Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Good evening,

I'm hoping to get some input on whether this is the way this hairspring is suppose to look or whether it could be contributing to my watch running very slow; more than 999 seconds per day slow per the timegrapher.  Not having looked at a ton of hairsprings, my concern is whether that last coil starts to cut across the other coils too soon. 

Also, could this mainspring be causing the slow rate?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.  Arron.

PW: serial 4783027; model 1888 16s 7j.


74 hairspring.jpg

74 waltham MS.jpg

74 waltham MS side.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks like this could be a breguet style hairspring, if this is the case then it is as it should be, see picture and link below for more information.


As for the slow rate on the timegrapher, sometimes the timegrapher reads +/-999 if it cannot calculate the real error or it is getting conflicting data rather than a true time error of -999 in your case, therefore, it could be many things causing it to freak out like this, not necessarily a calibration issee.... some erroneous source of vibration within the watch etc... Sometimes vintage watches loose the regulator arm on the balance complete, or the spring jumps out causing strange readings. Hence, I would treat the -999 as your timgrapher reporting an error more than a real timing issue of -999 s/d and perform your usual troubleshooting eg damaged pivots and jewels or even an incorrect movement ring etc...

Hope this helps

Screenshot 2023-02-28 103515.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

your holding the balance wheel in the wrong place so I can't see something. Your balance wheels missing timing screws this should probably be a few more. If you're missing timing screws it means that somebody is played with the balance wheel beyond the normal bad things they do that would contribute to a timing issue

as others have said your mainsprings kinda look late like a weird hairspring as opposed to looking like a mainspring so I would replace that.

then your hairspring isn't quite right but in other words the over coil is a quite where it normally would be probably but as not going to be why you're running so darn slow it means more of a centering issue which I really wouldn't worry about right now. It is also possible it is right because it's a hairspring off of something else would actually have to see it in the watch to see how it looks centered and as I said I wouldn't worry about it. But as you were asking I thought I should say

then the timing screws on the balance wheel her out quite far that would allow you to run slow but not this slow so just leave them alone for now.

The reason you're holding the balance wheel wrong is I can't see the gap that's underneath their the gap on the other side looks a little excessive normally their little closer together the ends and if they are too far out that would be a reason you'd run slow but as long as the thing is around so another words when it's los Lidia look at it it appears to be around there probably okay. It's not like there's some magical number of a certain millimeter spacing it just looks like a really big gap and if the gaps the same on the other side then it's probably right but I still think is missing screws

if you look at the link here and see other examples of your watch it's hard to tell on the balance wheel some of them look like they don't have a lot of screws but some look like they a little more. Sometimes what happens when you have dramatic timing stuff like this is providing everything else is right oh and also check the regulator pins on the over coil that would be as tight as possible but still allow the hairspring to slide versus a flat hairspring where it needs a little more breathing room. So providing everything looks right except you grossly often timekeeping somebody probably is screwed up they hairspring and replaced it from somewhere else.


14 hours ago, Waggy said:

sometimes the timegrapher reads +/-999 if it cannot calculate the real error or it is getting conflicting data rather than a true time error of -999 in your case

with your timing machine you always want to visually look at the watch. Words is the balance wheel look like it has a nice amplitude or basically does the amplitude visually agree more or less what the timing machine. Do you have a graphical display does the graphical display look reasonably decent the graphical display looks like a snow globe then the numbers will be worthless.

Oh and your balance wheel typically on American pocket watch is not 100% of the time the serial numbers were inscribed on the balance wheel it's it on the top of the arms of the bottom of the arms make sure your serial number agrees with your serial number of the watch that's always a clue if it doesn't agree that somebody swapped it. But more than likely somebody screwed up to hairspring and replaced it so if everything looks right near just running really slow takeoff a pair of timing screws not adjustable ones on the arms over the arm's book a pair of the opposite ones you want to take off one from each side initially if you're curious just take one screw off one screw is typically good for about 16 minutes in other words this is what happens if a timing screw falls off you wondering why you're off by another GB fast by quite a bit which interestingly enough corresponds to 999 seconds let's look at your balance wheel more carefully again? First any to redo my math is sometimes a mathematically challenged okay one timing screw would  give you the air you have but it looks like you have matched pairs kind of. The screws don't look all identical which is a bit odd one screw doesn't even look like it's in as far as the other so check to make sure all the screws are in tight except I said the mean time screws that are over the balance arm leave them alone. Everything looks tight and fine just take one screw off and see what that does is give you an incredibly bad poising year but don't worry about that. Then if it produces about the right timekeeping we can see what we can do there may be a something but I would like to see the other side of the balance wheel how big the opening's is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks John, i learned alot from that post of yours.  i didn't know that there was even a number on the balance but you are right there is one and it's not exactly the same as the mvt.  the mvt is 4783027 and the balance is 4783097.  i looked under the microscope and yes some of the screws are not in all the way; i'll screw them in as you suggested.  there is another attached photo which shows at the blue marks that two screws are indeed smaller than the others.

I got the following timegrapher readings before I noticed that the balance staff was broken.  i'm not sure if it was broken when the readings were taken or if i actually broke the staff after taking out and reinstalling the balance after the timegrapher readings.  I can't test anything until i get the new staff installed--i'm waiting for the part now.

face up: amplitude 141  beat error 2.9

crown up: 243; 4.8

crown down: 171; 3.7

face down: 138; 3.3

I don't recall what the graphic display looked like.  When i get it all back together i'll test if again.

