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sierra49

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I am a frustrated watch repairer. I am an expert at taking things apart, but I have a small problem. I cannot put them back together again ! I am trying to find a balance staff for a leonidas Pocket watch, that my father was given during the war in Burma. It was smashed in a fight with a jap soldier and the glass was broken as well as the balance staff It has a number in the back case 332994 there is an number on the outside : U6228 and the crows foot. The hands had rotted away and the dial is not so good but the numbers are visible except the 12 ,3, and 9 I am fascinated by watches and clocks. At the age of 74 I still have a steady hand but eyesight not brilliant. Well I look forward to some interesting comments and stories. I was a merchant seaman in my youth and then left and Joined the RAF for 9 years. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for accepting me, and I apologise for not replying for some time. I seem to have a problem replying to comments on here. Well thank you for sending me a link for the balance staff. I found three and one was for a chrono so that narrows it to two. I was impressed with the way the new dial face was printed. I have been trying to use a pin to repaint the little bars on the outer second ring, and it is not working. If I can find the paper and get an expert to design a black dial with all the markings ,that would save me a lot of eye strain ! Brilliant video. Well I was not sure if I had the right site when I came on here so I shall spend more time here as it is very informative. I love the way you chaps whip all the components off a watch, clean and oil them and then put them back together again.  I shall keep going and practice and learn. Thanks, Mike.

On 11/9/2023 at 9:31 AM, watchweasol said:

Hello and welcome to the forum.  Pictures of the watch in question would be helpful.  Thanks

20231110_142655.thumb.jpg.71dbfa6a5a4268bfd0f7dd0b488efef0.jpg

20231110_142707.jpg

Well I seem to have managed that ok. so  I will now find some  of the paper I need to sort the dial out. Thank you

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8 hours ago, sierra49 said:

I need to sort the dial out

Oh your dial looks vintage vintage military and depending upon who you ask on the group possibly a cause of concern as the florescent material that's on there now is probably radium. So ideally you'd like to leave that alone.

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Hi John. I did scrape that off so no problem there. I found some details of the leonidas pocket watch. An  U with the T inside is for the Unitas company. Its a caliber 6497- 6498.   19 Lignes and the movement number is : 122753. The balance staff I think I am looking for is : BS 3465, 19 ligne, caliber 34/12 and  (A) 520mms, and (B) 274mms. I have not got a clue what all that means except A and B are the sizes in mm/1000 ? I believe Swatch is the company that bought up most of the smaller companies, and I found some interesting stories of how the Swiss went about  fighting off many new companies who manufactured movements back in the day. I think the best way to repaint the dial, is to spray it black and get a transfer like Mark did.

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50 minutes ago, sierra49 said:

I think the best way to repaint the dial, is to spray it black and get a transfer like Mark did.

I assume you go to strip off the old paint and whatever before you spray-painted? Maybe a better approach should be just to get a different dial altogether leave this one alone. As you know what the caliber the watches you just get a replacement dial and make it up the way you would like. Often times people frown on modifying a watch in the restoration of it but it is your watch so you can do what you want

54 minutes ago, sierra49 said:

An  U with the T inside is for the Unitas company. Its a caliber 6497- 6498.

I'm curious as to how you work this out? Yes the UT part is right but was the caliber number under the balance wheel for instance?

55 minutes ago, sierra49 said:

I believe Swatch is the company that bought up most of the smaller companies, and I found some interesting stories of how the Swiss went about  fighting off many new companies who manufactured movements back in the day.

The history of Swiss watch making is interesting. In a lot of countries what they're doing would be frowned upon. From time to time and they done this in the past they form groups and they tend the function as one company even if they appear to be separate companies. Like you UT is found inside a shield their oh whole bunch of companies under this grouping and then they excluded companies that were not part of their grouping. Swatch group is just the latest evolution in how they function. Simplistically they function as one company with agreements not to compete in various markets which is why if you travel you'll see them brands that you've never seen before because they have agreements. All of which would be frowned upon in a normal country as anti-trade practices.

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Thank you all. Yes it should be left as is really. I have Cleaned it and carefully taken some old repaint off. It is corroded in places so I have got a compass and grooved the circles, and cut the seconds in. I will then lightly spray it, and fill the grooved area with a flat, water based paint, then rub over it. Thank you for helping me out, Mike

6 hours ago, RichardHarris123 said:

Here's the measurements, as for the dial, it's your watch.  Many people will think you should of left it as it was but opinion is divided. 

Screenshot_20231125_181335_Chrome.jpg

Thank you Richard. I have just found out how to answer other members ! So did I have the wrong measurements ? 

6 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

I assume you go to strip off the old paint and whatever before you spray-painted? Maybe a better approach should be just to get a different dial altogether leave this one alone. As you know what the caliber the watches you just get a replacement dial and make it up the way you would like. Often times people frown on modifying a watch in the restoration of it but it is your watch so you can do what you want

I'm curious as to how you work this out? Yes the UT part is right but was the caliber number under the balance wheel for instance?

The history of Swiss watch making is interesting. In a lot of countries what they're doing would be frowned upon. From time to time and they done this in the past they form groups and they tend the function as one company even if they appear to be separate companies. Like you UT is found inside a shield their oh whole bunch of companies under this grouping and then they excluded companies that were not part of their grouping. Swatch group is just the latest evolution in how they function. Simplistically they function as one company with agreements not to compete in various markets which is why if you travel you'll see them brands that you've never seen before because they have agreements. All of which would be frowned upon in a normal country as anti-trade practices.

Hi John. I found the number stamped onto the faceplate assembly. There was the UT stamp and a curious bended railway line  motif. The number was 122853, but the 8 was over stamped with a 7. I will take the balance out tomorrow and see if anything is stamped there. I spent hours looking up various watch sheets of different makes. I found a german site and it listed 4 different types of leonidas makes, and on I believe was South African. I clicked on a link on here if I remember right. I used to do a lot of investigation work in my final job, and I tend to go all over the place looking for clues !

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10 hours ago, sierra49 said:

Caliber 6497- 6498

4 hours ago, sierra49 said:

There was the UT stamp and a curious bended railway line  motif. The number was 122853, but the 8 was over stamped with a 7. I will take the balance out tomorrow and see if anything is stamped there. I spent hours looking up various watch sheets of different makes. I found a german site and it listed 4 different types of leonidas makes, and on I believe was South African. I clicked on a link on here if I remember right. I used to do a lot of investigation work in my final job, and I tend to go all over the place looking for clues !

The reason I'm asking about the caliber number is if it's not the right caliber the balance staff isn't going to work. So for instance what does a 6497 look like well it's at the link below and I'm guessing yours was made before these were. I don't suppose we can have a picture of the dial side of the movement so we can see the setting parts?

http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&0&2uswk&Unitas_6497

 

 

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