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Favre Leuba 255 Twin Power Mainsprings


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Finally found a time window to sort out the low amplitude issue on my lovely non-Mumbia  Favre Leuba. The only job left to sort was the replacement of the twin mainsprings - pure cowardice. I'm delighted to say it has transformed to amplitude from 215 to 275 degrees so worth doing but not a beginners job. Here's what was learnt from the struggle which should help fellow watch menders. 

Forget about getting the exact spring from Favre - the new company is another resurrected imitation. According to Dr Ranfft you are looking for 1.55 x 6.5 x 0.065 x 210. Another site suggests a 270 mm length. The old springs were tired but 270 mm long so looking at the  fill in the 6.77 mm internal barrel diameter using the longer length looked the way to go. The nearest Cousins UK had in stock was GR4052 which is 7.5 mm diameter so they will need to be unwound and rewound into a 6.5 mm winder barrel. At over £20 each inc VaT this was expensive - Gleaves & Sons had 1.5 x 0.7 x 285 x 7 mm dia for £6 each so they got the order. It still meant rewinding so make sure you have the small winding tools this requires. The barrel design is probably unique. To save height there is no barrel top - instead the winding wheel sits on top of the open barrel and covers the spring. It has a hollow stem which forms the arbor and has the spring hook on this sleeve. The barrel has a hollow stem and one fits over the other - very neat. It's a pig to get apart. Use your sprung hand puller hooked under the geared cover as shown in the pictures. Next problem is that the new spring will have the inner circle in too large a diameter so that the arbor hook will not engage with the attachment slot. I tried a few tricks but the one that worked was to go ahead and install the spring in the open barrel. Then using flat ended strong tweezers squeeze the spring end to tighten that last curve until the wheel/arbor grabs. Patience and trial and error will be required.... It can be done before inserting the spring but make sure you put a drill through the middle to squeeze against thus preventing the brittle metal from snapping. 1.2 mm proved to be the best size. However I would suggest you do it after the spring is in the barrel since it makes it easier to thread in your winding tools. The hollow spigot in the barrel works as a handy former to shape the spring against. Don't forget to put a drop of HP 1300 or something similar on the outside and inside of the barrel spigot. Note that the spring should be CLOCKWISE in the barrel - ie starting from the centre it curves clockwise. Helpfully the neat design means that both barrels run the same way so are identical. Also admire the large ruby bush pivots on the barrel bridge - a feature that very few factory produced watches offered in this era - and still don't. Also look how well the balance is supported. Be careful when screwing down the bridge - the small winding wheel has to be guided into the barrel cover gear. This is a delightful slim movement and a great shame that so many ended up in tropical climates. She now runs like a champ 275 degrees amplitude DU and a two position delta of 6 seconds.

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Hi Nucejoe. Finding a well cared for Favre Leuba is not easy - it took me two years but it's worth the effort. A few things I've learn't.

The Indians are brilliant at many things but great watch care and servicing is not amongst them. The climate is also a machinery killer. Until the early 1960's they had no watch making factories so Nehru established a state funded factory using a Citizen hand wound movement and run by the Hindustani Machine Tool company. In true socialist fashion it failed to invest and modernise so they finally closed in 2019. These hmt pieces are great fun and dirt cheap. They are mostly worn out and redialed but can be sorted and the screw back steel cased ones are excellent. There are still some NOS around but hard to find and usually nasty gold plate.

Back in the day, a middle class Indian family bought their son an hmt when they went to high school and a Favre Leuba when they graduated university. As far as I can tell Favre's oversea's marketing did really well in Asia and didn't seem to have many agents anywhere else - hence the problem of finding a cherished example elsewhere. So to find a good one :

1. Forget buying one of the £50 one's from India on eBay and hoping you can restore. That good looking dial will be refinished - usually with a large paint brush - in the dark.

2. If you find a reliable seller with a high quality close up of the dial and it looks original that's probably the best you can do. Make sure it's not the single barrel movement - they can be substituted and the Twin Barrel dial will fit. NEVER buy a non-runner.

3. The silver dials are hard to reproduce so may be the safest bet.

Apart from the clever mainspring design the rest of the movement is conventional and well finished. Spares are a pain like all vintage pieces but plenty of donor movements around.

Good hunting.

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I repaired one for a friend earlier this year. It belonged to his father, so I think it a genuine piece.

The watch has an integral bracelet, which broke off at the weld many years ago. It was welded back by the agent in Hong Kong but was told that the movement was faulty and there were no spare parts. Really strange.

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I found that the centre wheel bush was worn and when I was testing it, it fell off the plate and disappeared. My heart missed a few beats! I spent hours searching for it to no avail.

I bit the bullet and did a rebushing. Thank God I was able to solve the problem and restored it to working order.

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I even did a dial repair. Matching the paint color took a bit of trial and error but I managed to get it pretty close. I only failed to get a matte finish to match the original finish.

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2 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

I repaired one for a friend earlier this year. It belonged to his father, so I think it a genuine piece.

Thats a beautiful watch hector and must  be original Swiss.

Expectedly the ones made in India are lower grade, low grade  hairspring, poor polishing etc, but parts interchange with original Swiss  just fine .

 

 

 

 

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Lovely work - well done. That's a rare watch and well worth saving. Lost part eh ? ... A watchmaker is the only race on earth who spends more time on their knees than a devout muslin....

As far as I know Favre never manufactured in Asia - didn't they all come from the Swiss factory ?

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love these movements... setting the movement in beat is a bit different from other makes.

As mentioned, a lot ended up in India but they seem to fare well mechanically but the cosmetics are a nightmare. Most that I've gotten from India work well with a clean and service.

Anilv

 

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