74 bal s2 (2).jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, arron said:

the mvt is 4783027 and the balance is 4783097.

those numbers are so close together in fact I'm wondering if you're reading the  next last number right instead of being it to it's really a nine or vice versa in a case there so close together that should be the same balance wheel but that's really weird. It's very seldom would you ever see watches of consecutive serial numbers although I once purchased to watches with consecutive serial numbers. Somebody had purchased a lots of a particular movement for a company went out of business but still that thing is exceedingly rare

if you're lucky when the screws are all back in it should bring it back in the time. It's one of the things you really should check on well on pocket watches there's a lot of things to check. You always want to check the roller jewel to make sure it's not loose a lot of times the shellac will just not be holding and if it's loose that makes interesting things on the timing machine that you might think is something else. Sometimes it masquerades itself as a pallet fork issue like maybe one pallet stone of something when it's really the roller jewel. They it's always good to look at and check the balance screws especially if you start having timing issues because they could become loose with time. I sometimes think the ultrasonic might actually loosen them. Then of course if one falls out which I've had happen then you're running really really really fast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good morning,

My substitute balance staff arrived; for just a few dollars more i got a second one.  the old one is in the middle and the new ones are on top and bottom.  I have two questions: 1) will the substitute staff work given that the shaft below the hub is longer on the new ones?  If the roller table doesn't sit tight against the hub, then maybe it would be ok.   2) The top new staff has quite a bit of rust on the shaft and hub.  what would be the best way to remove that without changing the diameter of the shaft; sanding, evaporust?

74 balance staff 5 new (2).jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/3/2023 at 11:32 AM, arron said:

1) will the substitute staff work given that the shaft below the hub is longer on the new ones?

they should be identical and yes the hub thickness doesn't look right. As far as I can tell there are no variations for the staff for this watch which staff number did you use when ordering replacement staff's?

On 3/3/2023 at 11:32 AM, arron said:

2) The top new staff has quite a bit of rust on the shaft and hub.  what would be the best way to remove that without changing the diameter of the shaft; sanding, evaporust?

then personallyI never like to see rust on a balance staff because it be really bad for the balance pivots that of rust. If you are a watchmaker's lathe and possibly really fine sandpaper but yes change dimensions wouldn't be in your best interest

then I should've mentioned up above if I didn't did you measure the dimensions of the old staff versus the new staff with a micrometer?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ordered the 2844, which is the one listed as correct by ofrei and confirmed by the catalogue you published in my other post regarding the balance staff (i should have posted these updates in that thread instead of here, so sorry for any confusion caused).  I ended up buying off of ebay.  if all of the other dimensions are correct (i haven't checked yet, but they sure look otherwise identical) and if the roller table doesn't seat all the way down to the hub (which i don't think it does), couldn't i still use this staff?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the problem with replacement staffs are they should be identical to the staff for replacing. Then I looked again last night there appears to only be one balance staff for this watch. But? I know like in the case of Elgin they had variations with the same part number but in the Waltham catalogs there appears to be no such variations. Except I think there's at least three separate pallet forks for this watch. It's the problem with Waltham watches its in the catalog their kind of generic in a way they cover a rather large time span and it does tend to be variations.

The worst would be if you use this staff with the thicker hub it's going to change the location of the roller table and you might rub on the fork.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, that's was i was afraid of but wasn't sure if the table sits flush against the hub or there is some space between the two.  I do have a lathe that i've not yet used so maybe this would be a good project to try it out.  Thank you very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, arron said:

that's was i was afraid of but wasn't sure if the table sits flush against the hub or there is some space between the two.

then typically the hub is used as a spacer so yes it would fit tight against the hub. Then yes if you of a lathe modifying something existing can be easier than making an entire new staff. Except does require skills so modifying sometimes requires as much skills is making new. That is a nice about having a lathe is often times you might have to shorten the pivots or polish the pivots or do something with the pivots. In other words a brand-new staff may still require some work typically with the pivots though.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Elaborate on this statement. What sorts of things define calibers from different decades? The only thing I can think of short of the pocket to wrist watch shift around WWI and quartz is shock settings starting... late-40s, early-50s?
    • I'm not sure who "we" is as I'm not a part of how "we" do it. Most of "us" develop their own method(s). Please re-read what has been said;  
    • Nice one Andy- a very ‘blingy’ 404 with all those jewels…
    • It's a matter of preference really. You should keep the #5 aside and just use them for fine hairspring work though; otherwise they will end up damaged and be useless for that. Some like #1, some #2, some #3 for general work. Some use brass or nickel tweezers for general work- this is good as they are less likely to scratch delicate parts, and are much "grippier". On that note, the finer the tweezer, the more likely it will be to want to launch parts.   I have a bunch of nickel tweezers that have been retouched so many times they are like 30% shorter than new. Those become handy for when you need very strong tweezers- just used a pair to unscrew the bond from inside a floating barrel. My general use tweezers the last few years are a couple of pair of #5 that have been sharpened enough times that the ends are now very strong; useless for hairspring work, great for general work. These are Dumont Dumostar, which is a much more tough alloy than the Dumoxel, and less brittle than their carbon steel ones.
    • Hold the end stone down in chaton with your tweezers to remove the rodico.   Once shock spring is locked in the setting, you can whipe / clean  any residue off the setting.     Swiss setting holds the spring in place but the spring in chinese setting  fall out.  To remove the srping from Swiss setting , you got to remove the setting or at least raise it .
  • Create New...