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About Sberry

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  1. I've (99%) completed the WRL level 2 course. My ST36 movement went back together smoothly until I tried to refit the upper balance jewel. I've now learned a lot about tiny parts flying away, and also how difficult it is to find those parts, and finally that they are generally unavailable to buy separately if you do lose them. I put that movement into a bag and set it aside and decided to move onto another watch - a Slava 2428 I found on ebay in poor working condition. Again everything went smoothly, rewarding success and progress and confidence with help from ratfacegit videos on youtube, until I came again to the balance jewel and springs. Luckily, after googling after previous flying parts issues for tips, I began draping a clear piece of plastic film over my work and this worked really well to keep flying parts from flying too far. I was able to do a satisfying job of oiling the jewel and placing the capstone on the lower bearing cup. When it came to replacing the tri-legged spring in the Russian movement I sank at least 2 hours into trying to fit it in place with no success and found it incredibly frustrating. I'm paused again at this step. I do feel like I'm growing skills with this tweezer work, but I find frustration is hurting my motivation. I have a lighted optivisor with a 3.5x power lens, with an optional 2.5x power loop I can slide in front of one eye. This feels like a minimal, possibly not enough, level of magnification when it comes to the balance jewel work. I invested in nice screwdrivers, swiss tweezers - I just can't seem to coordinate these springs. 1. When you work on servicing balance jewels is there a level of magnification that works best? Should I invest in a higher magnification eyeloop (10X?) just for that work? 2. In collective experience, is servicing the balance jewels a universal challenge for new watchmakers? Nothing else has really derailed me. 3. I've considered trying to service a few more near-junk watches without servicing the balance jewel disassembled, but doing a caveman job of cleaning and oiling it. Do you guys run into situations where you've made this decision and had success? I've seen a couple of videos where the watchmaker chooses not to service a shock jewel because the springs are irreplaceable and known to break. I definitely don't want anyone to endorse bad craftsmanship but wondering about situations where you've made compromises. Overall, very much enjoying learning. Mark's videos have been a great structured start. IMG_5793.HEIC
  2. I've been drawn to the diversity of Soviet watches, Citizen, Seiko, Bulova partially for cost reasons, but also because they are as interesting to me in the way a 1970s Honda CVCC or a Volvo 244 or a Delorean is. I would love to, and will one day, have a nice Omega, or any other high end Swiss watch (or Ferrari or Porsche...), but then I could only afford one or two and would be terrified to service them myself. I think if you are picky there are amazing things to be had in the low-end price range.
  3. Grease added - thanks for the advice. I'll add photos when I get a few more together.
  4. When I enrolled for Mark's courses I picked up a Seagull ST36 from ebay to follow along with. It's relatively nice and $40 a go, so I wanted to practice destroying something else first. I ended up buying a batch of 7 grimy non-working vintage manual wind and automatic timex watches in various states. I figured they would be super-simple and at a couple of bucks a piece hard to beat it. I probably should have researched those movements first, what I saw once I removed the casebacks was this odd 2-plate movement. So far have encountered both the 21 and 24 variants https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Budget_Watch_Collecting/Timex_movements Researching and playing with them (and totally exploding one) I got a little more familiarity. These feel relatively disposable and a full service would be more difficult than other watches because of the two-plate design. This bummed me out at first, concerned that I would waste time/money on watches that wouldn't move me forward in the best way. Then I followed advice found here on the forums, soaked my first movement,with a slight wind on it, in Mineral Spirits then Naptha, blew it off. tick-tick-tick. Then I was able to get enough dexterity to remove the top balance screw / cup, and drop in some lube Took a while, misaligned the bottom balance pivot, overoiled the wrong spot and had to soak it again, but it came out OK. I spent a long time removing filth from the case, polishing the crystal, cleaning up the dial with rodico, placing the hands, like new!... then I started in on the other 6, started seeing differences in casing and movements, scrubbing and repairing old bands, and continuing to be amazed when these 50 year old watches fired back up after long periods of abuse and neglect. Anyways, I'm hooked and having a blast, meandering my way through course 2 on a dry-run and will get to that Chinese movement soon - hoping after the tiny Timex bits it will feel a little more roomy. sberry Austin, TX First one down, 2nd movement ready to case.
  5. Hello - I started getting interested in watches about 10 years ago when I interviewed a local watchmaker for a design project in school. I picked up a 1965 Seiko Weekdater around that time and have sent it away to be rebuilt once since then, wearing it daily, pleasantly ticking away on my wrist. My wife's father passed recently and I was given his daily-worn 1976 Bulova Accutron in non-working condition. I finally got around to trying to sort it out and I was surprised to find that it needed more than a battery and also surprised when researching that the movement is so different and transitional. I would not really dream of tangling directly with the Accutron guts so I sent it off to someone with more direct knowledge and an appropriate parts-bin for it (works great, now). Along the way, though, my own interest was piqued and I looked around for more simple watches that I could perhaps learn on, with the objective of being able to service them and know them. Soon I had several decades-old soviet watches in the mail from Kiev which I'm having fun wearing and restoring but would eventually like to service. Now I have an ST-36 on the way, a very-expensive set of small screwdrivers and tweezers, magnification, and I've sprung on this course bundle after surveying a few options. I have a background of software, and lots of automotive projects large and small, but nothing so fussy and tiny as watch maintenance in my resume. Hoping that pure curiosity and interest can push me forward through any frustrations. Glad to join this community and please wish me luck! steve
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