Something more antique for a change
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Thread: Something more antique for a change

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  1. #1
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Something more antique for a change

    I've thought it would be time again to show something more antique for a change in the vintage-lions’ den. I myself almost forgot about all my verge watches lately, after I was infected here in the forum by the vintage wrist watch virus, a malicious disease which is hard to overcome and makes you buy even Timex watches by the dozen.

    I also took the occasion to try out my new photo tent which now lets me make better pictures without all those annoying reflections.

    The pocket watch shown below was made around 1780 by John Richard in London.

    Shortly before, the first 13 colonies declared their independence and became the 'United States of America'. Mozart was still in his early 20ies and started to work on his Grand Mass in C-minor.

    John Watt, a watchmaker and jeweler in Huntly, Scotland, must have made his day (or month or year) when he sold this watch to someone presumably very rich. The cap stone is a real diamond. And of course, it is still running well and was not so long ago completely taken apart and cleaned.
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    Last edited by Border-Reiver; February 11th, 2016 at 18:50.
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  2. #2
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    What a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing!

    Out of curiosity, what's the accuracy like on that verge-fusee? I've always heard the style was good for within a few minutes a day.

  3. #3
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Quote Originally Posted by odd_and_vintage_fan View Post
    What a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing!

    Out of curiosity, what's the accuracy like on that verge-fusee? I've always heard the style was good for within a few minutes a day.

    Well, that is a difficult question. With those verge fusee watches you primarily want to see that they are functioning well. This one stays within 5 minutes (fast in this case) at least for the first 12 hours. It all depends if you have it lying on the table or if you carry it around. But less than 10 minutes +/- per day is nothing unusual. The fusee-and-chain transmission usually compensates well for the weakening power of the mainspring.

    The problem is really the Tompion regulating mechanism. If you don’t know which way to turn and where you are, you can easily overturn. I killed a hairspring (250 years old) this way. On some balance cocks you might be able to see through, but often this is not the case. It is therefore recommended to leave things alone if you are within 20 minutes/day unless you are experienced enough and really know what you are doing. Furthermore, I only very rarely let them run, perhaps once a year.

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  5. #4
    Member simpletreasures's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Very nice!!!!!

    For over 200 years old, who cares about 5 to 10 minutes a day. The fact that it runs and functions is more than to be expected.
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  6. #5
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Quote Originally Posted by Border-Reiver View Post
    Well, that is a difficult question. With those verge fusee watches you primarily want to see that they are functioning well. This one stays within 5 minutes (fast in this case) at least for the first 12 hours. It all depends if you have it lying on the table or if you carry it around. But less than 10 minutes +/- per day is nothing unusual. The fusee-and-chain transmission usually compensates well for the weakening power of the mainspring.

    The problem is really the Tompion regulating mechanism. If you don’t know which way to turn and where you are, you can easily overturn. I killed a hairspring (250 years old) this way. On some balance cocks you might be able to see through, but often this is not the case. It is therefore recommended to leave things alone if you are within 20 minutes/day unless you are experienced enough and really know what you are doing. Furthermore, I only very rarely let them run, perhaps once a year.
    Thanks for the reply. I'm a bit of an accuracy nut, so it's always enjoyable to see what was "state of the art" throughout history.

    Bummer about that hairspring. I'd imagine the lady or gentleman who can walk around with a watch that's two centuries old doesn't have to say sorry to anybody if they're within 20 minutes of an appointment.
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  7. #6
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Quote Originally Posted by odd_and_vintage_fan View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I'm a bit of an accuracy nut, so it's always enjoyable to see what was "state of the art" throughout history.

    Bummer about that hairspring. I'd imagine the lady or gentleman who can walk around with a watch that's two centuries old doesn't have to say sorry to anybody if they're within 20 minutes of an appointment.
    I had the original hairspring fixed and had learned something about watchmaking. My watchmaker (the particular one also taking care of my antique stuff) has a method to glue a hairspring together, metal on metal. He does that especially on very old pocket watches, where it's good to keep it original. Don't ask me how he does it, it's probably overlapping a millimeter or so.

    I am the president of the accuracy nuts club and that was the main cause of almost every problem I created, not only with that watch. My favorite tool is the timescale (timegrapher) and if not feasible, I do it the conventional way by adjusting every hour. I have a few Timex watches, where you can only access the movement through the front (crystal must be removed), especially the type where the crown is on the bottom as well as the 'gully top' for the battery. When you try to adjust the watch, you have the movement in a holder (no watch case to protect, you are just squeezing the dial) and a loose battery on top which you have to hold down with your finger to get the watch running. After that, everything back and a lot of fiddling to get the crown into the cuppling. When everything is together again (a process often to be repeated), I had it +/- 2 minutes/day. Needless to say, that the intire process was repeated and repeated until something broke. This way I have also sent another 'front-loader' (Roamer Anfibio) into the happy hunting grounds...

    And the state of the art as of today: The radio controlled watches and clocks get a signal from one of the primary atomic clocks, which is now accurate to +/- 1 second in 150 millions years (previous generations +/- 1 second in 40 million years). In the labs, they have come to +/- 1 second in 1 billion years. But that's not all. The rotation of the Earth is changing as it gets slower and slower until a final stand-still, fortunately not in our time (rotation speed is actually fluctuating, but overall it gets slower). As time is related to this rotation, the lenght of a day (and with it hours, minutes, seconds) is changing. 400 million years ago, a day had only 22 hours, making it a slow-down of 2 hours in this time span. To keep time intervals at the same length, there are so called 'leap seconds' which are put in between. The last leap second was on the June 30, last year. Just imagine you are not aware of this and you happen to test your Patek Philippe against a radio controlled watch and it is suddenly a second off...
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; February 12th, 2016 at 09:51.
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  8. #7
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Quote Originally Posted by Border-Reiver View Post
    I had the original hairspring fixed and had learned something about watchmaking. My watchmaker (the particular one also taking care of my antique stuff) has a method to glue a hairspring together, metal on metal. He does that especially on very old pocket watches, where it's good to keep it original. Don't ask me how he does it, it's probably overlapping a millimeter or so.

    I am the president of the accuracy nuts club and that was the main cause of almost every problem I created, not only with that watch. My favorite tool is the timescale (timegrapher) and if not feasible, I do it the conventional way by adjusting every hour. I have a few Timex watches, where you can only access the movement through the front (crystal must be removed), especially the type where the crown is on the bottom as well as the 'gully top' for the battery. When you try to adjust the watch, you have the movement in a holder (no watch case to protect, you are just squeezing the dial) and a loose battery on top which you have to hold down with your finger to get the watch running. After that, everything back and a lot of fiddling to get the crown into the cuppling. When everything is together again (a process often to be repeated), I had it +/- 2 minutes/day. Needless to say, that the intire process was repeated and repeated until something broke. This way I have also sent another 'front-loader' (Roamer Anfibio) into the happy hunting grounds...
    You've just reaffirmed my desire to never have a front-loader. When I was pricing out a Hamilton Electric, the Nautilus series was some of the cheaper ones, but I just don't have either the knowledge/skill to handle a front-loader or the budget/patience to pay a professional for every battery change and adjustment. I ended up going with a screw-back Vantage Electric (close enough) to avoid this.

    Very interesting about gluing a broken hairspring. I'll have to keep that in mind should it ever happen to me. Always a pleasure, Border-Reiver.

  9. #8
    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    That is very very nice! Thank you for sharing!!
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  10. #9
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    Re: Something more antique for a change

    Lovely P.W. and in great condition.
    I enjoy all that info.

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