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Looking for more information on a watch before I dive head-first into a shallow pool!


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I've been following the standard array of Watch repair youtubers for a while now, getting interested and excited about this new hobby. I've collected some tools: Magnification sources, good quality screwdrivers, poor quality screwdrivers, some decent tweezers, etc. The basics -- no mainspring winders or any of the "big" tools like a press or anything. Finally, I've been trawling ebay, filtering out the plethora of frankenseikos and replica rolexes. I found a nice looking, likely candidate in a Benrus automatic.

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It's a bit beat up but nothing super serious. I don't hate a we bit of visible wear.

Once I received it I found that the only way to get some activity on the dial was to give the machine a bit of a gentle spin to activate the Automatic works.

Great news that it runs and I don't have to call the seller a liar, bad news is that the manual wind either doesn't work, or doesn't exist.

I can pull the crown out and set the time though, and the day/date turn over at roughly the correct time. I decided to put the thing on a timegrapher to see how well it runs. I googled "Benrus Automatic Lift Angle, and the most recent thing I came across seemed to list all Benrus' as having 50º of lift.

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That's.... not amazing. While I'm no expert at reading this stuff, I think that gaining 30m a day, and having no detectable degrees of rotation on the balance wheel seems bad. I should note that I did try throwing in different bph and lift angles. This was the best it got.

To make a short story long; I learned what a split crown meant, and got the movement out of the case after employing my crystal claw.

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And this is where I'm nervous! It looks like this movement has not seen the light of day since its original installation, the beautiful ranfft.de site seems to list all Benrus movements as some sort of ETA variant, and this does look very similar to the pictures that I saw on the site, but the reversing gears on the Auto works look different than all of the automatics that ranfft has listed for the benrus. Googling the Model "HH 1D1" doesn't seem to give me the kind of information that I know how to parse.

I guess what I'm asking is for help determining the actual model of movement I have here. I'd like to read up on or find a service guide for it before I get too rammy! Please let me know what more information would be useful, I'm happy to provide.

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 Benrus didn't have its own calibers,  relied on Swiss movements, thought might have changed designs of some parts of complications and stamped them with some designations of Benrus, which obviously is on this  auto-rotor, it would lead us to its ETA base caliber, therefrom we can look for datasheets for it.

Take lots picture as you disassemble,  most anyone here has worked on ETA movements so no worries as we'd work with you to reassemble it.

Rgds

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I would just go for it, take lots of pictures on your phone (photons and memory on your phone is free!) and try to segregate the groups of components. nothing worse than trying to figure out what screw went with what. Assemble in the reverse sequence to which you disassembled. I don't see any problems hand winding the mainspring if you don't have a set of winders - My Retro Watches has a good YouTube on how to do this. As for lubrication the service manual (if it exists) is the best way to go, but it's also OK to follow standard practices.... here are my rules of thumb:

  • If its a jewel = 9010
  • If its a metal post with something rotating on it at high RPM = 9010
  • If its a metal post with something rotating on it at low RPM = D5 or HP1300
  • If its metal rubbing/grinding on metal = grease (Moly XD or similar)
  • If in doubt D5 or HP1300 is your friend (it's halfway [ish] between 9010 and grease, so even if you get it wrong you won't be too far off)
  • For mainsprings with auto works you will need breaking grease on the wall of the barrel so the spring can slip, and you will need different grease on the spring itself (I use 8200) regardless if it's an automatic or manual winding watch.
  • Nothing on the pallet fork jewels, leave them dry.

Of course there are exceptions to the above, but I think if you follow this you can't go far wrong.

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23 minutes ago, Waggy said:

I would just go for it, take lots of pictures on your phone (photons and memory on your phone is free!) and try to segregate the groups of components. nothing worse than trying to figure out what screw went with what. Assemble in the reverse sequence to which you disassembled. I don't see any problems hand winding the mainspring if you don't have a set of winders - My Retro Watches has a good YouTube on how to do this. As for lubrication the service manual (if it exists) is the best way to go, but it's also OK to follow standard practices.... here are my rules of thumb:

  • If its a jewel = 9010
  • If its a metal post with something rotating on it at high RPM = 9010
  • If its a metal post with something rotating on it at low RPM = D5 or HP1300
  • If its metal rubbing/grinding on metal = grease (Moly XD or similar)
  • If in doubt D5 or HP1300 is your friend (it's halfway [ish] between 9010 and grease, so even if you get it wrong you won't be too far off)
  • For mainsprings with auto works you will need breaking grease on the wall of the barrel so the spring can slip, and you will need different grease on the spring itself (I use 8200) regardless if it's an automatic or manual winding watch.
  • Nothing on the pallet fork jewels, leave them dry.

