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Cleaning an 1800s Waltham


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Another good one JD. Low amplitude seems to be an issue with some vintage pocket watches. Recently I had the same issue but a lot worse than the Waltham. On an English lever pocket watch I changed the balance staff & hairspring and it was spotlessly clean but still gave a low amp certainly no more than 180°.  Wondering if these vintage watches were never designed to gave a high amp.

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I recently had a 1920's Waltham 8 day car clock that I couldn't squeeze any more than 220 amplitude out of after fully servicing and replacing both mainsprings, which incidentally was like trying to find unicorn poo. Timesavers had a set thankfully.

Nice job JD,,, always a pleasure watching you work!

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Another good one JD. Low amplitude seems to be an issue with some vintage pocket watches. Recently I had the same issue but a lot worse than the Waltham. On an English lever pocket watch I changed the balance staff & hairspring and it was spotlessly clean but still gave a low amp certainly no more than 180°.  Wondering if these vintage watches were never designed to gave a high amp.

You perhaps are correct. If the hairspring was not stiff back in the day, there would be more resistance to turning or coiling and uncoiling. I just hate to see poor amplitude.


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I recently had a 1920's Waltham 8 day car clock that I couldn't squeeze any more than 220 amplitude out of after fully servicing and replacing both mainsprings, which incidentally was like trying to find unicorn poo. Timesavers had a set thankfully.
Nice job JD,,, always a pleasure watching you work!

Perhaps that pallet fork arrangement can’t put enough force on the impulse Jewel to get a high amplitude. I do however have a RR grade Elgin that is full plate and has excellent amplitude. My wife is still looking for Unicorn Poop.


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On 4/18/2020 at 5:06 AM, clockboy said:

Another good one JD. Low amplitude seems to be an issue with some vintage pocket watches. Recently I had the same issue but a lot worse than the Waltham. On an English lever pocket watch I changed the balance staff & hairspring and it was spotlessly clean but still gave a low amp certainly no more than 180°.  Wondering if these vintage watches were never designed to gave a high amp.

One thing to remember for amplitude you have to get the lift angle correct. American pocket watches are seldom 52°.

On 4/18/2020 at 5:06 AM, clockboy said:

English lever pocket watch

As the English lever escape wheel teeth are different shape I don't know if that would change the signal  timing which would definitely cause the timing machine to have an issue. At least for amplitude rate should be fine.

Then on pocket watches very important to do your escapement checks. Make sure your banking pins are where there supposed to be unfortunately American pocket watches with the movable banking pins they've probably been moved not always for the best. Then occasionally the pallet stones are quite not where there supposed to be either. It's amazing how poorly the watch to run if the escapement isn't correct.

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Another good one JD. Low amplitude seems to be an issue with some vintage pocket watches. Recently I had the same issue but a lot worse than the Waltham. On an English lever pocket watch I changed the balance staff & hairspring and it was spotlessly clean but still gave a low amp certainly no more than 180°.  Wondering if these vintage watches were never designed to gave a high amp.

Thank a lot. I just need to see the high amplitude to be satisfied.


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As the English lever escape wheel teeth are different shape I don't know if that would change the signal  timing which would definitely cause the timing machine to have an issue. At least for amplitude rate should be fine.
Then on pocket watches very important to do your escapement checks. Make sure your banking pins are where there supposed to be unfortunately American pocket watches with the movable banking pins they've probably been moved not always for the best. Then occasionally the pallet stones are quite not where there supposed to be either. It's amazing how poorly the watch to run if the escapement isn't correct.

Great advice, thanks. I did not check the banking.


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