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Greetings from Germany


AlexanderB
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Hi I am new here and like to introduce myself briefly.

52 years old, IT professional. I did some RC plane building and flying for the last couple of years so I do have some skills in dealing with small parts (which are still huge compared to what I have in front of me now) and can use a lathe, drilling machine, CNC mill etc.

I always liked mechanical watches. I bought and sold mechanical watches over the last 25 years and was always fascinated by the flimsy little miracles ticking - often invisible - inside the watch yet giving me as little as 1s / day discrepancy.

So I bought myself a watch kit from a German company (Geneva Original) which was a real disappointment. Bit I got really fixed with the idea of disassemble and reassemble a watch movement. In my childhood I disassembled mechanical alarm clocks but for some reason the part "reassembly" never worked out ;-)

As many others I bought a 6497 clone (formerly Unitas, now ETA) and found quite some courses on the internet (a lot from Mark of course - thanks for sharing) and started to disassemble it. Although I read about that earlier the first thing I did was ruining the crown wheel screw, guess what I did? But with my skills I was able to salvage the remains of the screw from the plate and got a new screw from my local watchmaker (who sold me quite a couple of watches including a Mood Watch).

I didn't do this mistake again (lessons learned ;-) but I managed to ruin at least five other movements which I got cheap from e***. Mostly I wasn't careful enough with the balance wheel / hairspring assembly. But I also managed to confuse screws after cleaning (I was sure I separated them properly).

But: it's getting better. I own an old Maurice Lacroix (20+ years old) which needs some servicing but I have to gain a lot more experience to start this!

So much for now

Cheers

Alexander

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Welcome! Don't you like motorcycles by the way? (forum joke)

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Mostly I wasn't careful enough with the balance wheel / hairspring assembly. 

 

Been there... next step.. break an hairspring trying to correct it :)

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But I also managed to confuse screws after cleaning (I was sure I separated them properly).

That's what I do with parts - I do not wash screws. 

P1292185.JPG.

 

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Hello and welcome to you. Nope I never wash screws ill let them soak in a bit of cleaner if grubby or oily. Your very organised jdm I just put my parts in little plastic pots ( I will have to get some label's now :thumbsu:)

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Thanks jdm,

1st - Nope :)

2nd - break an hairspring trying to correct it :) DONE!

3rd - Good point not washing screws. I don't have a real watch washing machine (what's the term? sounds weird). I use ultrasonic cleaning and was quite successful with that. I actually use two of the divider trays for one movement. So I have for instance the barrel bridge plus the two or three screws in one place. But then I dared to combine parts in the mini baskets. I got myself more mini baskets to keep the stuff separated.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

 

 

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Puttgarden - Røby und dann immer geradeaus :)

I worked a lot with Germans and your English is remarkably good ! Worked international?

I'm also a watch-newbie and my equipment is not as slick as from the big boys. Here my 12 Grid storage case for watch-parts. For as much as €2.- from our Chinese eBay friends........works well for me ;)

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 15.56.47.png

Edited by Endeavor
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Thank you for your kind comment. Yes I do work international. I sometimes read more English than German. And I love it.

I took the ferry Puttgarden - Røby quite a couple of times. There is also a Buddhist Center close to Røby. And I have friends in Copenhagen as well.

I was looking for such a box but I have given up on the idea. Good for storing but difficult to work with. I would recommend getting the one jdm shows on his picture. They usually come with a plastic dust cover and since the rim is quite low you can easily put the parts there with the tweezers and grab them later.

I spent a little fortune on parts from cousins UK. Shipping is quite expensive from the UK to Germany but their prices are lower than in Germany. Sometimes considerably lower. And I love good tools anyway. I bought most of the stuff from Bergeon. It is very expensive but if you compare the tools with the cheap ones you clearly see the difference.

The divider bins from Cousins cost £2.50 plus tax including the dust bin. I have four of them. Not a big investment but definitely excellent for working. They have pretty much the same divider bins from Swiss made for 5x as much.

Cheers Alexander

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5 minutes ago, AlexanderB said:

 

I spent a little fortune on parts from cousins UK. Shipping is quite expensive from the UK to Germany but their prices are lower than in Germany.

