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Balance not rotating anymore


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Valjoux 23/72 ... hadn’t been worked on in a long time.  Tore it down, cleaned it, reassembled - everything worked ... until I realized I left out a screw.

Tore it back down, installed everything fully this time.  Balance wouldn’t rotate.  Gears seemed like they were seized.

Tore it back down, spent a LOT of time on each assembly step, ensuring everything spun freely.  Installed the palate fork - flicked back and forth as appropriate.  Installed balance as the last step.  No rotation.  Spins freely when “encouraged”, but it doesn’t continue.

I pulled it out.  Confirmed that the hairspring isn’t kinked.  Jewels look fine (no cracks or chips).  I don’t have the means to check if the balance staff is bent, but the balance seems level and when I encourage some rotation, I don’t see any wobble.

Any thoughts on what to check next?

Thanks!

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You did not tell what was that "extra" screw for.

I would do the following:

- release the mainspring

- remove balance bridge

- remove pallet fork

- rotate train wheels manually to confirm they move freely. If they don't - find out why. Once that is resolved or confirmed, next stem

- replace the pallet fork, wind the main spring just few rotations, push the pallet fork gently to see if mainspring energy is being transferred and wheels are moving

- just take a closer look at both pivots of the balance staff. Again, gently and without pulling too hard - check both pivot, top and bottom. You may have bent one while removing the balance bridge several times (i hope you did not).

- with the mainspring wound, replace the balance bridge. Often balance would self-adjust (impulse jewel / fork) and start moving. Gently replace the balance bridge screw.

Good luck!

 

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Since you have already done checked all listed above and if balance spins freely  without the fork, there remains guard pin and fork horn engagement with the roller table/impulse jewel.

 

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6 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Since you have already done checked all listed above and if balance spins freely  without the fork, there remains guard pin and fork horn engagement with the roller table/impulse jewel.

 

I don't believe he said that the balance spins freely "without the fork". Not sure how the balance was being "encouraged" to spin. Could be by blowing air, or slightly rotating the movement, or using tweezers to push the balance, but the pallet fork was installed.

It could be many things: train wheels were not installed correctly, damaged pivots, not enough end shake, some dirt, etc, etc, etc.

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Well Poljot has about covered everything as far as the preliminary checks go so follow that advice and remember to check the endshake of the balance.

With the balance installed without the fork  tip the watch dial down and dial up and observe the balance it should drop freely a tiny amount thats  the endshake and proves the balance its self is free, also check the rotation with the balance on its own.

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Thanks, all!

I had confirmed that everything spins freely prior to palate fork installation. But I hadn’t installed the balance without the fork. So I’ll do that to see what I see. 
 

I should note that when I “encourage” the balance to rotate (a gentle nudge with tweezers), I can see the palate fork move and the fourth wheel turn, too. It just doesn’t keep going (I know there’s mainspring power, too). 

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I made a habit of putting just balance cock assembly on mainplate( nothing else) to examine and make adjustments before the clean, namely to check how balance spins in several positions and level the coil, check its concentercity, make sure nothing rubs and pivot shoulder stand proud of jewels and the jewel housing,  next you want to add the fork on and check fork&roller table and guard pin, so would be the end shake most observable

When there is no other part on mainplate but balance cock assembly, you have most access to the balance complete nearly from all angles around it, better sight form each view and damaging gears in case driver slips. 

I strongly recommend practicing removal and re installation of cock&balance assemby on a cheap scrap till you master the task.

As for mainspring power, gently encourage the power, push to turn the barrel that is supply additional torque to it and observe. 

All the best.

joe

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9 hours ago, Negot8or said:

Thanks, all!

I had confirmed that everything spins freely prior to palate fork installation. But I hadn’t installed the balance without the fork. So I’ll do that to see what I see. 
 

I should note that when I “encourage” the balance to rotate (a gentle nudge with tweezers), I can see the palate fork move and the fourth wheel turn, too. It just doesn’t keep going (I know there’s mainspring power, too). 

There is absolutely no reason to install the balance without the pallet fork being fitted first unless you did some work on the balance (staff replacement, hairspring adjustment, pivot straightening / polishing, jewel replacement, etc).

