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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. These screws are easily stripped, and it was a common problem back in the day. As an aside, Hamilton in its later watches had threads in the cap jewel setting, with the idea that it's easier to deal with a stripped setting vs a stripped main plate. Anyhow, I'd recommend heating and cooling the piece. The steel screw and brass mainplate will expand and contract at different rates. If you have a heated ultrasonic, run it as a high temp for around 20 minutes. If that doesn't work, rinse it, freeze it, let it come back to temp, and repeat with a heating cycle.
  2. So frustrating to see that! This is why we need to avoid touching parts now---the damage is done, even if we don't see it for a couple decades. In this case, the oils in the fingerprints have either etched into the varnish/coating layer on the dial or into the metal layer below. In both cases, it would be hard to remove only the fingerprint. (If this is a silver dial, all hope is lost.)
  3. I don't know about your movement specifically, but it is common for hairsprings to sag when the balance is removed. Whether it will touch the arms depends on the weight of the stud, the strength of the spring, and how the spring is colleted. But I wouldn't worry about it. If it is level and free when installed, that's all that matters. I find adjusting hairsprings easier to do when the balance is installed in the watch or when the hairspring is removed. In Fried's books, he suggests removing the hairspring and installing it in the balance cock. When you set the balance cock upside-do
  4. For what it is worth, Elgin, inventors of alloy mainsprings with their innovative DuraPower alloy in the late 1940s, argued that these springs had a break-in period. Several mainspring packages came with an insert noting that the amplitude will be higher later on after the settling period. There's much to be said for letting a watch run for at least a few days before adjusting it.
  5. For this watch, you wouldn't remove the jewel settings secured by screws. They can be removed, but they weren't intended to be routinely removed. Think of them like friction-fit plate jewels in an modern ETA 2824, only held with screws. As you noted, the balance jewels would be removed. I believe the crown wheel screw on those old Walthams is reverse threaded. You don't need to remove the watch crown from the watch stem. When you unscrew the 2 dial screws, the movement can be removed from the dial side. (You might need to pull the crown to the setting position.) In nearly all cases,
  6. To loop back to the issue of variation in length and thickness, we modern types have less choice with new mainsprings than the old-timers did. Mainsprings for the big brands were available in many thicknesses. For new mainsprings, there might only be one thickness option. The length is often off by a bit, too. I've suspected that companies like GR are finding "sweet spots" where one spring can suit many models (such as how some old 18s Illinois and Walthams use the same GR springs). Small variation in length, for all practical purposes, is not a very big deal for the watch's behavior
  7. I'd agree that it would be best to visually confirm the amplitude, either with a slow-mo video or with an easily removable mark (like a UV ink dot on the balance wheel arm). For what it's worth, out of curiosity, I just found identical readings with an old Rockford pocket watch mounted directly vs mounted in a movement holder.
  8. It really helps to have access to one of many manuals for American parts and materials. You can find Marshall Handy Manuals, Swigert manuals, and many others here and there around the Internet. I consult the old Marshall parts interchange all the time. You'll also find old Waltham parts lists and mainspring charts online, too. Many parts suppliers (like Otto Frei) basically copy and paste the info from those books into their descriptions, and that would be a good place to start for American mainsprings. As for figuring it out, once you narrow it down to the brand and size you funnel
  9. Could you post a picture with the crystal off perhaps? Your dial is metal that is textured and then coated with paint and varnish. The paint is usually on the metal and below the varnish, but not always. The risk with cleaning comes from removing the top-most coating. In some old watches, the varnish gets gummy with age and particles of dust and lint get stuck in it, like dinosaurs in a tar pit. It is hard to remove specs and stains. A common problem people don't anticipate is changes in glossiness and texture. Cleaning one spot (with Rodico, erasers, etc) might give it a flat, matte
  10. Greetings from another denizen of the Tarheel State!
  11. Posted at the same time, I guess! That looks like an intact but seriously cheap regulator.
  12. A good rule of thumb is to fix the obvious faults before troubleshooting. If one of the regulator pins is missing, you have a likely answer. It would explain both the position differences and much of the overall poor rate. The spring "breathes" against the pins. In one position, it might look like it is pressing against one, but when you rotate it 180 degrees, it might not touch anything. Likewise, and the spring runs down and the amplitude drops, the relation of the spring to the lone pin changes. I'd start with the pins and then see what you have.
  13. A nice watch! Replacement hands are easy to come by, as are replacement crystals. Bezels are a different story. You might contact Don Barrett at City Bank Antiques in Ohio. He has a good reputation among NAWCC members for his epic stash of hunter case bezels. (He would also replace the crystal if you wished, which is probably worth it.)
  14. I think I found it under my bench. Perhaps my incabloc spring ended up under yours? ? Seriously, a sweeper magnet (kind of like what roofers use for stray nails) can work wonders. Others have done what crime-scene techs do: put a very fine filter over a vacuum tube (think hosiery) and then see what gets caught.
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