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"Do not remove this tag under penalty of law"


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Actually, it says "Do not open - Bulova-sealed lifetime power" stamped into the barrel lid.  The barrel is from a 1967 11 ALAC movement.  It seems tired, 55 years old.  Do I open it, clean/lube, wind it on a winder and try it?  Or do I measure the mainspring and get a new one?

Please advise.

Thanks,

- Tim

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I found the mainspring on CousinsUK.

I would say this guy is at the end of his "lifetime"  I don't know if the spring is "set" or not (how do you tell?), but the replacement spring is cheaper than the winder tool I would have to buy.

This is an auto so it needs breaking grease at intervals around the inside wall of the barrel?  What flavor of grease is correct for this barrel?

Thanks,

- Tim

990270394_BulAutoMS.thumb.jpg.3d0ef2406d38c16f636b8bfc3a72d58a.jpg

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A mainspring should have an S-curve to it (google image search results here). If it's super set, it'll look like a coil. There's a spectrum between the two, and you get to decide your cutoff point. Even among watches that old, once you get to the period/price point where they're using modern and modern-ish alloys, setting isn't at all ubiquitous, and I often reuse them. This is for my watches that I'm servicing because I like playing with machines, mind; no customer pieces here.

As for braking grease, the Moebius standard issue (I forget the number for the formulation, but I have a tiny vial of it here somewhere... 8217 maybe?) is the one to go with. 

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Steel mainsprings won't have an S curve, and also some new springs are a simpler stainless alloy that doesn't necessarily have an S curve. Generale Ressorts springs in the red retaining ring are the simpler alloy, the blue rings are Nivaflex- Nivaflex will always have the S curve.

 

For steel springs there's a rule of thumb that if it opens up more than twice the barrel diameter, or about the size of the movement, it's not set. I don't know if the above spring is steel or alloy, but it looks good to me!

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13 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Steel mainsprings won't have an S curve

Some time ago, to my astonishment I found the exception to the rule! For Lange B-Uhr, with S curve, though the watch has Geneva stopwork.

Frank

ZF_Lange_K48_31.jpg.59e2f163fa9fbd7583bf3f59b5d39d39.jpg ZF_Lange_K48_1.jpg.991dafd1e44fd55b9803c96a4345a634.jpg

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4 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

Generale Ressorts springs in the red retaining ring are the simpler alloy, the blue rings are Nivaflex- Nivaflex will always have the S curve.

Oh, so that's why they're sometimes blue and sometimes red. I had no idea and thought it was random. Thanks for sharing this info (as well as so much other information that you share)!

21 hours ago, GuyMontag said:

As long as the mainspring isn't set you can clean it and reuse it. This site has the measurements for the mainspring.

Hey, thanks for the tip! I've always used ranfft for this type of info.

Edited by VWatchie
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4 hours ago, VWatchie said:

Hey, thanks for the tip! I've always used ranfft for this type of info.

 

What is really handy about the emmywatch.com site is that it includes interchange info. So if you click on the mainspring I linked above it lists all of the other manufactures and movements (~ 30) that use the same sized mainspring. Same for all other parts, something I haven't seen any other site do.

Edited by GuyMontag
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5 hours ago, GuyMontag said:

 

What is really handy about the emmywatch.com site is that it includes interchange info. So if you click on the mainspring I linked above it lists all of the other manufactures and movements (~ 30) that use the same sized mainspring. Same for all other parts, something I haven't seen any other site do.

Yes, that's a fantastic and very useful feature! Having had the watch fever for about five years I wonder why I haven't seen the emmywatch.com site before. Do you know if it's new?

The site I've been using to find interchangeable parts is the JBC Watch Parts Database, which I wrote about in the linked post. Anyway, great to have two sources for cross reference.

 

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Lots of gold in this thread over the last 24 hours! Wow! @nickelsilverbringing some serious knowledge! I had no idea! I've probably tossed a few perfectly good mainsprings. To think, all this time I thought I was a stingy hack reusing them, when in fact I was being decadent by upgrading to more modern alloys. Also, the color coding is a breaking headline! Also didn't think anything of it, and thought it was just random based on what the supplier had laying around at the time. Crazy! Then the emmywatch site... Bookmarked. In the folder. That's clearly a newer site based just on the technology behind it (compared to ranfft and the like). The overlap between horology and web dev is an extremely narrow sliver in the Venn diagram, so anything like that popping up is rare! Great find!

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