How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?
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Thread: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

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  1. #1
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    How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    I have a Bulova watch from 1960 with the 11AF movement. The balance jewels are shock-protected, however, they are not Incabloc. The system is very similar, the main difference being that the endstone is flat on both sides.

    Can anyone confirm that the jewel can go in either way or am I missing something? Here a blurry picture of the jewel, it's definitely not Incabloc.
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  2. #2
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    Re: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    That's Kif, and it's odd the cap is flat on both sides. But if it is then yes it can go either way.
    Benjamin Barrera likes this.

  3. #3
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    Re: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    Benjamin...Hello!

    Yes, that's certainly a KIF. There was ( is?) a neat little KIF-Branded kit available that has three (3) different size brass insertion tools for these jewel assembly's. It's been my experience that the tools are a very good idea, but that the springs may be removed / inserted without them.

    Do be very careful here, though...these springs WILL fly off into space, and they become invisible when they land. Use a good loupe when you remove one, and watch carefully to see how the spring moves. The same goes for installation, although--I must admit--using the tool to re-assemble the spring makes everything go pretty easy.

    Take a look over at "Dave's Watch Parts"...he just might have one of the KIF Tools available.

    Once again: go slowly around these spring-loaded jewels...they are delicate little critters! Michael.
    Benjamin Barrera likes this.

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  5. #4
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    Re: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    I think it's a Kif Flector, which is something I've never encountered in the wild. I've dealt with the Kif Trior system in Elgin Shockmasters. I tried looking last night online, but I didn't find anything saying the jewel was flat on both sides, but if you've inspected it carefully and determined you can't tell one side from the other, I can't imagine it makes any difference which way you put it.

    But, you know, I'm a Molecular Biologist, not a Watchmaker, so take that into account.
    Benjamin Barrera likes this.
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  6. #5
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    Re: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    This one releases by rotating like many kifs, but remains captive in the setting (it turns through 25-ish degrees), just tilting up. They are pretty fragile, and if you crack the spring at any location it'll kind of hold the jewel in but not correctly, causing the watch to run poorly.

    The fact the jewel is flat on both sides says to me it's not original, but if the spring holds it in place it should work fine.
    Benjamin Barrera likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: How to oil vintage Bulova balance jewels?

    Thanks for all the information. It turns out the jewel on the dial side was flat on both sides but the one on the top of the balance had a noticeable curve! I was able to release and reinstall using tweezers, no problem. I thought it was easier than Incabloc. And thanks for the warnings about losing the cap. I've done that already with Incabloc jewels, amazing how many different techniques can be used to launch them into space! Fortunately I was able to get the back together and running without a similar disaster.

    Esslinger also has the KIF Flector tool, only 13.95, but Dave's has the full set of three tools for $20. I have another Bulova with a similar shock system so I might need to get these even though the tweezers are working OK.

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