Of course there are exceptions to the above, but I think if you follow this you can't go far wrong.

Similar rules to which i employed when i started, if it revolves oil it, if it slides grease it. If its a small pivot use thin oil , if its an arbor use thick oil, anything inbetween use some viscosity inbetween ( much more to consider than this but its a start ). Practice and advice along the way will help you refine this very basic guideline. Lubrication is a huge subject that can cause controversy and getting it right as regards to accurate placement and correct amount makes a big difference in how the watch will perform, not just in the long run but effects can become apparent quickly if your oiling practice lacks precision.  

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3 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Lubrication is a huge subject that can cause controversy

Now that is an understatement!

The above will get you 80% there with only 20% of the headache. Start off simple and then you can develop your own best practices and arsenal of exotic oils/greases/epilames/Lubeta.....  and oilers to chase those elusive final few degrees of amplitude. Perfection is expensive to approach and impossible to achieve!

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2 hours ago, Kalanag said:

For me this movement is derived from the ETA 2770 family.

I would think so too. What I don't like about these movements is that the rotor bearing is plain (not ball-bearing) and in my experience not very efficient and usually needs a bit of manual winding to make it over the night. So, I tend to stay away from them if I can.

1 hour ago, Waggy said:

Perfection is expensive to approach and impossible to achieve!

Now noted in my quote book! 👍

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8 hours ago, Kalanag said:

For me this movement is derived from the ETA 2770 family.

Thanks! Based on the features of this watch and the specs listed on ranfft I'm going to look at the 2778, as well as the video you shared!

Everyone else, thanks for the thoughts and encouragement! I think I'm going to dive in to mainspring winding before I get too deep. I'm not adverse to just ordering a replacement from cousins (or their canadian equivalent). That'll depend on what I learn!

Regarding The World of Lube I see that being full of twists and turns, and opinions as varied as the people presenting them. I know a service manual is likely to say us this lube only, or the watch will explode! but if I combine the manual with reasonable or equivalent flexibility I should hit a happy medium between what works and what's perfect.

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After several days of searching; it's wild to me that there is so little documentation! The best I've come across is a parts listing for a 2779. It'll be useful I think, at least for helping me identify parts and what they're for. I'm so used to the computer world where I have a full service manual for almost everything I touch! Are there any resources or sources that I'm not thinking about due to being terminally on the Internet?

Also, as it turns out, this appears to be a 2788 movement, so I've probably got a quickset date feature -- that's nice 🙂

IMG_0087.jpeg.52386dbe8d1f7642171a4d87edba4965.jpeg

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58 minutes ago, nrm said:

it's wild to me that there is so little documentation!

I hear you, now I only search for the manual if I hit problems or the movement looks especially unusual or tricky. This is in part because I am lazy and in part because often there is no manual out there and what you do find often amounts to little more than a parts list. There are exceptions of course, for instance Seiko have some pretty good documentation out there, but for that one-off eBay find you will be lucky indeed to find anything that comes close to a service manual. Fortunately, most movements follow a similar configuration so once you get a feel for it you can take an educated guess (even - eventually - for those oddball movements) at the correct procedure to disassemble/assemble and lubrication etc. and it normally works out, and if not we are here to help! If you are struggling, perhaps a better strategy I have had good success with, rather than searching endlessly for a manual, may be to search on YouTube as there is a reasonable chance that someone may have a video showing how they serviced the same, or similar, caliber watch, but you will have to use your own judgement to evaluate if they are worth listening to of course. There are some great YouTubers out there and some......erm.....not so great ones. However, even the bad ones may be worth watching as an example of what NOT to do 🤣

I junked a lot of my first watches...maybe 10 or 15 all junked one after the other, then that first win! and slowly your ratio of winners and junkers starts to get better until the junkers become the exception. So be prepared for failure at first, but there is light at the end of the tunnel .... keep trying, just like one of the better YouTubers says "nobody is born a watchmaker".

Edited by Waggy
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On 9/20/2023 at 1:01 AM, nrm said:

I googled "Benrus Automatic Lift Angle, and the most recent thing I came across seemed to list all Benrus' as having 50º of lift.

the problem with that searches to generic. Lift angle applies to specific watches.families typically of watches. Then lift angle is only needed if you have one of those newfangled timing machines and/or software they can measure amplitude. So basically they don't go back that far which means if we had the original technical documentation for your watch it with a list of lift angle because timing machines did not exist at that time that measure amplitude. More than likely at the time this watch came into existence the timing machine did not have a display and spit out a piece of paper tape with the printout on it.

