It never ceases to amaze me how something complex can hide behind something so simple, this Longine's Flagship is just such one of those things, so today we look into this watch in all its glory. While this watch is not the most complex in terms of features or complications where it does excel is in its construction and use of both old and new methods within the individual systems. Its worth noting that this watch was produced in a time where machinery was not as advanced as today's, i think even in today's era the design would still be costly to produce but lets look at that further down the list.
The case back has now lost the original green & blue enamel infill but given the age this is fairly common to see, similar situation with Grand Seiko;s which no doubt some of you have seen.
The whole movement, dial , and hands are in very good condition throughout, simple design that is timeless and can still be found on modern remakes of Longine's watches.
The date disc on the upper plate is held down only by an outer ring which is purely friction fit, a light lift is enough to remove this and progress with the dial side. Visible in the bottom left photo we can see the use of an older rocker style bar that was more commonly found in earlier wrist watches, older but still a system that works well.
Turning over to the movement side we can see the rotor removed and with very little in way of parts to it, this allows the rotor to spin freely under kinetic force with minimal drag from other components. The Rotor and ring gear are formed as one piece and held only by a single small axle to the upper plate.
With the movement powered down and train bridge removed we can now see the rotor driving wheel as well as gear train. In the lower of the image you can see the use of the setting lever spring which is located in the middle of the inner main plate rather than dial side as would normally be found. The use of the rocker bar and the modern setting lever spring is a great system employing both older techniques and more modern parts in the same system.
In the middle of the upper images we can see the reversing gear and driving wheel which allow the rotor to wind the mainspring as well as freely manually winding of the movement. Also visible is the center wheel which in this movement is mounted to its own bridge/cock and secure by two screws from the dial side, see the closer image below >
Back on the dial side the motion work and date parts are removed, despite the busy look of the dial side the construction is kept as simple as possible using only what is needed to perform the task. The complexity lies in the manufacturing of the main plate and all the cut outs but we shall get to that in a moment.
With the movement stripped down it is then cleaned and later inspected before assembly. The above image shows the mainspring & barrel which is marked on the under side as " DO NOT OPEN " as is often found on Longine's watches. These sealed barrels ideally do need cleaning and re greasing but if a spare is not available then it may be best to leave alone, spares for this movement are like hens teeth so the best efforts are made before assembly.
With the movement all clean the re assembly was relatively straight forward, the above images are during assembly but not always in order :) The initial timing before adjustment was quite good but of course the watch needs time to settle before adjusting.
Although i have serviced thousands of watches ive never come across this calibre before and it has quite surprised me ( in a good way ). The use of old and new is quite unique and most of the watch movement design is quite simple but mostly efficient, the complexity is subtle and can be seen if you look closely at the level of detail in the main plate.
The watch main plate has been painfully and carefully cut out, holes drilled and various end mill cuts taken to produce a very intricate but simple design, the shear cost to produce this part must have been very high and even today would not be easy to make. Given the design and complex nature of it's manufacture it is beyond any doubt and reason as to why some watches cost as much as they do, although this watch can be found for relatively small sums these days its true value is much greater.
Overall this has been a great watch to work on, in fact its been an education, as just when you think you've seen it all there's always something new. This watch like so many will go on to be with a new owner and hopefully be enjoyed as much as it should be, the simple exterior hiding the otherwise more complicated machine inside.
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The next blog may be over with our friends over at Waha Watches but i will be sure to put a link up somewhere for yall !!
In for service and some minor clean up is this lovely Oysterdate from Rolex. Featuring the Cal 1225 it has manual winding with normal date, no quickset, no hack, just pure time & date. Must admit these style of Rolex/Tudors are one of my most favored, no fancy over the top features just solid style and great functionality. Take a simple concept and then manufacturer it to the highest level and voila the Oysterdate !
The case work as seen above had a few marks and dings but to bring back some shine without overdoing it the casing would be cleaned and lightly polished with a final compound so as not to remove all the wounds. The glass was beyond repair so a new German made replica based on the original was ordered and fitted after case work was complete.
Above we can see the movement being stripped down for cleaning, the only problem aside debris and lack of lube is a broken mainspring with the hook end snapped clean off. After cleaning we begin to assemble the movement, the casing is done during the movement cleaning process so it is ready to go once the movement and other parts are complete.
The upper driving wheel for the seconds pinion must be fitted with due care to ensure an even and flat fit, always fit/remove driving wheels once pallets are removed to stop any chips or damage to the pallets.
Movement all together with new mainspring and running very nicely, plates all clean and now ready for dial/hands and re casing .
Even the movement retainer ring is finished to the best level with radial brush lines and precision cut outs for retainer clips.
The date mechanism is simple but effective, the lack of quick set can be annoying but the lack of these extras parts means less problems over time so there's a positive side to these things too !
Dial and hands fitted the movement was fitted back in the case before a new gasket was fitted and the casing closed up ready for use. An alternative Rolex strap was found and fitted as the original was now missing, although from a related reference it works very well and is almost identical to the original.
Watch all back together so now just to fit the bracelet and its all good to go :)
A very nice timepiece and one that will no doubt increase in value, classic styling and excellent craftsmanship what more could you want :)
In the workshop not so long ago was this lovely little Tag Monaco, featuring the Cal 17 or ETA 2894-2. The watch was due a service and light overhaul to the cosmetics so without further ado.....
After stripping down the casing it is clear now just how much gunk can build up inside the recesses of the watch. The pushers were also removed so that they could also be given the proper attention and improve their effectiveness. A good soak in the ultrasonic will clear all this gunk away no problem.
With the casing cleaning we can strip the movement down, lets take a look at the chrono module which fits atop the movement....
The movement photos below show most of the steps of the strip down, whilst some may not be in exact order you should get an idea of the basics :)
With the movement serviced and casing parts all cleaned up it was time to put it all back together, yes all those lovely screws :)
Everything together and running smooth the watch is ready to return and be used again. Despite the case cleaning there was still some staining but since this is hidden it's not too bad. Most people would think watches are impervious to dirt getting into those fine lines but believe me any fine crack makes a nice home for dirt, so lesson here ? Keep your watches clean :)
Check back again for more posts :)
So many watches since the last post its hard to know where to start, so lets start with a Rolex :)
These older models are always a favourite, simple, reliable, and high quality throughout. The movement is the classic 1530 calibre, automatic with no date or complications, so lets take a look at the movement >
We start off by uncasing the movement and removing the hands, from there we can strip down the movement and check for any wear or damage >
With the hands off we can set about removing the dial and stripping back the dial side parts ( except winding parts ). We must make sure once the automatic bridge is removed to power down the movement, movements under tension when stripping down is not what you want >
With the movement stripped down and cleaned the mainspring was changed for a new one and the whole movement re assembled and lubricated. Timing as to be expected is excellent, very rarely do Rolex watches develop issues more commonly found on lesser Swiss watches, not to say other brands don't make exceptional pieces but Rolex do have that edge. The casing on this watch is kept original , warts n all , the bracelet was given a very light hand brush to bring back some of the brightness, the glass lightly re polished and shes ready to go back.
Truly a stunning watch and now back in top running order :)
If you like this watch then pop on over to morningtonwatches.com as it is available for sale at a very competitive price, there are further photos of the watch complete with bracelet & box also. Just click the link to go straight there :)
More posts to come :)
Hertfordshire based watch restorer. Follow my blog for new watches under restoration/repair