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Posted (edited)

I’m starting to suspect I’m a victim of my own reliance on technology. 

I’ve been learning to restore to working order Elgin pocket watches since Jan/2022 (Grade 291 7j and 313 15j since they are relatively cheap and abundant on eBay and there are even some NOS parts available).

A couple of the 15 movements I’ve purchased really only needed a proper cleaning and a new mainspring to return to life. However several others, while running after being cleaned and broken parts being replace (wheels with broken teeth mostly), have not performed well on the inexpensive timegrapher I bought on Amazon .

these watches graph hundreds of seconds off per day, low amplitude, and high beat errors, or even not at all.
 

No amount of adjusting or fiddling has improved them, and in a couple of cases I even ruined the balance wheel/hairspring trying to get them back to timing well.

Then I read something on the forum about vintage pocket watches and inexpensive timegraphers that made me wonder—so I gave all of the working pocket watches a good wind and timed them manually over a 24 period (6 hours dial up, 6 stem up, 6 hours watchmaker side up, 6 dial side up again). 
 

After 24 hours here are the results.0BB964B5-C976-4297-AD9F-17630F840452.thumb.jpeg.581722613bcc7e95817a434019c476d3.jpeg

5C1507C7-5D96-467A-AA80-A8EF512A7BA6.jpeg

Edited by Levine98
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Levine98 said:

have not performed well on the inexpensive timegrapher I bought on Amazon .

the timing machine is definitely inexpensive which is why every single watchmaker hobbyist or whatever should have one. Unless you're a professional then you should have an expensive Swiss one but even one of these would work for them. Having done side-by-side comparisons with the 1000 1900 with one of the witschi watch expert's they work extremely well. As long as you understand what you're seeing and doing.

What does not work well are the apps for phones whatever they tend to well we've gone down some long paths of diagnostics based on faulty data but usually in the timing machines are good except some extremes

1 hour ago, Levine98 said:

these watches graph hundreds of seconds off per day, low amplitude, and high beat errors, or even not at all.

No amount of adjusting or fiddling has improved them, and in a couple of cases I even ruined the balance wheel/hairspring trying to get them back to timing well.

Then I read something on the forum about vintage pocket watches and inexpensive timegraphers that made me wonder—so I gave all of the working pocket watches a good wind and timed them manually over a 24 period (6 hours dial up, 6 stem up, 6 hours watchmaker side up, 6 dial side up again). 

good lesson of destroying a balance wheel of you need to be careful with them.

It's not the timing machines fault as I stated above the timing machines are good. But do left understand how to use them on how to interpret the results.

one of the interesting things that watches do our average their problems. Simplistically you can run a watch and seemingly it might keep reasonable time but a timing machine may tell you otherwise. Does it mean the timing machine is wrong no it just means the watch averages out its problems and may not actually be running at peak performance but it may still be running.

As we have a generalization quoted above basically we have to look at each watch one of the time and see what its problem is plus pictures of the timing machine so we can figure out what's going on.

the problem with any vintage watch is its vintage and it's gone through a lot of hands skilled and unskilled. This can result in a whole variety of problems which will typically make timing machines unhappy. or look at all those nifty watches on eBay that are currently running they must be easy to fix? That thought  definitely a problem also.

 

 

Edited by JohnR725
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52 minutes ago, grsnovi said:

@Levine98

You may not have entered a reasonable LIFT ANGLE for your old Elgins. While 52° is usually correct for new watches it may not be correct for older movements.

I thought lift angle was used only to calculate amplitude. My Vibrograf does not accept lift angle input. It just times the watch.

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, grsnovi said:

@Levine98

You may not have entered a reasonable LIFT ANGLE for your old Elgins. While 52° is usually correct for new watches it may not be correct for older movements.

Hi,

Actually I do adjust the unit for 44 (vs 52 default) before attempting to time.  Don't recall where I got this number (NAWCC forum probably).

Edited by Levine98
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Just now, Levine98 said:

Actually I do adjust the unit for 44 (vs 52 default) before attempting to time.

