Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph
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  1. #1
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    Question Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    Hello,
    I have a vintage Delbana chronograph dating from what I believe is the late 40s to the early 50s. It's a great daily wear watch, with an interesting Venus 175 column-wheel movement that elevates it over the common Landeron-based chronos of the era. The 37mm case is gold-plated base metal (brass?) with long "corne de vache" bull's horn lugs giving it a 48mm lug to lug length. However, one of these lugs is the reason for this post: it is bent slightly downwards and inwards compared to the others, squashing the strap slightly. This luckily isn't very noticeable when when the watch is on the wrist, but does bother me to a degree. Do any of you vintage experts have experience in straightening such bent lugs? I've tried to do some research and found that the solder can apparently work-harden when initially bent and thus break when trying to straighten it, but presumably that depends on how much it is off axis. In any case, I do not want to break a lug off this watch, with it's gorgeous champagne-toned brushed silver dial and smooth chronograph functions. I've attached some pictures below where the bent lug can be seen; thank you all in advance for your assistance.



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  2. #2
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    Re: Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    I have straightened several bent lugs, but none that are as "fat" as yours. I don't think yours is all that noticeable, but if (like me) these little imperfections prey on your mind, I used sellotape on the lug, and a piece of cloth over that then gentle persuasion with some long nosed pliers.
    I don't recommend you do it on hollow lugs, in fact I don't recommend it for anyone, it is entirely nerve-wracking!

  3. #3
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    Re: Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    Whether it's solid gold or plated brass, we can find out by having a look at the case back (both sides of it).
    There were Chronographe Suisse watches co-signed by Delbana, and they were either in the wafer-thin CS gold cases, or gold-plated ones. This one isn't a CS, and the case doesn't look like a likely candidate to have hollow lugs- it doesn't have the massive metal ring, which in CS watches kept the bloody thing from falling apart.
    I would advise to visit a watchmaker- if you're no good with watch repairs, it's better to leave it to someone who is good at that, rather than taking the risk of messing the watch up.
    As to the movement, I can't exactly see how the fact that it's a column-wheel Venus makes it any better than a cam-actuated Landeron. It all comes down to whether one believes that one of these solutions is better than the other one. The fact that it's a Venus chrono inside a Delbana is what makes it more unusual, because Delbana used pro maiori parte​ the aforementioned Landeron movements of the 48 family.
    Last edited by mkws; November 29th, 2015 at 15:18.
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    Thank you all for the informative responses. Regarding the case, on the outer case back it states "Metal plaque or lamine garanti 20 microns", then "P.B." in a square with a rounded top, then "Delbana Watch". The micron thickness pointed to me some sort of gold plating or laminate on a base metal, unlike the thin pure gold CS cases.

    Since the bend isn't too noticeable, I think I will leave it for now if my watchmaker isn't able to easily fix it. I definitely do not want to risk breaking it off myself in a nerve-wracking home attempt.

    Regarding the movement, I realize the Venus is not inherently better than a Landeron, which to my understanding was essentially the Valjoux 7750 of its time, making chronographs accessible to the everyman. I just enjoy the smooth responsiveness of the chrono functions from the column wheel, and the comparative rarity of it.

    As far as I have read the 175 is a fairly reliable movement, but if a part does break or wear out, is there some degree of parts interchangeability with the modern Seagull ST19 clone? I assume that the supply of original Venus spare parts is limited compared to the more common Landeron movements.

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    Re: Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    For generic movements by Venus, Valjoux and Landeron, I doubt that there is any shortage of spare parts, so even if there is any interchangeability of parts with the Chinese clone, I'd use that solution only if I'd be out of all the other options. Sometimes, you can even get a whole movement as a parts donor.
    P.B. in the shape you have described stands for Paul Bovier, a case manufacturer from St. Ursanne, Switzerland. Yes, the case is plated brass then, so no need to worry about breaking anything off easily, methinks.
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
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    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

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    Re: Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    It's a plated case. It's the sort of repair that I get done by my jeweller, a proper craftsman jeweller, not a mall rat. You need to gently, gently heat the case/lug and slowly, slowly slowly ease it back into position. As Bob says, it's nerve-wracking stuff. For me, it's not really a watchmaker's job exactly, although many can do it, of course. But the familiarity with materials, heat and so on is more suited to a jeweller, in my opinion.

    Also my opinion: that lug needs to be re-soldered, which is the problem, rather than being bent, it's hanging off. Get thyself done to ye olde jeweller and get them to realign and solder in place. If they use gold solder, the repair will be invisible.
    Last edited by Habitant; November 29th, 2015 at 20:05.
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    Re: Bent lug on a Venus 175 Delbana chronograph

    Again, thanks for the useful and informative replies from all of you. When I have the watch serviced in a few years and the case is free of the movement and crystal, I will find a reputable jeweler to fix the problem, and if necessary solder the lug back on. The Paul Bouvier case maker reference is interesting as well.

    I also have a Landeron 148 Chronographe Suisse type watch from Titus with an attractive black face and gilt lettering, but I don't often wear it as the sheet metal gold case just feels too fragile for day to day use. The brass case on the Delbana just feels more solid and able to take an incidental ding or two in routine use. At some point I'd like to get a Universal Geneve, Angelus, or Excelsior Park based chronograph, but the prices for those tend to be prohibitive for me. I've seen some gorgeous Pierce chronographs for good prices, but apparently they have some service and parts availability-related quirks which have kept me from pulling the trigger so far.

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