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Davey57

An Interesting Old Clock

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Strange that one of my first posts  on Watch Repair Talk should be about a clock :)

We were talking about hobbies the other day and I happened to mention that I had become interested in watches and had enjoyed stripping some down and rebuilding them. My friend asked if I would have a look at an old clock that had  belonged to a relation of his who once had a watch/clock repair business. It came into his posession after the old gent passed. I said I would take a look but also said that if it was of any sentimental or monetary value I would not be too happy setting about it just in case I made matters worse. He said he wasn't bothered either way and brought it down for me yesterday. Thought I might post some pictures of it. It is a lovely thing, heavy and somewhat bashed but it does have something about it. Does anyone know anything about this kind of clock? It doesn't run and if you turn the knob to adjust the time the hands just spin very fast. I would quite like to investigate it, but I would like to be reassured that it is not of any great value. You just never know what you might have in your hands.

Here are the pictures. I hope you find them interesting.

 

post-923-0-72718100-1430155830_thumb.jpg

 

post-923-0-27133400-1430155874_thumb.jpg

 

The name on the dial looks like E Gübelin Horologer Lucerne. There is quite a bit written about the company on the net.

 

post-923-0-86263100-1430155887_thumb.jpg

 

post-923-0-17669100-1430155899_thumb.jpg

 

post-923-0-92369600-1430155910_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks

Dave

 

 

 

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Very nice clock, I hope you can repair it since it is a beauty! IMHO there might be an issue with the pallet fork if they have one? I've never worked on a clock before so I don't know what they look like inside or which solution they use for this part of the movement. My reasoning is that there is nothing to "stop" the train wheel from the action of the spring. This is the job of the pallet fork...if you allow the over simplification.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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No great value but certainly worth restoring. Start by removing the platform on the top of the clock. This is called a platform escapement. Replacement are available in a variety of sizes from Cousins and other suppliers. They are not cheap. If the lower part of the clock looks in good shape with no wear on the bushings and the main spring is intact, then your best solution would be to find a replacement platform escapement. These come without the holes for fixing to the clock base and you would have to drill those using the old platform as a guide.

Repairing the original platform escapement is another possibility but it could involve making new parts.

Should you choose to look into the replacement platform solution be careful to choose a platform with the gear wheel underneath the platform (that connects with the gear train of the clock) of the right size and orientation. This is a tricky job, but challenging and finally rewarding when the clock hands begin to turn again.

One last note: there are platform escapements on eBay but you will not normally have enough information on their dimensions or condition - best to buy new. Some of the new platforms offered on eBay cost more than the Cousins prices for the same item.

 

Courage!

Edited by cdjswiss

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Brevet or Brevete is French for "patent" or "patented. So, it is NOT always the maker's name!

But there was a French maker called Brevet so it can be confusing.

 

However I think this clock is very interesting because it is Swiss not French as I first thought.

Gübelin were founded in 1894 & are located in Lucerne,Switzerland & made & still make superior quality watches & clocks. There are many of their vintage pocket watches to be found on the net.

I am not sure of the value but it is a collectors item that is for sure.

 

​I will be interested to see the pics of the movement as I have never worked on one of these. As CJD states it looks like it has a platform escapement on the top but remember,remember let the mainspring down before any removal of parts & this is vintage and any replacement parts (apart from the platform escapement) will have to be made.

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Dave, another source of platforms is H.S.Walsh at:

 

https://www.hswalsh.com/categories/platforms

 

They also list some spares and you may be able to find a part to repair the existing platform (not very likely)

 

The platforms chez Cousins, (not easy to locate on their site) are at:

 

https://www.cousinsuk.com/category/platforms

 

They also list some spares.

 

Good hunting,
Colin.

 

I add this example of the connecting gear (pinion) description. It must have the same number of teeth as yours (almost always 8)
 

"Supplied with 8 count escape pinion. Module 0.25. Pinion distance to platform edge 9.5mm. Usable pinion depth: 1mm to 6.5mm below base plate."
Edited by cdjswiss

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Many thanks indeed for all your input(s)? :)

 

So much help already and I haven't even started.

When I get the movement out I will put up some more pictures for your observations. I don't think you can quite see from the photo but the top of the case is dented down towards the balance and is just touching it, although when you gently shake the clock the balance moves quite freely. So hopefully it is not damaged.

I will be back with the pictures soon, I am just resisting the temptation to dive in immediately as I have a couple of other smaller things to finish off first. I like to see one thing finished before starting something new, too many distractions otherwise.

Thanks again.

Dave

 

Forgot to ask whether there are any clues as to the age?

Edited by Davey57

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I look forward to seeing the new photos. From your description I had assumed that the main spring is already fully wound down because of a missing link somewhere in the gear chain  (pallet fork perhaps as Bob suggested). But if I am misunderstanding, then hold onto the winding key when disconnecting anything and let the mainspring down slowly.

 

Just a thought ... perhaps the platform pinion is not engaging the main gear train. It is adjustable with a fairly fine fit and it could easily have become disconnected.

 

Here is a pic of a carriage clock that I recently fitted with a new platform. You can see it through the top window. The red colour is a reflection!

 

post-374-0-60409200-1430243781_thumb.jpg

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Well despite what I said I just could not resist "having a quick look"  I have discovered the problem, the escape wheel has a broken bottom pivot and is not engaging with the wheel it is supposed to (not sure what the correct name for that would be?)  Is this seriously bad news?  What are the chances of finding a replacement?  I also see that at one time it would have chimed but most of the mechanism has been removed. I removed the dial and noticed that appears to be signed, "Gübelin".