A few questions for you:

- you did not by any chance lubricate Pallet Fork Pivots / Jewels? If you did, remove the Pallet Fork, clean it, remove any remaining oil from Top and Bottom Jewels, reinstall the Pallet Fork. That should resolve your "stopping" issue.

- also, do not forget to very-very-very lightly oil contact surfaces of both Pallets with light oil. Not even a drop - just a touch with red oil pin.

Good luck

Edited by Poljot
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On 11/27/2020 at 2:36 AM, Negot8or said:

 No rotation.  Spins freely when “encouraged”, but it doesn’t continue.

Chances are the hairspring is touching somewhere. Othe possibilities are insufficient end play, try loosening cock screw, or severely bent balance pivots, inspect visually.

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42 minutes ago, Poljot said:

- you did not by any chance lubricate Pallet Fork Pivots / Jewels? If you did, remove the Pallet Fork, clean it, remove any remaining oil from Top and Bottom Jewels, reinstall the Pallet Fork. That should resolve your "stopping" issue.

- also, do not forget to very-very-very lightly oil contact surfaces of both Pallets with light oil. Not even a drop - just a touch with red oil pin.

I did. Will do today. Thank you for the suggestions

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2 hours ago, Poljot said:

- you did not by any chance lubricate Pallet Fork Pivots / Jewels? If you did, remove the Pallet Fork, clean it, remove any remaining oil from Top and Bottom Jewels, reinstall the Pallet Fork. That should resolve your "stopping" issue.

- also, do not forget to very-very-very lightly oil contact surfaces of both Pallets with light oil. Not even a drop - just a touch with red oil pin.

Neither of these two items is enough to prevent a watch from running. Far from that actually.

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6 hours ago, Poljot said:

Not true.

There have been many discussions on this subject, help yourself with the search function for couple of loaded discussions and have a read. 

Strage as it might sound and it did to most of us when we heard it, Seiko used to oiled fork pivots to gain stability at the cost of loosing some amplitude, said master nickelsilver.

Oiling fork pivots does not stop a watch, but does eat some amplitude.

Jdm is very right, he usually is.

Regs 

joe.

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Well, I tried it anyways. No joy. 
 

All pivots seem to be unbroken. Nothing seems to be rubbing on anything. Spring isn’t bent. All gears turn freely with just a puff of air. 
 

I did find over-oiling on the bottom jewel of the balance. Cleaned it all off
 

I don’t like admitting defeat. But I think I’m headed to a professional on Monday. 😞

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25 minutes ago, Negot8or said:

Well, I tried it anyways. No joy. 
 

All pivots seem to be unbroken. Nothing seems to be rubbing on anything. Spring isn’t bent. All gears turn freely with just a puff of air. 
 

I did find over-oiling on the bottom jewel of the balance. Cleaned it all off
 

I don’t like admitting defeat. But I think I’m headed to a professional on Monday. 😞

After taking this movement apart several times you are that professional! 🙂

Did you clean both, lower & upper, pallet staff hole jewels? If yes, how did you clean them? 

Have you tried to "encourage" the balance in both dial Up & dial Down positions?

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On 11/29/2020 at 12:31 AM, Nucejoe said:

There have been many discussions on this subject, help yourself with the search function for couple of loaded discussions and have a read. 

Strage as it might sound and it did to most of us when we heard it, Seiko used to oiled fork pivots to gain stability at the cost of loosing some amplitude, said master nickelsilver.

Oiling fork pivots does not stop a watch, but does eat some amplitude.

Jdm is very right, he usually is.

Regs 

joe.

You think i never read about this subject? Well, i did. That's why i would not oil fork pivots on any watches smaller 13''', unless of course Seiko says so :-).

My comments are based on my experience and my own research. I did see Omega, Rolex, Tavannes, Waltham (0s) watches stopping just a few seconds, minutes or hours after being serviced.. Reasons? Oiled fork pivot jewels, over oiled fork pallets. Thank you for your comments and i will make sure not to get into an argument about to Oil or Not to Oil?

Edited by jdm
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1 hour ago, Poljot said:

After taking this movement apart several times you are that professional! 🙂

Did you clean both, lower & upper, pallet staff hole jewels? If yes, how did you clean them? 

Have you tried to "encourage" the balance in both dial Up & dial Down positions?

