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On 4/11/2020 at 7:36 PM, Watcher said:

And webshop Horotec now that the Swiss closed market has been opened. Worldwide shipping after the virus alarm is over. Better prices than Cousins for their own material. Certainly for non-UK members where the shipping is a factor.

https://webshop.horotec.ch/en/home

Hi Watcher,

are you a professional, or did you manage to get a Horotec account as a hobbyist? I just tried to register, but got a rejection mail from Horotec saying they only work with distributors in countries outside Switzerland. They kindly sent me a list, and  for Germany that means Flume, Engelkemper or Boley, who all deal exclusively with businesses.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If I'm looking for watches to restore for fun, one thing that would get very un-fun in a hurry is if I need a part that is practically unobtainable. Are there any suggestions, rules, generalities out there for how to avoid watches that would have me falling into a prolonged parts hunt, or otherwise ensure parts are especially easy to come by?

Edited by spectre6000
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I look at it as variants in a family Lot, buy several piece of the same caliber or variants to it, be it complete movements and/ scraps. You would then have a full list of spare parts sort of become your own parts supplier and have some extra to share. You save on numerous shipping charges, no waiting for spare parts to arrive and when you forget where a part goes, you can look on another exact caliber. Above all if you suspect a part faulty you can replace with another one, sort of pracrical elimination. You sort of specialize on the caliber and wouldn,t be limited to just what is abundant on ebay. You can put tovether a movement out of the besr of the bunch to build your own watch. Advantages are simply too many to list. Good luck.

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OK... So, this seems like yet another automotive hobby parallel. Specializing in a particular make/model brings the ability to build a parts stash... 

Are there any makes or movements that lend themselves especially well to this strategy? Plentiful, and with a lot of variety. The small block Chevy/VW Type 1(/Mercedes V8 at the upper end) that sort that found its way into just about everything everywhere? ETA movements obviously jump sharply into focus, but that's mostly in a fairly recent paradigm, and there's the unknown of parts availability.

I feel like my sweet spot up front will be the 50s/60s or thereabouts at the moment, but that's likely to change. I know I want a really cool pocket watch at some point too...

Edited by spectre6000
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Industrialisation brought interchangeability of parts, but I’m guessing that you are probably more interested in watches from a later period, anyway.

People will have their own favourites in terms of being a workhorse, but most of mine would date from the 40’s/50’s. Examples are the Omega 30T2 and later variants (the 200 series), the Longines 12.68, JLC 450 and later variants and also the IWC Cal 83 and 89. 
 

Since you are over the pond, you’ll have ample supply of American movements like Waltham and Elgin which are superb. Superbly made, as good as the Swiss, and in some areas better. 

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1880's to 1910's Elgin 18,16 or 12 size pocket watches! They're tough, reliable, simple and as common as Chevy's. Each model series parts are interchangeable. A few parts are somewhat more ubiquitous to size groups such as mainsprings, hands, dials and cases. In my opinion, Elgin pocket watches are the Chevy, Small Block V8's of the watch world. 

Edited by FLwatchguy73
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20 minutes ago, rodabod said:

Industrialisation brought interchangeability of parts, but I’m guessing that you are probably more interested in watches from a later period, anyway.

I'm interested in nearly all things mechanical. Over coffee this morning, I was pouring over all the fusée watches on Swiss/German eBay. What's the roundabout decade(s) to avoid before if one is only minimally tooled, aka fully reliant on parts interchangeability or availability?

24 minutes ago, rodabod said:

People will have their own favourites in terms of being a workhorse, but most of mine would date from the 40’s/50’s. Examples are the Omega 30T2 and later variants (the 200 series), the Longines 12.68, JLC 450 and later variants and also the IWC Cal 83 and 89. 

This. What can you tell me about these movements and the watches they're found in? Are new/new old stock parts readily available, or would I be solely reliant on donors?

5 minutes ago, FLwatchguy73 said:

1880's to 1910's Elgin 18,16 or 12 size pocket watches! They tough, reliable, simple and as common as Chevy's. Each model series parts are interchangeable. A few parts are somewhat more ubiquitous to size groups such as mainsprings, hands, dials and cases. In my opinion, Elgin pocket watches are the Chevy, Small Block V8's of the watch world. 

