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Trying My First Repair With A 15 Jewel Old Pocket Watch Movement



Dear readers,
This is my first post. I hope we will get know one another and with your co-operation we will trade the pleasure of learning for the satisfaction of sharing one's knowledge. To illustrate my story I have added some pictures below. 




You can see some basic tools, a partly disassembled antique 19 lignes (42.8 diameter) lever movement and the removed parts. 



I had never disassembled a movement before and this one seemed like the perfect candidate to experiment, but now that I have learnt to assemble/disassemble this movement, I want to fix it. After all, we are talking of a fully jewelled movement from a century ago.




On close inspection several issues are revealed: broken mainspring, broken balance staff...



...and missing roller jewel. 


I have not been able to identify the maker, but the dial and the case (935 silver) confirm it is Swiss. 




The balance cock bears a factory symbol consisting of a five-pointed star connected to three lightning bolts that come out the star each in a different direction.

I am aware that getting spare parts is going to be hard work, but I want to learn to solve these issues. 


I have measured the broken mainspring with a Vernier caliper but I cannot find a replacement in Cousinuk.com. Perhaps someone could check for me in the Générale Ressorts catalogue? These are its specifications:


Height: 2.2 mm.
Thickness: 0.22 mm.
Length: 24 inch (61 cm).
Barrel: 16.5 mm.
End hole type.


Any advice, guidance, comments, support, contributions, collaboration will be greatly appreciated.


I will be watching this space!


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I genuinely appreciate all your comments. 


My conclusion is that stripping down this watch and diagnosing its faults was a great lesson, even though the repair will have to be delayed indefinitely.


At least now I know that if this watch has any chance of running ever again without major disbursement it must be through a donor movement.


Following this experience I have disassembled/reassembled successfully a working 17 jewel Tavannes.


P.S.: The photos that I added to my previous post seem to have disappeared. (I wonder why?)

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Hello, Edmund, and welcome. I've been participating in this forum for several weeks now. I can't always tell who's a hobbyist (like me) and who's a professional, but everyone has been helpful, kind, or (when the situation called for it) commiserating.

You can buy a replacement roller jewel at Cousins. You'll need to measure the gap in the pallet fork to get the right size. Look up my previous recent posting, in which I learned how to do that. I'm now working up the courage, and looking for the time, to do the impulse jewel implantation. I am told it is challenging.

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Welcome to the forum Edmund, I'm sure you will enjoy being part of this community.

Thank you for posting good quality pictures from the start, it's great to see what you are doing. I hope you don't mind me saying the watch you are working on is not the "perfect candidate" to start on, as the faults that it has are far from easy for someone starting out to fix. My advice would to purchase a fairly large, but fully working movement and practice on servicing it by disassembling and reassembling it a few times.

Fault finding and fixing is best left until you can service a watch properly first. The watch you have just now would be good for acquiring the delicate touch required when handling tools and fitting wheels and bridges without damaging pinions.

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That is a good learning piece you have as it has lots of issues. The problem you might have is the balance staff replacement as it is difficult to source the correct replacement.  Also fitting the staff you will need  the correct tools.


I have looked in my "Generale Resorts" catalog and there is not an exact sized spring. However the following may well fit:



GR 6305  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 520   Dia. 17 

GR 6307  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 560   Dia. 18 

GR 6310  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 620   Dia. 19 

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Thank you very much for your encouraging answers.


I can't always tell who's a hobbyist (like me) and who's a professional.


This reminds me of H. G. Harris's 'Handbook of Watch and Clock Repairs' and its paragraph in recognition of the self-taught hobbyist:


But what of the present-day hobbyists who are self-taught and whose interest in their subject is such that their knowledge and skill often surpass those whose full-time occupation it is? (Harris 1972, p. 7)


You can buy a replacement roller jewel at Cousins. You'll need to measure the gap in the pallet fork to get the right size. Look up my previous recent posting, in which I learned how to do that.


I think I found your thread here: http://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/2751-where-do-i-get-a-feeler-guage-and-roller-table-jewels/ I will study this info a.s.a.p.


My advice would to purchase a fairly large, but fully working movement and practice on servicing it by disassembling and reassembling it a few times.


Do you have any particular model in mind?


I have looked in my "Generale Resorts" catalog and there is not an exact sized spring. However the following may well fit:


GR 6305  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 520   Dia. 17 

GR 6307  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 560   Dia. 18 

GR 6310  H 2.20  Thickness 0.22  Length 620   Dia. 19 


The end type for all those references is described as 'Non-Automatic', but I need the mainspring with holes in both ends. Maybe the below references are more fitting?


GR 6216 TR 2.20 x .155 x 620 x 15 TR- End
GR 6280 TR 2.20 x .20 x 540 x 17 TR- End



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Great pictures, Edmund, and welcome to the site. I hope with all the expert advise here you can have a new "jewel" added to your collection soon. Let us know how it goes. By the way, starting with a working movement on the long road of learning watchmaking, will help you more as Geo said...needless to say that the bigger the movement the better so you don't miss certain details.





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Let us know how it goes. [...] the bigger the movement the better so you don't miss certain details.


Today I worked on the escapement and I have some more pictures to share below. I agree about the size, but this movement seems big enough for me. In any case, here I am following the advice of the Chicago School of Watchmaking:


We will divide the work into two general groups, POCKET WATCHES and WRIST WATCHES [...]. Do not attempt to work upon wrist or bracelet watches until you have thoroughly mastered the pocket size watches (Lesson 1, Sec. 4).


GR 6280 TR 2.20 x .20 x 540 x 17 TR- End

This is the best match available with Cousins


Much appreciated. With the help of clockboy, now I know which spring to go for. If I order it, I will place it by hand as I have practised how to do it with the broken one. But before taking that decision, I am reviewing the other elements of the movement again to make sure it is worth my while.

The winding system is in good condition and you can operate the stem to choose between two positions: winding (default) and time setting (pulled).
The gear train is fine. All the wheels engage and rotate together. No faults here.
The escapement is a different matter. The pallet fork engages well with the escape wheel, but a new balance staff is badly needed. So I have removed the broken one.


As you can see, the impulse pin (also called roller jewel) is actually present. However, the pin is made of brass and is loose, so it will still require attention.


I have seen in this awesome video from Mark how to replace a balance staff: http://www.watchrepairtalk.com/page/watch_repair_videos.html/_/balance-escapement-videos/fitting-a-new-balance-staff-to-a-vintage-1940s-cyma-www-military-watch-r19


But how do you choose the new one?

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You have to find out which movement it is? Then maybe they have one at balancestaff.com?

15 jewels 19 ligne number 664 on balance bridge and movement plate? Anymore clues?

Edited by rogart63
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I don't think for one minute you will find a balance staff to fit. I expect you will have to find a watchmaker to make it. I always had a stock of unfinished staffs, so I would select one as near as possible and finish it off or make one. This is the difference between a watch repairer and a watchmaker. The hairspring looks in a fine mess as well, I'd start with that before sorting out the staff because with out the hairspring you are in deep. The only other answer is another movement with a working balance. You are correct about starting on pocket watches before getting into watches, its just a pity you couldn't have started with something that just needed cleaning.  

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Agree with Oldhippy I am not the best at making balance staffs and so I normally modify one of my many stock/unfinished staffs on my lathe. You can get unfinished staffs from Cousins & on the bay also there are staffs (in packs of 100) on the bay & you could get lucky & get a match.

You could modify one using a jacot tool but it would be a long process.

The main point is this is a learning piece and adjusting the hairspring is a skill in itself.

So my advise is just tinker & learn from this piece before spending to much money 

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