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Tightening a loose minute hand?


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I have been working on my 1952 Omega Seamaster bumper 344. I like the look of the hands that came with it, but the minute hand seems to have been removed/replaced many times and it slips a little bit when jostled. It only moves a few minutes distance and does not fall off or spin around but obviously something needs to be done.

I would appreciate some techniques for fixing this problem. I know I can get other hands but as far as I know, and that is not terribly far, these are original and I'd like to keep them. 

I also am interested in the correct techniques because that is why I am here in the first place. Thanks in advance.

 

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Are you sure its the hand?  If so loose to slips the hand should fall off.

I would check the minute wheel and canon pinion.

 

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The great Archie Perkins, in his restoration books and his staking set book, recommended using a domed staking set punch. You'd place the minute hand on the staking set plate and lightly tap the hole using a domed punch. The peening will slightly reduce the diameter of the hole by compressing the edge inward.

To avoid tooling marks, you can place the hand on plastic and peen the underside of hole.

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Dear all,

i would like to join in in Chris' question. For a lose hand there is always the quick and dirty solution of squeezing the hand's tube in a pin vice. But what is the proper way to tighten a lose fit? 

All the best from Hamburg

Alex

 

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I saw what Nucejoe wrote, and I think you should check that first.  With the crystal still on, hold the watch face down, dial aimed at the ground, and see if you can gently shake the minute hand off.  If it comes off then it's almost certainly the hole.  If not, then I would take a long hard look at the canon pinion and the minute wheel.  Either way, a domed stake is ideal, but a pin vise should work if you're very careful - if it turns out to be the hand.

Edited by KarlvonKoln
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19 minutes ago, KarlvonKoln said:

If not, then I would take a long hard look at the canon pinion and the minute wheel.

Meaning you suspect that the diameter of the cannon pinion might have been reduced somehow for some reason, or is the wrong cannon pinion? I completely fail to see how the minute wheel could have any bearing on this as it in no way is connected to the minute hand (unless this calibre is somehow special in this respect), but I sure like to know and I'm all ears!

3 hours ago, PastorChris said:

the minute hand seems to have been removed/replaced many times and it slips a little bit when jostled

To me that sounds like a plausible explanation and so I suspect the hole to be too large.

Edited by VWatchie
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You know, @VWatchie, you got a point and it woke me up.  We're talking minute hand - not hour hand.  So it's not the canon pinion.

That hand probably needs a tighter hole.  Why it didn't come all the way off, I have no clue.

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1 hour ago, KarlvonKoln said:

You know, @VWatchie, you got a point and it woke me up.  We're talking minute hand - not hour hand.  So it's not the canon pinion.

That hand probably needs a tighter hole.  Why it didn't come all the way off, I have no clue.

The minute hand does attach to the cannon pinion and the hour hand to the hour wheel that goes over the cannon pinion. The domed stake advice is the right technique: I have done this a few times.

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10 hours ago, PastorChris said:

Thanks for the discussion and solution. I’ll report back as things develop. 

@Nucejoe mentioned the cannon pinion and it didn't strike me at first, but if the crown feels very loose when you set the time, it could be that the cannon pinion needs to be tightened. Anyway, my impression reading your post is that it's only the minute hand sliding on the cannon pinion. If you jostle the minute hand and it doesn't make the cannon pinion rotate but just the minute hand then surely it is time for the doomed stake.

BTW (and silly question perhaps), should the doomed stake be placed on the hole on the underside or on the top side of the hand? I would assume the underside. Thanks!

 

Edited by VWatchie
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I think, between a dyslexic mind and being dead tired at the time and second guessing my terminology, I have been confusing the minute wheel with the canon pinion again.  Either way, my concern was that if the minute hand was *not* what was loose, then there may be a need to look for worn or broken teeth.  In the past I have needed to replace wheels where the owner used force when a part in the movement had jammed and, being that $h!t rolls downhill, the force found a weak tooth or pivot or other, and took it out.  Having seen such in the keyless works of a watch before, I was hoping this was not the case here.