But as newfangled timing machines came into existence so did lists and websites like this one.

https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/lift_angles

oh other minor problem exactly which what you looking for? if it's one of those 51°.

image.png.16f15b7ed05fab3339a197da80ab4a62.png

 

1 hour ago, nrm said:

2788

one of the confusions for people new to watch repair is who made their watch. I now it's not confusing it's on the dial for babies in the back possibly the case. But typically a lot of watch companies purchase basically OEM movements most the time well some of the time they basically don't modify anything at all they just put their name on them. Sometimes they start modifying things that gets to be interesting.

Typically but not always you'll find who actually made the movement under the balance wheel.

http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&0&2uswk&ETA_2788

as you can see it's part of a big family but maybe I'm having eyesight issues not seeing lift angle so I'll just go to a book and we get this

image.png.abcbb73b8bbffd45c6349a56474dc801.png

 

1 hour ago, nrm said:

After several days of searching; it's wild to me that there is so little documentation! The best I've come across is a parts listing for a 2779. It'll be useful I think, at least for helping me identify parts and what they're for. I'm so used to the computer world where I have a full service manual for almost everything I touch! Are there any resources or sources that I'm not thinking about due to being terminally on the Internet?

the problem is watch literature service guides only exist over relatively narrow range of watch repair. Watches came into existence not got Google when paper came into existence but pretty early and printing probably wasn't readily available back then. So printed documentation for watches really is relatively new and would only come into existence at the time the watch came out if it existed at all. So for instance your watch is a date range of 1969-1982 which brings up the problem of there be no PDFs available because I just now looked it up PDFs don't come into existence until 1993 so that is a problem.

Then when you look at the PDFs that are available for anything older as you notice there the parts listing only. Even if a service guided did exist typically scanned by material houses who had zero interest in watch repair or watchmakers had zero interest in a basic generic how to service this watch they were solely scanned for the purpose of parts and parts identification. So often times you'll see the service information as we think it is will have a page 1 and then jump to the end of the book away over the parts listing was because nobody cared about servicing the watch at least when they were scanning these PDFs when they probably didn't even have a decent flatbed scanner and were doing these one page at a time. Or basically were lucky to have anything at all unfortunately

one place you can go to is cousins I've bookmarked where the documentation searches are. Yes they have more than just documentation everybody gets their parts there or almost everybody. Then I find that often times if he just search for the numbers and don't worry about the letters and get a much bigger listing it's usually to your advantage rather than getting too specific and not finding what you're looking for at all

https://www.cousinsuk.com/document

2788 was unproductive so I dropped off one of the numbers and more productive

image.thumb.png.0e55b1f6f20ac8c31fe07f1534452c01.png

Quick Look shows the PDFs have parts only which is what I expected don't even have of your watch. So just in case you're looking for parts there are websites out there like this one.

http://cgi.julesborel.com/

then here's the parts list for your watch

http://cgi.julesborel.com/cgi-bin/matcgi2?ref=ETA_2788

the nice thing about a website versus the document is in click on the parts and find out all the other watches using your parts.

so the unfortunate or unhappy news for you is there is probably a service guide out there for your watch it's just that nobody ever scanned into a PDF.

 

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one of things it's interesting about horological data is it appears to have come from at least a lot of that one location one unknown location. For instance I once bought a DVD of data sheets. so for instance one of the tech sheet set cousin has which of course is not a tech sheet is just the parts list titled 1999_ETA2779, 2789 also exist in my computer with a file date of 2009. Which is why the popular sites that have tech sheets basically all have the same tech sheets because they basically all came from the same source. Which unfortunately was not the manufacture is somebody who could care less about lubrication or servicing they just want their parts list

there are other sites out there that will give us a clue perhaps this one you have to join an Association and is one of the benefits you get technical sheets which unfortunately brings up a problem. Notice they do have something but notice the word parts nothing about servicing. So it is conceivable that maybe there was no servicing for this watch but I'm sure for the 2700 series there must've been a lubrication are some guide some perhaps

https://www.awci.com/search.php?q=2788&tp=

so as you can see by the above referenced no servicing information. But even if there was servicing information there will be a problem it will be vintage servicing information. So how about we find some modern servicing information would that be helpful answer is probably no. But at least you can see what a modern tech sheet looks like. So why is is not helpful lubrication how should it be done versus how does the manufacturer recommends it be done? Typically for the Swiss they like insanely thin lubrication and they like heavy oil in locations where Greece should be used. This means they would have to use epilam which is an expensive product applied to the watch to keep the lubrication from spreading all over the place. Plus the probably skip over a few things like how to do the mainspring barrel. As this is a modern guide they would assume you will just replace the whole thing.

so the first link takes you to an amusing site that has technical literature. It's amusing because I'm not sure if they like us they definitely won't sell us spare parts won't sell us movements but yet they still have some technical literature online. Of course is all the very modern stuff and it's to generic modern stuff. They do have more technical literature than is shown here but is typically behind firewalls passwords and associated with specific manufacturers.