With Cousins, keep you order total under GPB 30 is possible. This way you'll pay 1.91 or 2.78 GPB shipping. You can of course, place as many separate orders as you wish.

Edited by jdm
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Welcome to the forum Alexander!

This is my take on the subject, apart from the tray with the dust cover which I find OK for working straight through (I usually don't have time for that). I use the following:

ofrei-104.jpg

Those allow me to store my work in progress and protects the contents. It is more practical since the "bell" is not present and their lids fit tight.

Sometimes I use these for little stuff like changing a capacitor in a Seiko Kinetics or miscellaneous work on a specific "system":

138.0166.jpg 

To store spare parts and whole movements, I use these:

albox20.jpg 

and for screws and tiny parts these:

15.624photo1__07976.1410212802.500.500.j

Just my two cents!

Cheers,

Bob

PS. Yes, it is easy to mess up (specially hairsprings!) but patience and light touch will usually pay off when accompanied with the experience gained. You are doing fine, keep up the good work!

 

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Thank you Bob,

Actually I do have a stack of the ones on your first picture. I use them if I need to store a partly disassembled watch over some time. They are also excellent for working and are more handy. There is only one store where I found them in Germany but this store is what we call in Germany a 'pharmacy', i.e. terribly expensive. Also a the following course is highly recommended for him: "How do I treat customers so that they come back and buy even more - for beginners." I would not even looked at cousins and others if he would not have been so rude. Anyway.

Great suggestions. I might get also the second last one. The thing is: my equipment is diametrically opposed to my skills B). Excellent tools and poor skills. But Rome wasn't built in a day either. I need to find the time to practice.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

 

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Alexander,

 Sounds like you have the background to work on watches. RC building can have same satisfaction and frustration! I used to remove entire balance assembly when I first started and surely messed up a few hairsprings. It takes a little more time and patience to remove spring from balance cock (depending on mfg), but it allows closer inspection of jewels and staff. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS, it just works for me. There is nothing more frustrating than stripping down, clean/oil and reassemble to find out you missed something obvious. I got tripped up by worn roller jewel, because I assumed it was fine, another rookie mistake. I started on pocketwatches because they were larger and easier to handle, since MOST, but not all watches use same pallet-escape- balance wheel type setups, it was much easier to move into wristwatches. You will find the most helpful and interesting people on this site and your confidence will increase with experience. Good luck!

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Thank you WileyDave,

Actually I did not (deliberately) remove the hairspring from the balance cock or the balance itself. But with just little experience I damaged a couple of hairsprings while trying to put the balance wheel in place or by trying to adjust the watch, Once my tweezer tip just slipped into the hairspring when I tried to adjust one lever (will learn the terms I promise ;-). What is also something that produced some problem was handling the springs if they are U-shaped like for the click in some movements or in the keyless work. But I gathered also some experience here. Some things just need some experience and mishaps are part of it. I was able to disassemble and reassemble an ETA 2427.

But I am far away from allowing myself to work on a watch that I cannot afford to lose. But that's just fine. Started around Christmas last year. Ebay is my friend here. With a little luck you can get some 'specimen' for a couple of Euros.

Thank you all for your kind and warm welcome. This seems to be the place to get some support and maybe give some support as well.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

 

 

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Hi Alexander and welcome

I have a Sinn EZM10 - wonderful piece of machinery!

...and German too.

My grandfather was from Austria and he always told me they speak true Deutsche - he didn't like the word German - there and it got worse and worse as you travelled north until, when you got to England, you could hardly understand it at all. ;-)

Try a 2836. I need someone to share my pain.

Dave

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Hi Dave,

thank you for your warm welcome as well.

I just had a look ad the Sinn EZM10. I wasn't aware that Sinn does inhouse calibers as well. Highly interesting. Wonderful watch. I had two Sinns, a 856 UTC in black and a 956. The 956 I traded in for an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT. The 856 I sold recently to the US in favor of an Explorer II GMT from a well known swiss manufacturer. Still a bit ashamed because I never wanted to wear a watch from this company because it seemed to me too much of showing up. But this one is really nice and decent and the normal non-watch-addict won't see from a short glimpse what make it ist. And I can always say it's a replica :huh:.

