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Universal Geneve Cal 64 - What to Look For Based on Timegrapher Readout


Question

I have a Universal Geneve Ferrovie del Stato (Italian Railroad) wristwatch that I'm working on. Inside is a Universal caliber 64. It's not the most well documented movement and parts are not readily available. 

I've been able to clean it up and replace the mainspring. Things are looking spiffy with the exception of the timegrapher readout. I'm finding the plot creates an approximately 60-second sine wave in all positions. While that's true, it is keeping very good time in dial up position. 

DIAL UP

IMG_6949.thumb.jpeg.cf367a5c889862d77162be62e0c21b67.jpeg

CROWN DOWN

IMG_6952.thumb.jpeg.2506e92ce38a3c8e89525cdb5d9a8502.jpeg

I've read this kind of readout typically relates to the 3rd wheel and/or 4th wheel being damaged or crooked. Can anyone confirm this is in fact what I'm looking for? And, if so, what's the best way to determine what the issue is? 

Obviously I can visually inspect under high magnification. But how do I reliably check if something is crooked or bent? 

The other thing I notice is the large difference between positions. I'm not sure how timely Italian trains run but this seems a bit much. If you have thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them. 

Thanks! 

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A 60 second wave would generally be the 4th wheel being out of round. Not much can be done to correct the out of round. You should see a shifting amplitude as well. If the regulator pins are a little too open then changes in amplitude will have a direct effect on the rate, imagining that the hairspring is well adjusted between the two pins (or pin and boot). The two images I am guessing are dial down and some vertical position? This would go along with the pins being too open, especially if all the vertical positions show a losing rate like that. Universal made very good stuff, and you should be able to get a good rate across 6 positions even with an out of round 4th wheel.

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45 minutes ago, ChrisRadek said:

I think it needs to be demagnetized.

Somebody beat me to the question did you demagnetized it?

2 hours ago, mzinski said:

he other thing I notice is the large difference between positions.

Dial-up and dial down should be almost identical if not identical. Definitely should be identical for amplitude. As soon as you go the crown positions you lose amplitude and depending upon the poise of the balance wheel you will have timing variations. It would be nice if you would time the watch in all six positions and give us the numbers.

Another thing that happens is how close together are your regulator pins. If there are too far apart or far apart at all when you lose amplitude the watch will slow down. The farther apart they are the worst is going to be. But it should be stable at whatever amplitude whether it's slow or fast it shouldn't have slow variations. That's hard to tell from your timing machine but it doesn't look like it's a repeating pattern? In other words if it is a particular wheel then it would occur at whatever the rate of that wheels issue issue is. This is where it be nice to have access to the timing machine with time plot capability. Another way to look at your watch where you can see things like we'll variations show up very very clearly versus the normal graphical display.

Looking at the pictures below and the text it is a railroad watch it should be keeping really good time. It looks like a really nice movement that definitely should be doing much much better than what we're seeing now

What was the watch doing before you serviced it? No words did you put her on the timing machine what was going on?

 

http://forumamontres.forumactif.com/t167485-universal-geneve-cal-64-chemins-de-fer-italiens-ferrovie-dello-stato

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Do these look similar? Traces from Seiko 7625 both in dial up. The barrel was able to tilt due to bad wear internally at the centre of the barrel lid. Tilt was diagnosed by holding the barrel Arbor between the flat part of a pair of tweezers. Then move the rim of the barrel. It shouldn't move up or down much, maybe just a touch. I had so much movement that the barrel was able to tilt and rub against the centre seconds wheel causing the variations. Fixed by using a NOS barrel and Arbor.

IMG_20200813_232814184.jpg

IMG_20200813_234316463.jpg

IMG_20200814_200551058.jpg

IMG_20200814_194704849_HDR.jpg

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Thanks for the questions and insights. 

@ChrisRadek I did demagnetize but I did it two more times just now for good measure. If you're convinced it's magnetism, I'll do it again once I uncase and start inspecting. 

@JohnR725 No baseline for this one. Came to me with a broken mainspring and moderately dirty (old, dirty oils in the jewels, etc). 

