Fun with my $14 President
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  1. #1
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Idaho, USA

    Fun with my $14 President

    Hi Everyone,

    So...The other day I am on the usual auction site - and spot a watch that I decided to take a run at. The listing was bad...bad photos, no movement photo, no jewel count, no dimensions. Advertised as not running. Since I am pretty familiar with Bulovas of the 1920s/1930s - I recognized it for a c. 1935/1936 President - with the marker dial and the slightly more scarce plain bezel. The case looked OK and the dial looked like a good original.

    For about $14 it was mine...Well truthfully about $16.50 delivered to my door. It showed up looking like this...
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    In these cases, you hope that the movement will have some simple problem...but you know that a good portion of the time the balance staff is going to be damaged. But, I can staff and poise - so why worry. Pop the case open...Dial and hand fall off (Really!). I am left looking at this.
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    Ok...Dirty, missing some parts...Why doesn't it run? Maybe because I ham-fisted monkey has been at work...
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    A totally mangled hairspring - both pivots gone...If you look closely you can see the hairspring stud laying under the balance. Is this the end?

    Check my parts stock - and Yeah! - I have just the thing - it even has a good balance...
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    Get on with dismantling...
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    Keep removing components until you end up here...
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    Get on with cleaning - making sure to stay organized...
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    Cleaning finished - time for reassembly.
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    On this movement, I start with the mainspring and barrel. Often you can place the barrel after the train is in place - but this one looked a little tight.
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    Normally, I would have replaced this spring - but I didn't have one in my parts stock and wasn't planning on placing a parts order any time soon so I re-used this one. Into the winder it goes.
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    I like to set my arbor in the mainspring winder - I find it a little easier.

    With the mainspring inserted, it is time to set the barrel and train...
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    Now this is where it can get tricky...You have four relatively small pivots which all have to be aligned at the same time since they all fit under one bridge. Luck or practice are your two options. My advise - take your time...don't force anything...get the center wheel pivot aligned and the escape wheel close - then tip the other two wheels until the bridge sets down on its own.
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    Leaving the cap jewels off allows you to confirm that the pivots are in place...The hard part is done, just finish reassembly.
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    Finish up the dial side and flip it back over - to install the pallet and balance.
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    Rewarded with a running movement.

    The mechanics done - time to move on to cosmetics. I start with the dial. This one was a little dark, and the markers really dull. Generally a little rodico would bring the markers back, but these are too tarnished. So a little simichrome on pegwood polished them up - and rodico got the heavy dirt. Here it is before and after...
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    Moving on to the case...I start with a dip in warm Mr. Clean and water...follow up with a hand polish using Simichrome...
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    Here is the before - during - and after...
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    New crystal...Set dial and hands...
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    Put it in the case...
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    Here is the transformation...
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    So how did the $14 President work out? Pretty good I think...

    And on the wrist...
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    Last edited by Paleotime; February 7th, 2015 at 17:52.

  2. #2
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Costa Blanca Spain

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    AMAZING stuff
    Kudos to you.adam

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"

  3. #3
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Middle of the Middle West

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Awesome work! If only we all had such drive and persistence...
    "The stuff that dreams are made of…" - RGM ‘801 EE Motor Barrel’

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Wow! That is awesome and what a great watch. Gotta learn me how to do that. I wish. Thanks for the demonstration.

  6. #5
    Member Marrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    East Yorkshire, UK

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

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  7. #6
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    N.E England

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Great result Paleotime.
    Good looking deco watch.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    According to Accutronitis and his BFF I live in Berkshire, but really I live in Derbyshire

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Excellent work as always P, beautiful result.


  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Threads like this make my blood go 2x speed :)
    Chaos is my focus

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Healdsburg, California USA Earth

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Excellent work, you have some serious skills!

  11. #10
    Member James A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Re: Fun with my $14 President

    Love looking at these threads Paleotime. Thanks for showing us.


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