Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

Thread: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

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  1. #1
    Member billybobman's Avatar
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    Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Hi,

    I just got a very old vintage watch off Ebay, it's a 15 jewel hand wound Swiss Armac, art deco in style (1930s I think). I'll post pics as soon as I can, and after I've cleaned it a bit. When I wind it up though, it works fine but there comes no point when the crown goes "tight" like with my other, more modern vintage watches. So how much juice should I give it, how many turns of the crown do you reckon? And if I keep winding and winding, it will damage the movement, right? Any help is much appreciated.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    It varies, and depends on how big a 'wind' you give, but maybe 18 - 20 winds from fully wound down. It could be that the mainspring is damaged. Sometimes the end piece breaks off and the spring tightens so far then slips.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    It could have a slipping bridal; those weren't that common before Automatics, but they did exist. Or someone could have replaced the original mainspring with a newer one that uses the bridal.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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  5. #4
    Member billybobman's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Okay thanks for help guys

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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    It seems to be impossible to "rip off" a mainspring by just turning the crown, even when applying brute force with a set of pliers. It is rather likely that the stem will fail, so I don't think You have to worry.

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    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by o.v.e View Post
    It seems to be impossible to "rip off" a mainspring by just turning the crown, even when applying brute force with a set of pliers. It is rather likely that the stem will fail, so I don't think You have to worry.
    It would be very difficult if not impossible to tear off the end of a mainspring at one time. It is much easier to repeatedly stress the end piece by winding the crown tight each time the watch is worn. Do it often enough and the spring will break. That's why it is far more common to see broken mainsprings in hand wound rather than rotor wound watches.

  8. #7
    Member billybobman's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Okay thanks for the extra info guys, much appreciated. Today the watch stopped, so it didn't make it through a full 24 hours on what I thought was a full single wind. However, I wound it up again and it started and it made me think it hadn't been fully wound up the first time, which is why it must have stopped. So I just kept winding, and winding, and winding and after about what felt like a million turns of the crown (and the skin on my thumb becoming sore), the crown became tight and wouldn't wind any more. So I think it's fully wound now, and it seems to be running fine, I guess if I just wind it up loads each day like that, it might be okay and keep going? As you guys have said already, it seems like the winding mechanism is "slipping" or something, or the mainspring or winding mechanism has lost efficiency. The crown's not actually winding the mainspring on every turn (or maybe every other turn even), so it takes much more winding to get it to full power.
    Last edited by billybobman; December 7th, 2010 at 18:27.

  9. #8
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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    It would be very difficult if not impossible to tear off the end of a mainspring at one time. It is much easier to repeatedly stress the end piece by winding the crown tight each time the watch is worn. Do it often enough and the spring will break. That's why it is far more common to see broken mainsprings in hand wound rather than rotor wound watches.
    Thanks, that was new to me. I am not going to give it a try, though...

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    Re: Advice needed please - How much should I wind up my old vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by billybobman View Post
    ... So I just kept winding, and winding, and winding and after about what felt like a million turns of the crown (and the skin on my thumb becoming sore), the crown became tight and wouldn't wind any more. So I think it's fully wound now, and it seems to be running fine, I guess if I just wind it up loads each day like that, it might be okay and keep going? As you guys have said already, it seems like the winding mechanism is "slipping" or something, or the mainspring or winding mechanism has lost efficiency. The crown's not actually winding the mainspring on every turn (or maybe every other turn even), so it takes much more winding to get it to full power.
    I guess there are different gear ratios, but normally it should not take more than 20-30 full cycles to wind a watch. Since You say You actually reached a point of resistance ("wouldn't wind anymore") after a while, there is no slipping bridal. However, maybe on of the wheels involved is missing a tooth or too, preventing to transfer the full wind of the crown to the spring barrel? Any strange noise, when winding the watch?

  11. #10
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    I think what CAN be conclusively said...

    ... is that something is amiss. Either one of the ends of the mainspring needs attention and the gunk is keeping it going, or some gear in the keyless works is acting up, or a previous 'watchmaker' has put a slipping mainspring in the barrel.

    All the same, this watch is ill. And the more you wind it, the closer you push it to death. Please have a look inside ASAP.

    Aditya

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