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“Professionally” serviced, I promise. Zenith 146HP


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Posted (edited)

“It’s serviced and in perfect condition” so they told me. Found this nice piece in Italy. Manual wind, column wheel chronograph from the 60s (or so). Seller was swearing on his mothers grave that the watch is at its best condition. Better than from the factory.

Sure, the price was nice, it did sound sketchy, but I bought it anyways. 
 

Hour hands are not set correctly, the chrono hand is bent, guess why :), chronograph does not reset properly, 6.5 beat error and so on. Something tells me I only sketched the surface. 🙂

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Edited by swiss2k
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Episode 2. Disassembly. 

To be honest, I was expecting a bigger challenge from this watch in terms of how complicated this movement is. Probably its a bit too early to say this, but I find Omegas cal.1040 much more complex, both in disassembly and assembly. But that is also probably because of my modest experience. 

Summing up. One “professionally“ broken bridge screw, left in the movement (thank you for that). And a bit of grime here and there. I would say it looks decent, I was expecting far worser news.

The main spring is quite impressive, I have to say. So thick, I would imagine it should store quite some energy. Funny how for all that grease draws the power off. 

Any advice were to find such a screw is welcomed! 

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+1 for the random batches, I have five, one gram bags from ebay and they have pretty much anything you could need, from ones so small you cannot be sure they are screws without a magnifier, up to the occasional pocket watch scale bridge screws etc., and in different thread standards.

(Plus the occasional extra bit - one bag has a sliding clutch for something included!)

These have got me out of trouble a few times with missing or lost screws - I've never had to buy any individual ones!

Example of one bag contents:

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Posted (edited)

It reminds me of Ukrainian eBay sellers of Russian watches. More often than not the listings include the phrase "Serviced by Master Watchmaker". Of course, they never are, and it should be expected.

Edited by VWatchie
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14 hours ago, VWatchie said:

It reminds me of Ukrainian eBay sellers of Russian watches. More often than not the listings include the phrase "Serviced by Master Watchmaker". Of course, they never are, and it should be expected. It's the most corrupt country in Europe, definitely on par with Russia. Today our tiny country (Sweden) sent them another $1 232 255 518 with no accountability whatsoever for how the money will be used.

I would leave the politics aside. Now they fight for their freedom and potentially ours. 
 

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1 minute ago, swiss2k said:

I would leave the politics aside. Now they fight for their freedom and potentially ours. 
 

Sorry about that! I sometimes forget politics are off-limits on WRT (which is a good thing!). I edited my post.

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Posted (edited)

Episode 3: Cleaning and New Surprises

Alongside the aforementioned broken screw, while cleaning the parts, I found that the mainspring appeared intact only due to the years of grease. Additionally, one of the pushers seems was missing a screw at some time, and it looks like someone attempted to turn down a new one.

Mainspring: Although I would love to use strictly original parts, I believe this might be a bit time-consuming and potentially expensive. Cousins has two options: 1.30 x 0.145 x 420 x 13 and 1.30 x 0.15 x 460 x 13, both non-automatic. The first one matches the original better, but I was wondering, would it be a good idea to use a longer, thicker one? It might provide a bit more run time, but I'm not sure if it's worth adding more energy to a vintage watch (both, judging by the specs provided, fit a 13mm barrel).

What do you guys think?

Pusher screws: Should I keep the existing screws, following the principle of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," or should I replace them?

 

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Edited by swiss2k
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On 6/2/2024 at 1:04 PM, swiss2k said:

but I was wondering, would it be a good idea to use a longer, thicker one? It might provide a bit more run time,

This will surely provide less run time 😎

Frank

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3 hours ago, praezis said:

This will surely provide less run time 😎

Frank

I would have assumed that a longer spring (within reason) would have provided a longer run-time. It would be interesting if you (or someone else) could elaborate a bit about that. I'm intrigued. Or, perhaps a joke that I don't get 🤔

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1 hour ago, VWatchie said:

It would be interesting if you (or someone else) could elaborate a bit about that.

