It's been a busy couple of months and a while since i last posted here ( apologies regular readers ) but with over 12 chronographs to get through this past 8 weeks its been hard to find the time :)
In for inspection and service is this lovely vintage chronograph by Butex, the watch was running reasonably accurate but i was informed the chronograph would stop at 58 seconds every time. After a short run on the timegrapher at full wind it was clear something was not right, the amplitude was well below anything that could be regarded as accurate ( 130 Degrees ). With such a low reading it was clear the mainspring was not able to power the watch sufficiently but also that dry oil or lack thereof may also be a contributing factor.
Before we can look at the chronograph and its function we need to get the movement stripped down, cleaned and ready for base movement assembly, if the base movement runs sound then we know its something in the chronograph assembly causing issues.
With the movement stripped down and cleaned it was time to get the base movement together and see how it ran. Starting with the base movement we can tell whether an issue lies in the base or the chronograph assembly, a simple process of elimination. I must admit i do like the pink gilt finish over the standard nickel plating so its always pleasing to see it come out so clean after a good run in the machine. >>
With the base movement together it was time to fit pallets and balance and wind her up ! After a good wind the movement sprang into life but now with a good healthy amplitude of 300+ degrees, the addition of a new mainspring helping out of course ( original was broken at hook end ). With such a healthy base it was time to put the chronograph together and see where the problem was hiding, whilst disassembling the movement i did note the minute recording wheel was very stuck in so this would be one place to look. >>
Whilst assembling the chronograph it is important to note the minute recording wheel does not require lubrication, however at some point in the past this was done and the oils had become dry and tacky. Dry tacky oil can be stubborn to remove even after cleaning through a machine, in this case the pivot holes for the minute recorder had become victim to just such gunk and a hand cleaning would be needed.
The chronograph was assembled and depthing of wheels checked and adjusted but with the movement stopping at 58 seconds the only thing left was the minute recording pivots. After using an oiler soaked in essence to clean the pivots the minute recorder was refitted and the chronograph ran its full cycle. It strange to think a watch can be stopped by such a small thing ( as well as broken mainspring ) but the attention to detail is what watch repair is all about.
With the movement running sound there was only one issue left to overcome and that was to fit the correct stem. On reassembling the base movement i noticed how the stem was not quite the right fit and that it lacked the rear end shoulder which supports the stem in place. With a new stem comes a new crown and fortunately i have plenty of NOS crowns from the same period so this was no problem at all to remedy. >>
As a recap the movement arrived with low amplitude, chronograph stopping at 58 seconds, a broken mainspring, dirty pivots, and lack of good lubrication and topped off with incorrect stem. Now after some tlc the movement runs very well and the chronograph is functioning normally as well as a nice new correct stem and crown :)
The watch together again and timing is as good as it was when it was made :)
Thankfully this chronograph can return in full working order and be enjoyed again by someone who no doubt will appreciate it :)
I realise there has been a long break between blogs but there will be more coming in the next few weeks to keep you entertained. There will be a special look at an unusual ETA 7750 chronograph as well as hopefully the restoration of a vintage split seconds chronograph from the second world war. Also look out for up coming videos on my YouTube channel which should be produced soon ( time being the enemy here ha ha ).
Sent in by a returning customer this Jaeger had seen better days and the plan was to bring it back to form with a great deal of effort. Having previously belonged to customers grandfather, this watch carries with it more than just a financial value but one that has memories and sentiment. Like so many treasures and trinkets, watches can often mean far more than the sum of their parts, reviving what was once forgotten can rekindle our link to the past as well as our future.
The watch had many problems, of which i list below is just a few, but each one had to be taken in turn before the next could be approached.
Dial - Dirty and loosing paint
Glass - Cracked & damaged
Casing - Dull and dented
Crown - All chome worn away
Movement - Destroyed 3rd wheel upper pivot/ Missing Seconds Retainer Spring/Missing Upper Wheel + More !
The first port of call would be to remove the movement and have a thorough look over what needs to be done. Once the movement can be restored to working order the cosmetics can be done thereafter.
Without stripping the movement down fully it was clear some searching for new parts was in order and this would probably take a fair amount of time due to the rarity of such pieces. Fortunately i was lucky to find some parts overseas but the delay in their arrival meant the movement and watch would have to wait. Moving forward we can take a look at the main issues >>
The dial side parts were in fairly good shape, a little surface rust but nothing that could not be cleaned up. The setting lever acts also as a spring which is a great piece of design for which JLC are known.
