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This watch came to me with a broken mainspring, and otherwise looked in OK condition.  No problem, I thought, new spring and off we go. I did notice the missing star wheel, and told the owner that I wasn't sure how well the regulator would stay in place without it. He was OK with that,  just wanted the watch to tick if I could get it going.



Weeeel, mainspring in and no tickee. At first I thought I hadn't got the train in properly or something was jammed, so I went through the wheel by wheel troubleshooting procedure, which is a bit of a PITA on a full plate watch.

That wasn't it.

So, I looked a bit more closely at the escapement.  Saw something I missed during disassembly,  you can see it in the following picture.



This watch has a three piece pallet assembly, arbor, pallets, and fork, with the fork and pallets screwed together with two screws.  This assembly was no longer lined up correctly, and the stones were jamming against the escape wheel. I'm guessing it was knocked catawampus when the main spring broke, but I don't really know for sure.  

Anyway, I lined the fork and pallets up as best I could by eye, trying to get them parallel, and the watch is now ticking away.  However, I'm not satisfied that the escapement is correct.

So, the question is, is there a procedure that I should be using to line up the pallet and the fork? I know I can adjust the lock with the banking screws, but if the pallet angle isn't correct I don't think faces of the stones will be at the correct angle to the escape wheel.

What to do, what to do. 

TIA for any suggestions.


Edited by dadistic
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To cover everything you are asking will take ages to type up so I would watch this video he explains it much better then I could wright it up, there are other videos of his explaining the train and escape of power. If you have the time you should watch them all. You will learn a hell of a lot. 



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These full plate watches are a real bear to adjust; you really have to have an escapement matching tool like the pic. Of course, they are rare, and when they come up for sale, expensive. There was a discussion here where a fellow made his own, might be of interest.


With the tool, you still have to have a good grasp of the escapement function to make adjustment with a fork like that. To which section is the staff fixed?

Hardinge escapement matching tool.jpg

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5 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

To which section is the staff fixed?


The pallets. The fork is what moved. The screwheads are not visible in the above picture,  they are on the other side. 

Thanks for the pointer to the fixture. I think I see how this tool is supposed to work, the pillar pate is mounted on the base, escape wheel and pallet put in place and the the arms are adjusted to hold the the loose pivots.  Much easier to examine the relationship between the parts vs. having to have both plates assembled.  Is this correct?   I don't believe one of those is in my near future. In fact, I think I can see my future now!  Examine the escapement action in slow-mo (just a touch of wind). Remove and adjust. Repeat ad nauseum 🙂

I have a modicum of understanding of the escapement function, I should be able to spot gross errors, we'll see how it goes. 

Thank you so much for the pointer!


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Aargh.  Trying to get the lock symmetrical using the banking pins I messed up their position, and now it's overbanking.  It looks like the pin on the fork is bent a bit, too, so who knows.  Also, at some point it looks like one of the banking pins was replaced,  they are different.  One was frozen, but screw loosening fluid got it freed up.  These pins have been considerably messed with over the years, I can tell from the condition of the screw slots.

This is definitely not the watch to be practicing adjustment on, the list of problems is almost endless, but you do what you've got to do. 

Start from scratch, try again.


Edited by dadistic
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Ok, this watch is getting set to the side for a while. I went through the process of setting the banking pins, "banked to the drop", then opening them up to allow further slide. 

Ran for a bit, then the escapement jammed again. Took a look, and the roller jewel is coming loose, and it's sitting at an angle and moving around! 

Enough already 🙂

I don't have a tool for setting the roller jewel, not something I've needed to do before. So, I got on the bay and found a combination tool at a decent price. I have shellac,  just no tool to hold the roller. When it shows up, I'll continue on with this repair.  There are other things going on, too, but one step at a time, maybe I'll get this thing to run. 


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17 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Never give in, never give in!

Nope.  As long as I don't damage a part (unobtainium), I'll keep plugging away until this sucker runs. It may never be a great timekeeper, but I really want this thing to live again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the tool I wanted, and I managed to get the roller jewel in place and solid. Turned out not only was the jewel loose, but there was a chip in the end. So, I removed the jewel, cleaned the old shellac off it, and cleaned up the roller table.  Turned the jewel around so that the good end was exposed,  shellacked it  in  place and made sure it was lined up.  The watch is running.  There is more that could or should be done to get the escapement correct, but I'm not sure how far I'm going to go with this one, have to see how well it runs.  The little combination tool was very helpful for holding the roller table. Would have been a real pain without it.


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Well, the watch is finally running. I had to shift the hairspring quite a bit to get it in beat, it wouldn't start unless it was shaken. Interesting observation re beat, there is ~ 0.7 ms difference between dial up and dial down. I don't know what to make of that,  maybe it's a timing machine artifact, different "noises" in each position. 

I'm sure more could be done to get this watch running better.  After setting what I thought was a good total lock, I ended up having to open up the banking pins to get a decent swing out of the balance. It originally was sitting there jittering away nervously, worse than me 🙂

Given the amount of wear on this watch, I'm afraid I could end up really chasing my tail trying to make improvements, so I'm going to leave it be.  It should stay well within a minute a day when it's lying or hanging around, and I think that will make the owner happy. 


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