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Introduction And A Cool Toy


Tex

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Hello. Having just discovered these forums after looking over some of Mark's great videos and though I should take the opportunity to join up and introduce myself.

 

I'm just starting to get into watch repair as a hobby and am mostly interested in working on old manual wind movements. As a starting point I've picked up a few cheap watches that are in need of servicing. Hopefully they won't end up destroyed along the way. My professional background (and other hobby) is in embedded software and electronics. I'm fairly hands on and have done quite a lot of fine soldering work under magnification. Hopefully some of these skills will be transferrable.

 

At this stage I'm in the process of acquiring enough tools and oils so I can perform the basic clean and service work required. I also picked up this cool toy a while ago that I hope might help out in the hobby.

 

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It's a head mounted stereo microscope that was originally designed for surgeons and dentists. It quality unit with apochromatic optics, a good depth of field and working distance. It is able to auto focus and can zoom from 3.2x - 9.0x. It also has a co-axial light source and built in video camera. It was quite cheap but was missing the control box that drives everything. Fortunately I have been able to reverse engineer enough of the inner working to enable the auto focus and control the zoom.

 

Mark's videos have been extremely informative and there seems to be some very generous people here who are willing share their knowledge with others. I'm sure I'll be here with many questions once the screws start flying.

 

- Cheers, Tex

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Indeed it is. I really do need to update that log as it doesn't have my latest progress. I stripped down the electronics and managed to get enough info to go on to get comms happening both ways.

 

To dispel any rumours regarding my imminent planetary invasion I've updated my profile pic to show what it look like after I put the skin on over my glass head in the morning.

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Welcome aboard the helpful house of horology Tex. I look forward to reading about your future foray into watchmaking armed with your new toy. As a matter of interest, is it video only, or can you shoot stills? :)

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Welcome aboard the helpful house of horology Tex. I look forward to reading about your future foray into watchmaking armed with your new toy. As a matter of interest, is it video only, or can you shoot stills? :)

 

Thanks Geo. The camera output is S-Video so the video resolution is limited to SD video. Judging from the amount of electronics in there devoted to the video feed I do expect the quality to be about as good as SD gets though. I don't think the video camera is magnified in the same way as the stereo optics but I haven't hooked it up yet to see if that's the case. I'm intending to get a USB video capture device and see what it looks like soon. Even at SD resolution it might be interesting to see a movement disassembled from the perspective of the person doing it so it's probably worth getting the camera up and running.

 

This isn't my first foray into horology. I've designed and produced a few electronic clocks in the past. This has what has led to an interest in mechanical timepieces. They are beautifully made and I'd like to learn some of the skills involved.

 

Some of my clock making efforts so far are below:

 

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- Cheers, Tex

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Welcome to the forum. Hells bells what a piece of kit. When I was a watchmaker I always went from my workshop to see and advice the customer in the main shop. If I turned up wearing that gear I'm sure they would all run out the shop screaming. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome.

 

I had a go at servicing my first mechanical watch over the weekend. It's a Citizen 21 jewel Cal 0201 from an old Homer watch that I picked up on eBay for a few £. I figured I wouldn't try with something too precious for the first go. The movement was running but would stop regularly.

 

It appears to have been a fairly successful attempt. I disassembled all the parts (including removing the extra cap jewels for the 21J movement), pegged the jewel holes and washed everything (in one of those gem washing jars with the sieve).

 

I managed to get every gear and jewel and screw back into the right place. I carefully wound the mainspring back in by hand (with gloves on and can now see why it's better to use a winder). I oiled the components based on the normal ETA recommendations as I couldn't find a chart for this specific movement.

 

The good news it that it still ticks, no longer stops and keeps good time over a day. There was a little bit of rust on where some water had got in past the crown. I cleaned it up as best as I could with some tea and a fibreglass brush. The winding pinion and clutch really need replacing.

 

It seems run fast when fully wound but slows down again as the mainspring unwinds and over the 24 hour period is only a few seconds out. Is this normal behaviour? I used a timing app for my phone and it looks pretty good. Just slightly out of beat. Something I may have a go at rectifying.

 

The last thing I did was replace the acrylic crystal as the original was cracked. It's now all back together and just needs a new strap.

 

I tried out the microscope at during re-assembly and it seems to be pretty useful in this application. The auto-focus can hunt when viewing highly reflective or transparent surfaces but I've managed to work out how to engage manual focus for this situation. I think I'll build a proper control box to send these command and perhaps use some pedals instead of my laptop.

 

So now just to purchase a mainspring winder and a timing machine. Oh and a decent cleaning machine. This is not a cheap hobby is it. Marks videos (particularly the ones covering the service of the AS 1900 movement) proved to be inspiring, helpful and a good guide as to what to expect more or less when tearing down a movement.

 

Next time (although that could be a few months away. I'm about to undertake an international move) I'll make sure I get some pictures and video of the process.

 

- Cheers, Tex

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