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About WellAdjusted

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    North Carolina, USA
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    watch adjusting, positional timing, American pocket watches

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  1. Loose pallet jewels would do it. This is an uncommon fault, so it's worth reflecting on the cleaning procedures to see if something could have dissolved or softened the shellac. You might also check the roller jewel, which is also secured with shellac. Replacing the jewels is not too hard, but replacing them to the proper depth is another matter. It's interesting and worth trying, but you might source a replacement pallet fork for now while you read up on it.
  2. I'll second that it's a good practice to replace just the balance complete prior to assembly so you can get a good look at the hairspring. After doing that, you can add the pallet fork and bridge to see how the fork and jewel interact.
  3. It looks like something is rubbing or scraping. The above suggestions seem likely. For these watches, it is common for the hairspring to rub against the arms of the balance wheel or against the underside of the balance cock. You might confirm that the wheel isn't rubbing against the pallet bridge or the center wheel.
  4. It's a mix of equipment and technique. For getting a finish free of microscratches on stainless steel, I use loose 4" cotton wheels and the Menzerna family of compounds. I step down from blue (if needed) to pink to yellow to white. In between each step, clean the case with a steamer or an ultrasonic cleaner. You can get true mirror polishing, with no swirls or scratches under a 10x loupe and raking light, this way. An underappreciated side of this level of polishing is contamination. Different grits shouldn't be used on the same wheel, or course, but think also about your fingers, ho
  5. In the whole world of things, parts availability is pretty good for those watches. I'd also add "USSR Watch" and "Moscow Watch" as web stores to check out.
  6. From a restoration perspective, the proper approach is to "rub in" another jewel. You can open up the thin lip that secures the old jewel (with a lathe or with some jewel opening/closing tools), put a new jewel in, and then close up the lip again. Those tools pop up on eBay on occasion and sell for a lot. It is not as hard or daunting as it sounds. Fried's books (either Watch Repairer's Manual, Bench Practices..., or both) give a good tutorial and breakdown. But from a practical perspective, do a search for "friction jewel converters." I have an example of using them here on a old 7
  7. If the mainspring barrel wasn't opened, that is the place to start! As statisticians say, "Rare things happen rarely," so it's best to look at the obvious things. There's a good chance that you have an old, "set" mainspring that simply isn't generating any force. Removing it, cleaning the barrel and arbor, and replacing it with a white alloy mainspring might cure what ails this watch. Many things make a small difference, but replacing a tired mainspring is the low-hanging fruit of amplitude.
  8. Agreed, the first step is understanding the low amplitude, which is a kind of global health marker. In the spirit of starting at the mainspring, was it replaced? Does it have a white alloy mainspring? A common cause of poor amplitude is when the mainspring barrel binds against the arbor. It's a good idea to insert the arbor into the empty barrel, close it up, and check out the clearances. The empty barrel should spin smoothly around the arbor.
  9. I might just try that 9415 trick on a watch. I have heard of people using it for the bearings of 7J jewel watches, so it might be worth an experiment someday.
  10. You can do righteous work with one of those tools. I prefer a bench polishing lathe (I can hold the piece with two hands and use larger buffing wheels), but I find I use a handheld tool often, too. Clamping the piece in a bench vise helps avoid slips and increase control.
  11. Adjusting a watch to positions usually involves several rounds of tweaking and tinkering, and I've been interested in different ways of measuring my progress and visualizing how the rates converge. I have been dabbling with R code to visualize how the rates in the 6 positions change after each round of adjusting. I suspect there are a few "data science" types on this board, so I'm pasting the code at the end. If you use R, it is easy to input your own rates. It yields the attached charts. One shows each round as a line. Another highlights each position.
  12. I'd be curious to hear more about your experience with using 9415 for the pivots. I've heard of people using that for pivots for unjeweled bearings in 1J and 7J watches but haven't tried it.
  13. I once saw a spring bar tip that had been glued in, probably because it was undersized. These rarely get stuck unless they get rusted or glued or were oversized. I'd try stripping the case down (removing movement, crystal, back, everything) and boiling it for a while, just in case it is glued. (If you have a heated ultrasonic cleaner, that wold be ideal.) If that doesn't do it, soaking in alum, usually 1 tsp alum to 1 cup water. Keep the water hot throughout the day, and occasionally replace or replenish the solution as it evaporates. Scraping at the metal part every so often (to rem
  14. Wow! It makes sense now that you mention it.
  15. I would recommend contacting Dave Coatsworth at Dave's Watch Parts. He has a huge selection of balance staffs and significant expertise as well. He has steered me the right way a couple times in the past when I was unsure about the correct staff. Elgin really was not aiming to "keep it simple" with their parts program, that's for sure.
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