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Those Crazy Russians!!! My 1000th post

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I haven't done one of these for a while and as this is my 1000th post I thought I would do something a little less ordinary.

As the title says it's one of those crazy Russians, a USSR Sekonda from the 70's sporting a Slava 2428 in all its quirky glory.

This one came to me as a non-runner and a preliminary investigation turned up a broken balance pivot so it went into the "to do" box until I could source a replacement, which it turned out I had all along from another watch previously scavenged for parts a while ago, as I discovered during a recent tidy up.

So here goes......


Looking a bit sad, a grubby face and a bit of corrosion on the hands, and as already mentioned, not running.

Also the date corrector pusher which is above the crown is jammed in.


It's obviously seen a bit of wear in its time as the plating to the rear of the case has started to go through.


Inside doesn't look too bad. Dirty and dry for sure but I've seen worse. The stem however suggests that things may not be so good further in.


Uncased and the dial doesn't look so bad. The hands may need a bit of a spruce up.


Oh dear... with the dial off the hint that the stem was giving earlier becomes a grim reality and the reason behind the frozen date corrector is clear.

Heavy rust around parts of the date quick set mechanics has seized everything solid.


With the day and date wheels out of the way and safely bagged the full extent of the problem can be seen, and maybe it's not quite so bad after all so long as none of the screws shear off as I try to undo them.


Success.... all the screws out and nothing stripped. The rusty parts have been carefully rubbed down and are now enjoying a strong cup of tea.....to stabilise the remaining rust deposits.


And here is the first quirky bit, all of the date quick set mechanics are mounted on the movement ring, not the movement itself. Strange but true!


The movement now flipped, balance cock and barrel bridged removed, and the second and third deviations from the everyday run of the mill design philosophy become apparent; that curiously asymmetric pallet fork, and those tandem main spring barrels.


The first of the going train bridges removed ....


... and with the second train bridge and wheels removed, the replacement balance is installed without jewels ready for a spin in the Elma.


And here we have all the bits nice and shiny out of the cleaner, with as much of the rust issue dealt with as possible.

Is it me or are there a hell of a lot of wheels in this little baby?


Both main springs are in good shape so they are greased and rewound into their respective barrels.

I don't know if it was strictly necessary but I did take the precaution of keeping the barrels, lids, and arbors together as sets during the cleaning process so that the same bits went back together as came apart.


Balance jewels inspected, lubricated, and reinstalled. The hair spring is pleasingly flat, parallel to the balance, and concentric, and once set in motion the balance doesn't seem to want to stop. A good sign...


In goes the first set of train wheels along with the idler that couples the twin barrels together.


With the first train bridge in place the escape wheel and centre seconds wheel are installed.


Second train bridge goes back on


followed by the tandem barrels


Barrel bridge with all of those amazing coupling wheels to keep everything turning the right way all the way back to the crown wheel and its clearly marked lefty screw.

At this point all of the pivots have been oiled and a quick test of the free running of the train is done. A couple of clicks on the ratchet wheel and the escape wheel spins nicely down and then back with just a little recoil.

After that the pallet fork goes back in and the pallet stones are lubricated.


Typical of many Russian watch movements, the balance cock has a shim. Whether or not these were available in different thicknesses so that end shake could be adjusted I have no idea. I've never had a problem swapping them between watches though which suggests that they are all the same thickness.


Balance back in and that lovely moment when it starts to beat again.


And then back into its big metal spacer ring come date quick set extension.


Time to rebuild the dial side. It's a bit cleaner now.


Keyless works back in place.


Motion works reinstalled. Incidentally, as can be seen here 5 of the 26 jewels are vertical rollers for the date wheel and 4 are set into the main plate for the date wheel to ride over.

Cynical marketing ploy anyone??


The date corrector mechanics are reinstated into the movement ring, all now free running. Most of the rust damage cleaned up reasonably well but there is significant pitting at one end of the spring. If I ever find a donor I will replace the worst affected parts but for now they work and the rust has been stopped.


