1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

Thread: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

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  1. #1
    Member trim's Avatar
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    1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    This purchase was inspired by Artb, and his posting of lovely watches from the early days of Dietrich and Freddy Gruen. This one is from Dietrich's first company, the Columbus Watch Co. The serial number is mid range 103,774 - Columbus went bust around 250,000 and Dietrich was squeezed out.

    Anyway, rather than a beauty, as usual I bought a broken watch - or at least one that was not running. It came off ebay for US$104, which is OK. 1886 or 1888 depending on who you believe. 15J, fully adjusted and would have been RR grade at the time like my Waltham.

    What I liked about this one is that it didn't seem to have been messed with, and as it turns out - the (gold filled) case is original to the movement (no other case screws, a nice bonus), and the usually missing fine adjuster screw was still in place. Negative points, some rust - especially around the balance cock screw and the minor detail of it not running.

    BEFORE (vendors photos):







    OVERHAUL:

    Mostly in good condition except for a cracked 3rd wheel top plate jewel. This has cosmetic implications, so need to repair this sympathetically. I couldn't match the color exactly, nor find a supplier of the original jewel - so I modified a friction fit jewel.

    Original Jewel removed from top plate - chaton remaining in place:



    The original jewel had rounded top shoulders, and to match this I shellacked the friction jewel and ground it to the correct profile on my lathe - removing the square top shoulders.



    Jewel shaped, before polishing.



    Fitted into chaton and bezel closed using this tool.



    Train



    Very nicely counterpoised lever



    Top plate on, barrel in.



    Front of the movement assembled.



    Ready for the Balance, gilding cleaned up well.



    2 pairs of meantime screws.



    Cock in, and up she started I love this moment, every time.



    This is the regulator screw that is usually missing. I was never able to find a photo of one, so here it is.



    Movement finished. Its a cracker too







    Cased:



    Hands.



    Done (need to source a nice glass crystal for it sometime). I will also have a go at repairing the damage at the top of the sub-dial, but it isn't that bad so it can wait until I've had some practice.



    Arty shot

    Last edited by trim; January 19th, 2011 at 08:08.

  2. #2
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Nice watch and a nice clean up!
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

  3. #3
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Amazing work !! and such great pictures .
    I salute you

    Aditya

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  5. #4
    Member mikiejack's Avatar
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Thanks for posting the interesting pictures. The watch is beautiful.

  6. #5
    Member daboosh's Avatar
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.
    ΩMEGA 2254.50 SMP
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  7. #6
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Good to know a skillful enthusiastic watch person got interested in the Gruens. This is a keeper showing so very well the early first Dietrich designed movement details in what I consider his first rr version. A good choice and a superb piece of work.

  8. #7
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Great post Trim, posts such as this I find very enjoyable and this one puts me into
    a good frame of mind.

    I like this watch good dial and hands and the movement looks to be in very nice condition.
    I'm impressed by your jewelling skills and that's excellent that you can modify a jewel to fit
    the plate.
    Thank you for giving us an insight into this antique Columbus watch.

  9. #8
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Thank you all for the very kind words.

    It is very much a keeper, and I thoroughly enjoyed working on it. Watches of this period were durable, 123-125 years old and almost as good as new - just some honest case wear. I have a number of wrist watches from the 1940-50s that should hang their figurative heads in shame.

    The only real frustration was I had to do shape the jewel twice, as I lost the first one while I was polishing it. Art, glad to have you confirm my belief about this being an early (first) Railroad version. I don't think I will be able to justify a Gruen era Columbus Railway King for a while, but sometime I hope to find one.

    It has so far kept very good time, without being regulated. I am tempted to spend the next week seeing if I can get it within RR spec in positions. I have a sheet somewhere detailing the old school process (no timing machine). I expect this will be a fun exercise in frustration.
    Last edited by trim; January 20th, 2011 at 05:23.

  10. #9
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    If I may know, how did you polish the jewel?

    Aditya

  11. #10
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    Re: 1888 Columbus 18s overhaul - Warning Megapost

    Hi Aditya,

    I shaped it with a 600 diamond file/hone and polished with graded diamond paste. Was quite a satisfying process.

    Kris.

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