1915 silver cased FHF 13'''
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  1. #1
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    1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    I posted a teaser for this watch, at the end of another thread here https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/mic...l#post26193074

    Before.

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    In pretty good condition, lovely patina to the 36mm silver case - 1915 Hallmarks. Bought not running, on first inspection the roller was on the wrong side of lever horn, and the balance was locked up, but the staff etc. all fine. What was particularly interesting about it was that it has a sprung front cover, with push button - just like a demi hunter or full hunter (see other thread) - yet has clearly never had any metal cover, the bezel is clearly as it left the factory. Why? I don't know. I guess one can only say it was early days and they were still working out what was needed in a wrist watch. Maybe they were using up stock bought in for a lever set movement - this one is a 13''' FHF stem set movement. Too early and too delicate for a blind man's watch I would think, and radium is hardly required in such a case.

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    Movement is a early FHF 13 ligne, signed under the barrel bridge.

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    Main issue is this is early enough to have a fixed hairspring stud (no screw) so removing the balance (to service the top jewel) means unpinning the hairspring, or like I do, going in through the coils to remove and replace the two cap screws - perhaps there is a better way to do this, but I don't know of it. Pain!

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    Anyway, not going to show the movement re-assembly (camera battery flat) - but here is the cleaned movement.

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    Now, here is the big let down, I loved the colour of the radium on the dial and hands, as you can see in the before photo it is very attractive, and I did say in a prior thread I keep it if I can, but I couldn't. Actually about 1/2 the numerals had been redone at some point, and when I looked at the dial, the paint was simply too fragile, indeed, it came off with the lightest touch of rodico. Now, why not just repair the damage - well with the flaky radium, and the push button opening bezel, I decided it was too much of a hazard. Had it been a sealed bezel, I would have considered it. Anyway, here are the dial and hands after reluming, actually I also needed to re-blue the hour hand (my first ever go at bluing hands).

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    Fitting hands to movement.

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    Fitted, and new second hand. That opening cover

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    The lovely burnished silver case, just cleaned.

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    Not terrible for a 101 year old watch

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    On a genuine WWI leather strap (borrowed from my Marvin of the same year)

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    You know, I do rather like this one.

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    Last edited by trim; February 28th, 2016 at 04:41.

  2. #2
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Hi Trim,

    Nice job as always, your luming skills are very good.

    I think this is the original cover on your watch, but I'm also fairly sure that it was
    once solid.

    An old watchmaker modification has re-purposed the inner bezel and inserted it into
    the once solid cover which has been cut to accept it on the lathe.
    The inner insert ring and thick bevelled glass finishes the job.

    That is how it looks to me at least and would explain much.

    The case is recessed for the inner bezel and I've never saw a factory produced outer bezel
    with a seperate bezel inserted (unless it was made from blackened iron which would then have a brass bezel insert).

    Very nice watch indeed.
    busmatt, bobbee and JOSE G like this.

  3. #3
    Member Wibbs's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Man you are good at the reluming. Fantastic job. I can do hands easily enough, but any of my previous attempts at luming the numerals has been a complete disaster.
    JOSE G and bobbee like this.

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  5. #4
    Member JOSE G's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Nicely done Trim,that is a beautiful watch.
    I envy your skills.
    Funny thing is that I can rebuild a complete automobile engine,motor but have never taking a watch apart.
    Some day I'll give it a try.
    busmatt likes this.

  6. #5
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Hi Radger,

    thanks for starting this discussion, exactly what I was hoping for, and partly why I posted it. I had actually considered this, but discarded it as a possibility. I'll outline why I don't believe this is a modification (outside of the factory anyway).

    TLDR: In a nutshell, it is simply too good.

    Argument 1: The depth of the reflector ring is too great. With an ordinary hunter, the inner bezel is necessarily flat, with most examples I have the reflector ring part approaches 0 depth. The deep reflector ring you see here would not fit, so the inner bezel has not been reused. The only possibility is a custom made reflector, and it is mighty fine work.

    Argument 2: Hinge pins. The hinge pin from the front cover has not been removed. The angled finishing grind matches exactly, and there is no signs that the pin has been pushed out. It would be unlikely to re-insert the pin without rotation at the least. It belies belief that such work could be carried out to the precision it has been - without removal of the cover.

    Argument 3: the bead is perfect, no gaps, marks or other slight imperfections.

    Observation 1: This is not a thick crystal, rather standard for the period. I have hundreds of such crystals in my drawers.

    Observation 2: I have other period watches with a deep reflector ring, all have a 2 part bezel construction.

    So we are left in my opinion with one of two possibilities.

    1. It was a factory modification, to a base case design.

    2. It was modified after the fact, but by a master case makers, and not by a watchmaker.

    Easiest in my opinion is #1, I don't mind #2 - but due to the ground pin ends seems unlikely.

    Thoughts?

    P.S. how do you personally deal with fixed hairspring studs?

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    Hi Trim,
    Nice job as always, your luming skills are very good.
    Thanks. I still think it is a shame I lost the original lume.

  7. #6
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Quote Originally Posted by Wibbs View Post
    Man you are good at the reluming. Fantastic job. I can do hands easily enough, but any of my previous attempts at luming the numerals has been a complete disaster.
    Thanks, but it is just patience. I think that dial took around 3 hrs and a 10x loupe. I couldn't make a living at it

    Good thing about enamel dials, is you can manipulate the lume a little as it dries/tacks off.

