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Help with balance jewels / springs for novice

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I've (99%) completed the WRL level 2 course. My ST36 movement went back together smoothly until I tried to refit the upper balance jewel. I've now learned a lot about tiny parts flying away, and also how difficult it is to find those parts, and finally that they are generally unavailable to buy separately if you do lose them.

I put that movement into a bag and set it aside and decided to move onto another watch - a Slava 2428 I found on ebay in poor working condition. Again everything went smoothly, rewarding success and progress and confidence with help from ratfacegit videos on youtube, until I came again to the balance jewel and springs. Luckily, after googling after previous flying parts issues for tips, I began draping a clear piece of plastic film over my work and this worked really well to keep flying parts from flying too far. I was able to do a satisfying job of oiling the jewel and placing the capstone on the lower bearing cup. When it came to replacing the tri-legged spring in the Russian movement I sank at least 2 hours into trying to fit it in place with no success and found it incredibly frustrating. I'm paused again at this step. I do feel like I'm growing skills with this tweezer work, but I find frustration is hurting my motivation.

I have a lighted optivisor with a 3.5x power lens, with an optional 2.5x power loop I can slide in front of one eye. This feels like a minimal, possibly not enough, level of magnification when it comes to the balance jewel work. I invested in nice screwdrivers, swiss tweezers - I just can't seem to coordinate these springs.

1. When you work on servicing balance jewels is there a level of magnification that works best? Should I invest in a higher magnification eyeloop (10X?) just for that work?

2. In collective experience, is servicing the balance jewels a universal challenge for new watchmakers? Nothing else has really derailed me.

3. I've considered trying to service a few more near-junk watches without servicing the balance jewel disassembled, but doing a caveman job of cleaning and oiling it. Do you guys run into situations where you've made this decision and had success? I've seen a couple of videos where the watchmaker chooses not to service a shock jewel because the springs are irreplaceable and known to break. I definitely don't want anyone to endorse bad craftsmanship but wondering about situations where you've made compromises.

Overall, very much enjoying learning. Mark's videos have been a great structured start.

 

IMG_5793.HEIC

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In cases of hard to replace jewels, I prefered this method over no clean option.

Remove balance complete, springs ..even regulating arm. Clean, even brush some parts.

Spread a large sheet of white material on the floor. On which I work on balance bridge.

Use bare hands and all it takes to instal the jewel assembly and springs back on, I do not worry about hand- parts contact at this stage.

Rinse. Oil through chaton hole, oil pivots as well.instal.

Meanwhile the balance complete is taking a bath in lighter fluid, shake the bottle very slowly.

You have cleaned all, the jewel, beneath the arms. Rinsed , got a chance to see a full view of hairspring coils, endcurve, etc.

I have no doubt you will find " not worrying about hand-parts contact, drastically eases working and improves your control over the task and enhances results.

 

 

 

 

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Certain types of shock setting are difficult for all to handle.  The typical incabloc is not difficult as long as you DO NOT unseat the shock spring.  Then things can get sticky.  Kiff shock spring are a PITA unless you have the Kiff seating tool.  Your description sounds like a Kiff or some variant thereof.


Good luck and don't give up.  We all have our days.


RMD

Edited by rduckwor

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