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WW2 era chronograph (Landeron 14 1/2?) running very fast


StefanoC
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Hi all, total newbie here.

I own a 1930s/40s chronograph, brand "Aradam", that has been in the family for approximately 80 years. As far as I know it was overhauled about 30 years ago, when the case back was replated (replaced?) and the crystal was replaced as well. The overhaul was performed by a watchmaker family friend (he was a Rolex authorized dealer and serviced Rolex, Omega and Vacheron Constantin watches for decades, so I'm going out on a limb and say he knew what he was doing) who returned it to my parents charging them only for the crystal and back, saying the clock was running very fast and he couldn't fix that.

Given its history (was given to my great-grandparents by an AF pilot as payment for room and board - their place was close to a military airfield and they rented a room to servicemen), I really would like to get it to run with a reasonable accuracy again. Right now the watch runs and all functions are operational, but the watch is fast, in the order of at least 4' per hour. I spent some time trying to figure out who/which movement I'm dealing with to see if I could source a donor, and I believe this is a Landeron cal 14 1/2 movement - is that correct? 

Now onto the questions: does anything look glaringly wrong in the movement from the pic below? If the issue lies in the balance/hairspring, is there cross-compatibility between this balance and the one from other Landeron movements (e.g. Cal 39?). And finally, would anyone be able to recommend a watchmaker in the Pacific NW (Portland, OR) that would be able/willing to tackle this project? 

Thanks in advance!

S.

IMG_6674a.jpg

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L14half.jpg

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No problem, its fixable.

Can we have a clear close up of the hairspring? in case your are not set up to take high resolution picture, put a loop in front of your hand set camera, see if you take a better picture.

The coil seems to have some problem and needs  work.

Regs

 

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Can't see the coil clearly and you spoke of hairspring, so I just thought we best check the coil first.

I think the balance is likely to be light and needs some weight added to it. 

Its a job for an experienced repairman. 

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1 hour ago, StefanoC said:

The overhaul was performed by a watchmaker family friend (he was a Rolex authorized dealer and serviced Rolex, Omega and Vacheron Constantin watches for decades, so I'm going out on a limb and say he knew what he was doing)

The problem here is? A lot of the problems fly out the window because the qualifications of the watchmaker you describe above should have been able to fix almost anything? In other words he would know what the shape of the hairspring though should look like he would know about magnetism so all the usual causes that we see shouldn't exist.

Although what's interesting is being done way back I wonder why he couldn't get a balance complete?

Looking at the picture it looks like an over coil type hairspring. Even see it where it obviously comes up crosses over so I am assuming it's over coil. You can also see a heck of a lot of timing washers somebody's tried to slow the thing down a heck of a lot. This usually means several things have occurred in the past

Most likely thing that causes a very fast timekeeping with balance wheels that have screws is one of them fell out. But all you have to do is find another pair of screws that would fit in and you should be reasonably close. Here somebody put a heck of a lot of timing washers under all the heads trying to slow this watch down apparently without's enough success

then the other problem is something might have happened to the hairspring and they swapped. Which is why the balance wheel is no longer of the correct frequency to agree with the hairspring and you get stuff like this. Finding a balance complete today is going to be very very tough

1 hour ago, StefanoC said:

is there cross-compatibility between this balance and the one from other Landeron movements (e.g. Cal 39?).

Kind of a nice fantasy on that one? It would be nice if we absolutely positively knew that this is what the watch is but in case it is I have a link below. The usual source I look at it doesn't seem to have a 14 for me to look at the pictures And explaining about the variations etc. But the link below has the parts providing it's a 14. Then the bad news is it only cross-references to itself so you can't swap any other balance wheels for it. According the website when you go and look they must've had at one time is actually listed it and they had a price of $63 so 30 years ago the balance complete probably was available.

http://cgi.julesborel.com/cgi-bin/matcgi2?ref=LAN_14

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Nucejoe said:

Though sorting the coil fixes the problem, your watch need a clean and lube after thirty years.

For sure - I figured that once I have a path forward on getting the main issue addressed, I'd ask the same watchmaker to also do a clean/lube. Took another picture of the balance, this is as far as I can go without a macro lens - to my completely untrained eye the balance spring does look questionable

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9 minutes ago, StefanoC said:

to my completely untrained eye the balance spring does look questionable

As I said up above you have to be careful with the over coil but having said that it doesn't quite look right either. If you look at the top of the picture ignoring the over coil part it still looks like it's a little too close and on the bottom part it looks like it may be spaced out a little bit. On the other hand with time we may have lubrication that's on the hairspring and magnetism.

Then if you look carefully at the screws you can definitely see all the timing washers which you normally don't see. Somewhere I read the rule is one washer per screw and it looks like several per your screws.

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  Some screws have been misplaced and it needs more weight anyway so whoever is going to poise the balance and adjust for timing, might replace some small screw with heavier ones so to do without extra washers. I don't expect to find a balance complete for this caliber so rebuilding the balance at hand seems the only way to go.

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

Some screws have been misplaced and it needs more weight anyway so whoever is going to poise the balance and adjust for timing, might replace some small screw with heavier ones so to do without extra washers. I don't expect to find a balance complete for this caliber so rebuilding the balance at hand seems the only way to go.

I could understand every watchmaker who refuses to work on this balance. 
It was totally spoiled. At least one screw was soldered on, the other's threads don't look like threads.

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1 hour ago, praezis said:

I could understand every watchmaker who refuses to work on this balance. 
It was totally spoiled. At least one screw was soldered on, the other's threads don't look like threads.

