Saved from the barbarians.

Thread: Saved from the barbarians.

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  1. #1
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    Saved from the barbarians.

    I didn't have an English watch. An oversight of sorts. This Smiths purported to have a stainless steel case. It didn't. It was sold as not working and boy, was he right about that! It wasn't so much the broken mainspring, goes with the territory on old Smiths, from what I hear. The busted bolt spring? Well it is a common fault. The cracked hairspring at the pin. More serious. The ten degree angle at the collet? Who has been in here? The screws sticking up from the plate because the wrong ones went in in the wrong places? The mangled ones?Ah. Amateur watchmaker alert! I've ruined a few on the learning curve. A benefit of being able to teach yourself is that you earn a few spares but I've never been so unscrupulous as to place my failures in the bay. The seller was most abusive when I pointed out that it was not the watch he described so I decided that I wouldn't push for a refund because he would only dupe some other mug with it. I had intended to sort it out but the condition was woeful and I doubted my chances. Firstly, the watch was stripped and cleaned. There was some fairly thick grease on some of the pinion leaves, but a couple of runs through the Ultrasonic cleaner followed with rodico and pegwood sorted it out. The chip in the lever upper jewel was an unwelcome surprise but the hole itself was round and so I fitted a new mainspring and spun up the train, having lubed up the keyless works and the train pivots. No problem there and careful sorting of the screws revealed which ones went where. If the hairspring was truly ruined, I'd need another from a different watch. That would render the whole project unviable.
    I broke off the hairspring at the stud and re pinned it. If it ran it would run fast but there was also the matter of the bend downwards at the collet.
    A moment with the tweezers and it came back so the lever and balance went back in. I crossed my fingers. I moved the regulator index to the slowest position and wound the movement up. My reward was 23 seconds a day slow, 313 degrees and a beat error like a pub drummer. It runs. I could attempt to rotate the collet to improve on the 6mS error but I think I'd be pushing my luck so I'll keep an eye out for another balance but until then, I've saved it.
    So today, I am not the world's worst watchmaker and that is good enough for one day.

  2. #2
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    May 2010
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    Re: Saved from the barbarians.

    The seller got abusive? I hope You did, too .
    Good luck in finding parts. The dial and case seem to deserve this watch being brought back from the dead.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Wegberg, Germany
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    Re: Saved from the barbarians.

    Hi Tom,

    take my condolence. I recently also pulled a not running watch off ebay,
    but ignored one essential rule: Never buy without movement photo.

    Anyway, it was a great contribution to my desaster page:
    http://www.ranfft.de/uhr/info-problem-e.html#B1

    On this page I collect my worst experiences, most caused by tinkers who
    can produce huge desasters with just minor resouces.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

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  5. #4
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Saved from the barbarians.

    Nice watch Tom. It doesn't sound like an easy rescue, but well done. I hope you left good feedback for the nice man.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  6. #5
    Member JohnnyMonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Saved from the barbarians.

    Nice little watch, and great job on the resto

    Shame about the 'a-hole' who sold it to you, and I bet he knew it wasn't right and thought he'd sold it to someone who would know!!

  7. #6
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    NW Boulder, CO. mts.
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    Re: Saved from the barbarians.

    A fine example of a seriously enthusiastic watch person that us superficial enthusiastic types admire.

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