Did I break my main spring?

Thread: Did I break my main spring?

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  1. #1
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    Did I break my main spring?

    Let's just say hypothetically (of course) speaking, I disassembled my watch before the power reserve ran out. As soon as I removed the escape wheel I heard the main spring unwind in a split second. Somewhere along the lines, when trying to get further into the watch I broke what I guess would be called a staff on the pallet fork, so it no longer has the tiny piece to put into the bottom of the watch. I know I definitely need a new pallet fork, but did I destroy my main spring too? When I try to wind it theres no resistance and it just clicks. Guess I should have started learning with a book and not hands on. I also cant figure out how to get a model number from this elgin pocket watch. Theres a number on the movement but it appears to just be a serial number. 5370447 I dont see anything else that could identify it. Also, the reason I started taking it apart in the first place is while I was moving the lever inside the movement to regulate it it stopped running. If I moved the balance wheel myself it would run for 5 seconds to a minute then stop. What caused this in the first place? I know about elgin's serial number lookup and my serial number works for it, but what does this mean to me as far as getting replacement parts? I'd like to get it fixed, serviced and running but I dont want to break the bank doing it.
    Last edited by matlt; May 24th, 2010 at 03:20.

  2. #2
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    Re: Did I break my main spring?

    For Elgin parts you will need the model number. When I put your serial into the database it spits out a model 5, grade 74, 18 size. Most of the parts houses can help you out if you contact them with the serial# and the part you need. As far as your original problem and any damage you may have done to the watch, I'll leave that to the more experienced guys.

    If you are interested in learning how to work on your watches Google Bob Tascione watch repair. He has video courses that you can order on dvd or watch right from his web site. I have watched them and in the last 3 months have successfully cleaned and oiled many of the watches in my collection in addition to repairing several others with new balance staffs and or mainsprings. I am not affiliated with him in any way. Just a very happy customer.

    Tony
    Rolex Submariner 16610/SS Datejust 16030
    Elgin A-11
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    Orange Monster/SKX009
    Bulova Hack (Commemorative Ed)
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  3. #3
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Did I break my main spring?

    If the mainspring was still slightly wound when you removed the escape wheel, all that should have happened is that the gear train should have run at full speed until the mainspring unwound. This is a bad thing, of course, becuase the wheels aren't meant to run that fast, and damage to the gears can result. It shouldn't have broken the spring itself, unless it was already broken.

    One thing to check, though, is the center wheel. Not sure about this model, but many of this era used a "safety pinion" on the center wheel. That basically means that the pinion on the center wheel is designed to unscrew (in theory so that if the mainspring breaks, the energy gets absorbed by unwinding the safety pinion). Maybe check that.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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  5. #4
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    Re: Did I break my main spring?

    It says safety pinion right on the movement. I never knew what it meant. So I won't be able to feel whether the main spring is broken or not until I get a new pallet fork and all back together. But technically it should constantly move the gear train when I wind it without the escape wheel?

  6. #5
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: Did I break my main spring?

    The symptoms sound like the tail end of the mainspring that hooks on the arbor may have become bent and will not hook on the arbor. Hence, the clicking sound, the mainspring is trying to engage the arbor, but does not get a good grip and slips off.

    You will have to open up the barrel and see what is going on in there.
    familiaritas parit contemptum; raritate admiratione wins.- Lucius Apuleius
    est necessry, accurate ad secundo? - Lysander magna
    iustum est horologium - Obscurus Genius

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