Do you mean the parts are interchangeable across series, or within? Same question as above: what about new/new old stock for these movements/donors only?

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1 minute ago, spectre6000 said:

Do you mean the parts are interchangeable across series, or within? Same question as above: what about new/new old stock for these movements/donors only?

Within a series. With the exception of a few parts across the size range in the specific parts list I mentioned previously. The exception to this rule would be high jewel count movements vs low jewel count movements within a series. Jeweled pivots are typically a different size than un-jeweld pivots. It's a lot to learn honestly, It's not something that's easy to just jump into blindly. If you stick with one series within a size group, you should be fine. Really, I think that's the case with any watch brand/ model series.

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I don't think your question really has necessarily a good answer. So one solution would be always purchase a minimum of two identical watches preferably three. Then you can cannibalize from the other watch. But if they're expensive watches is going to be expensive.

Perhaps a more important question is is how hard is it to learn how to find parts? Or where would you find parts if you needed them?

The other thing of course is do your homework. If you're looking at a particular watch Google it see if other people are having problems with its sea of certain parts are an issue is everyone complaining they can't get this then avoid that watch. But there's also eBay subparts that might be considered unobtainable for the last a very long time subtly will show up on eBay is new old stock. So maybe a watch that was deemed unfixable at one time may be fixable now because parts become available.

 

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It's definitely a unique domain... When I would buy a new and unfamiliar car, I would typically find the most active/hospitable forum (doesn't seem applicable by make/model, but this appears to be a really good one) and the most comprehensive parts house. I then went through a list of parts commonly needed to get an engine running well, brakes, and whatever other subsystem seemed pertinent. It seems like there is likely a parallel, but maybe I'm looking at things from too abstract a perspective. 

So, in that light, what parts are on the "make sure it's available" list? There seems to be a faction within watchmaking that says a new mainspring is a must every time, and there's a faction that clearly doesn't consider it necessary. I've seen how one specs and sources a mainspring (though not where from yet), so while I'm on the "not always necessary" side of the line, I feel like I can probably make that happen. I feel like I'm not likely to be looking for plates or bridges (chassis equivalent). Cases are interchangeable (like body parts) to a degree and if you know what you're doing. Balances do the most movement, and seem generally somewhat exposed, but I also feel like a totally roached balance puts a movement directly in the "art" bin for parts; this could go either way... Jewels seems pretty interchangeable and reasonably universal. Wheels don't seem very exposed, but I think needing a new wheel means a donor movement (without significant tooling). 

If I'm evaluating a watch for acquisition, and don't want an expensive piece of drawer art, what parts should I try to make sure I can source? I've seen a few of the major US horology supply places (Esslinger, OFrei, and a few others), but from what I gather, a lot of the parts are in private stashes and gradually finding their way to eBay (as hinted at above). Is eBay generally considered the source?

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On older  watches parts can be had,but in some  cases the prices exceed  the value of the watch. So unless it is a particularly  valuable  watch it might not make sense.  However  since you are doing this for your own enjoyment  stick to low cost watches with good parts availability. Vostok  amphibia  is a good example  cases are bomb proof  and movements  and many parts are still available  for modest  cost  from the factory. 

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On 4/29/2020 at 8:21 AM, spectre6000 said:

OK... So, this seems like yet another automotive hobby parallel. Specializing in a particular make/model brings the ability to build a parts stash...

We can try but I'm not entirely sure we can relate watches to automobiles there's too many strange things. But okay the watch case and dial is the body of the car the engine is the watch movement. That's pretty simple. Like in the automotive world there are OEM components or components made by other manufacturers common possibly to all the automobiles. Like tires that would be a automobile example. Casing components a lot of those are generic you can buy anybody's. The problem becomes if there's something unique for like the case. So conceivably have a wonderful movement lots of components but for the particular case you're screwed. But one of the nice things now is with eBay even sometimes weird and unique things will show up sooner or later.

Then there's a skill set that would be really helpful to learn which is what exactly are you looking for? Specifically here related to movement components. You purchase a brand-name watch because it seems popular but maybe they don't sell components? Then you're screwed or are you? What if you buy a watch that you can't identify? Watches are interesting in that often times there made by one company and sold by another. Or certain movements have been sold by lots of companies.