  8. #7
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Quote Originally Posted by JOSE G View Post
    Funny thing is that I can rebuild a complete automobile engine,motor but have never taking a watch apart.
    Some day I'll give it a try.
    You should. I too used to rebuild engines (I suppose I still do, but the last one has taken 10 years so far). I'd probably rate a non complicated watch service about the same difficulty as rebuilding a gearbox. Last one I did had an electric overdrive and that was hard! I admit, it is a case of apples and oranges, but it isn't astrophysics either. Anyway, you can probably learn to self service (well) a simple movement in under 3 months of hobby time. I always joke (it is true though), that it took me less time to learn watchmaking (incl chronographs, complications and autos) than it did for my watchmaker to service my first chronograph. Well, he did take a long time, but even so...

    I cannot begin to add up how much I have saved in servicing costs, on the other hand, I cannot begin to add up how much I have spent on tools, consumables, parts and spares either. I only tell my wife about the former and not the latter of course.

    Try it (on some cheap Chinese movements), it is fun and adds a whole new level to your watch collecting.
    Last edited by trim; February 28th, 2016 at 22:07.
    JOSE G, James A, busmatt and 1 others like this.

  9. #8
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Hi Trim,

    Here are my thoughts regarding your arguments.

    Argument 1

    That deep reflector ring would never have fitted under the inner bezel
    I totally agree.

    I have never saw an inner bezel fitted with a reflector ring on one of these watches.

    As you say they lie flat and are simply a bezel fitted with a slightly convex thin glass
    and no deflector ring in my experience.

    I've looked at two from my collection and no thin reflector ring on either, the inner edge
    of the actual bezel under the glass recess lies on top of the dial.

    My theory is that the deep reflector ring has been fitted because the inner bezel has now become the outer bezel and so there is
    that large gap to be filled.

    Argument 2.

    Depends on the competence of the workman I suppose.
    A good watchmaker would clean up and buff the pin ends if there was any discrepancy or marking.
    Age rubbing wear and tear could make it seem like the pin has been in forever.

    A new pin could have been made cut and dressed to the hinge if there was marking or damage
    to the old pin.

    Argument 3.

    Not sure to what you are refering by 'bead' but a good conversion would be expected to
    be of good quality, possibly sent by the watchmaker to his friendly casemaker to have the work done
    if he couldn't manage it.

    By bead do you mean that the glass recess is beaded but is all part of the main bezel and is not
    a secondary bezel which has been burnished into a cutout?


    Observation one regarding the thick crystal.

    That is true that is not a thick crystal for the period, there were plenty thinner though.


    Your second observation that you have other watches with a deep reflector and a two
    part bezel.
    Are these three parts as in bezel, reflector ring and secondary inset bezel?

    That is how I am perceiving your watch at least and would like to see other examples
    if possible.


    I'm going with number two in your summing up, either way it is a great old watch and the
    'modification'? only adds to its interest imo.

    The hairpring stud is slightly tapered, support the cock close to the stud and push it out leaving the hairspring
    pinned to it, move aside the curb pin guard first.
    To re-fit.... balance in the jewel and hairspring between the curbs the stud will align naturally to orientation and push home
    back into its hole.





    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    Hi Radger,

    thanks for starting this discussion, exactly what I was hoping for, and partly why I posted it. I had actually considered this, but discarded it as a possibility. I'll outline why I don't believe this is a modification (outside of the factory anyway).

    TLDR: In a nutshell, it is simply too good.

    Argument 1: The depth of the reflector ring is too great. With an ordinary hunter, the inner bezel is necessarily flat, with most examples I have the reflector ring part approaches 0 depth. The deep reflector ring you see here would not fit, so the inner bezel has not been reused. The only possibility is a custom made reflector, and it is mighty fine work.

    Argument 2: Hinge pins. The hinge pin from the front cover has not been removed. The angled finishing grind matches exactly, and there is no signs that the pin has been pushed out. It would be unlikely to re-insert the pin without rotation at the least. It belies belief that such work could be carried out to the precision it has been - without removal of the cover.

    Argument 3: the bead is perfect, no gaps, marks or other slight imperfections.

    Observation 1: This is not a thick crystal, rather standard for the period. I have hundreds of such crystals in my drawers.

    Observation 2: I have other period watches with a deep reflector ring, all have a 2 part bezel construction.

    So we are left in my opinion with one of two possibilities.

    1. It was a factory modification, to a base case design.

    2. It was modified after the fact, but by a master case makers, and not by a watchmaker.

    Easiest in my opinion is #1, I don't mind #2 - but due to the ground pin ends seems unlikely.

    Thoughts?

    P.S. how do you personally deal with fixed hairspring studs?



    Thanks. I still think it is a shame I lost the original lume.
    Last edited by radger; February 29th, 2016 at 02:21.
    bobbee likes this.

  10. #9
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    The hairpring stud is slightly tapered, support the cock close to the stud and push it out leaving the hairspring
    pinned to it, move aside the curb pin guard first.
    To re-fit.... balance in the jewel and hairspring between the curbs the stud will align naturally to orientation and push home
    back into its hole.
    I've never considered removing the stud - I always assumed that they were moulded with the cock. I will have to look more closely in future! Thanks.


  11. #10
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    Re: 1915 silver cased FHF 13'''

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirius View Post
    I've never considered removing the stud - I always assumed that they were moulded with the cock. I will have to look more closely in future! Thanks.
    Hi Mirius,

    Most all hairspring studs are removeable from the cock.
    The common types are usually secured to the cock by a screw and are often shaped
    triangular or circular with a flat to aid orientation.

    Higher grade watches often have the stud carried by a moveable stud carrier to allow for
    beat adjustment.

    The only type of watch with fixed hairspring studs that I can think of are English verge or lever watches with
    under the balance wheel mounted hairsprings. In these cases the hairspring stud is rivetted to the top plate
    and the only option is to un-pin the balance spring from the stud to remove it.
    aditya and bobbee like this.

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