Thursday, 11 October 2012

Servicing An Early 20thC Gents Wristwatch

This watch belongs to a good friend of mine. I believe it originally was his father's, which I believe adds to the watch's story and sentimental value.

This is certainly an early 20th century wristwatch, I'd hazard a guess at it being a gents watch - it's size and design are consistent with some other gents watches I've seen from that era.

The case design has fixed lugs and a single piece leather strap, which is itself really nice. The strap was in pretty ordinary condition, so I soaked it in a strong tea for a couple of days and periodically brushed the rust off with a fibreglass brush.

Soaking the strap in tea (hopefully) achieved two goals, to soften and treat the leather, as well as helping remove rust on the fixed buckle.

After the week or so of tea & brushing, its into a container of rice to dry out.

The case is really interesting, it has a delicate hinge which is not entirely visible when trying to open it.

The case might be guaranteed for 10 years, but now its probably getting closer to 100 - quality work.

The dial has two feet which are held onto the movement with clipped screws.

The movement did run a little when I received the watch, but the oscillation was weak and stopped often when the piece was moved. You may notice from the photo below that the balance spring is bent slightly. This causes the balance spring to not sit parallel with the balance wheel, such that the spring interferes with the balance arms. I corrected the balance spring distortion upon reassembly.

The balance cock and winding wheel removed.

With most of the going train removed.

Now onto the obverse of the movement for the keyless works

The next few photos show the balance closer up

You can see the slight deformation in the outside coil of the balance spring. The spring stud should sit perpendicular to the plane of the coiled balance spring, but when I took the photo it leaned outward from the staff slightly.

The mostly disassembled movement.

Cleaned, oiled, reassembled and balance spring corrected.

The case was run through my ultrasonic cleaner, there was a considerable amount of grime in the hinge and recesses.

I applied some polywatch to the plexi 3 times to restore its condition. The plating on the case could be revisited in the future, but for now it's running smoothly for the first time in a long time.

Longines Stem Repair - Part 2

As promised, these are the final photos for the Longines repair.


The remaining female portion of the crown thread needs loctite to remain in place.

Once the gasket is re-greased and the movement re-cased, all the watch needs is a new strap & it's ready to send back to my uncle.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Making a Stem & Crown for a Kienzle Pin Lever Mvmt

This is a Kienzle pin lever pocket watch that I picked up for literally a couple of dollars from a pawn shop in Coonawarra, South Australia. It's a cheap German movement from around WW2, evidenced by the full plate movement design which appears to be stamped into shape.

Before I got into my current milling & fabrication mood, I'd already fashioned lugs for the case out of coat hanger wire.

Here's the movement uncased:


This is the first time I've tried to cutting a stem, here are the first three failed attempts:

1. Filing the flats from round stock on a wooden block. Filling round stock square is a skill I'll have to develop further, unfortunately this was not good enough.

2. Milling the flats. My progress here was excellent, I'm sorry I didn't get an intermediate photo - but trust me when I say it was a great improvement on the first effort. Unfortunately I made a very silly mistake in lowering the spindle instead of raising it, thereby breaking off the square end of the stem.

3. This one was certainly the best yet, produced in the same way as 2. When I was trying to cut the grove for yoke, I did happen to cut a little too deep clipping off the end.

Learning a little each time..

This is the forth and final attempt. The threads are well formed (except at the centre) and ready for cutting the flats.

Setting up the Sherline for milling takes about 20 seconds.


And of course I became so focused on the task at hand that I forgot to document it with my camera. The next photo is of the stock from which I'll make a crown.

The taper might have been a bit shallow..

But it works-

Here's a comparison of crown size between a Molnija 3602 and my Kienzle. It's big, but not massive. It's comparable to a 44mm Chinese Parnis that again, I don't have photos of.

A test fitting

The completed piece with the duds

Looks good, now I just need to figure out how to cut groves/ knurl the edges. I may be required to make my own cutter.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Longines Stem Repair

This is a Longines 9782 gents dress watch belonging to my uncle. The stem appears to have been over torqued, and the the crown has broken off with part of the stem still inside. The problem here is that there is insufficient stem protruding from the crown to remove it easily.

As with many other posts on this blog, you'll have to forgive the poor macro-photography on the part of my camera. Here's the offending crown:

I've decided to chuck the stem, turn down a very small portion of the crown thread. This will expose the broken piece of stem, which I will then be able to extract. Unfortunately, I was unable to chuck the crown successfully as the crown kept wobbling off centre. To remedy this, I'll turn a small carrier which will hold the  crown true, allow it to be turned down. The crown is 2.94mm in diameter, so the carrier is turned down to around 2.93-2.95mm (the measurement differs slightly due to wear on the crown knurling).

A test fit:

Finished carrier:

The crown and carrier chucked ready to be turned down slightly.

Finished crown with my thumb for size comparison. The female part of the crown thread is about 0.8mm shorter than it was originally.

A test fit on the new stem:

Final photos of the movement cased will follow...