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Everything posted by WellAdjusted

  1. 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.)
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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,
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Greetings from another denizen of the Tarheel State!
  10. Posted at the same time, I guess! That looks like an intact but seriously cheap regulator.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.)
  13. 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.
  14. Just to echo some other responses, it is wise to place the hand on plastic or paper to avoid scuffing it on the staking set. I prefer to peen the bottom of the hole. The bottom part of a hand is the first part to contact its respective wheel or pinion, so it is the side that needs to be tightest. If you peen the top of the hole, it might not "grip" until the hand is a bit too low on the pinion. It also makes for cleaner work in terms of tooling marks. As for the earlier questions about hands with tubes, like hour and seconds hands, Archie Perkins recommended using a staking set. You
  15. The great Archie Perkins, in his restoration books and his staking set book, recommended using a domed staking set punch. You'd place the minute hand on the staking set plate and lightly tap the hole using a domed punch. The peening will slightly reduce the diameter of the hole by compressing the edge inward. To avoid tooling marks, you can place the hand on plastic and peen the underside of hole.
  16. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner, even a cheap one commonly sold for small jewelry items, you can use it for gold plated items. Jeweler's polishing cloths and red rouge on a microfiber cloth work well. In general, any method that avoids heavy pressure, high heat, and abrasives will be fine.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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