Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

Thread: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

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  1. #1
    Member bundtrock's Avatar
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    Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    My Burlington Special will be arriving tomorrow, per UPS. I have had older pocket watches before, but the two I got, I had to return, they arrived not working and I specifically bought because I wanted one to carry and tell time with, so HOPEFULLY this one will, got my fingers crossed.

    With that said, it is a lever set pocket watch, stem winding, I need a tutorial on the basics of winding and setting SAFELY. PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME I know my whatever from a hole in the ground regarding this.

    Do you wind or set FIRST? What is the proper way to pull the "lever" out and to return it to it's regular position when setting is complete? When you wind, how many turns, what do you feel for to make sure you don't over wind and break something or whatever? I plan on winding once a day, so I would REALLY like a safe number of winds PLEASE.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, honestly. Can I carry this out on a limited basis in the winter?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
    Member bundtrock's Avatar
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    52 views, asking for very basic info and not ONE reply? Did I forget to use deodorant or something today?
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    Lever set watches have a lever that must be engaged to set the time. Remove the crystal and look for a little lever on the edge of the dial. Engage it and then you can set the time using the crown, and then set the lever back and replace the crystal.

    It doesn't matter if you wind the watch before or after setting it, as long as the watch is running (not much point in setting a watch when it isn't running). Wind it until the crown doesn't want to turn anymore, it's obvious when you hit that point, you aren't likely to break a watch by winding it. Just wind until you feel resistance.

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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    What StoppedClock said and the watch needs to be serviced by a watchmaker knowledgable about vintage pocket watches. Unless the watch is properly cleaned and lubed it will slowly destroy itself. The expense of servicing goes with owning mechanical watches.

  6. #5
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    I tend to recommend giving a couple winds first to get it ticking, then setting, then complete winding. In principle, if you "set" the time ahead, you're going to be giving extra energy to the watch (and balance wheel); added to the energy from a fully wound mainspring can potentially cause the balance wheel to knock (i.e., the balance wheel rotates so far that it hits the far side of the pallet fork). Which normally won't damage the watch, but when you're dealing with a 100 timepiece, why take chances?
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  7. #6
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    Quote Originally Posted by bundtrock View Post
    52 views, asking for very basic info and not ONE reply? Did I forget to use deodorant or something today?
    Don't worry about it. There are lots of folks who lurk and don't comment. Plus a lot of the folks here are in Europe, so when you posted they were asleep!

    Ditto on what the others have said. A well made pocket watch, properly cared for will give decade after decade of service. They were designed to be owned and operated by Everyman, so they aren't really all that persnicketty about winding or setting first - though as someone pointed out, setting a non-running watch is kinda pointless, since it may be off by the time you wind it!

    Many folks unfamiliar with mechanical watches are afraid of overwinding them. Don't be. They wind up until the mainspring is completely wound around the barrel arbor, and then they stop. It's not subtle, the crown won't turn anymore, unless you grab it with pliers and twist. That's fully wound. Most watch manufacturers advised winding your watch fully every morning, because a watch running at full power was better able to withstand the bumps and jars of the day.

    Lever setting is simple. You gently pull the lever out till it stops to completely engage the setting mechanism, set the watch, and push it back.

    The biggest hassle, I always found, was that when you set the watch, you have to unscrew the bezel, and ensuring it threads back on properly can be a chore - sometimes it goes right into the proper threads, and sometimes it tries to crossthread. So I usually start by turning it backwards till the bezel threads drops into the threads on the case, then turn forwards. That usually gets it right, but if you encounter resistance before it's fully screwed down, don't force it!

    Having the watch serviced if it hasn't been done in the last 5 years is part of owning a mechanical watch. Do it and the watch will serve you for decades yet. Don't do it and you're destroying it, and when it stops and you take it in, it will probably cost a WHOLE LOT MORE to get it working again.
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  8. #7
    Member bundtrock's Avatar
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    THANKS EVERYONE, it is out for delivery right now, suppose to be here sometimes this afternoon. I purchased from a Jeweler on eBay who advertised that it has been fully serviced before being put up for sale, so I will assume I am good to go until Fall 2018, 5 years from now. I will give it a couple of winds, set it and then complete winding. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL!
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    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    THANKS EVERYONE, it is out for delivery right now, suppose to be here sometimes this afternoon.
    We are looking forward to photos....

    You got a lot of good advice above....I would only ad that a watch in good condition will often start from the act of setting the hands, the slight energy transfer is enough to get everything rolling.

    Even though the watch is sold as serviced, be sure to observe the movement and the behavior of the watch. The quality of service from online sellers is pretty variable in my experience (some are well serviced - but some are really, really, poorly serviced).

    The anticipation is part of the fun...but it is better when the package arrives.

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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    Quote Originally Posted by bundtrock View Post
    I purchased from a Jeweler on eBay who advertised that it has been fully serviced before being put up for sale, so I will assume I am good to go until Fall 2018, 5 years from now.
    My experience with buying vintage watches on eBay has taught me to take it with a grain of salt when a seller claims that the watch has been recently serviced. Sellers want to say this because they know that otherwise the buyer has to factor in the cost of having it serviced. When I get a new vintage watch, I usually have my watchmaker check it out even if the seller claims it was just serviced, and sometimes they really do need servicing despite the seller's claim.

    I'm not saying that you should have your watch serviced immediately, although that can be good for peace of mind. The seller is most likely not lying to you, although you don't know exactly what they mean by "serviced." I would keep an eye on it to make sure it continues to keep good time, and I'd probably have it serviced within a couple of years instead of waiting the full 5 years. That's just me though.

  11. #10
    Member bundtrock's Avatar
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    Re: Basics Advice NEEDED & APPRECIATED

    I will definitely keep an eye on the watch, but I feel rather good about this, long time ebay seller, Jeweler, has brick and mortar Jewelry store that I verified online, author of a book on the subject that is for sale on the "River" as well as other places, GREAT feedback record, but I will be careful.

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