Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

Thread: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    532

    Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    I got a couple questions about servicing and the movements in general.

    [1] Is it easier to service a pocket watch since they are larger? Do watch makers charge by complexity, age, or some combination of those and other parameters?

    [2] I noticed some large mainsprings on ebay so is it common to find pocket watches with larger power reserves or is ~40 hrs the average?

    [3] I also noticed that some regulators were pushed to the far ends. When the watchmaker services it and regulates it, will he be able to put it near the center? I'm not sure how regulation works.
    .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:.::..:.:.:.
    .:.:. Vintage Seiko 5 .:.:. Alpha Milsub .:.:. Boctok Komandirskie T34x .:.:. Paketa 24 World Time .:.:. HMT Pilot .:.:.:.::..::..:::.:.:..:.:.
    .::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..: :..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::. .::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..: :..::..::..:..:::..:..:.:.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,623

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    Some times you pay more do to the middle man for a service.I will take it to a store that sells vintage watches he will then send it out will charge 125.00.Well I got a friend in the NAWCC thats a retired watch maker he will charge 50.00 so you cut out the middle man for better prices he is working on a Howard Series 11 railroad watch of mine right now new main spring and a service for 50.00.There is one Railroad watch that runs for 60 hrs and thats a Bun Special 60 hrs.Here is my Bunn Special.


    You will see 60 hrs on the movement.Not all Bunn Specials had 60 movements.And to regulate it you will see Fast and Slow you use a small screw driver there is a screw that you ether tighten or loosen the screw on the regulator until you get it right but if it is service right it should be in the middle.
    Last edited by river rat; February 2nd, 2011 at 01:02.

  3. #3
    Member Shangas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,024

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    I'm not a watchmaker or an expert, but I'll try and answer your two bottom questions.

    Yes, some mainsprings did last for longer, but on average, a pocketwatch ran for anywhere between 28-40 hours. Long enough to be still ticking when you wound it up each morning. I have heard of pocket watches with reserves lasting two or three days, although I don't know how common these are.

    A regulator-arm pushed too far to the FAST or SLOW points would indicate a watch that requires a lot of cleaning. Once it's been serviced and the watch is running properly, it should take a more centralised position. Regulation works by tightening or loosening the hairspring. Loosening the hairspring makes each pivot of the balance-wheel longer and slows down the watch. Tightening the hairspring makes each swing of the balance-wheel faster and speeds the watch up.
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    Some answers:

    • Many people who learn watchmaking as a hobby begin on pocket watches as, yes, the parts are bigger.
    • It is certainly easier to spot and rectify damage on the larger parts/pivots etc.
    • Believe it or not, some vintage pocket watches are actually easier to find parts for
    • Pretty much every watch (pocket or otherwise) that I have serviced myself has ended up with the regulator arm pretty much bang in the center of the scale (where it belongs). One pushed to the far end is a bad sign. On ebay, even watches listed as 'serviced' will often have this. Shows how little you should trust them really. Adjustment of the regulator doesn't loosen or tighten the hairspring, what it does is change the effective working length of the hairspring to alter its vibration rate. When manufactured or replaced hairsprings have to be matched to a balance, in order to naturally vibrate at the correct rate.
    • Finally, many watchmakers don't work on pocket watches. This is because they may have been used and abused for more than 100 years and of course replacing worn parts is problematic and more trouble than they need during a service. As long as you start with one in good condition (just gummed up with old oil), this won't pose much problem to the learning hobbyist watchmaker.
    • These days I service my own simple and complicated wristwatches through to pocket watches, and for the pure pleasure of the craft, I prefer pocket watches as they are more tactile and represent a different era of craftsmanship. Also finding a watchmaker who will touch a Fusee is almost an exercise in futility, learning repair is really the only option to the lower budget collector.
    • As much as I like to work on pocketwatches, I generally prefer to wear wrist watches (unlike Shangas).


    If you are not going to learn yourself, your best investment is to make friends with a good watchmaker.
    Last edited by trim; February 2nd, 2011 at 01:18.

  6. #5
    Member Outta Time's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Port Colborne, Ontario
    Posts
    846

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    It really depends on where you are and how available parts are, or if your guy will make parts, which, in the world of pocket watches, is common. Generally, a pocketwatch in good condition, that is, with a good service history, poses no major problems. It is when the watch has run for periods of time with no service. I hear people say quite often things like: 'My pocketwatch I got at the flea market/from my Granddad/from my Dad is over 80 years old, and runs great, never needed any service in living memory'. Some of these can be real time bombs. Often, the cost of service and repair will greatly outstrip the value of the watch. If it is an heirloom, of course, it has great sentimental value.
    Shangas answered the two bottom questions, so all I can add is that a service to a pocket watch is about the same level of difficulty as any handwind movt, barring the really old ones, with fusee, or ones with different escapements. (detent, for example) A normal service around here will run about $80 and of course, includes full dis-assembly and cleaning, with lubrification and regulation. Pocket watches are some of the oldest watches around, and they will show their age under the loupe. They had no shock protection, so broken staffs are common. Dropping one can effectively kill it. 98% of the watches we see are damaged in some way by neglect or shock.