It was already mentioned in many mainspring threads here 🙂:

There is an optimum length/thickness that gives the maximum run time. The mainspring will occupy half of the inside barrel space then. Longer or shorter (same thickness of course) will need more than or less than half barrel space: less run time!

Frank

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@VWatchie, @praezis thank you both. 

 

Basically, length alone only worsens the situation when barrel width and/or most importantly spring thickness are constants.

In my case, I was questioning the fact that both length and thickness are of bigger values for the same barrel diameter. But after reading an article, I realized I would not have gained anything. In my case, I would have had the same overall output or worse.

Article: https://www.vintagewatchstraps.com/mainsprings.php

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Posted (edited)

Ep. 4. Well, it runs...

After putting everything back together (including installing a new mainspring), I put the movement on the timegrapher. I was not impressed with the amplitude, so I started checking and noticed that the mainspring barrel was too loose. I disassembled everything again and adjusted the barrel. I also noticed that the new spring is of an older style, whereas the previously installed one was of a newer S-shape style.

If I had not adjusted the barrel, I would have never known that the spring was different. I checked with Cousins, and the spring seems to be the one I ordered. However, Cousins does not specify the exact type of spring you order, other than whether it is Automatic or Non-Automatic.

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After barrel adjustment, the amplitude went up, and the result I would say is nice. Will check on it again after 24h.

Should I keep this mainspring, or should I be looking for another replacement?

Edited by swiss2k
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1 hour ago, swiss2k said:

I started checking and noticed that the mainspring barrel was too loose. I disassembled everything again and adjusted the barrel.

I'd be interested to know a bit more about what you mean it was "loose" and "adjusted".

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2 hours ago, VWatchie said:

I'd be interested to know a bit more about what you mean it was "loose" and "adjusted".

I knew I this will bite me. I apologize for my laziness, I speak English poorly. 

What I meant was, I performed a barrel end shake inspection, which showed that the end play is a bit excessive, was a bit "loose". The excessive play was coming from the outwards bent barrel top and bottom faces, which had to be "adjusted", strengthen flat. 

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After a bit more tweaking here are the result (I thought 250'ish is nice, but would you look at that):

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Ok, 311 is the max I saw... overall it runs around 300 with 10 deg. give or take.

Mainspring dilemma: I could not find proper documentation, some say it has a power reserve of 44h... well it did run for that long. After 24h the amplitude dropped around 15-20 deg, which I would assume is fine. I guess if it runs like that, there is no need to look for another mainspring...?

Edited by swiss2k
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On 6/6/2024 at 12:32 PM, swiss2k said:

I also noticed that the new spring is of an older style, whereas the previously installed one was of a newer S-shape style.

one of the interesting problems of watch repair is the lack of technical information and specifications. Such as the strength and power curve of a mainspring is never actually specified anywhere. yes we get physical characteristics physical size but what about the metallurgy of the spring itself? Or as you specify incorrectly new versus old style.

for instance as I typically do pocket watches I typically have to take the mainspring out of the package and use a Winder to get the spring end because the end has to hook before the spring can be popped out. This means I get to see my mainsprings and the trend is quite troubling. the troubling aspect is these are all brand-new white mainsprings that often times have a slight yellowish color to them? These springs basically tend to look set and other words no S-curve at all. The one last week opened up to about 5 inches in diameter and looked set. The worst case previous example would been a spring that curved around the arbor but basically went straight out with no curvature at all.

then there's the other bizarre springs a 12 size Hamilton it had a spectacular S-curve sort of. The top part was a single turn in the bottom part was multiple turns and actually resemble the figure 8. This watch still had spectacular amplitude the next day. So I'm finding of vast array of differences of the curvatures of brand-new Swiss mainsprings.