Then the second link is something similar to what you have. So give you an idea of what a tech sheet should look like.

https://shopb2b.eta.ch/en/

https://shopb2b.eta.ch/en/mecaline/2836-2-2836-2-5.html

3 hours ago, Waggy said:

Fortunately, most movements follow a similar configuration

this is typically why you won't find servicing information because typically watchmakers don't need it. It only need it for something specialized or something different or something unusual. Otherwise for general servicing watchmakers typically don't need a technical sheet.

3 hours ago, Waggy said:

I have had good success with, rather than searching endlessly for a manual, may be to search on YouTube as there is a reasonable chance that someone may have a video showing how they serviced the same, or similar, caliber watch, but you will have to use your own judgement to evaluate if they are worth listening to of course. There are some great YouTubers out there and some......erm.....not so great ones. However, even the bad ones may be worth watching as an example of what NOT to do 🤣

it used to be you can sometimes find servicing information just online or somebody would go through step-by-step. We even have step-by-step guides on this website. But even to seems to have taken over if you just search for  2788  eta several videos will come up and then like typical search engines will start going off in the other calibers but there are several 2788 videos

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

So for instance your watch is a date range of 1969-1982 which brings up the problem of there be no PDFs

This didn't even occur to me but it is so obvious in retrospect! Thanks for sharing the cousins link, it may come in handy in the future.

 

6 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

other sites out there that will give us a clue perhaps this one you have to join an Association

This actually makes a lot of sense when paired with the lack of PDF that you mentioned! Documentation probably existed for all mass produced movements -- on paper. A group like AWCI seems much more likely to have an archive of such niche information. They'd also be the kind of group that would be most likely to digitize old information 🙂 

With all this in mind -- you've been a tremendous help! (everyone has!) I think I've got a game-plan for this first full disassembly service! And I'll document it for anyone looking for similar info in the future (assuming success).

I'm going to have to hunt for a trade journal library after this. 

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On 9/26/2023 at 8:11 AM, nrm said:

A group like AWCI seems much more likely to have an archive of such niche information.

I believe that's one of the selling points of the membership. Then at one time they even gave the members all the data on disk but if I remember right they cleverly encoded it so you still needed something to access it. It wasn't like it was a huge data disk of data.

Then at one time I was a member the membership used to be insanely cheap like $40 a year then had the bright idea of raising at the 90 and they lost half their membership. Plus a whole bunch of other amusing things they were doing with their money in just interesting things that they shouldn't be doing. But before they raise their rates a lifetime membership used to be $400 which seemed expensive at the time. So even though I didn't like their politics thinking about it at $400 would open wisely spent over the next. I don't even want to think about if they had a lifetime membership what they would charge now.

Another place you can look for data is you look on eBay often times people have CDs DVDs whatever of lots of data a lot of it's available for free and some of it doesn't seem to be available for free so you get stuck purchasing on eBay.

of course there's all those interesting locations if you know where they are like this one I think you'll find quite a few tech sheets here. but of course they do suffer from the problem of not entirely entire information. Now that the ability of digitized papers a lot easier some basic go back and slowly start scanning all of the paper documents.

https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/files

 

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3 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

Then at one time I was a member the membership used to be insanely cheap like $40 a year then had the bright idea of raising at the 90 and they lost half their membership.

So, they increased their profit by 12.5 %. Good business decision 🤑

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  • 3 months later...
On 9/20/2023 at 3:22 PM, nrm said:

. I'm not adverse to just ordering a replacement from cousins (or their canadian equivalent).

New guy here. Bought a handful of parts movements off eBay. One of the only runners was a Benrus. Very tight case back with no visible notch so waiting for a decent quality opener from Perrin’s. Have you found any other Canadian sites for parts or supplies?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @urqjolt I've ordered from Perrin and Gesswein and they've been both good so far! Gesswein seems more focused on jewellers but they carry some things that Perrin does not :-)

There's also Somal Canada, but I believe that they are more of a business supplier so I haven't tried to set up with them -- I want to know what I'm doing before I make any pretensions of having a 'business' of this!

I've also come across Lacy West Supplies though, like Somal, I haven't attempted to use them for anything yet.

Beyond that, I'd go with a UK supplier before a USA one, it's just more affordable.

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