  7. #6
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    My two cents!

    1) Yes, complexity is a factor in servicing; pocket watches tend to be the cheapest to service, but you also pay for skill. Any half-trained hack can take apart a 60's manual-wind ETA and slap it back together (I know, because I do, and I'm about as half trained a hack as you'll ever find!). But you don't want someone like me ripping apart a high-end Vanguard no matter how large the parts are; it'll come back scratched.

    2) In general, larger watches needed larger mainsprings because they had larger, heavier balances and gears and stiffer hairsprings, which requires more power. Power is a function of the thickness of the spring, which in turn controls the length (since only so much mainspring can fit in a given barrel, and the thicker the spring, the shorter the length). The diameter of the mainspring barrel is pretty much fixed by the diameter of the watch (since it must, by design, occupy a space no greater then half the watch diameter). This is one of the reasons Roskopf designed his watches without a center wheel; it allowed for a much larger barrel.

    3) The regulator arm really only allows the timekeeping of the watch to be 'fine tuned'. The difference from one extreme to the other is usually on the order of 2-10min per day, depending on the watch. This is a trickier thing then you might think; a watch will usually run at a slightly different rate depending on how it is oriented. It may run 30 seconds/day fast when crown up and 5seconds/day when dial up, etc. You try to average these differences out when setting the regulator so that the errors average out. Since everyone wears their watches a little different, you might need to adjust it more (in the above example, if you normally wear your pocket watch in your pocket, and hang it on a hook overnight, you'd need to account more for the speed when crown up. But if you normally take it out and lay it on a table/desk, you'd be more interested in compensating for the dial-up position)

    This isn't to be confused with adjusting the watch, which is the attempt to ensure that the watch runs at the same rate in all the adjusted positions, temperature ranges and mainspring reserves. Thus, it would follow that a watch that is fully adjusted should probably have its regulator in the center position, and that shouldn't need to change.
    Last edited by AbslomRob; February 2nd, 2011 at 02:05.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    532

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    Before I get started, what is a good source of reading material on movements and how to work on them?

    What are the essential tools and materials I would need to work on a pocket watch?

    Which is the best movement for a beginner that is cheap and easy to find?
    .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:..:.:. .:.:..:.:..:.:.::..:.:.:.
    .:.:. Vintage Seiko 5 .:.:. Alpha Milsub .:.:. Boctok Komandirskie T34x .:.:. Paketa 24 World Time .:.:. HMT Pilot .:.:.:.::..::..:::.:.:..:.:.
    .::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..: :..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::. .::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..::..: :..::..::..:..:::..:..:.:.

  9. #8
    Member joeuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    west yorkshire, uk
    Posts
    10,556

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions


  10. #9
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada
    Posts
    5,315

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    Essentials are good tweezers, good screwdrivers (mini set) and a decent movement holder. Cleaning can be done with naptha and a soft toothbrush. I started by reading a few books (Practical Watch Repairing by Donald de Carle is highly regarded, as is Freid's "The Watch Repairers Manual". As for movements, 12 size or larger American pocket watches are recommended (the larger the better), but I'd avoid the older full plate models to start...they can be tricky to assemble until you're had some practice manipulating the gears into the holes. For the same reason, 15j watches are good to start with. 7j watches are cheaper, but a bit hard to assemble at first. Plus, you're more likely to get a 15j watch running nicely; after 100 or so years, 7j watches tend to be a bit...worn.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  11. #10
    Member trim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    3,814

    Re: Pocket watch movement & servicing questions

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    Essentials are good tweezers, good screwdrivers (mini set) and a decent movement holder. Cleaning can be done with naptha and a soft toothbrush. I started by reading a few books (Practical Watch Repairing by Donald de Carle is highly regarded, as is Freid's "The Watch Repairers Manual". As for movements, 12 size or larger American pocket watches are recommended (the larger the better), but I'd avoid the older full plate models to start...they can be tricky to assemble until you're had some practice manipulating the gears into the holes. For the same reason, 15j watches are good to start with. 7j watches are cheaper, but a bit hard to assemble at first. Plus, you're more likely to get a 15j watch running nicely; after 100 or so years, 7j watches tend to be a bit...worn.
    I agree with all of this.

    I would only add, you tweezers are your 'hands' and you should buy the best you can afford as you will keep them forever. Screwdrivers you can buy a mid range brand like A*F - but better to buy horotec or bergeon if you have plenty of funds. The main advice with screwdrivers is to keep them sharp. Before you start work, touch them up with a hone/oilstone to make sure they don't slip. To help get this right, you can buy a wheeled guide that keeps everything true. These are cheap and you don't need to buy a good brand.

    Oil. If you are only doing pocket watches, you can get away with 9020 (train), 941 (pallets) and some grease. Buy an oil cup. You can make your own oilers from needles, but you can also buy fpr $10 so why bother.

    I use a good quality Braun electric toothbrush BTW, it does a fantastic job

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Tags for this Thread

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •