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1917 Elgin Pw Octagon 12S Case Not Running

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I have just bought this on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-1917-Elgin-Pocket-Watch-Beautiful-Octagon-12S-Case-Not-Running-/331529042187?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d30abb90b&nma=true&si=steVwbb4TuJ0zQh2WWiGY4LpEJ4%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557) as a project for myself. 


I have never tried to disassemble a watch before, because the interest to watches is a new hobby. 


About this PW I bought, the mainspring is working because i managed to release it, and re-wind it. The hairspring is also working (i think), because I tried to move the balance-wheel and it is doing 3-4 movements until it stops.

Also the crystal is bad I think, and needs to be replaced.


So; is this a project that is manageable by a newbie?

What equipment do I need? Is i.e. this good enough as a starter-kit? http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Watch-Repair-Reusable-Aluminum/dp/B00CZDBXU6/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1430563002&sr=8-12&keywords=watch+repair+kit


When it comes to lubricating, I saw another posting about that, but when it comes to cleaning the mechanics - what is the recommendation?


What else do I need to think early about, to have ready?


Where do I find crystals for this watch?




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Hi Tore,


Welcome to the forum! To answer your questions, I would not spend my money on cheap tools, especially the screwdrivers, tweezers and optics, or you will end up very disappointed and blaming yourself when in reality the blame goes to the tools. This is a precision job where tools are an extension of your body so to speak. I recommend to search for the tools and lubrication topics for more detailed information...we have plenty.


As far as cleaning, you can do it manually using lighter fluid. You can also use a jewelry ultrasonic cleaner or a professional machine along with the proper watch fluids. There is also some information on that in the forum.


Now for the parts. It is sometimes a bit of a research but crystals can even be custom ordered/made. I have had success with Borel in USA, but no doubt there are other sources. Check our resources section to find one close to where you are at.


In any case, it is a long and rewarding journey where tools also become a hobby! :)





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Thank you, Bob. I'll look more through the pages here on this forum (I had, to be honest, only been lookin a couple of minutes in the forum - then registered an asked this question). :-)


Yes, I know all about the tools also becoming a hobby. My father has been repairing cars all his life and both buying and creating and modifying tools to do different jobs, and his car has been given the nickname "A toolbox on 4 wheels". He is sometimes helping others that has car problems by the side of the road - to get the car running again. ("Look, there is a car with problems. Let's help.")


Ok, then I'll skip Amazon-tools and rather look for proper tools. I guess screwdrivers, tweezers and optics is the most important starter items (and a couple of small plastic-bins to keep all the small parts in)..




- Tore

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Tore, I'm also new to watch repair and I can't tell you anything about servicing watches but I spend a lot of time on web auction sites looking for equipment. There is quite a lot of used equipment out there, much of it is good quality too. You will discover a lot of information by reading through all the threads on here, just as I have done.

I was fortunate to find an old watch-cleaning machine - a Brenray - for which I paid £50. This is a professional piece of equipment but very useful for us amateurs too. Watch Mark's video on using a watch cleaner. I'm sure that you can find one too.

As for plastic bins or trays, I buy the trays for making ice cubes from the shop that sells everything for £1. They can be made of rigid plastic or flexible silicone.

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Welcome Tintin,


Bob is spot on with the tools.  Never buy cheap tools mate, you'll just end up having to re-buy the same tools again for better quality ones, and waste money.

The topic of tools has been brought up in a number of threads on this forum, and I'll let you know now, you'll need to invest some coin if you truly want to enjoy this hobby.  One of the first things that stops you finding this a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, is what I call "Failure Frustration". 


As Bob pointed out, and a LOT of us have discovered, not having the right tools, or more to the point: using poor quality tools that lack feel and precision, is often more the cause of failure than your ability, and your confidence will suffer because of it.  You'll think you don't have the ability to work on movements, and give up; when all along it was the crappy tools that was at fault.  And you'll miss out on a wonderful rewarding hobby, and one that you can pursue well pass retirement age.


Remember Tintin, most of these tools will last your entire life, so buy the best you can afford.


Tools to start with are:


Green Bench Mat - Bergeon 6808 (This makes the small parts easy to see, and is a must.

Screwdrivers - By far one of the most important, and expensive investments.  There are only two brands to look at in my opinion: Horotec and Bergeon.  How much you spend will determine the quality and feel of your drivers.  I recommend buying them in a set with a swiveling stand - trust me, you'll thank me for this recommendation.

Tweezers - Only brand to buy is Dumont - #2 and #4 in Anti-magnetic Steel, and #2 in Brass.

Pegwood - Cheap off ebay

Watch Hand Removers - Horotec 05.008 are a good set to start with.

Watch Hand Fitting - You'll need two: Horotec 05.010 and 05.011

Movement Holder - Bergeon 4039 and 4040 Metal NOT Plastic

Rodico - This is the blue coloured putty like substance for removing dirt and dust - a must have.

Eye Loupe - I recommend a 3x and 10x to start with.

Oils - Moebius 9501, 9010, 9415, D5 are the basic oils to start with.

Greasing Pad for O-Rings - buy off ebay - Seiko S-916

OIlers - Bergeon - Buy them in a set of 4

Oil Pots - Expensive branded ones are not that important ... just make sure they seal well from moisture and dust.

Caseback Knife and Jaxa Tool - for opening up the back of watches

Air Puffer - Find one of ebay ... doesn't need to be an expensive Bergeon branded one.

LED Desk Lamp - I purchased two flexible arm ones off ebay for around $25

Plastic Parts Holder - Watchmaking specific, with clear dome covers.


From there, just like with tools for cars, the sky is the limit ... slowly build on your tool set from this basic list as your needs require.


I hope this helps, and wish you a bright future in watch repair.

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I would also add a press to the above list. Some watches can not be closed without a press and it will also give you the ability to change crystals! Also one plastic tweezers for handling batteries! (inexpensive).

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Totally agree with Lawson about tools. I've only just started out and have made the mistake of buying cheap tools off ebay. It'd not worth it. Replaced a cheap set of screwdrivers now with Bergeon and A F Swiss one's, hell of a difference in quality.

As been said decent tools cost a bit more, but should last a life time if looked after.

Just not worth buying cheap.

Edited by badger
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Absolutely, I made do with cheap stuff but eventually moved on to quality brands. As an example I'll tell you about my first screwdriver set: I made it work with true Bergeon tips, but in most cases they fitted "crooked" and out of alignment. The work involved to make them work and the end result was not worth it when compared with the real thing. I suppose this would do in a pinch but again, not worth it for a regular, lasting set.

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Definitely a good project for a newbie. 


If the pallet fork moves with the balance then it probably just needs a clean and oil. 


If the balance moves but the fork doesn't, it could be missing the roller jewel. 


Good luck with your project!

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As someone new to these forums and this hobby I would say if you listen to the advice above you will have a great start.

I started with pocket watches and have just recently moved on to wrist watches.

From the info given it sounds like your pocket watch is a good project for a newbie. But don't get discouraged if once you get it opened you find problems that might be beyond the basic tools. I have 4 or 5 American pocket watches sitting in waiting for my tool collection to grow.

I have found that broken pivots on balance staffs are a pretty common find. 2 of my "waiting" watches need new staffs. These type of repairs require roller removers, staking sets, wheel calipers and poising tools etc.

If you get hooked you will end up with all those tools and prob more.

Good luck with your project and if you hit any speed bumps you found the right forums to get the help you will need. Lots of knowledge and friendliness here.

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