Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

Thread: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

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  1. #1
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    Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    I have an old silver (0.875 - 84) Pavel Bure pocket watch (Ser. No. 10412 10) that belonged to my grandfather, who had it from his father who came from Russia in 1900-06. On the reverse it's worked in a nice raised illustration of St. George slaying the Dragon. Obviously it has sentimental value for me.

    It worked fine until a few years ago when it was accidentally dropped. The local watch repair fellow looked at it and said it looks like the very tips of the balance staff, both top and bottom, must have bent when it was dropped. He says if he tried to bend them back, there's a 99% chance he would break it, and he doesn't know where he could get a replacement balance staff for the watch.


    Do you know how I can find a watch repair company who could replace the balance staff or otherwise fix the watch, or is it hopeless?

  2. #2
    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Assuming that you have the old staff for a pattern, cutting a new one is no big deal. It's just money(yours).
    Courtesy of ULF.

  3. #3
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Quote Originally Posted by pithy View Post
    Assuming that you have the old staff for a pattern, cutting a new one is no big deal. It's just money(yours).
    Yes, it's all still in there. How could I find someone who could do that? I'm in the NYC area.

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  5. #4
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Possible? Yes. Expensive? Very. Since you have the original, it's possible that a decent watchmaker could match it to a "stock" balance staff, and would just need to replace it. If not, a new one can be made. Either way, you're looking at paying for the increasingly rare and specialized skills of a competent watchmaker for a period of at least several hours (think lawyer payscales, except that some watchmakers are nicer). And note that no self-respecting watchmaker would "just" replace the staff; they'll want to give the watch a proper service. Figure maybe $500 at the low end, and go up from there (depending on where you are, of course. Staff repair is probably a fair bit cheaper in India or China.)
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradivus View Post
    Yes, it's all still in there. How could I find someone who could do that? I'm in the NYC area.
    Post a picture of the movement first (to confirm it isn't cylinder escapement).
    Courtesy of ULF.

  7. #6
    Member tinknocker's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradivus View Post
    Yes, it's all still in there. How could I find someone who could do that? I'm in the NYC area.

    RGM is in Pennsylvania. Call them up, see what they say and how much.
    Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Quote Originally Posted by tinknocker View Post
    RGM is in Pennsylvania. Call them up, see what they say and how much.
    Thanks. I'll google RGM to find them, and ask them.

  9. #8
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    If RGM can not do it, PM me and I give you an email of a master watch repairer in Pennsylvania
    Regards
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
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    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
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  10. #9
    Member pmwas's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    Jeff Sexton has shown a technique of repairing a balace staff bent pivot. It takes very hot tweezers to slowly straighten the pivot. Slowly - it usually takes about 30 minutes for one, and the tweezers need to be reheated every few seconds. Whether it works or not, depends on the steel quality and how badly the pibot is damaged. I've successfully straghtened a few pivots using this technique, but two pivots ended up broken as well...
    Have a great day!!!

  11. #10
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Repair possible if balance staff is bent?

    The application of heat to a metal pivot would have the potential of removing the temper, would it not?
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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