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Doreen

Helvetia Pilot watch caliber 51-10

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Hello from Ohio, this is Doreen 

I recently cleaned and oil an old Helvetia Pilot watch caliber 51-10 (from1940’s) that was used by German pilots in ww2.

The problem is that the watch is running way to fast gaining about 3-4 minutes in a few hours.

I tried demagnetized it with no success, is still running fast. I checked the main spring to see if for some reason it is the wrong one(to strong)

It turns out the mainspring was way to strong for this caliber. After I replace the mainspring with the right one by specifications it is still gaining time but not that much anymore. I will say it is gaining (and this with the time regulator set all the way to minus) 2 -3 minutes on 24 hours. So I can’t adjust (regulate)the time anymore since the regulator is all the way to minus. I did checked the hairspring and everything looks good to my knowledge.

This is not quite normal so I put the watch on the timegrapher; shows the watch is running way to fast and I really don’t know we’re I should look for problems anymore! It has a pretty decent amplitude and beat error but the rate is not good. It is true I don’t know the exact lift angle for this caliber so I set the timegrapher to 52 degrees as lift angle.

I forgot to mention I’m not a professional watch maker; I’m do this as a hobby at home trying to learn as much as I can by reading books and asking questions.

Also I m looking for a stem for this caliber. I believe the part number is Ronda 2309 and for a set bridge part number may be 445/GEN50-10 or it my be under General 51 series 2819 for this caliber. If anyone have a spare please let me know.

Any suggestions will be very much appreciated.

 

5CB33805-3D9D-4A30-8BE4-AB1C8D28CF6F.jpeg

DB718964-7742-4DAB-B9EA-FDB6F275C137.jpeg

0E8C9D50-44DC-4F2A-8428-C109F83B7747.jpeg

1ACD0730-4170-4CC0-9EB8-79E6216B3407.jpeg

C585DF41-E10C-4509-B3F9-C68FFAA774B0.jpeg

Edited by Doreen
Typo

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Have you checked WatchGuy.co.uk for lift angles? 

I take a reading at low wind, just two or three turns of the crown. You wouldn't get strong force delivered to the escape at low wind. 

Is there any chance, wrong HS is on the balance wheel?

I hate to talk of pallets, it is sure to ruin everyones Christmas.:lol:

Best  wishes.

 

 

 

 

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Hi Doreen  Find attached a comprehensive list of watch lift angles for future use, The Helvetia is not on the list un-fortunatly .   The problem  with the rate is usually down to one or two things, the mainspring which you have changed or the balance and its components. With a watch of that vintage it will have been repaired a few times in its life so therefore is a bit of a lottery as regards parts fitted in the past. things to check are is the balance spring clean and free in its action and not sticking due to oil or magnetism, and is it the correct one..  is the balance its self the correct one i.e correct weight and size.  The beat error looks ok but I should also re check the beat. and the pallet action  just to be sure.

lift angles= caveman.png

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Thank you for your lift angle list and advices. I do have several lift angle lists with hounds of movements; unfortunately none of them mentioning  Helvetia or General Watch.

 

Edited by Doreen

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The issue you have is NOT a lift angle issue. If you have not changed the mainspring or H/spring this it will be a sticky H/Spring with (usually) the outer coils sticking together. Give the balance a h/Spring a good soak in a de-greaser, blow dry, re-lube the cap jewels, reassemble and test again. 

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The hairspring along with all movement was cleaned and lubricated properly. Nothing in the movement is sticky anymore. 
I will have to check again the condition of the hairspring along with the balance and fork pallets. Perhaps is something that I’m missing there.

