Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch
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Thread: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

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  1. #1
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    Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    Please excuse an idiot question!

    I have a very nice UW deck watch in the usual RN box - this particular one has a stainless steel double bottom case, with glass, and no broad arrow or HS2 marking. Serial number is 120521 - on the face, the case and the movement. I have an idea that these stainless steel double bottom cases were intended for submarines, in the pious hope that the case would offer some magnetic shielding, but would welcome thoughts on that idea.

    It needed a new staff when I bought it, and it now has one and is running very happily but gaining more than a minute a day, which I think very nice deck watches, recently cleaned, ought not to do, and I would like to move the snail cam regulator.

    What is the best and safest way to do this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    Before this response, you had 84 views with no reply, so maybe photos would be a good idea.
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    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Pictures:

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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    It needed a new staff when I bought it
    I guess a professional watchmaker replaced it ? He would be then the best person to properly regulate it. This kind of high grade deck watch are not simply adjusted by the regulator, there are also timing screws on the Guillaume balance (though I can't see them on your pic... are they missing ?), the beat error to check, different positions, poise, and so on. More than one minute daily rate for this kind of watch is unacceptable IMHO, making me wondering if it has been regulated at all, so it's up to the watchmaker who serviced it to regulate it properly.
    It would also be interesting to know what was its initial results when first tested but this serial number doesn't turn up in this observatory chronometer database, which is weird since a Guillaume balance is clearly an over expensive feature if your watch is not destined to independent testing... Maybe it was tested at Washington ? Do you know this watch history ?

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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    Quote Originally Posted by 707mm2 View Post
    I guess a professional watchmaker replaced it ? He would be then the best person to properly regulate it. This kind of high grade deck watch are not simply adjusted by the regulator, there are also timing screws on the Guillaume balance (though I can't see them on your pic... are they missing ?), the beat error to check, different positions, poise, and so on. More than one minute daily rate for this kind of watch is unacceptable IMHO, making me wondering if it has been regulated at all, so it's up to the watchmaker who serviced it to regulate it properly.
    It would also be interesting to know what was its initial results when first tested but this serial number doesn't turn up in this observatory chronometer database, which is weird since a Guillaume balance is clearly an over expensive feature if your watch is not destined to independent testing... Maybe it was tested at Washington ? Do you know this watch history ?
    Around 8000 of these 22/24’’’ Nardin movements were made between 1907 and 1959 or so. In total, Nardin received 2284 observatory certificates for these movements (1050 in the class for Deck Chronometers and 1234 in the First Class for Pocket Chronometers - the majority from the Neuchatel observatory (with only a few exceptions)). In addition to the certificates, these movements also earned 493 first prizes and 15 first places in the observatory competitions. This means that the majority were not certified by an observatory, despite the Guillaume balances.

    Edit: The rest were tested in-house by Nardin and sold by one of their own certificates. Here is an example: http://www.uhren-hidding.de/Archiv/T...suhr::510.html

    Here is number 120300 made for the Imperial Japanese Navy, which received a first prize in 1941 (6th place out of 130 tested movements in the class for Deck Chronometers (Chronometres de Bord)). It was regulated by Eduoard Seitz:

    Last edited by Warwian; November 1st, 2018 at 21:55.

  8. #7
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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    In reply to 707mm2:

    Yes, a professional watchmaker replaced the staff. And incidentally the button on the setting pin, and of course he cleaned it, but he is so busy that I am reluctant to ask him to take on the task of regulating it as well. Since these watches are navigational instruments, not personal timepieces, and UW were one of the very few firms able to make a chronometer or a deck watch (as many will know, Glashutte had to get back into the business, and Hamilton were persuaded to enter it, for WW2, in which Mercer made chronometers but not deck watches - effectively all British deck watches came from Switzerland in WW2 until Hamilton had some spare capacity - Hamilton's production of the Model 21 and the Model 22 is one of the great industrial stories of WW2 - the cost of manufacture was secondary - UN could sell all the deck watches and chronometers they made). Since a deck watch is generally used aboard a warship (a merchant ship will use one or three chronometers, because her motion will not make a detent escapement jump) or occasionally aboard a yacht, most of UN's production of deck watches was bought by Governments. In time of peace, a ship gets scrapped and her chronometer or watch goes on to the next ship - in time of war the chronometer or watch is more likely to end up on the sea bed, so demand is correspondingly higher.

    In reply to Warwian:

    Thank you for your most informative post. I have asked UW for any information in their records. I don't know whether UW's serial numbers follow a simple chronological order, but if they do, then this watch is so close in number to no. 120300 that it would seem to date from 1941 or 42. I have seen very similar watches with the Kriegsmarine eagle and swastika and with the Royal Navy broad arrow, but I had forgotten about Japan!
    Last edited by Methersgate; November 2nd, 2018 at 01:06.

  9. #8
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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    Methersgate...Hello.

    To my mind, cleaning and regulating always go together. The idea of doing the first, and not the second, seems strange.

    Speaking for myself--as a hobbyist with more than 25 years experience and 500+ watches attended to--whether I'm working on a 7 Jewel Waltham, a 23 Jewel Illinois Bunn, a Timex or a Rolex, making sure the watch's running well is something I do 100% of the time.

    Of course, I expect rather more of a Rolex than Timex, but both are deserving of an effort sufficient so as to allow each watch to achieve its' best rate.

    So: one really should never be too busy to regulate: that's simply how it's done...!

    Michael.

  10. #9
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    I heard back from U.N. Made in 1940.

    The RN deck watch box, the presence of the glass and the absence of the broad arrow and HS2 engraving all point to this one having been bought in a hurry by the RN, which would fit with the 1940 date.

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    Re: Snail cam regulator adjustment on Ulysse Nardin deck watch

    I have read that Ulysse Nardin adopted the Guillaume balance and used it on all their pocket watches:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/the-gui...it-right.7434/

    This is referring to the amibal balance wheel developed by Guillaume.

    But presumably this was phased out in favour of Invar wheels with Elinvar springs.
    Last edited by Methersgate; November 13th, 2018 at 00:15.

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