THAT is a dangerous assertion. 🙂 I’ve been in this hobby for all of 5 seconds. I can’t even name every part I touch yet. But I appreciate your confidence. 
 

Yes, I had cleaned the whole thing in a Watchmaster WT. It only stopped working after taking it apart the second time. So tonight, I removed the balance and palate fork and cleaned both with One Dip. I also took off the lower cap jewel (where I saw the excess oil from before) and dipped that, too. 
 

The missing screw was the setting lever screw. I don’t think anything is touching the hairspring.  I did “encourage” it in both positions. No luck. It beats 2-4 times and then stops. When doing so, I can see everything to the 4th wheel move (including the related driving wheel and the coupling clutch from the chronograph parts). 

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1 hour ago, Negot8or said:

So tonight, I removed the balance and palate fork and cleaned both with One Dip. I also took off the lower cap jewel (where I saw the excess oil from before) and dipped that, too. 

I don’t think anything is touching the hairspring.  I did “encourage” it in both positions. No luck. It beats 2-4 times and then stops. When doing so, I can see everything to the 4th wheel move (including the related driving wheel and the coupling clutch from the chronograph parts). 

Does your movement have shock protected balance cap jewels? And if it does, is there any chance you placed one or both cap jewels upside down?

Please verify it under microscope!

If this is not applicable (no shock protection), you can try this:

remove the balance bridge... again, place a tiny foil shim (do you like chocolate ?) and check if raising the balance bridge resolves the issue. When i say raise i mean microns, not mm.

Edited by Poljot
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What mode is the watch in?  

Chrono mode?   Set? 

An issue with the chrono mech can considerably reduce impulse force.

Even in set position issues in the minute train or canon pinion can bring the  watch to a hault. 

Gently encourage a wheel in gear train so as to supply additional torque to it, if oscilator keeps on running then, we can reasonably suspect poor power supply possibly hindered by chrono mech. 

Re check end shakes on escape, fork and staff arbours, a shim the previous watch destroyer had put under the cock gets washed away or falls of as you remove the cock, which reuslts in insufficient end shake on balance staff. 

Regs 

Joe

 

 

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14 hours ago, Poljot said:

.That's why i would not oil fork pivots on any watches smaller 13''', unless of course Seiko says so :-).

I did never said to oil pallet pivots. I said that oiling them is not enough to stop a movement, as the OP then confirmed.

Quote

What Jdm or anyone else does or says is not my business.

Please be more respectful when referring to other members on our friendly forum. 

Quote

My comments are based on my experience and my own research. I did see Omega, Rolex, Tavannes, Waltham (0s) watches stopping just a few seconds, minutes or hours after being serviced.. Reasons? Oiled fork pivot jewels, over oiled fork pallets. 

I suspect that in these these cases incorrect oiling was just a concurrent cause of stoppage but not the main one.

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21 hours ago, Poljot said:

Does your movement have shock protected balance cap jewels? And if it does, is there any chance you placed one or both cap jewels upside down?

Please verify it under microscope!

If this is not applicable (no shock protection), you can try this:

remove the balance bridge... again, place a tiny foil shim (do you like chocolate ?) and check if raising the balance bridge resolves the issue. When i say raise i mean microns, not mm.

No, the balance doesn't have shock protection (at least, in my unqualified eye, it doesn't appear so - see photos).

I don't believe the jewel in the bottom came out of the mounting plate.  I just unscrewed that one screw, took off the plate, cleaned the underside of the plate (and the top of the hole it revealed) and put it back.

I didn't mess with the top jewel at all.

BalanceBottom.jpeg

BalanceTop.jpeg

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1 minute ago, Negot8or said:

 

I didn't mess with the top jewel at all.

 

BalanceTop.jpeg

You did not remove Top balance cap jewel for cleaning and oiling? If that's so - this is the issue! Hole Jewel and Cap Jewel must be cleaned and oiled (top)

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8 minutes ago, Poljot said:

You did not remove Top balance cap jewel for cleaning and oiling? If that's so - this is the issue! Hole Jewel and Cap Jewel must be cleaned and oiled (top)

No.  I don't know how.

And that wouldn't explain why it would be working before and then not working after a second teardown.  🙂

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