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1st disassembly, balance jewel removal


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I'm a beginner and have signed up for Mark's course.  I'm about to start disassembling an ST36.  I figure I'll do that several times and make sure it still runs, and will take lots of pictures.  I'm using Mark's lessons on stripping down the movement but early on he shows taking off the balance jewels and incablock parts. 

Do I need to do that?  I thought I read somewhere here that you should not take the balance assembly apart if you're only cleaning.  I actually don't intend to clean at this point, just practice; cleaning later.

Also, am I correct that the balance jewels are the only ones that are removable and that all the others are pressed in?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Any jewel with a shock setting should be removable and should be removed and cleaned as part of a service. The ST36 only has shock jewels on the balance, so for that movement all the others are pressed in and not removed for service, just pegged.

Right now, I'd just keep the balance complete all together and just practice removing it and placing it back. Removing the shock jewels can come later as it is a little intimidating initially. 

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As @eccentric59 says, you only need to remove the shock jewels for cleaning.

For a balance with shock jewels, it is usual* to remove the shock jewels (chaton + cap), and leave the balance fixed to the mainplate for cleaning. The design of the shock system means that the pivots are safe from damage. 

* I don't know about his lessons, but I know from his other videos that Mark usually leaves the balance jewels in for cleaning.  

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Linux. Been down that road. Best to do everything Nucejoe and eccentric59 says. However if I may offer one piece of assistance. Use Rodico. Place it over the shock jewel spring. Replacements are not available. New movement will be needed. Trying to obtain replacement shock jewel spring is not the thing to have to do. Course is great.

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A similar discussion the other day on a thread about "one dip" as I recall.

As an amateur, I do the following when working on shockproof watches (more or less).

- Remove the balance assembly and put it in one-dip
- Disassemble the rest of the watch
- Put the disassembled parts in the L&R basket for cleaning
- Run the basket through the clean-rinse-rinse-dry cycle (actually, I do three rinses to get longer life by swapping jars)
- Remove the cap jewel from the main plate-clean-oil-install
- Take the balance assembly out of the one-dip to dry
- Put the balance cock on a balance cock holder (balance tack--that pointy thing)
- Remove the cap jewel from the cock-clean-oil-install
- Assemble the watch and finally the balance assembly

I have never run the balance assembly through the cleaning machine.  Seems a little scary.  However, I am open to the idea and may try that on a non-critical watch.

There was some discussion about how well the one-dip cleaned the balance. Fair question.  I have noticed that after a cleaning, there is clearly residue in the jar, so something has been removed.
 

In the steps above, when I work on a Seiko (diashock, diafix) or an MT-antichoc system, I add a couple of extra steps for cussing, yelling at the wife, and kicking the dog.

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It depends on how you intend to clean it. If its by hand you will have a hard time in cleaning such tiny parts. A very good cleaning machine will do the job very successfully with out removing the incablock parts.

Movements very some have jewel caps on the train some don't. You will find this out by the more watches you repair. 

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4 hours ago, linux said:

 I figure I'll do that several times and make sure it still runs, 

So eccentric must have gathered the movement is most likely be a runner, even a brand new, considering its the 1st disassembly, leaving the shock springs/ jewels  alone is an excellent idea.

Its when I am working on a used movement, I want to clean and check the setting.

Rgds

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Hey, thanks all for the great advice.  The movement is brand new (sans the canon pinion which pinged off into the void 🙂  ) so it is a running, at least for now.  I left the incabloc/cap jewel on and removed the balance wheel/hairspring assembly very carefully!  I plan on disassembling and re-assembling maybe 3 or 4 times, check that it still works and then on the last one clean (even though it's new) and oil.  I'm going slow, examining parts and taking lots of pictures so this will probably take me a week for the first run.

There are at least two references in this thread to cleaning machines and I guess that will be in my future.  Without starting a new thread (and I'm sure there are many), what do you guys recommend for a moderately priced machine?

 

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1 hour ago, linux said:

Without starting a new thread (and I'm sure there are many), what do you guys recommend for a moderately priced machine?

I think there are two types of cleaning machines: 1) rotating, 2) ultrasonic

"Moderately priced" only has meaning to you.  New cleaning machines are expensive.  A new Elma rotating machine on the JulesBorel site is about $3k.

You can buy an ultrasonic cleaning machine (single bath) from $50 to $1000 depending on many variables.  Some people put the cleaning solution into a jar and parts, then put the jar in an ultrasonic.  Then same with the rinsing solution.  A tedious process but probably works.  Using this method, you could have a cleaning setup for well under $200.

