Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch
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Thread: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

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  1. #1
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    Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    I am soon going to have a pocket watch that has a Shunlei Chinese movement. It sounds like a solid enough workhorse type movement for the price point, and I am gettijg the watch for it's sentimental/emotional/geekdom appeal. It's related to the show Doctor Who. Anyway, I am wondering, if down the road a bit, I wanted to have someone put in a new movement, is that generally a doable thing? Maybe put in a new, higher end movement? Thanks for any and all info, help or advice.

  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    You can switch movements if they match with respect to:

    1. movement diameter (if the new one is smaller, you can get away with a larger movement holder, plus other adaptations)
    2. movement thickness (if thinner, doesn't especially matter)
    3. exactly the same positions for the dial feet
    4. exactly the same position for the subseconds on pocket watch movements (can't switch a lepine movement for a savonette)
    5. same diameter for wheels protruding thought the dial to hold the hands
    6. same position of winding stem with respect to movement height

    ...so all in all, finding a match is not that simple. Though not impossible.

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    Very informative. Thank you for the information. I will live in hope. Though I will also be happy enough that the watch is even made with a mechanical movement. Again, thank you.

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  5. #4
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    As a Dr. Who fan from waaay back (bonus marks if you actually recognize where my alias comes from), I'd love to see your watch!

    Many (if not most) of the Chinese movements are based pretty closely on (as in, are direct copies of) standard Swiss or Japanese movements, so if you figure out what's in it, that might make it easier to find a replacement. The Chinese forum would probably help there.
    Rogue Lizard likes this.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    I do not get the bonus points sadly. Being a lifelong (well, since I was about 4 or 5) Who fan, you would think I might have conceivably immediately gotten that. But no. You would be wrong. I have some odd gaps in my Who knowledge.

    My watch is likely 2 to 3 weeks from being in my hands, but I will post pics of it once it gets here. It may not be much....purely as a watch, but it will be one of the coolest watches I own for the foreseeable future. What with me being a big Whovian and this watch being full tilt awesome looking.

  7. #6
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    <grin> It was a bit of trick question...Abslom Daak was from Dr. Who magazine originally.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  8. #7
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    Re: Switching out a movement in a pocketwatch

    I've been checking out prospective cases for the movement I bought and decided there's no way I could spot one that would be sure to fit without having the movement first. Even if they have the size of the case listed and tell what size movement in mm would fit there are too many variables. I show it as having been mailed today with an expected arrival date of 5-31.

    Mine is supposed to be 35mm and that's pretty tiny when you think about it. I have wrist watches bigger than that and it must have been from a ladies watch to begin with. There are people who sell Franken Russian watches that are real artists with coming up with an improvised housing for a mechanism and I'm going to see if I can't come up with something novel.

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