I was finishing up an Elgin 571 last week. I'd cleaned and oiled it, let it run while the amplitude and rate stabilized, and done initial regulation. It was running well, so I installed the hour wheel, dial, and hands. I was running the hands around the dial in setting mode to make sure they were free all the way around. Suddenly, the hands stopped turning and the stem wouldn't turn either. I pushed in the lever to winding mode, and that worked fine, but back in setting mode the stem was fixed and wouldn't move.
Off came the hands, off came the dial. I noticed the whole minute wheel moving - not turning, moving - and got a sick feeling. Sure enough, the minute wheel post had broken off! AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
I've never seen this, and based on how few helpful things came up in a Google search, it's pretty uncommon. No idea what caused it.
BTW, I don't have a lathe.
So, here's my plan to replace it - tell me if I'm nuts: I bought a set of pivot drills covering the size range of the broken post (repeated measurements say 0.59mm). I'm planning to get brass rod (or wire) that's just slightly larger.
The plan is to carefully hand-drill the pillar plate where the post was, using the nearest bit to the right size (one that fits through the minute wheel hub without binding or too much slack).
The brass rod, I'll chuck up in a dremel, and reduce the diameter carefully on an extra-fine stone.
Then I'll glue the rod in place - suggestions for adhesive are welcome! Superglue? Epoxy?
Using the minute wheel as a guide, I'll cut the excess rod away, and use the dremel - CAREFULLY - to get it down to the right height and deburred.
Does this sound good? Do you have any other suggestions?
BTW, for those who don't know it, the Elgin 571 is a 16s, 21j BW Raymond Railroad-grade pocket watch. This particular one is from the last block of serial numbers Elgin set aside to continue making BWRs after 1955, when they stopped putting serial numbers on their movements (but railroads still required them).