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Timetaker

Balance Wheel Stopped!

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Hi everyone,

Over the last week I have been trying to regulate my 2824. The watch has always been 30s slow but consistent. I have adjusted it using the main lever planning to fine regulate it after a few days. This morning I removed the case back to adjust again and before I could touch anything I noticed the balance wheel stop. It was running as I opened the case. I had worn the watch all week so the main spring should have plenty of power. I gave the watch a few winds and it started up again and was fine for 10 mins. It has now stopped and seems lifeless. Any one have any ideas or tips before I take it to my local watchmaker?? I get the feeling that some fluff it debris may have got in somehow??

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Have you got a puffer to blow air through the movement? If any debris has lodged in the mechanism through the case back being off a few times, then a few puffs of air might dislodge it. Don't blow into the mechanism yourself - breath contains water - just a puffer.

 

If that doesn't work, it might well just be dirty and need a clean.

 

I'm assuming that you took care opening the case back and didn't knock anything out of kilter? Not being rude - one has to ask these things!

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Hi willfly, thanks for your reply. I haven't got a puffer but I have used a hairdryer on cold setting in the past. I'm building my tool collection so a puffer will be next on the list!

I guessing that something may have dropped into the gear train or hair spring area - I've just picked up a loupe so I'm going to have a good look. My fear is that it started up again for a few minutes so if something did drop in there it may well have been ' dragged in'.

I was very careful when I removed the caseback and I don't remember knocking anything. Someone on another forum suggested to slacken the balance cock screw and see if it will start up again. Apparently this can help if adjusting the regulator arm? I'll give it a go.

Good tip about the breath, I had been tempted to blow on the balance wheel to try and get it going but that's clearly not a good idea!!!

Forgot to mention I wasn't wearing finger tips when I removed the winding bridge the time before, is a bit of skin enough to contaminate a watch movement!!!???

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Welcome to the forum Timetaker.

Even the slightest flake of skin could stop a watch, especially if it is between the escape wheel and the fourth wheel. Check out this area for debris very carefully using a loupe. If you are lucky enough, you might see something and be able to remove it, but I doubt it.

I wouldn't suggest that you slacken the balance cock screw to make any adjustments, I can see no logic in this whatsoever.

How long is it since the movement was serviced? Could this have attributed to the original problem?

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Hi, the watch is about 18 months old. I've had a really good look with the loupe and I can't see anything. I've also given it a quick blow with the hair dryer and no luck. The hair spring looks ok, I can't see that's it's out of shape at all.

Looks like it will need a service I guess

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Watchmaker thinks a new balance Assy is needed, but he can't find it in stock anywhere and can't guarantee it will fix the problem

I'm the last person to give advice BUT it sounds like you need to find a better watchmaker. If my mechanic said that to me I'd walk away.

You can't just throw parts in and hope it solves the fault.

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1. Watch was working before you starting messing with it right?

 

2. When you started to regulate it, I believe you would have moved the pointer either to the (+) or (-).

 

3. It is possible that while doing this, the stud holder may have moved a bit when you moved rate adjuster. This will affect the beat or the 'tick' will not balance the 'tock'. These two parts revolve around a common axis and it happens.

 

4. Unless that you are really sure that you have not damaged the balance or hairspring, I believe your balance is out of beat.

 

ways to damage your balance wheel..

-Inadvertantly applying pressure on the rim of the balance while manhandling the complete movement while its out of the case.

-Pressing on the balance cock too hard thereby damaging the pivots.

-Physical contact with the hairspring.. such as poking a screwdriver thru the hairspring?

-removing the balance wheel and getting the hairspring caught in the regulating pins.

 

 

Like Roberto said, get a second opinion.

 

Anil

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Yes the watch was working. I set the pointer to 0 and adjusted the main regulating arm. I didn't touch the spring. If the balance is out of beat, will the wheel run at all??? I have since been to see another watch maker and he didn't seem to be interested when he realised it had already been opened by someone else. He said £300 service is needed !! It's all getting in a bit of a pickle now to be honest - most of the watchmakers I have spoken to are not interested in fault finding - they simply offer a full service!!!

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BTW , the first repair guy said the reason why I need a new Assy is because the spring has become unattached from the wheel and it's very difficult to reattach it!! He said the spring would be bent out of shape if he tried.

Appreciate all of your help by the way

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Yes the watch was working. I set the pointer to 0 and adjusted the main regulating arm. I didn't touch the spring. If the balance is out of beat, will the wheel run at all???

I've been following this thread for a couple of days now, and Anil is probably right on the money.

Reading the above it sound like you have zeroed the rate adjuster then adjusted the beat adjuster (stud holder). Could you please post a picture so we can see exactly what you have done?

The balance will run if it not too far out of beat, but would probably not start unless you give the watch a shake in a twisting fashion.

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So, removed the balance assy and even with a good wind there is no resistance on the pallet fork and escapement wheel - if I move the fork left to right the wheel turns with it. Surely there should be force from the main spring to push the wheel against the fork???

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So, removed the balance assy and even with a good wind there is no resistance on the pallet fork and escapement wheel - if I move the fork left to right the wheel turns with it. Surely there should be force from the main spring to push the wheel against the fork???

If you adjusted as per diagram, you should not have had a problem.

With the balance removed and the spring wound, the escapement lever should snap sharply from side to side when very gently touched with a dry oiler or pin. If it doesn't, a bit of dirt may well be stopping the gear train. Check all the gearing with a loupe if possible, but in particular check the gearing of the escape wheel and fourth wheel, as these are the easiest to stop with very little debris.

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Yes that's what I thought. If I move the escapement with a pin there is no pressure at all from the wheel and certainly no snap. I've had a good look at the gear train but can't see anything. I'm tempted to let the main spring down and start disassembling. I've never done it before and I do not have oils to reassemble so I may have to give in to a service after all.

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It is always difficult to analyse online but was it in beat. If it is a long way off beat the reason it is running slow will not work by adjusting the index pins.

You will need a watch timing machine such as a timegrapher to check this. In all honesty it sounds like it needs as service but you need to know if it is in beat.

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Hi, with the balance removed the lever should run to each banking position when delicately moved with a pin and the escape wheel should rotate. If the escape wheel does not revolve one tooth at a time as the lever is moved across then there is likely no power getting to it from the gear train. Especially inspect the gear train for cleanliness and free operation the most likely being say dirt on the 3rd. and 4th. wheels. Check the pallet is free to operate freely.  Check that there is a touch of end clearance (shake) so that the balance is free to rotate when the balance cock retaining screw is tight and that the hair spring is clear to operate.
I hope this is of help.

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1 hour ago, ecodec said:

Hi, with the balance removed the lever should run to each banking position when delicately moved with a pin and the escape wheel should rotate.

You are responding to a 2 yrs old thread. The OP most likely is not even reading this forum anymore.

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