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57 minutes ago, VWatchie said:

@Nucejoe mentioned the cannon pinion and it didn't strike me at first, but if the crown feels very loose when you set the time, it could be that the cannon pinion needs to be tightened. Anyway, my impression reading your post is that it's only the minute hand sliding on the cannon pinion. If you jostle the minute hand and it doesn't make the cannon pinion rotate but just the minute hand then surely it is time for the doomed stake.

BTW (and silly question perhaps), should the doomed stake be placed on the hole on the underside or on the top side of the hand? I would assume the underside. Thanks!

 

I usually put a piece of paper on anvil, place the watch hand on top of the paper and atttack the from the underside with LIGHT TAPS , that paper somewhat protects the hand from getting scratched. The art of it is so it wouldn't be noticable once installed. 

Hands of pastors watch, tells watch destroyer have been at it long ago, polishing hands is one painful job, there was a video showing such polishing.

Regs

Joe

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Just to echo some other responses, it is wise to place the hand on plastic or paper to avoid scuffing it on the staking set.

I prefer to peen the bottom of the hole. The bottom part of a hand is the first part to contact its respective wheel or pinion, so it is the side that needs to be tightest. If you peen the top of the hole, it might not "grip" until the hand is a bit too low on the pinion. It also makes for cleaner work in terms of tooling marks.

As for the earlier questions about hands with tubes, like hour and seconds hands, Archie Perkins recommended using a staking set. You can use the "taper mouth closing stakes," which are used for diameter reduction (mostly closing tubes and tightening collets). Just lightly tap the tube with a few "tap and test" cycles.

A pin vise is fine, but depending on the type, many pin vises won't provide consistent pressure around the full tube, which can lead to bowing, dimpling, or crushing. A taper-mouth punch provides consistent pressure around the circumference of the tube, with little risk of deforming it.

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1 hour ago, Nucejoe said:

I usually put a piece of paper on anvil, place the watch hand on top of the paper and atttack the from the underside with LIGHT TAPS , that paper somewhat protects the hand from getting scratched. The art of it is so it wouldn't be noticable once installed. 

Hands of pastors watch, tells watch destroyer have been at it long ago, polishing hands is one painful job, there was a video showing such polishing.

Regs

Joe

Yes, this was a bit of a "frankenwatch" ebay purchase. Fairly knarled hands for sure. I didn't pay much for it and as I learned more, and then eventually opened it up, I learned why. Does that sound like a familiar experience to anyone?

The setting lever spring was broken and not inside the watch, so it was re-built that way at some point. There was no movement/case clamp and that created a stress on the winning stem which broke. The wrong crystal was installed which I discovered when cleaning it from the inside and it popped out with almost no pressure. 

It did work well and keep acceptable time for a number of years before I opened it though. So I had a nice-fish watch for a few years and now I have a project that I am enjoying and is the source of lots of learning. All is well.

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4 minutes ago, WellAdjusted said:

Just to echo some other responses, it is wise to place the hand on plastic or paper to avoid scuffing it on the staking set.

I prefer to peen the bottom of the hole. The bottom part of a hand is the first part to contact its respective wheel or pinion, so it is the side that needs to be tightest. If you peen the top of the hole, it might not "grip" until the hand is a bit too low on the pinion. It also makes for cleaner work in terms of tooling marks.

As for the earlier questions about hands with tubes, like hour and seconds hands, Archie Perkins recommended using a staking set. You can use the "taper mouth closing stakes," which are used for diameter reduction (mostly closing tubes and tightening collets). Just lightly tap the tube with a few "tap and test" cycles.

A pin vise is fine, but depending on the type, many pin vises won't provide consistent pressure around the full tube, which can lead to bowing, dimpling, or crushing. A taper-mouth punch provides consistent pressure around the circumference of the tube, with little risk of deforming it.

Good advice and I have heard reference to the "tube" several times and it is all coming together in my mind. This minute had is fairly flat; it certainly doesn't have a tube in the way I have seen them on some seconds hands. It also does not have much of a "flange" or very short tube in the way the hour hand does. 

I am going to play with it a bit and also some replacement hands just arrived. I have not had a change to compare them directly with the hands on the watch yet, but I might just end up using those and use the old one to learn on.

