« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 11:06:05 pm »

Thanks for the tips on the Waltham.  I definitely don't want to damage it in any way.  It is running and keeping good time so I may just replace the shattered crystal for now, if I can find one, and leave the servicing until I've got enough experience to be comfortable that I won't break anything in it, or even scratch it.

I may be incorrect on the date.  After doing a little research on the person it originally belong too I have found out that it was given to him when he graduated from high school in the early 1920's, but I haven't been able to determine if the watch was new when it was given to him or not.

The case is unfortunately in pretty rough shape.  The back cover hinge is completely worn through.  The designs on the front and back are so worn you can barely make them out anymore.  The case has a copper color, but given who owned it and their affluence at the time, it is most likely rose gold.  The front bezel, under the front cover is very scratched up and discolored from the glue used to hold in the the old (definitely non-original) crystal.  Whoever serviced this watch had no business handling watches.  Under the rear cover, the dust cover over the movement is scratched and gouged at the case opening notch.  I want to try to keep this watch original as, as that was the request of the person who passed it down to my dad, but it would certainly look better in a nicer case.
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watch_guy
Deck Hand
*
United States United States


« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 03:51:14 am »

Your 1880 date is definitely way too early(somehow or another I missed that before typing your first post). As I mentioned earlier, the 845 is a model 1892. This comes from the fact that the model(meaning the basic plate layout) was first introduced in 1892.

The first run of 845 movements was in the 12,000,000 serial number range, and the last run in the 19,000,000 range. Although dating by serial numbers isn't exact, this roughly corresponds to a production lifespan of 1903-1914. The 845 was a railroad grade watch, and by the mid 1910s, 18 size watches had fallen out of favor both on the railroads and in general use. Thus, it's very reasonable to think that a late production 845 movement would have been a slow seller and would have still been available new in the early 1920s.

Just to give you a little bit of background information, the Model 1892 was Waltham's premium model of 18 size movement. Although it used a full-plate design, it incorporated many improvements over traditional full-plate watches. In particular, the use of a "hogged out" construction rather than pillars, and the presence of exposed winding wheels, were all considered improvements. Out of 326,600 model 1892 movements, only about 10% were not railroad grade, meaning that model 1892 movements were predominately high-grade watches.
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