Some of the best mainsprings I see for American pocket watches were both Hamilton and Elgin had their own alloys of steel and they tend to be some of the very best. Versus the unknown factor of wherever the modern mainsprings are coming from. So there's more to mainspring specifications than the numeric measurements unfortunately.

3 hours ago, swiss2k said:

Ok, 311 is the max I saw... overall it runs around 300 with 10 deg. give or take.

Mainspring dilemma: I could not find proper documentation, some say it has a power reserve of 44h... well it did run for that long. After 24h the amplitude dropped around 15-20 deg, which I would assume is fine. I guess if it runs like that, there is no need to look for another mainspring...?

I really think you need to get a stronger mainspring and get as close to 360 as you can be as you will be very happy. It tends to fall on deaf ears on this group but did you know what watch companies are concerned with? There concerned with happy consumers and happy consumers are concerned with timekeeping as they don't have timing machines. Then if you're properly timing your watch and looking at it for evaluation you need to look at it in more than one position. Because typically people who wear wristwatches move their arms around. So ideally should look at dial up dial down and at least one crown position typically crown down. then you look at your timekeeping 24 hours later and see how that looks.

On 5/31/2024 at 2:23 PM, VWatchie said:

Ukrainian eBay sellers of Russian watches. More often than not the listings include the phrase "Serviced by Master Watchmaker". Of course, they never are, and it should be expected.

I don't suppose those of the same sellers that are selling Museum timepieces? I'm always amused a people that are selling a museum collection of some museum that closed in some bizarre country at very strange and interesting prices for basically total garbage.

Then master watchmaker isn't a specific legal title as far as I know. So conceivably in some parts of the planet if you grasp what a pair of tweezers are a you don't poke your eyes out the first day you considerably are now the master watchmaker.

Then on eBay the definition of servicing is always amusing as to what exactly does that mean anyway? Not just Ukrainian sellers but all kinds of people claimed the watch is in a variety of conditions which are rather vague. I've even seen people showing the timing machine results and often times I would be extremely disappointed with what I'm seeing but seemingly they think we should be very happy with what they're showing for the recently serviced watch.

personally if I'm buying a watch off of eBay I would be very happy to know that it's never been serviced by anybody and definitely never serviced by whoever selling the watch.

 

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43 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

I really think you need to get a stronger mainspring and get as close to 360 as you can be as you will be very happy. It tends to fall on deaf ears on this group but did you know what watch companies are concerned with? There concerned with happy consumers and happy consumers are concerned with timekeeping as they don't have timing machines. Then if you're properly timing your watch and looking at it for evaluation you need to look at it in more than one position. Because typically people who wear wristwatches move their arms around. So ideally should look at dial up dial down and at least one crown position typically crown down. then you look at your timekeeping 24 hours later and see how that looks.

Bringing to a factory like condition would/makes make me happy. Now, I'm just happy that the time I have invested in to this hobby pays out with nice results. Btw I checked how the movement runs in different positions, as you mentioned the watch is worn and may have a different position at a different time. And yes the amplitude changes, but overall I am happy with the results I have. 

Regarding the spring, metallurgy and so on. Would have been nice to know what spring should have been here. 

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Episode 5: Done and done. 

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One mainspring, 2 bolts and some thorough cleaning, adjusting, a bit of oil here and there and voilà

Mainspring: Although the watch does run pretty good, I would still love to have an original mainspring, or at least the one I mentioned in an earlier post as it matches the original spec a bit better. 

Screws: Well there was more than one bad screw. I did end up buying some original ones from this movement. Came out a tad more expensive, but I couldn't find anything alike from Cousins. Also I would have had to polish them. Which to be honest is not a bad thing, as I was preparing for that and built my self a little screw polishing jig. 

Case: Case has some wear, and its sadly gold-plated. Sadly because repairing such a case is a pain in the butt, or 1500.- euro if someone else is going to do that. Frankly I do not know if its worth it. You tell me?

Other than that, I am very happy with the results. Thank you everyone for the support and let me know what you think. 

 

Edited by swiss2k
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