I've created readouts for all six positions. DU and DD are different. The amplitude will fluctuate as the rate fluctuates but the amplitude will stay within 10-20 points per position and depending on position. For instance, DU the amplitude hovers within 5 points of itself. CR the amplitude will hover within 20 points of itself. 

Dial Up

IMG_6955.thumb.jpeg.a7ee1ec75e00d866b0a1e125ee537334.jpeg

 

Dial Down

IMG_6956.thumb.jpeg.083310f638a9549e1eac6789d7a29e16.jpeg

 

Crown Right

IMG_6960.thumb.jpeg.1d80d18f368416fa337851af1d47af54.jpeg

 

Crown Left

IMG_6958.thumb.jpeg.5c853512dfc922b29f96b41c35bee3d1.jpeg

 

Crown Up

IMG_6961.thumb.jpeg.b784661db75e0d857add26cc94c111ac.jpeg

 

Crown Down

IMG_6959.thumb.jpeg.355cf03804832f2b370d9ab2c391613d.jpeg

 

 

 

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One of the problems with a timing machine like this is we don't have enough screen length to see if there is a pattern. This is where a different timing machine might give us a clue. 

In the absence of a witschi machine which would be quite helpful perhaps there is a way to extend your screen to twice its length. I've attached an image if you switch it to the other mode of operation it will give you twice the screen reading. But if you're having a problem farther back than it still won't help. I give you having a problem with the center wheel that can occur like every five minutes then you really need a different type of the display.

timing machine 1900 other mode.JPG

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On 3/18/2021 at 12:21 AM, mzinski said:

 

@ChrisRadek[email protected] did demagnetize but I did it two more times just now for good measure. If you're convinced it's magnetism, I'll do it again once I uncase and start inspecting. 

@JohnR725

Often people is quick in suggesting magnetization but in reality it's not a so prevalent problem. A mechanical defect like the one you reported your has different symptoms. 

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15 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

One of the problems with a timing machine like this is we don't have enough screen length to see if there is a pattern. This is where a different timing machine might give us a clue. 

In the absence of a witschi machine which would be quite helpful perhaps there is a way to extend your screen to twice its length. I've attached an image if you switch it to the other mode of operation it will give you twice the screen reading. But if you're having a problem farther back than it still won't help. I give you having a problem with the center wheel that can occur like every five minutes then you really need a different type of the display.

timing machine 1900 other mode.JPG

Maybe someday I'll upgrade my hobbyist setup to include a Witschi. Until I do, anything I can do to capture what you're looking for? 

BTW - is there no sub-forum for sales on WRT? I just went on to see if I could find a used Witchi up for sale somewhere. Any recommendations? 

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On 3/17/2021 at 11:18 AM, nickelsilver said:

A 60 second wave would generally be the 4th wheel being out of round. Not much can be done to correct the out of round. You should see a shifting amplitude as well. If the regulator pins are a little too open then changes in amplitude will have a direct effect on the rate, imagining that the hairspring is well adjusted between the two pins (or pin and boot). The two images I am guessing are dial down and some vertical position? This would go along with the pins being too open, especially if all the vertical positions show a losing rate like that. Universal made very good stuff, and you should be able to get a good rate across 6 positions even with an out of round 4th wheel.

Sir I owe you a drink next time you're in Seattle! I opened things back up to start hunting down the issue. First placeI looked was the way the hairspring was sitting in the regulator pins...it was crooked! With a few adjustments I'm off to the races! Wow what a difference! 

IMG_6992.thumb.jpg.d9c4c315d5faed8a1d4495017731aba6.jpg

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On 3/19/2021 at 12:27 AM, mzinski said:

BTW - is there no sub-forum for sales on WRT?

There is not, by choice. 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:27 AM, mzinski said:

I just went on to see if I could find a used Witchi up for sale somewhere. Any recommendations? 

There is no secret place for parts or tools, we all do do the same searches starting with Ebay. That being said personally I see no reason for going after the Swiss instrument, especially after considering the 10 to 1 price factor. 

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