I find if you really want to know the amplitude with the modern timing machine you have to follow the procedure at the video below. That's because lift angle for American pocket watches can very think the lowest I've recorded has been about 38 to 62° and this is independent of the size of the verse watches. In other words is because the watch is a 16 size you can't say it's going to be a low lift angle because it might actually be a higher lift angle.

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Levine98 said:

these watches graph hundreds of seconds off per day, …

Your watches show several minutes difference - do you know, that is „hundreds of seconds off per day“? 🙂

Frank

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11 minutes ago, praezis said:

Your watches show several minutes difference - do you know, that is „hundreds of seconds off per day“? 🙂

Frank

i think max delta is about 3 minutes with a couple running 1-2 minutes difference. This picture was taken at 24hrs. That is 180 seconds at the worst. When I mentioned hundreds of seconds per day I was seeing like 400–700 off per day and wide variance based on position. 

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5 minutes ago, Levine98 said:

wide variance based on position. 

I suppose, the watches in your photo ran DU only? 
Additionally John‘s remark on averaging of the worst rate variations over 24 h is valid.

Frank

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1 minute ago, praezis said:

I suppose, the watches in your photo ran DU only? 
Additionally John‘s remark on averaging of the worst rate variations over 24 h is valid.

Frank

No, I ran them 6 hours0 in dial up, dial down, dial facing outward (like in a pocket), dial up.

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18 hours ago, Levine98 said:

these watches graph hundreds of seconds off per day, low amplitude, and high beat errors, or even not at all.

As anyone knows on this discussion group I regard each watch is an individual problem and I don't like generalizations which is the way this discussion is going.

So for generalized nations before attempting to time will watch not that you can't the timing machine is still good for diagnostic purposes but before you try to regulate a watch you need to have proper amplitude. As the amplitude drops problems magnify. Positional errors become much much worse and a stamp to do is low enough to beat error will increase and it's not the beat error is because you got to get your amplitude up.

As were discussing American pocket watches? Typically bimetallic balance wheels this means if they're squeezed and we all loved the squeeze our bimetallic balance wheels don't we? But they don't like to be squeezed and then there out of round. This creates positional timekeeping issues.

Usually when you look at your balance wheel it should be running flat not wobbling all over the place. They hairspring should be flat and where it's supposed to be. Then your beat it be nice to be closer to zero but it can be off a little bit depends on the watch as long as you have proper amplitude. Then you can look at the timekeeping and make some decisions?

Like can it be regulated at all? Often times people in the past like the play with their watches they don't have a timing machine they don't necessarily see the consequences of what they're doing. In the past most watchmakers never looked at the watch beyond one position so positional errors are discovering noticed. Or those nifty movable banking pins I get moved along with just about anything else so all of this at some point time may have to be fixed testing at the amplitude of.

If you're seeing huge differences in poising error I find it's usually best to statically poise. If you reasonably properly static poise you can get a Delta within 15 seconds.

Ideally when you're timing a watch you should develop a procedure. Timing procedures would be for instance you wind your watch up tight in you let it run at least 15 minutes to an hour. That's the modern recommendation if it's wound up the very tightest it 10 step too much amplitude and timing can be unstable so it needs to settle down a little bit. It also notice typically with pocket watches when you changed positions it takes a little bit for the Balance wheel and or timing machine to synchronize and be stable again. So maybe a minimum of 30 seconds between changing positions and measuring for about 30 seconds. Then while most these watches were really timed and six positions always good to evaluate your watches and six positions. But not necessarily get obsessed with well are typically not a Rolex watch so you shouldn't expect chronometer timekeeping.

 

 

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I have stopped using my Weishi-1000 as I don't yet really understand the readings I'm getting also same watch will display one set of figures and then something completely different say three or four hours later I am talking about automatic winding watches. We can all get hung up on trying to get it perfect. I'm quite happy if a self winding watch runs two or three minuets fast/slow a week. lets face it I'm not timing a F1 race or bolt 🤔

Sorry to gate crash

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2022 at 3:59 PM, Tiny said:

same watch will display one set of figures and then something completely different say three or four hours later

That's what should happen, nothing wrong with the timegrapher, what don't you understand about the readings?

