In for investigation recently is this rather nice Breitling chronograph, featuring a Venus 188 calibre manual wind movement housed in a steel case with acrylic glass. The watch had apparently stopped working correctly and neither time keeping or the chronograph were functional. Cosmetically the watch was in good shape so all that was needed was some tlc for the movement. Finding the problem was fortunately fairly evident as soon as the watch was opened >>
As can be seen in the photo above, the hairspring had somehow managed to get itself in quite a pickle. Carefully removing the balance and sorting out the hairspring was first priority, if the spring could be fixed then we can check the running.
With some steady hands i managed to sort out the spring enough to get an initial reading, the timing was ok but needed improvement. The chronograph was not functional and this was due to the runner spring not having enough power to push the runner, this could be resolved once the movement was cleaned and ready for reassembly. So we start by stripping the movement from the casing, in this instance the pushers are mounted on leaf springs rather than needing the screws to be loosened in other more typical chronos of this age.
With the movement uncased we can strip it down and prepare it for cleaning. It is important when disassembling these types of movement not to undo any of the eccentric screws for levers as adjusting them later can require more time.
With the movement thoroughly cleaned it was time to reassemble and lubricate it whilst correcting the runner spring so the chrono will work once again >>
With the movement now running almost back to normal it was time to refit the dial and hands and recase the watch ready for extended testing. Note that the movement is tested prior to recasing for several days but this can not be shown in photos :)
The damage to the hairspring was bound to have an effect but fortunately it was not enough to ruin the timing for daily use, the chrono spring also was not so far gone it could not be bent back to shape. With everything completed and running well again it was time to say good bye and send her home, hopefully the watch will see many more years of action before needing attention again !
Still to come...... Arly Triple Date.... Quick Look at the IWC TCZ......Rotary Aquaplunge Double Trouble..
Today we have a look into the service of a Britix triple date chronograph, although the brand name can come up from time to time it is unusual to find them with both the triple date and the chronograph together.
The Britix brand was founded in 1932 in La Chaux De Fonds but also later opened a factory in Lengnau in 1945. The brand name was later changed to Apex-Britix and as well as their own brand of watches they also produced watches under the names of Accurist, Festal, Naxe, Augusta and Aventica. The brand has been associated with the likes of Breitling but this is more speculation and not concrete evidence , if you should find an ebay listing stating an association as definitive then take it with a pinch of salt and not gospel. During the last years the Britix brand was changed once again to Jaquet & Girard of Biel, however beyond this i have found no records and assume the Quartz Crisis had finished them off for good.
It seems a shame now to think that such great companies no longer exist, but fortunately some examples of their work can still be found. Although not a massive and well known brand some examples can command a reasonable price with rarer examples costing a little more.
This particular example arrived in not working condition but did not seem to be overly worn and so some tlc should bring it back to good order. The movement used in this case is the Landeron Calibre 57, whilst the smaller cal 48/51 is more commonly seen this is a nice rare example of one of the more complicated calibres produced. The date functions are controlled by various levers and springs which can be adjusted swiftly using the casing bezel as we shall later see, this bezel has a hidden blued steel catch which pushes each lever in turn to change the various date wheels.
Follow below for images taken during strip down, photos may not always be in exact order but im sure you can get the picture :)
With the movement cleaned it was time to rebuild and lubricate, there was some wear and tear present which would later prove to be troublesome but nothing that could not be overcome. Sorry no rebuild pictures but it is a reasonably straight forward process of reversing the procedure, of course with some exceptions but you get the jist :)
As with many watches of this sort of age wear & tear takes its toll and in this case the chrono pinion as well as the 30 minute pinon are both worn so original hands do not reset to zero correctly no matter how well applied. With some searching i manage to find some suitable hands that should do the job for a while longer, finding these was more challenging than servicing the movement but such is the way of things.
The watch now complete is ready to return to the owner, it may be a little worn but it has had a good life and been well used by those who loved it. Hopefully it can be enjoyed once again as these gems won't be around forever :)
Next up, IWC TCZ....
In today's blog we take a look at a lovely vintage Seiko world timer from one of my returning customers. This model was actually in pretty good shape all things considered but there was a little work to do to bring it back to its best :) Lets crack on......
Stripping down the movement is fairly straight forward and so i won't bore you with over details and just cover the important bits :)
Every once in a while you may find the oscillating weight can come apart, not just on Seiko's but other automatics as well. Most occasions its best to replace them outright, but sometimes with a little tlc you can repair them back into working order.....
With the casing being cleaned i set to work on rebuilding the movement, checking each component for damage and where needed replace parts. During assembly each small system is checked before adding the next stage, by double checking at each stage you can identify problems early on rather than having to strip it down again later.
With the movement complete and running nicely the case work was then the next stage, taking care not to ruin original lines a light cosmetic clean up was the order of business. As the casing was cleaning after polish we re-dial the movement and fix the hands in place, this stage we also check the hands are moving correctly.
Vintage Seikos are always a pleasure to bring back to life, this model has a most wonderful silver cloth dial mixed with contrasting black & blue print of the 24 hours zone and the orange ring denoting the cities. Overall i was very pleased with this watch, both timing and finish were really good and i was happy to send this one home :)
If you enjoy this blog then feel free to leave a comment, also check out my youtube channel as i am planning some video restoration diaries :)
Up next..... Seiko Pogue Double Trouble & IWC UTC Automatic !
Quite often with watch repairs, personal projects get put aside with the intention of getting around to them next but inevitably another job comes in and such projects sit waiting longer and longer. However with Christmas and new year out of the way it was time to finally get around to one of the projects that had sat on the " To do " shelf for far too long.
In today's blog we take a look at a very nice and unique Omega model, the Chronostop. Unlike other chronographs the Chronostop works much in the way a timer does, in place of a start/stop button and a separate reset button the Chronostop only has the single operation pusher. In order to use the chronograph the button is pushed once to start it, push it a second time and hold it to take a reading, then upon releasing the button the mechanism resets to zero.
On all chronostop variants there is no continuous seconds nor is there a sub second to measure the minutes, if you needed to mark the minutes then you would have to recall them yourself. Whilst modern chronographs pack far more functionality i still believe the Chronostop has a place in a watch collectors heart.
Hertfordshire based watch restorer. Follow my blog for new watches under restoration/repair