I had to travel a lot for some tome and looked for real GMT watches. I had to learn that there are two kinds of GMT watches: if I remember right the first group is an Office GMT where you use the GMT hand to show the tine of another place in the world. Like the Sinn 856 with an ETA 2893-2 movement. So I found that such a watch was pretty useless when travelling.

The Explorer II as well as the Omega are from the second group. The hour hand can be adjusted separately in the second position of the crown. The hour hand jumps in hour steps then. Pretty cool. The GMT hand stays where it is so you always have a reference to the time at home. Most useful if you travel. Cannot be used in Brazil (too expensive ==> too dangerous) and in India (4.5 hours time difference to Europe - how can they do it, don't they know there are watch addicts out there???).

To my 50ies birthday I gifted myself with a Breitling Transocean Unitime which is the ultimative GMT watch for me. I may introduce it here. I got it from some dealer over Chrono24 with a considerable discount and traded a Chronoswiss in.

When I start swarming about watched I cannot stop.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

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Thank you clockboy and oldhippy for your welcome.

Yes this is what I like about this forum. It's international. I have to admit that I was on a German forum but the tone (if you can say this) is a bit peculiar. A strange mixture of know-it-alls with a pinch of arrogance. Not everyone though but some guys are which spoils the experience.

Thanks again

Alexander

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Hi Alexander!

                     I loved Germany when I visited in 1994.  So green and very beautiful, especially in the Black Forest area and aaround Oberammergau in Bavaria.  I loved Bavaria the most.  The people were lovely and the little towns reminded me of all the old-time paintings you used to see on chocolate boxes.

Anyway...welcome to the forum.  I'm a newbie with watch repairs like you so don't feel out of place.  The "old timers" and professional watchmakers here are just great people and will help you all they can.  You've come to the right place.

As to tubs to temporarily store parts, I use the plastic liners from biscuit packs...don't laugh...they work.  Even chocolate box plastic liners will do the job:

Plastic-cracker-cookie-biscuit-trays.jpg

HTB1L49LLpXXXXbOXVXXq6xXFXXXE.jpg

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Hi stroppy,

thank you. Yes there are really nice places in Germany as the ones you mentioned. Thank you for that.

Interesting idea. What comes to my mind is that they are very light (at least the ones I know) so isn't there a risk that when you inadvertently touch them they move pretty unpredictable and the parts inside are all over the place? Just wondering.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, AlexanderB said:

Hi stroppy,

thank you. Yes there are really nice places in Germany as the ones you mentioned. Thank you for that.

Interesting idea. What comes to my mind is that they are very light (at least the ones I know) so isn't there a risk that when you inadvertently touch them they move pretty unpredictable and the parts inside are all over the place? Just wondering.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

 

Hi Alexander...yes, they are light so I stick them down onto cardboard using Blutak.

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Also thank you to you Vic,

you bet! I'll provide you with some nice pictures. I got myself some Macro Extension Tube Rings and an LED ring flash / light to take close ups while I work.

The picture below for instance is a PUW 1075 (Pforzheimer Uhren Werke), a German caliber that was used in Ladies watches. When I disassemble an unknown caliber I take pictures after pretty much every single step, after every screw I take away. That of course helps me a lot to re-assemble the movement later.

I have my DSLR on a tripod next to my workbench. Due to the macro rings you cannot use auto focus but have to manually focus. You also have to make sure to have a high aperture (as high as possible) to get the most depth of field. Even with a high aperture value you just get one mm depth of field or less. That also means that the shutter time is quite high. That's why I have an IR remote control so that the camera doesn't move when pressing the shutter.

But with this setup you merely position your movement holder with the movement under the lens, switch on the ring light, and press the shutter on the remote control. Aperture setting, manual focus is all set. No need to touch that unless you turn the movement in the holder. Re-focus then.

Maybe this would be worth having an extra thread.

Cheers Alexander

 

 

IMG_3311.JPG

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Hello Alexander;

A few years ago I was also heavy if photography, trying to learn "strobist". I do have macro-rings, but no ring-light. Looking at your picture it seems that you are using a LED-ringlight. Which one are you using and would a diffuser not help you to get rid of the circular "dotted-outline".........unless you did it on purpose in PS?

Edited by Endeavor
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