Edited by Doreen

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I strongly believe I did found what the problem is. I believe the hairspring is to short I asume the previous person who work on this movement broke the hairspring or it got broke a few times before. The hairspring got so short that it doesn’t have the proper length anymore and of course it doesn’t work properly. 
Im wondering what will be the right specifications for this hairspring and where I can find one?4FFBB85E-D876-4466-9BA4-9FE414E10771.jpeg.22c1d70260ab09e025a1431af52a7c1e.jpeg

BCD15EF1-0143-4B0E-A72D-529C8AC23FFF.jpeg

F4D93249-0535-44BF-982F-41D081BABEBF.jpeg

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I wouldn't like to comment on your theory reagrding the length of the H/S, but what I can tell you is that the H/S is twisted where it enters the stud such that when the stud is mounted in the cock, the H/S will no longer be sitting flat and parallel with the balance wheel, but will in fact be canted steeply such that the outher coil opposite the stud could well be rubbing against the underside of the cock.

This will shorten the effective free length of the H/S resulting in too fast a rate.

As the point of contact between H/S and cock is after the regulator it also effectively isolates the regulator, making it ineffective.

You need to sort out the twist at the stud before you try anything else.

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You are quite right. I just rectified that twisting (hairspring entering in the stud) and the hairspring is actually laying down very flat and parallel. I don’t think it is any rubbing between the hairspring and the cock but I will check again about the rubbing. If that is the case I will certainly try to fix it before anything else.

I will keep you informed.

 

 Thank you for your advice 

Edited by Doreen

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19 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Should have included a pic. Screws will always have opposing screws.

helvetia balance.jpeg

YOU are totally right...I actually have lost another one. So now  I have two screws missing. I never noticed the missing screw. I was paying to much attention to the hairspring and not noticing the missing weights. Thank you for pointing that to my attention.

i will go ahead and look for some screws on my scraps movements.

Any suggestions how to add some extra weight if I’m not going to find any screws that will fit properly in the holes?

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22 minutes ago, Doreen said:

YOU are totally right...I actually have lost another one. So now  I have two screws missing. I never noticed the missing screw. I was paying to much attention to the hairspring and not noticing the missing weights. Thank you for pointing that to my attention.

i will go ahead and look for some screws on my scraps movements.

Any suggestions how to add some extra weight if I’m not going to find any screws that will fit properly in the holes?

It's highly likely you will find a screw that fits if you have a similar balance to take from. You will want to find screws that are approximately the same size, then you will want to get a basic timing check to see where you stand. Check it with the movement flat, if you are running very fast or slow you will want to add weight with timing washers or remove weight by cutting the screws; here you will want a poising tool to see which screw to add/remove from as you will most certainly be out of poise after replacing screws.

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Some good may come out of missing another screw. Arrange screws so the two missing are symetricaly on opposite side. This would minimize the imbalance, it would run right face up or down, not so right pendent up or down. 

I may have some screws for this caliber, will dig in my bag of tricks.

Edited by Nucejoe
Already out of poise anyway.

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I would like to thanks again to all of you who posted here and help me out with my learning process. 
I was able to find one of the missing screws but I still have one missing. I put back the one screws and the reading on the timegrapher was already improving dramatically. The watch was running ok with the face up but on the side (because the other missing wait screw) the balance was out of poise. I was unable to find the same screws on my movements scraps that will fit properly. I do not have any washers weights to add, at least to compensate the other screw weigh . So, for now I added a small piece of rodico putty to balance where the missing screw is. I put the watch again on the timegrapher....impressive improvement readings. The readings are not perfect of course and the watch is out of poise but at least I’m going with this process ahead and not backwards. I mast find the rights screw for this caliber. I’m pretty happy..., I’ve been working very hard with this watch; many assiduous hours going back and forth with this balance and hairspring. At least, I found thanks to all of your help and suggestions,  what  the problem was on this case.

I have this watch from my wife, as a present and I really like to be able to make it run properly. 

Here are some images after I added the missing screw and rodico on the balance. Face up, face down and on the side.

1859E07C-B857-4E38-90E3-13EEB34AF56A.jpeg

EEF9CCEC-9826-4BB1-9D27-CF0DB6B7BA07.jpeg

B858007D-6AF1-4359-AAEC-0A9E014CB01C.jpeg

Edited by Doreen

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8 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Some good may come out of missing another screw. Arrange screws so the two missing are symetricaly on opposite side. This would minimize the imbalance, it would run right face up or down, not so right pendent up or down. 

I may have some screws for this caliber, will dig in my bag of tricks.