On the working side it is clear the watch has had some misfortune as the upper seconds wheel and third wheel are both damaged and missing, surprisingly the seconds pinion remains despite the spring having snapped off.
As can be seen above the third wheel had absolutely no pivot left !! In some cases the watch could be converted to hour and minute only by polishing the remaining pivot down but in this case there was nothing left.
With new parts arriving it was time to get to work on the movement and first on the agenda was a new spring for that seconds pinion. Using some 0.3mm brass foil several strips could be cut and drilled prior to shaping, the key factor here is practical and not the cosmetic look of the part.
Cleaning surface rust can be done in a few ways but if you get lucky you can easily brush it off with some glass fibre >>
With the majority of the work done it was time to assemble and adjust the movement and see how she runs :)
With the movement running well again and new parts fitted the remaining cosmetics could be finished and bring this watch back to good order once more. Below is a list of the cosmetic works involved >>
Dial - Refinished with new print and polished indices
Hands - New hour & minute in same style /Seconds repaired
Case - Casing polished and side brushed by hand as original / New Crown
Glass - New acrylic glass fitted
Strap - Nice calf leather in black
After such along wait it was nice to see such a good result, it gives a certain pleasure to know a watch is back in the land of the living. Whilst not without some imperfections the watch could now be enjoyed as intended. Enjoy >>
Comparison Before & After
It has been a longer than normal job but one that has come out on top in the end, once returned i hope the watch brings as much awe and joy as it has for me to restore it :)
Sent in by one of my regular customers is this rather lovely Seamaster, the movement was non running but in good condition and the dial has a little age & wear but nothing overly bad. The movement in this case was a Calibre 286 with sweeping centre seconds, very basic movement design but very classical and reliable also. Always enjoy working on these movements as their size is very comfortable to work with and the end result is nearly always a very accurate and reliable time piece.
The casing had lost some of its rose gold plating but this is to be expected with a watch of this age, the case back was a little dull but easy enough to clean up. The dial has suffered slightly under age and weather but in this case it was best to leave alone and preserve the look of the watch overall. The original glass was far gone and the crown was worn so both of these would need replacement for sure.
Onward to the strip down phase and get things going, stripping the movement down reveals lack of lubrication and dry oil deposits on the jewel faces and holes >>
With the movement being cleaned it was time to clean up the case back and get the new crown and glass ordered. The case back goes through six stages, photos show first three stages >>
Ultrasonic Clean > Graining to remove scratches > First Buff > Polish 2 > Polish 3 > Final Compound
With the movement cleaned and all parts accounted for it was time to reassemble and lubricate the movement. Some jewels required further hand cleaning with pegwood and essence as the cleaning machine can't always remove the really stubborn deposits. >>>
With the movement assembled and running well again it was time to get the whole watch together and assembled, but before that a new crown was needed to match and fit the watch. Omega rose gold crowns of the exact dimensions needed were not available so an ISO Swiss Rose Gold plated crown fitted the bill quite nicely >>>
Crown and stem adjusted and ready to go the new glass was ready to be mounted and assembly finished >>
With the watch now complete it was time to reflect and enjoy the watch briefly until it was time to send it home for strap fitting and a future owner :)
As any of you who follow my blogs will know i do have a soft spot for Omega's and this is one little gem i won't forget, someone somewhere will have a nice timepiece to enjoy :)
Till next time ;)
This little alarm watch was sent in as part of a larger lot of watches won at an auction by a customer. The watches condition was unknown until it arrived with me but after a brief examination it was clear that it needed some tlc to set it running right again. The movement inside ( AS 1931 ) was rather soiled in excess oil and although the alarm function worked the main movement did not run. The hairspring was quite badly contaminated and in need of adjustment, the whole watch would need stripping down for cleaning before work could begin in servicing the watch.
As can be seen in the photos above the excess oil had seeped through to the dial in quite a large amount, someone somewhere had gone a little over the top on trying to get this watch running !
Time to strip the movement down and get it cleaned up >>
Once the movement was clean and the hairspring thoroughly decontaminated the assembly & lubrication could begin. The dial side is a little more fiddly than your standard movement but there were no broken parts or damages involved so it was straight forward to get the watch back together again. Unfortunately i forgot to charge my camera battery so i have no photos of the reassembly but i will remember for next time :)
With the watch fully assembled the movement was running good again and the alarm also working well. The glass was given a good polish to remove the scratches and a new strap fitted to finish the watch, overall a nice little alarm watch fit for purpose again ! :)