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Center wheel/third wheel issue on Elgin pocket watch


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I’m working on a 12S Elgin pocket watch. I’ve cleaned and have started to reassemble. The barrel and center wheel spin fine together. But when I add the third wheel to the mix, it seems to get stuck. Sometimes it rotates a little (not a full revolution), other times it doesn’t spin at all. I’ve looked at both wheels under a microscope and all the teeth and pinions look fine.  Anyone have any suggestions of anything else to try or look at?

For clarification, when I am putting the wheels in to test, I am putting the bridge on to secure things. And all pivots look good as well.

Thanks!

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It would always be helpful if you posted a picture as there were quite a few different 12 size Elgin so we need to see your 12 size Elgin

then before you disassembled what was the running condition of this watch? What I'm trying to find out if you introduced a problem or whether the problem was there before?

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Here are some images of the movement, with and without the barrel bridge. 
Like I said, if I try to spin the barrel or center wheel, it seems to stick.  Oddly enough, if I spin it from the third wheel, it seems to move smoothly. So I’m tempted to try reassembling and see what happens. 
Prior to disassembly, it would tick a few times and stop. So it’s possible that this was an issue beforehand. 
Thanks again!

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899CE055-90D4-4065-9283-814D750B71C5.jpeg

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1 hour ago, ed1210 said:

try to spin the barrel or center wheel, it seems to stick

If you put the bridge on and make sure it's down flat in parallel to the main plate is not raised a little bit  you push on the center wheel arms not the teeth it doesn't want to spin at all  or does it spin it just comes to a stop really fast?

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It may be an optical illusion on a blurry picture or just the small screen of my phone.  Is the center wheel round?  In your second photo, the tooth just above the spoke pointing towards the balance jewel has an odd look about it.  I can't tell about the others.  How is the end shake?

Shane

Take a picture of just the wheel on a piece of paper looking straight down, then roll the wheel around on a flat level surface.  See if it wobbles or always stops in the same spot.

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10 hours ago, ed1210 said:

… if I try to spin the barrel or center wheel, it seems to stick.  Oddly enough, if I spin it from the third wheel, it seems to move smoothly…

That sounds to me as if there is an issue with the third wheel . If you mount just the third wheel does it spin freely when agitated by an air blow?

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Was this watch a runner before the service.. The reason I ask is the wheels are different colours which might indicate one of them is not an original. I agree with the above regarding the elimination tests suggested. A wheel that is not turning freely is binding. A bent pivot or the meshing between the wheel is too tight. Or not enough end shake. 

Edited by clockboy
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15 hours ago, ed1210 said:

Oddly enough, if I spin it from the third wheel, it seems to move smoothly.

This would be excited.  It is because there is more or better mechanical advantage driving the train backwards.

4 hours ago, clockboy said:

The reason I ask is the wheels are different colours which might indicate one of them is not an original.

Really?  I never thought of it from that perspective.  I have a number of similar watch movements and they all have this exact color mismatch, as well as the dissimilarities between the shape of the spokes.  I guess the replacement idea might makes sense.  Over the years how many watches are 100% original and how many companies are making replacement wheels.  The wheels with the highest load or the most likely to have the shaft snapped off, due to improper handling, would be replaced most often.

Compared to the subsequent train wheels with lower demands, I thought that they forged the center wheel and used a totally different alloy to accommodate the higher torque load for that wheel's cross section.

I would expect anyone who was involved in making those decisions would be long since retired (in peace).

Have a great day everyone.

Shane

Edited by Shane
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Thanks for all the ideas! I’ll try some of the elimination tests and post some more photos that you all suggested. 
This watch would tick just a couple of times then stop. So not a runner. If this watch was serviced, it certainly hasn’t been since at least the 50’s or 60’s. Was my grandfather’s watch and it’s been sitting in my dad’s drawer since then. 

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3 hours ago, ed1210 said:

This watch would tick just a couple of times then stop. So not a runner. If this watch was serviced, it certainly hasn’t been since at least the 50’s or 60’s. Was my grandfather’s watch and it’s been sitting in my dad’s drawer since then

Usually the reason why watches that at this old have running issues is because the used organic oils. So typically a watch like this once everything is nice and clean everything should run a really nicely.

9 hours ago, clockboy said:

The reason I ask is the wheels are different colours which might indicate one of them is not an original.

A lot of times on American pocket watches the wheels were made out of a gold alloy or maybe it's plated. Usually on much higher grade watches the center will always be a gold color and maybe the entire train. It depends on the grade when they made the watch etc. Then of course there is always a possibility somebody swapped a wheel at one time but if the watch was running back then it should be running now

5 hours ago, Shane said:

It is because there is more or better mechanical advantage driving the train backwards.

Yes take this all the way to escape wheel where you can almost blow air on it And will spin Effortlessly. But pushing the mainspring when the entire train is in use at the push relatively hard but it depends upon the watch

22 hours ago, ed1210 said:

I’ve cleaned and have started to reassemble.

Did you take the mainspring out and clean it or did you replace the mainspring?

 

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4 hours ago, ed1210 said:

I took the mainspring out and cleaned it.

You took the mainspring out and cleaned it did you lubricate it? Then I'm curious about how you put it back in the barrel and whether the barrel lid went on nice and tight? Because this is a test you brace mainspring and the T part really does have to be in the slot otherwise you're not going to get the lid on tight and that could be a binding issue. 

Edited by JohnR725
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Good news, after disassembling again I realized that the barrel was not properly closed (duh). So now everything is spinning as it should. So thank you all for your help.

In other news I seem to have misplaced the stem. I have the crown, but can't find the stem anywhere. (Again, duh). I have some other Elgin movements, so maybe I'll see if any of them are a good fit.

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