I have chosen to go the rotating route for the most part (I do have several ultrasonics).  I just bought a vintage L&R machine in non-working condition for $300 (shipping included).  I am refurbishing it now and will have to add a basket which is about $50.  Cost of paint, etc. I will have $400 into it.  I have seen units go upwards of $800 on ebay.  If you are a scrounger (as I am), you can happen on to super deals.

So, in summary, if you are willing to go vintage, you can have a rotating machine for less than $1000...maybe less than $500 if you perch on ebay and wait for the right deal.  It helps to have some electrical skill (I am an EE) because these machines can come with motor issues.

Sorry if I am rambling.

There is a BUY IT NOW unit on ebay for $550 with free shipping (I am not the seller).

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On 11/17/2023 at 7:52 AM, linux said:

There are at least two references in this thread to cleaning machines and I guess that will be in my future.  Without starting a new thread (and I'm sure there are many), what do you guys recommend for a moderately priced machine?

I did a DIY cleaning machine based on a laboratory stirring motor that has been working well for me.  Mine has a turntable to hold all of the jars and heater, but really all you need is the stirring motor, parts basket and some mason jars.  Some people use hair dryers or food dehydrators for drying parts.  There are recipes for cleaning solutions that you can find, but I found that the commercial cleaning and rinse solutions are worth the expense as they do a much better job.  I don't put the balance or pallet fork through the cleaner.  I clean those separately.  I also don't put the fine wire springs through the cleaner, as those can work their way out of the mesh parts baskets.

I also have an ultrasonic machine, but I use that for cleaning case parts and bands only.

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  • 1 month later...

I use the system shown by Matt of 'Horological biology'.

After cleaning parts in ultrasonic and upon reassembly, I remove the jewel and place on a piece of paper. Clean jewel with peg wood and saturate with lighter fluid. Saturate the chatone at the same time.   Place the jewel flat side down and using my finger rub it to ensure a good clean. Place jewel back on the paper. Apply IPA and blow dry. When dry, oil jewel and replace chatone on the the jewel correctly. Insert jewel and chatone back into the setting.

Now I am used to it. Easy. But initially? Ping city. Hence I purchased a UV torch. 

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The problem with the Chinese made ST36 is that the incabloc spring will hinge back and always pop out of the setting, never to be seen again. Most of the Swiss made movements do not seem to have this problem. I place a tiny ball of rodico and hinge the spring onto it to hold it in place. 

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3 hours ago, rossjackson01 said:

I use the system shown by Matt of 'Horological biology'.

After cleaning parts in ultrasonic and upon reassembly, I remove the jewel and place on a piece of paper. Clean jewel with peg wood and saturate with lighter fluid. Saturate the chatone at the same time.   Place the jewel flat side down and using my finger rub it to ensure a good clean. Place jewel back on the paper. Apply IPA and blow dry. When dry, oil jewel and replace chatone on the the jewel correctly. Insert jewel and chatone back into the setting.

Now I am used to it. Easy. But initially? Ping city. Hence I purchased a UV torch. 

I tried putting the chaton and cap jewel in a small basket with other parts in the ultrasonic, but it can be very hard to find the cap jewels after.

So I use old contact lens cases to clean the balance jewels separately. With two compartments there's no chance of mixing the jewels. I add a drop of cleaner or naphtha to each, 2 mins in ultrasonic, then switch solution to IPA and another minute. 

Check they are clean, then epilame and oil.

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On 11/17/2023 at 6:52 AM, linux said:

The movement is brand new (sans the canon pinion which pinged off into the void 🙂  ) so it is a running, at least for now.  I left the incabloc/cap jewel on and removed the balance wheel/hairspring assembly very carefully!  I plan on disassembling and re-assembling maybe 3 or 4 times, check that it still works and then on the last one clean (even though it's new) and oil.  I'm going slow, examining parts and taking lots of pictures so this will probably take me a week for the first run.

as you're just starting out sometimes baby steps are nice. Like don't worry about the balance jewels just practice taking the watch apart and putting it back together. You really need practice on disassembling and reassembling it and still having all the pivots stay in place and not fall off for unknown reasons. Then yes definitely good to examine everything in particular everything located around the balance wheel. In other words what does the balance look like as it's oscillating back and forth, what does the hairspring look like and of course what is the escapement look like. It's really nice to have a good feel for what a running watch looks like versus a watch that's having a problem where if you to take the time to study at you might not actually know what a running watches supposed to look like. Like for instance looking at the hairspring that makes triplex flat for reasons they sometimes aren't flat they get bent typically would balance wheels get removed they just magically bend themselves I'm sure they have nothing to do with how the person remove their balance wheel. And then when you have a bent hairspring it's rubbing on the balance arms of the watch doesn't work. Or it loses a heck of a lot amplitude. So yes take things slow study everything.

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