Edited by Plato
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On 5/15/2022 at 1:13 PM, Plato said:

what don't you understand about the readings?

I think if you analyze this discussion you discover that several people fail to grasp what a timing machine / timegrapher is all about. Yes it is used for regulation of a watch but it's also used for troubleshooting purposes for which I find it far more useful.

On 5/13/2022 at 10:29 AM, Levine98 said:

have not performed well on the inexpensive timegrapher I bought on Amazon .

these watches graph hundreds of seconds off per day, low amplitude, and high beat errors, or even not at all.
 

No amount of adjusting or fiddling has improved them, and in a couple of cases I even ruined the balance wheel/hairspring trying to get them back to timing well.

Nothing wrong with the timing machine for the most part they work really well. The timing machine is showing you exactly what's going on the problem is a user interpretation of what exactly watch repair is especially with vintage watches like American pocket watches.

On 5/13/2022 at 10:29 AM, Levine98 said:

’ve been learning to restore to working order Elgin pocket watches since Jan/2022

A lot of times I will relate learning watch repairs similar to learning to become a doctor. It requires a lot of study and a  lot of practicing. All of us on this group are currently practicing. You never going to meet an expert watch repair as there's always something new to learn always something to become better at doing.

As you start off in watch repair you face the challenge of successfully disassembling the watch cleaning reassembling lubricating possibly changing a mainspring not destroying anything. Then if something accidentally gets destroyed you can just replace it typically and if you're lucky you have a running watch. Always aside a beauty when the watch starts often runs.

Then you get the bright idea let's do vintage what would be the problems? Vintage American pocket watches as serial numbers because the plates were made in batches. Usually the escapement's were all adjusted by hand. This is where you start swapping escapement components you'll have problems. Those problems typically don't come up in modern watches. So you typically can't swap your way out of a problem like you can with a modern watch you going to have to fix stuff.

In order to fix an American pocket watch you need understand how everything works how everything runs and you need to know what everything is supposed to look like. Is a certain degree of one thing with fact another thing which is why can't give you a step-by-step of how to fix in a vintage American pocket watch. The timing machine though can point you in directions but not entirely an exact science unfortunately

For instance I have a PDF this came from a day of timing machines that were just paper tape paper tape came out you looked at the graphical display you can look at the timing chart he didn't have all those nifty numbers you didn't have to get obsessed with my amplitude isn't high enough oh dear the world, come to an end he didn't have any of that nonsense is had graphical display. Does the lines looked close enough together is fine you don't worry about the beat is you don't have a number again to look. Numbers unfortunately can be distressing especially with a vintage watch.

So basically nothing wrong with the timing machine it's telling you you have a problem. Then you have to decide whether you want to try to fix the problem or if you're happy with the watch running don't worry about it. Or perhaps set the watches side with a note that when you get more proficient at things didn't go back to the watch and fix the problems that you perceive that it had that you're just not ready to fix. Because unfortunately the start fixing some vintage stuff you need some tools conceivably a lot of jewels depending upon how far you want to go with this.

 

Timing-Machine-Charts.PDF

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Thanks for the thoughtful comments—spot on.  I also really appreciate the documentation you’ve sent me offline. 


hindsight is a wonderful teacher— I’m not going any further with American pocket watches and moving on to modern movements to advance my education.  

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One of the things that is bad with vintage is it would've been nice if you could put it on the timing machine in the first place and evaluates the condition and how far you want to go at this time to fix the problems. But often times when the watch is not running at all you end up having to go so far into it only to find out that now you're going to require a whole bunch of well basically the timing machine gives you unhappy news.  That fixing all the seemingly mechanical issues as only been half the journey and yes that can definitely be an issue.

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