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Author Topic: Advice for dismantling watches?  (Read 1826 times)
husbandofemily
Officer
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« on: August 28, 2013, 10:40:51 am »

Hi everyone.

I've been inspired by Cpl Heinselmanoff's weekend build, and want to do something similar. I've sourced some parts, including a nice old camera lens I'm going to incorporate.

The only thing I really need is the watch part. Until I get hold of a clockwork, hand wound watch to use, I did some cursory, exploratory dismantling of an old battery powered watch I had lying around, just to get a feel for things.

Aside from being disappointed by the utterly boring internals, I was dismayed by how easily the hands just fell off the spindles  Undecided

Bearing in mind I'm a complete newbie to clocks and clockwork, and (probably) all watches are different, is there any general good  advice anyone could impart for transplanting hand wound wristwatch internals please?

Many thanks

Ian

 
 
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Panzerjoust
Deck Hand
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United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 11:19:09 am »

One of the most obvious ones (yet most important) is remember where everything goes! Lay out everything in the order in which it is put together so that you don't get confused.
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husbandofemily
Officer
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 11:47:16 am »

One of the most obvious ones (yet most important) is remember where everything goes! Lay out everything in the order in which it is put together so that you don't get confused.

Noted  Wink

Is there a generally accepted method - e.g take *this* out before *that*, to stop the "comedy clown watch ge-boing" moment? As I say above, the was the hands just fell off was very disheartening....
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Abslomrob
Deck Hand
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Canada Canada



WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 05:09:15 pm »

My general process:

1) remove balance (this stops the watch from "ticking"
2) remove the hands with a hand puller or a pair of finely polished levers.  Put a piece of paper or plastic between the lever/puller and the dial unless you want to scratch it.
3) Let the mainspring down.  Typically, you do this by holding the watch and crown in one hand while moving the click out the way with a toothpick int he other, then let the crown slowly unwind between your fingers.
4) remove the dial and set aside so it doesn't get dirty or scratched.  There are things under the dial that are held in by the dial, so be careful not to drop the watch or turn it upside down.
5) Dismantle the workings under the dial.  The steps and pieces will vary wildly from watch to watch. 
6) Dismantle the workings at the back.  I usually start with the pallet fork, then the gears (crown wheel, click, ratchet wheel), then remove the bridges, wheels etc.  Again, different watches have different arrangements; some watches have additional parts attached to the underside of the bridges, and many have secondary bridges underneath the the top ones.

Take lots of pictures, and try to keep the screws with the parts they were attached to.  Often, there will be slight differences between what might at first seem like identical screws.  Pay attention to the length and the type of head (i.e., if it's a "flat" head or a tapered head).  Be very very very very very careful with springs.  There's usually one connected to the "click", and one connected to the shipping lever under the dial.  Different watches may have others.  You'd be surprised how far one of those can fly even if you're being very very careful.  Try to position your tweezers and maybe a toothpick so that it's ability to fly is curtailed.  Or use a bit of playdoh or (ideally) rodico to hold it in place.  And treat the balance (and especialy the hairspring) with the kind of care you'd give to a newborn; that's the heart of your watch, and any damage to it will translate into a poorly running watch.
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All my vintages are at http://www.abslomrob.com
husbandofemily
Officer
***
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 07:05:29 pm »

 

Abslomrob  - Perfect, thanks! Once I've sourced an appropriate watch, I'll post some pics and update my progress, in case anyone's interested, or just needs a good laugh!

Thanks again

Ian
 
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Ben8763
Deck Hand
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Australia Australia


« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 10:51:25 pm »

The very first crucial step, let down the mainspring!
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Ben8763
Deck Hand
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Australia Australia


« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2013, 05:25:00 am »

Abslomrob definitely has more experience than myself, but I will always let the mainspring down as the first step, after letting it down I'll let the watch run out the remainder.

I think this is probably more important on older watcher than new, for example if you have an old watch you removed the balance before letting down the mainspring, if a pallet jewel was missing or damage and you bumped the pallet whilst removing the balance (practically inevitable), you're going to have a problem, one that is usually characterized by a *ziiiip* noise and a pivot hitting you in the face...
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Drew P
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 03:06:10 am »

For cheap sources,try Dealextreme,they have some relatively cheap hand wound units. Good thing is that they should work considering they're new so they should work when put back together. maybe.
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Never ask 'Why?'
Always ask 'Why not!?'
husbandofemily
Officer
***
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 09:23:25 am »

Ben - thanks again, I'll bear that in mind  Smiley

For cheap sources,try Dealextreme,they have some relatively cheap hand wound units. Good thing is that they should work considering they're new so they should work when put back together. maybe.

Damnit - I didn't know about Dealextreme, and now I'm going to spend far too much money there, Thank you VERY much  Cheesy
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Ben8763
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 11:24:49 am »

maybe try esslinger.com, watch movements parts and tools for relatively cheap
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