Hopefully this ends the list of damages done by previous watch destroyers. Fixing this one needs much devotion.

Regs 

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Thank you all. I always assumed the issue was serious enough, and the thread so far confirms it.  I still would like to explore the option of getting it back to a reasonable timekeeping, so I'm very open for suggestions regarding US-based watchmakers that would be willing to tackle this project. 

As an alternative option - should I consider looking for a known running Landeron chronograph movement of the same diameter and swap out the whole thing?

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39 minutes ago, StefanoC said:

and swap out the whole thing?

A good idea in this case.

Just curious: what is the exact diameter of your balance wheel (with and without screws)?

Frank

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6 minutes ago, praezis said:

A good idea in this case.

Just curious: what is the exact diameter of your balance wheel (with and without screws)?

Frank

I have limited measurement capabilities since I won't dare removing the balance/bridge, I'll try to see what I can do with a caliper

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50 minutes ago, praezis said:

A good idea in this case.

Just curious: what is the exact diameter of your balance wheel (with and without screws)?

Frank

Take these with a grain of salt, but I'm measuring about 11.6mm for the balance alone and 13.3mm with screws.

Also - I finally did measure the movement itself, it's ~34.7mm diameter. Does that make it a 15.5 ? I think I've seen this somewhere referred to as Caliber 46 I think.

S.

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2 hours ago, StefanoC said:

I'm very open for suggestions regarding US-based watchmakers that would be willing to tackle this project. 

Check our pinned topic below which has some international recommendations. 

 

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On 1/19/2022 at 12:27 PM, StefanoC said:

And finally, would anyone be able to recommend a watchmaker in the Pacific NW (Portland, OR) that would be able/willing to tackle this project? 

 

2 hours ago, jdm said:

international recommendations.

I don't think you're going to have to go international but you might have to think about outside of the Portland area. 

For instance the link below if you enter the a ZIP Code for Portland for instance they do lists some watchmakers in Oregon. But there are problems with lists like this these are all members of this Association basically anyone as a member of the Association who says they work on watches can be listed. But there are other watchmakers that aren't members and their not listed of course. Then probably 90+ percent of these people don't do vintage watches so you'll have to inquire as to whether they'll do a vintage watch or not. Then the percentage it's even smaller if they're going to handle a problem watch.

https://awci.memberclicks.net/find-a-professional

 

 

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12 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

I don't think you're going to have to go international but you might have to think about outside of the Portland area. 

John, the repairers recommendations topic which I've linked above mostly refers to UK based professionals, as that is where most members on this forum are. I meant international in this sense, of course the US/Canada should have at least as many true watchmakers.

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MY TWO CENTS.

 We have a ( running) balance wheel here which according to us is destind to the bin, only because the owner isn't an experienced repairman yet, but OP is here to learn. 

I don't see why we don't have a custom here to work with him, step by step to repair this balance, rebuilt to a balance complete and running accurate. 

There is Marks videos teaching how to repair and we should be OP's classmates to put what he learned to practice. 

Regs 

 

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18 hours ago, StefanoC said:

Take these with a grain of salt, but I'm measuring about 11.6mm for the balance alone and 13.3mm with screws.

I thought I could offer a balance wheel, but sizes are slightly different (12.3 / 13.5 mm). A raw hairspring, too.

But there would still be much work to do anyway.

Frank

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7 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

which according to us is destind to the bin

It depends? If the watch seems to run in other words the hairspring and balance wheel are compatible enough that the watch can actually run then we just need some timing adjustments to the balance wheel. In other words may be some tiny balance screws would work. I wouldn't say the balance is destined to definitely go away until a proper evaluation can be done. Basically we just need someone to a proper evaluation that has access to the proper timing machine that can time things that are grossly out of frequency. Plus may be evaluated multiple of positions just to make sure there aren't any other problems.

 

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1 hour ago, JohnR725 said:

Basically we just need someone to a proper evaluation that has access to the proper timing machine that can time things that are grossly out of frequency. 

    But 4 min/ day is not grossly out of frequency,   I said to myself,   then went back to OP's post and its 4 min/hr too fast. 

Thats what has thrown me off track all along.          This oscilator best be salvaged for parts. 

Regs

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

then went back to OP's post and its 4 min/hr too fast. 

Thats what has thrown me off track all along.          This oscilator best be salvaged for parts. 

Do you know what happens on American pocket watch if one of the screws goes missing? You might ask why would it disappear but they do Fallout with time. So I always check my balance wheels of I'm getting bizarre timing. Then they run really fast until you find a screw or replace it.

5 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

the hairspring and balance wheel are compatible enough that the watch can actually run

Isn't that a strange sentence that I said? Hairsprings are more than for just timing the energy of the hairspring is used to unlock the escapement. If you go dramatically out of range of the hairspring for the balance wheel watch doesn't run the doesn't run very well. We just know it's running fast we don't actually know if it's running well at all. So if we assume that it's running well then they hairspring is close enough we just need a timing adjustment. Like findings in tiny balance screws there is at least a couple of holes that I can see on the rim. A tiny balance screw would make a much more dramatic effect in putting 1 million timing washers.

All of this is speculation unless somebody with a proper timing machine can do a proper timing analysis as to whether the watch is actually running how well it's running how it runs in different positions. It's really strange how so many watchmakers would only time the watch in one position and never evaluated in multiple positions. So a proper timing analysis my mind needs to be done before we could even proceed with what we can do with the balance wheel.

 

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