Not very good light for my picture, but you can hopefully see the broken pivot.

 

post-923-0-59770800-1430250604_thumb.jpg

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Good news in effect! But first of all: the platform - this is a very special design and you would be hard put to find a suitable replacement. But the good news is that the fault is due to the broken pivot and not damaged teeth. The pivot can be replaced either by drilling out the old one and inserting a new pin of the correct size. This is a task best left to the clockmaker unless you have suitable tools. An alternative solution is to use a pivot cap. These look like this and one of the correct size can be relatively easily fitted over the stub of the broken pivot.

 

post-374-0-12272300-1430287060.jpg

 

You would need a watchmaker's lathe to do this job. If you are equipped for that then I could perhaps supply the cap. You would have to send me the dimensions. Otherwise http://www.dashto.com/can supply a selection of caps some with drilled holes at the thick end and others blank to be drilled out by yourself.

 

the URL is: http://www.dashto.com/newlists/materials.htm

 

and search for 'pivot caps'

 

A worthwhile and relatively easy job for this nice little clock from a top-end Swiss watchmaker.

 

Colin.

 

 

 

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Also found here: 

 

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/clock-wheel-quick-pivots

 

I have never done this fix but it seems plausible if you have enough of the stem to fix it too. However it looks doubtful looking at your pic. If all of the gearing is not required for it's whole length then part of it will need turning down on a lathe or the pivot cap will need shortening to the correct length.  If you do not have a lathe then a replacement part will be the only way.

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Here is an example of pivot replacement without using a watchmakers lathe. The parts needed are available on eBay for modest amounts. I built a similar device for under $50.

 

Edited by cdjswiss

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Well glad to know that there might be a possible fix. I don't have a lathe unfortunately, and I am not sure how long it would take to build up the required skill at be able to attempt this even if I did. Would a clockmaker need the entire movement to make sure that the new pivot ended being up the correct length?  What are the chances of finding a replacement escape wheel? 

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Well glad to know that there might be a possible fix. I don't have a lathe unfortunately, and I am not sure how long it would take to build up the required skill at be able to attempt this even if I did. Would a clockmaker need the entire movement to make sure that the new pivot ended being up the correct length?  What are the chances of finding a replacement escape wheel? 

 

The lower bearing for the escapement wheel and its pinion is a part of the platform and so you could give only the platform to the clockmaker. You would then have to reinstall the platform ensuring the correct meshing of the pinion and its corresponding gear of the clock gear train. That is not too difficult.

 

As to finding a replacement part, your best bet would be to look for one of those clock makers with lots of vintage clocks in his collection and to ask if he had a suitable part in his bottom drawer.

It would also be worthwhile to contact   http://www.nwcsupplies.com//index.php?main_page=index&cPath=70 sending dimensions of your part. They repair platforms and may be able to supply what you need. Or you could perhaps mail the platform to them for repair.

Edited by cdjswiss

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Davey take some measurements as many as you can of the part & I will look through my box of spares (it's like Aladins cave) you never know.

Measurements required,  length (I know its short but!!), Amount of teeth and it's circumference, Circumference of escape & amount of escape teeth. 

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The lower bearing for the escapement wheel and its pinion is a part of the platform and so you could give only the platform to the clockmaker. You would then have to reinstall the platform ensuring the correct meshing of the pinion and its corresponding gear of the clock gear train. That is not too difficult.

 

 

Sorry that was a bit of a silly question I now realise. I have removed the platform and the broken pivot so if I need to send it anywhere it won't be quite so heavy! I will have a look at the link you gave me too thanks. If it were my clock I would definitely be prepared to pay to have a repair done. I will ask my friend to whom the clock belongs and see what he thinks. It would be a shame for it to remain in this state. 

 

 

Davey take some measurements as many as you can of the part & I will look through my box of spares (it's like Aladins cave) you never know.

Measurements required,  length (I know its short but!!), Amount of teeth and it's circumference, Circumference of escape & amount of escape teeth. 

 

Thank you. I will get some measurements done and let you have a rummage.

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Thank you. I will get some measurements done and let you have a rummage.

Post them here and we can all look into our caves. Take the escape wheel and measure the diameter of the good pivot.  Then test to see if it fits into the bottom jewel without too much play. If the fit is good we have the diameter of the missing pivot. Also measure the diameter and length of the stub below the pinion. It would also be useful to know at what point on the pinion the gear wheel meshes.

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I have taken some measurements.

 

The escape wheel has 15 teeth.

Circumference = 24.10mm

Overall length minus broken pivot = 6.8mm

Diameter of pivot = 0.10mm

Length of stub = 0.40mm

Diameter of stub = 0.44mm

 

I have tried the top pivot in the bottom jewel and it is a good fit. As best as I can tell the pinion meshes 1.3mm from it's bottom edge.

 

Thanks for all your help, really appreciate it.

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Sorry, but nothing near to this size in my small collection.

 

Here is a pic of some  pivot caps. The two circles drawn in are dimensioned. These are pivots for balance wheels and would have to be cut back for the escape wheel. There are some of the right size but this would be a messy solution.

 

post-374-0-81548700-1430465413.jpg

 

By far the best fix would be to drill out the stub and insert a new pivot. http://drillbitsunlimited.com/can supply carbide drills of 0.1mm diameter. However, the 0.4mm stub could more easily be drilled out to 0.2mm and an inserted 0.2mm friction-fit pin subsequently turned down and burnished to 0.1mm. I suspect that this may be the only solution.

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