If you are able to find the right screws and you have some to spare please let me know. Thank you 

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3 minutes ago, Doreen said:

If you are able to find the right screws and you have some to spare please let me know. Thank you 

I got lots of un-inventorized used parts( watchmakers estates) remember seeing some helvetia amongst them, please give time.  Can't open julesborel.com to see if it gives info on interchanagability between calibers.

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28 minutes ago, Doreen said:

I would like to thanks again to all of you who posted here and help me out with my learning process. 
I was able to find one of the missing screws but I still have one missing. I put back the one screws and the reading on the timegrapher was already improving dramatically. The watch was running ok with the face up but on the side (because the other missing wait screw) the balance was out of poise. I was unable to find the same screws on my movements scraps that will fit properly. I do not have any washers weights to add, at least to compensate the other screw weigh . So, for now I added a small piece of rodico putty to balance where the missing screw is. I put the watch again on the timegrapher....impressive improvement readings. The readings are not perfect of course and the watch is out of poise but at least I’m going with this process ahead and not backwards. I mast find the rights screw for this caliber. I’m pretty happy..., I’ve been working very hard with this watch; many assiduous hours going back and forth with this balance and hairspring. At least, I found thanks to all of your help and suggestions,  what  the problem was on this case.

I have this watch from my wife, as a present and I really like to be able to make it run properly. 

Here are some images after I added the missing screw and rodico on the balance. Face up, face down and on the side.

1859E07C-B857-4E38-90E3-13EEB34AF56A.jpeg

EEF9CCEC-9826-4BB1-9D27-CF0DB6B7BA07.jpeg

B858007D-6AF1-4359-AAEC-0A9E014CB01C.jpeg

So give screw thread OD.

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Hello Doreen,

I have exactly the same Helvetia watch which had the same problem being way too fast. I cheated a bit and sent it off to Andy Lefley at Time World Services for a service. It was serviced and the hands relumed to a very reasonable cost. Andy might be helpful with parts for you. He seemed to be quite familiar with the movement.

I have also seen a few scrap watches (not flieger style) with this movement on ebay.

I thought this might help you. Good luck with the repair. I is a brilliant looking watch :)

Cheers, Roland 

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13 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Some good may come out of missing another screw. Arrange screws so the two missing are symetricaly on opposite side. This would minimize the imbalance, it would run right face up or down, not so right pendent up or down. 

I may have some screws for this caliber, will dig in my bag of tricks.

 

4 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Be nice to know the screw thread OD.

To poise, I always end up filing the screw heads. 

Whit what are you filling the screws hands with?

i will measure the tread screws and let you know.

I’m also looking for a set bridge I believe the part number is 445/GEN50-10 or it my be under General 51 series 2819 for this caliber. 

Please see the attached images for your reference.

Just in case if you manage to find an old movement...

Thank you very much 

8D6C4DA7-E2DA-4335-A77E-050300D93663.jpeg

38A171C8-3D3D-41CE-93F2-B496DCCE6DBA.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Kvisten said:

Hello Doreen,

I have exactly the same Helvetia watch which had the same problem being way too fast. I cheated a bit and sent it off to Andy Lefley at Time World Services for a service. It was serviced and the hands relumed to a very reasonable cost. Andy might be helpful with parts for you. He seemed to be quite familiar with the movement.

I have also seen a few scrap watches (not flieger style) with this movement on ebay.

I thought this might help you. Good luck with the repair. I is a brilliant looking watch :)

Cheers, Roland 

Thank you Roland for your advice.

Do you have the website address from the place where you send your watch for repair?

What calibers numbers are those eBay scraps movements that you found on eBay?

As you probably know to be able to fit the parts with this 51-10 caliber it has to come from a 51 calibers(51-9, 51S, 51-10) ....if they are coming from a different caliber numbers they will not fit the 51 calibers. All I could found  on eBay are the 32A calibers(pocket watches) .....they all have a different caliber which is 32A. Those parts are not compatible with 51 series. Have you found any 51calibers on eBay?

many thanks

 

Edited by Doreen

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