24 jewel Illinois restoration project
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  1. #1
    Member pmwas's Avatar
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    24 jewel Illinois restoration project

    Hi again!
    Those of you visiting the NAWCC message Board are possibly familtiar with the subject, for the rest of you, the story goes...

    Sometimes I feel an irresistible desire to repair a movement not worth repairing (for simple ecconomical reasons), most others would simply put in the 'for parts' box.
    Some time ago I got a busted Paillard Non Magnetic Watch Co movement - a private label 24 jewel Illinois Bunn Special grade.

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    As seen. the watch was in very, very bad condition, needed new balance assembly (sorry, the first pic is confusing - the balance cock is original) and (what's much worse) new pallet and center arbor...
    Much worse, as both turned out unique for the grade and can't be replaced without another Bunn Special at hand...
    Of course, getting a good Bunn Special, even a 21j one, to fix this damaged piece is not a very good idea, so I repaired it with what I could get for reasonable prices...
    So I've modified a 'standard' Illinois pallet arbor by thinning the pivots and I had to replace the cracked center jewel with a brass bushing. The last one i don't like at all, but sadly, I don't have a center jewel this big... Or to be precise, the only one I ad cracked on assembly.

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    Still, the movement - with a new dial and set of hands as well - ticks again. It's not very much od a collectable movement, with non original balance and so much damage, but a lovely display sample of America's top grade movement. Just 2 hours ago I had doubts if it was worth the effort, but it looks very nice, I like having it on my Illinois shelf :)


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    Have a great day!!!

  2. #2
    Member pmwas's Avatar
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    Re: 24 jewel Illinois restoration project

    It's been some time and finally, I got Paillard parts made by Illinois:

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    These come from a terribly damaged 17 jewel Paillard-Illinois - a chipped, but Paillard marked dial and - even better - an original Paillard non-magnetic balance and hairspring assembly.

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    The balance is in good shape. In fact - most arbors and jewels were broken in the 'donor' movement, but the balance staff was intact. That's… unusual :)

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    I patched the dial. Not too well, but well enough…

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    The movement is still scratched and the scratches have not healed overtime.
    But now it has a correct, Paillard non-magnetic balance assembly.

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    Damaged as it is, it's still a fabulous movement, very good looking.

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    Dial side…

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    Top side :)
    It's still in the display case, even though it could go to a period correct fancy hunting case, which - in fact - might be the real last phase of this project ;)
    Have a great day!!!

  3. #3
    Member Tick Talk's Avatar
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    Re: 24 jewel Illinois restoration project

    Thank goodness you were able to get the unique palladium hairspring which made Paillard famous. Great rescue!
    Tick Talk says, "A watch in the hand is worth two on the wrist"

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  5. #4
    Member pmwas's Avatar
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    Re: 24 jewel Illinois restoration project

    Yes - the hairspring. I've been looking for the hairspring (preferably balance complete) of course, but obviously - most Paillards with good hairspring are not bad enough to take apart for parts.
    I was very lucky to get a Paillard Illinois movement with good balance and yet too bad to repair. And I'm not exagarraing - someone with no skills must have taken this apart and then tried to put it back together.
    There are broken screws showing how hard he tried and thus - he broke some arbors and most of the gear train jewels both sides.
    I don't thonk I've ever seen so many broken (not hairline cracked, but broken out) jewels in one watch before.

    Of course, if the plates were bright and shiny, with some effort this could have been saved, but I think this time it was a better idea to save the 24 jewel one :)
    Especially that the plates were not bright and shiny...
    busmatt likes this.
    Have a great day!!!

  6. #5
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    Re: 24 jewel Illinois restoration project

    pmwas...another great Post. Thanks!

    I wish that I had $1.00 USD for every Orphan ( as I like to call them ) watch that I have spent bringing back to life. And, after a day at the bench, has a value of $25.00 ( if I'm lucky).

    As an amateur--happily--I can do this at will.

    It's strange, isn't it, that sometimes we'll chance upon a watch that seems to call out for help. Put it back in the little cardboard box we found it in, and move on to something far more 'Marketable', and possibly 'valuable' ?

    Nope. Not today. Today, we'll turn out attentions to that old Benrus wristwatch. What a mess. Look at that balance. Ouch. Let's get to work! Michael.

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