Calender wheels back in place.


Date wheel back in place and the day wheel jumper and spring installed.


Day wheel drops into place.


Dial and hand back on following a clean up and a little fresh black paint in the hands where it was beginning to crack.


This is the date corrector pusher and is I suspect the origin for the water ingress that caused the rust damage. It has a little neoprene seal on its back face so that the spring tension should seal it against the inside of the case. It was bone dry and all it would have taken is a little dirt stopping the pusher from closing properly and its an open invite for any contamination that comes along. Now cleaned and re-lubricated with silicon grease it will hopefully keep the water out.


Re-cased and ticking away nicely. With the exception of the date corrector pusher issue these are well designed cases. Although they make no claim to water resistance they do use a design similar to that used in the Vostok Amphibia cases, with a thick gasket, a steel back that drops into place, and a threaded clamping ring to hold it all together.


Looking a lot happier than when this all started. You can now see the date corrector pusher protruding from the side of the case above the crown so it is definitely sealing against the inside of the case. A new crystal allows the cleaned up dial and hands to look their best. And there is something about the dial layout and hands that just seems so Russian to me. I really like it.


And of course the proof of the pudding....

This is dial down. DU was almost the same, only difference was amplitude which fell to 298. The vertical positions showed a tiny bit of beat error, up to 0.4ms, amplitude down to around 275, and slight rate errors, coming in at -5 s/d at one extreme and +3 s/d at the other, quite a respectable result.


Maybe those crazy Russians aren't quite so crazy as they first appear. The little design quirks here all add up to a nice piece of engineering. The train wheel layout, and the asymmetrical pallet fork allow for a comparatively large balance wheel for this size movement (thinking about it without the date quick set and the extension ring). The use of 2 main springs running in tandem allows for a more even torque delivery as the springs wind down which should  help to reduce isochronism errors, while also making good use of the available space. It all actually makes quite good sense in a kind of lateral thinking sort of a way.

If you should be tempted to go for one of these then I would suggest that the earlier USSR ones are the better ones to go for. The later "Made In Russia" versions at some point were updated to a 21600 train, but weren't so well finished, and that date corrector/spacer ring became plastic with the mechanics riveted on, presumably to reduce costs. Bit of a shame if you ask me.

If you made it this far then I guess I haven't bored you to sleep. Thanks for reading.

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That was awesome t o celebrate your 1000th post marc, great job you did there , watch seemed in bad shape in the photos ,and i am impressed about the 0 sd showing at the timegrapher.

i bought one timegrapher too a week ago ( the 1000 model) but find it difficult to come close to 0sd and more difficult to 0ms beat error.

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Nice Marc your usual nice clear description and pics. I love these movements theres something strong and robust about them say what you will but the Russians won when they produced this.

Edited by Cad101
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4 hours ago, MilTimeCan said:

Amazing, simply amazing.

What did you use for black paint on the hands? 

I was thinking model aircraft enamel might work on one of my projects, but some brands are too thick.

Humbrol enamel model aircraft gloss black applied with an old oiler. It's fine straight from the tin for this but for redoing lettering in bezels it can be a bit thick so I just cut it with thinners and then build it up in layers.

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What an excellent way to celebrate your 1000th post! :)

It's great to see quality work presented in such a clear and concise way, this standard of presentation has been lacking from the forum for quite a while now.  Your post is as ever educative and I'm sure a lot of folk will benefit from it one way or another.


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19 hours ago, Marc said:

Humbrol enamel model aircraft gloss black applied with an old oiler. It's fine straight from the tin for this but for redoing lettering in bezels it can be a bit thick so I just cut it with thinners and then build it up in layers.

Excellent, makes perfect sense ! :)

I have quite an assortment of Humbrol from my aircraft modeling days and some very fine sable brushes.

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