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Rexxus

Pocket watch mainspring winders

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Lots of questions about these, no dedicated place for conversation and answers so I’ve created this thread!

 

I am learning to repair and service pocket watches and have been looking for mainspring winders. From the comments in several threads it seems;

 

- they are expensive

- a lot of hobbyists wind them by hand

- professionals will say never do it

- there are not a lot of posts about the different between a pocket watch and wrist watch winder

- there are some posts with brands and sizes for pocket watches

- no info I could find about what to look for and what to watch out for when buying one

 

I’d like to buy one so I can avoid destroying the mainspring by winding and touching it. I’ve found several online selling for between 15-$70 dollars like this one. Good idea? K&D Robbins type

 

IMG_6953.jpg

 

 

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The antique winders seem to never really work well. The modern ones work a bit better. I'm a professional and wind 90% in by hand, and defy anyone to look at two springs, one wound in by me by hand and one by winder, out of barrel, and tell which is which. Winding in by hand does take skill though. In some cases a winder is really the only good way to do it.

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Hello Rexxus.

i too started on pocket watches and started winding by hand.  i understand most professionals, of which I am NOT one, consider it bad practice.  However, what works, works!

i stopped doing it by hand simply because it hurt my fingers to do so and I had been slapped in the face 137 times too often by particularly cheeky springs.  I bought the model in you picture years ago and love it.  There are two main drawbacks IMHO.  1. As nickelsilver suggests, the older ones tend to be work, particularly in the material that grips the spring in the center.  Thus it can slip quite often.  2. This model nay has one arbor size.  That means if you work on smaller movements with smaller springs, you may bend the center out of shape or even break it.  In the case of wrist watches and smaller sprinted movements, it won’t fit at all.

 

you can buy new winders one arbor at a time and build your set to your needs.  They are a bit more expensive per arbor than a set, but if you don’t need a complete set, you save money and get the right tool.  I must admit to coveting Marks Bergeon set in his videos even though I will NEVER need all those sizes.

 

best of luck and do reach out with pocket watch questions and suggestions.  I love to compare experiences.

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Hello Rexxus.
i too started on pocket watches and started winding by hand.  i understand most professionals, of which I am NOT one, consider it bad practice.  However, what works, works!
i stopped doing it by hand simply because it hurt my fingers to do so and I had been slapped in the face 137 times too often by particularly cheeky springs.  I bought the model in you picture years ago and love it.  There are two main drawbacks IMHO.  1. As nickelsilver suggests, the older ones tend to be work, particularly in the material that grips the spring in the center.  Thus it can slip quite often.  2. This model nay has one arbor size.  That means if you work on smaller movements with smaller springs, you may bend the center out of shape or even break it.  In the case of wrist watches and smaller sprinted movements, it won’t fit at all.
 
you can buy new winders one arbor at a time and build your set to your needs.  They are a bit more expensive per arbor than a set, but if you don’t need a complete set, you save money and get the right tool.  I must admit to coveting Marks Bergeon set in his videos even though I will NEVER need all those sizes.
 
best of luck and do reach out with pocket watch questions and suggestions.  I love to compare experiences.


Thank you for your message! In terms of pocket watches, what would you say is the most common mainspring size? Any rules of thumb you’re aware of?


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3 hours ago, Rexxus said:

i too started on pocket watches and started winding by hand.  i understand most professionals, of which I am NOT one, consider it bad practice.  However, what works, works!

I could never get on with watch or P/watch winders. It is not bad practice. Just make sure you never take the spring out so it looks un-even, it should lay flat. Use finger cots to put the spring in. 

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10 hours ago, Rexxus said:

 


Thank you for your message! In terms of pocket watches, what would you say is the most common mainspring size? Any rules of thumb you’re aware of?


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I'm afraid not.  The springs are by movement size and caliber.  You may find reference material to help you find interchangeable parts.  I do have a very significant stock of NOS pocket watch parts.  If you can tell me more I’d be happy to give you a spring or two to try.  I have thousands of NOS mainsprings for movements from American 18s to 21/0.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, post pics of what you have.  The face, the movement and the barrel with measurements of each.  Maybe we could narrow it down?

Do you have the old spring?

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1 hour ago, ITProDad said:

I'm afraid not.  The springs are by movement size and caliber.  You may find reference material to help you find interchangeable parts.  I do have a very significant stock of NOS pocket watch parts.  If you can tell me more I’d be happy to give you a spring or two to try.  I have thousands of NOS mainsprings for movements from American 18s to 21/0.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, post pics of what you have.  The face, the movement and the barrel with measurements of each.  Maybe we could narrow it down?

Do you have the old spring?

I think the OP is just trying to decide if buying a MS winder and what are the common sizes he may encounter working on American pocket watches. Not fixing a watch at hand.

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I'm afraid not.  The springs are by movement size and caliber.  You may find reference material to help you find interchangeable parts.  I do have a very significant stock of NOS pocket watch parts.  If you can tell me more I’d be happy to give you a spring or two to try.  I have thousands of NOS mainsprings for movements from American 18s to 21/0.  If that doesn’t make sense to you, post pics of what you have.  The face, the movement and the barrel with measurements of each.  Maybe we could narrow it down?
Do you have the old spring?


Hiya,

Thank you for the offer!!! I don’t have a specific spring I’m working on now. I’ve been buying the supplies and equipment I need and have picked up a few pocket watches to take apart, clean, and put together. Some are missing parts. Once i start taking them apart I’ll definitely be posting pics and reaching out :)


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If you intend to work on PWs only, you will surely need no winders for ladies WW. You could get a coarse idea of the needed winder sizes if you take half of the movement diameter minus 20%.

Frank

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2 hours ago, praezis said:

If you intend to work on PWs only, you will surely need no winders for ladies WW. You could get a coarse idea of the needed winder sizes if you take half of the movement diameter minus 20%.

Frank

20% of the half? Or 20% of the whole movement measure?

ive never heard this guideline before.

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8 hours ago, ITProDad said:

20% of the half? Or 20% of the whole movement measure?

Makes sense. Barrel can't be bigger than half of mov.t dia, but (normally) is as large as possible. Minus 20% to clear. 

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8 hours ago, ITProDad said:

20% of the half? Or 20% of the whole movement measure?

ive never heard this guideline before.

Do as you like, results are the same.

Call it Frank´s Rule :).
Seems likely as mentioned by jdm.

Frank

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