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 I,d be tempted to clean this dial, I think a( rubber) pencil eraiser the would work, go easy over the writtings, you are sure to get a cleaner dial.

These are now collectable, specially the subsecond ones.

 

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5 minutes ago, Nucejoe said:

 I,d be tempted to clean this dial, I think a( rubber) pencil eraiser the would work, go easy over the writtings, you are sure to get a cleaner dial.

These are now collectable, specially the subsecond ones.

 

That is the clean one. The watch came to me with a pretty good (to my eye) repro dial. This one was purchased on ebay in rough condition and I took some excellent cleaning advice from this article:  https://watchguy.co.uk/cleaning-and-preserving-original-finish-on-dials/

The next challenge is that the dial feet for the correct dial are in the wrong place. I can use dial dots but would prefer to put on new feet, which is another whole can of worms on techniques and tools that I do not have and do not want to invest in. We shall see.

The before and after (after then before). Like many things, there was some improvement and I also did some things wrong. Thankfully the mistakes done really present themselves to the naked eye. We all bear the scars of our journeys through life, and while I am responsible for some of those on this watch, it is overall the better for it and it is mine.

 

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Did no one else's mind go to a sprung/absent spring washer between the dial and the minute wheel? It seems odd that the hand would come loose enough to jump around, and still be well attached enough to do everything else. Meanwhile, a jostled minute wheel could pop up above the plane, skip a few teeth, and come right back down and be as functional as ever when one is looking at it in a normal way. It's easy to test without even opening the case too, just turn the watch DD, bump it to loose it from any grease stiction, and attempt to set the time. If it moves, maybe I'm wrong. If it's loose, find a spring washer in your "art" drawer.

EDIT: Disregard. Brain fart. This would only apply to the HOUR hand, not the minute hand. Minute hand is attached to the cannon pinion. That's why it didn't occur to anyone else. Come on morning tea! Kick in!

Edited by spectre6000
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Just now, spectre6000 said:

Did no one else's mind go to a sprung/absent spring washer between the dial and the minute wheel? It seems odd that the hand would come loose enough to jump around, and still be well attached enough to do everything else. Meanwhile, a jostled minute wheel could pop up above the plane, skip a few teeth, and come right back down and be as functional as ever when one is looking at it in a normal way. It's easy to test without even opening the case too, just turn the watch DD, bump it to loose it from any grease stiction, and attempt to set the time. If it moves, maybe I'm wrong. If it's loose, find a spring washer in your "art" drawer.

That would possibly allow the hour hand to move, but the minute hand is fixed to the canon pinion which (should be) is fixed to the center wheel.

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Yeah. I caught that a few minutes ago, and edited it to reflect that while you were posting. I blame (a lack of) caffeine.

Edited by spectre6000
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Well, I have given up on the original hands for the moment. Mostly because the replacements hands arrived and they look pretty darned good and of course fit properly. The tip of the minute hand required a bit of gentle bending around some peg wood to get the same curvature of the original, and the hour hand required a little reaming of the mounting hole with a broach, but success! They are a little wider than the originals, and at the moment the lume is bright white.

I bought a second set of the same hands to experiment with aging the lume. I know many have used coffee or tea to accomplish the effect, but I am also a budding fountain pen user and have a collection of a few different inks that might do the trick very well, especially when watered down.

Here it is in its current state. It is keeping good time at about +15 seconds per day. I am still regulating it using the Watch Tracker app. It is effective but takes a few days of readings between adjustments. 

Im very happy with the transformation and the fact that it is all nice and tight in the right places.

Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions and I will report back if I am able to restore the original hands to a useable condition. Another project!

IMG_4553.thumb.jpeg.981c1e3c73b579740ff6900a71162b78.jpeg

 

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This is a job which I repeat fairly regularly. Best option (for me)is a Seitz jewelling set with hand hole-closing punches. It’s a precise job. 
 

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1 hour ago, rodabod said:

This is a job which I repeat fairly regularly. Best option (for me)is a Seitz jewelling set with hand hole-closing punches. It’s a precise job. 
 

Could you provide a few photos of the tool and especial the tip of the punch in question? That would be helpful indeed.

 

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