Oh other little minor problems? Look at how long automobiles have been in existence versus watches? Start looking at some of the early watches they were made how long ago? So if we restrict ourselves to relatively modern wristwatches I give you some reading material the study.

At the first website below you'll find lots of technical sheets but for right now scroll down to the word BestFit Click on that. Then he'll allow you to download two separate PDFs which you want to have. You should build a breeze through the pages in a few minutes if you are Superman. There is a lot of good information in their. By wide is the book exist? The company BestFit Supplies spare parts. It's an interesting company I know someone in the material house business who visited the factory once in Switzerland. In the morning they were packaging up Omega parts for Omega with their part number. In the afternoon there are casing up the same parts in their packages. Or even a Rolex parts at one time they had real Rolex sports I'm sure they're all gone. Or some components they manufacture them then there's a certain degree of caution at Tok's. Like their balance staffs are American pocket watches are typically oversized so you can reduce them to fit.

So it's basically a really nifty cross reference book. It even has the fingerprint system the setting parts of watches used to be unique. You can have some movement that you can't identify you can look at the setting parts if you're lucky you'll figure out what it really is. Oh and they also have an online presence but you'll have to pay for that. Unfortunately zero pictures there and you have to know how to do things like the three letter abbreviation for the watch companies has to be right. So a stuff like this you can perhaps figure out all the watches that used your particular movement and where you can get other components from. A

The second link is another example of this.You go through Finder particular movement you give you a list of components you can click on the components and see what other watch they might go in. Then just because they say it's available may or may not be true. Especially with eBay now stuff that was long discontinued may suddenly be available and stuffed it they claims available may not have to go back to the main site and then figure out how to enter the number in the see of it actually is available but still great reference cross reference tools.

https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/files

http://cgi.julesborel.com/

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Having looked on Cousins for a replacement center pipe #2800-161 for ETA 2824, seems this part is restricted by Swatch Group.

Restricted to who? Is it possible to purchase this part elsewhere in The Uk?

Or indeed how to go about purchasing these restricted parts in The Uk.

Many thanks in advance, Cha.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all,

I'm pretty new to watch repair and have repaired/serviced a few of my own movements.

My question for discussion is how difficult is the current supply of parts likely to get? Those who have been in the field for years will have a strong view.

I have made a significant investment in tools and time thus far and find it worrying that I have to scratch around when I need parts...

Cheers,

M

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Unless you are a CW21 you will have no luck getting modern parts, and even vintage replacement parts are getting stupid expensive.

You have to scratch around, or buy watchmaker lots, which usually are lots because most of the parts are not popular/high demand ones. But they almost always have useful parts... you have to weigh the cost against what you think you’ll get out of the lot. 

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Hi  and welcome to the forum.  The way the insustry is heading  aka The Swatch restrictive practice model where unless you sell their products and are registered with them  its a no deal.  and all repairs are fielded back through an agent to the factory repair section, and the related costs that ensue. The cost of the repair and factory fitted parts, the agents handling fee, Vat/state tax it all adds up but it starves out the independent watch repairer.  When I started as a hobbyist years ago there were suppliers / Material houses where just about any part could be bought or ordered. There seems to be the likes of Cousins uk  Jules Borel, Esslingers, Timesavers, in the USA  and Perrins in Canada who can supply bits but the majority use auction sites like ebay etc as a source of parts and donor movements.   

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10 hours ago, MLW said:

My question for discussion is how difficult is the current supply of parts likely to get?

too many variables to properly answer your question like what type of watches would you like to repair?

unless you want multiple paragraphs were explain simplistically obtaining spare parts for watches are always going to be an issue. Then  with time this is getting worse sort of. Sort of aspect is we have the Internet and eBay. So while other sources are disappearing new sources are appearing but overall depending upon what you want to repair is going to get harder to get spare parts.

9 hours ago, Tudor said:

Unless you are a CW21 you will have no luck getting modern parts

I think you'll find that these CW21 isn't the magical key to spare parts. When awci came up with this nifty new certificate it was promised as the key to everything it would show the Swiss that we were decent watchmakers and we desire their spare parts. personally I tend to think it was an attempt at destroying of the professional watch industry but then I might be opinionated on the subject.

 

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