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If anyone has happened to work on a Pierce chronograph with a waterproof case, I could use a little help. I'm in the middle of another Pierce chronograph restoration and this is the first I've had with a waterproof case. The case is missing the pusher buttons and stem tube, but I can see that the holes for all three are threaded. The holes for the pusher tubes have a small red rubber gasket inside and behind it there appears to be a compression spring. The hole for the stem also has a rubber gasket which is secured with a threaded ring. This is the first time I've encountered a waterproof case by Pierce and I'd like to return the watch to as close as possible the original specifications. The problem is that I don't have the pushers or stem and I do not understand how they were engineered. Naturally I can fit off the shelf replacements but I would like that to be Plan B. If anyone has any prior experience with Pierce's odd case please feel free to chime in. They had odd solutions to many challenges an I'm interested in finding out how they made their waterproof chronograph.
Hello Gents and Happy Independence Day (if you are on the left size of the pond). I have a question regarding the procurement of some odd sized watch hands. In this case I'm looking for an hour hand that has an inside diameter of 2.4mm and a minute hand with an inside diameter of 1.5mm. It seems that the standard for watch hands now has the inside diameter of the hour hand at under 2.00mm and the minute hands at under 1.5mm which would make these a chore to replace. Any ideas where I might be able to find an assortment of watch hands that is a bit outside the norm? I've tried the normal suppliers in the US (Otto, Esslingen, etc.) but am willing to look elsewhere!
I'm a true novice and this is my first actual repair job but from the attached images you may get the impression that my real struggles are with camera in hand! Any input how how to get the best pictures (and lighting) when working with such a small subject matter are appreciated! I've been an enthusiast for complicated watches for sometime and this past Christmas my wife gifted me a vintage Breitling Navitimer- a replacement for the one we sold to help finance our wedding some eight years back. Having done without for eight years I'm dead set on treating this timepiece right and so embarked on a quest to learn all I could about maintaining vintage mechanical watches. This has as fueled an new found passion in me and I've now accumulated a few swiss watches from the 40's and 50's to work on. My first purchase was an Omega Speedmaster 321 which was delivered in an Altoids tin... in many pieces; but that's a different story. My second purchase is the above referenced Pierce Navigator Chronograph. Manufactured in the late forties or early fifties, the Pierce Navigator was the everyman's chronograph and was priced more reasonably that most Swiss chronographs on the market. The movement within (Pierce Calibre 134) is a little strange though, it utilizes a vertical clutch mechanism and the clutch plate is made of soft rubber. The dial layout is a little different as well with the running seconds at six o'clock and the minute counter at the 12 o'clock position. Here you can see the watch the shape it was delivered to me. It was sold as not working but did begin ticking as I handled it. As you can see the crystal and the start/stop pusher are missing. Since the little guy was trying to give it a go, I placed the movement on the timegrapher to see what its vitals were. Time to crack it open! Inside- dirt, dirt, and more dirt! The chrono works don't look too bad. Dial side is a bit worse. Here I've already removed the minute wheel and cannon pinion. The keyless works under the microscope. Lots of dirt here. This watch has no form of waterproofing. Even the pushers lack gaskets and as a result lots of grime is able to enter the case. Luckily for me there was very little rust. Disassembling the gear train. More dirt is apparent here. The mainspring was shot (no picture I'm afraid) but sourcing a replacement was not difficult. I cleaned the movement in my L & R cleaner then reassembled. With the watch keeping time I moved on to the chrono works. Pierce cases are plated brass as are the crowns and pushers. They don't hold up well over time unfortunately. The movement appears to be plated, perhaps in nickel or chrome and is polished to a mirror finish as are the various steel levers and springs. Here I got a little ahead of myself as the base movement worked well but had a sizable (3.6 ms) beat error. I first tried adjusting the collet to correct the error. And this worked- to an extent. Now I had no beat error but the watch ran phenomenally fast... then slow... The timegrapher showed a beautiful Sin curve on the display. Turns out the coils of the hairspring had exited the single plane and were now high on one side and low on the other. I removed the hairspring and carefully reworked the coils under a microscope until they sat nice and flat. Then I watched Mark's video on hairspring adjustment to make sure it was reassembled with minimal beat error. Here' I line up the hairspring with the regulator before pressing it to the balance wheel. My staking kit is vintage but works well enough. This was my first time taking it out. No need for a hammer here though. Now this may sound easy, but I had to remove the hairspring three times before finally getting it just right. I'm quite pleased with the results though. Here you can see how it performs with the chronograph engaged. The choro still slips slightly and a new rubber clutch may be needed but thus far I'm impressed with what has been accomplished. Lastly I'll need to source a second pusher and a crystal. I'll be sure and post pics of the finished job though.
Digging through everyone’s favourite auction site, I picked up what I was hoping to be a neat addition in the military watch category. Only had 30 mins to make up my mind, so I jumped on it for a tenner bid and won. http://www.ebay.ie/itm/191329879939 After digging a bit, I’ve confirmed that it is a Pierce Parashock with a 15-jewel Pierce Calibre 103 movement. That would date it to the 1940s. The bridges even appear to have some nice geneva stripes and finishing - though it looks like it desperately needs cleaning... ID’d from: http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&&2uswk&Pierce_103 The movement has “Pierce Watch Co.” stamped on a bridge with the letter “M” stamped by itself over near the ratchet wheel. No other apparent markings. The case back is stamped with the serial number 35880. The back is secured to the case with 4 screws at the lugs with a case shaped gasket sandwiched between, hence waterproof and airtight. Well, back in the 40s perhaps! The case and dial appear to be all original. The case is chrome plated but a lot has flaked off and the case base metal looks a bit banged up, probably pitted – looks like brass. The dial is an unusual two-tone white and black with “Fab. Suisse”. The hands appear to be replacements with faded blue tinted lume though they too look aged. The original hands would probably have been the thinner diamond shapes typical of military watches like the A-11s, probably black framed with a white interior. The "vintage" strap probably needs to be replaced. I found just one other picture of this identical model on Google, with a cleaner dial that may have been somewhat restored though the case looks in far worse condition. The numeral style differs with narrow angled numbers instead of the fatter arched style. For a tenner, I think this was a good buy. Of course, now it needs more suitable hands, likely some new parts, and a service. I'm hoping the movement cleans up okay. This might be my first hobby project (outside of weeks of practice on throwaway movements). Parts for this don’t seem to be completely impossible going by Cousins UK which has practically the whole movement listed other than the bridges... If anyone happens to know more about the watch, movement and its dating, would love to know!