Greetings folks. I've been working on watches as a hobby for about 20 years now. I started out on pocket watches and have never cleaned a clock. In fact, I had a great cleaning machine, with the big jars, and a few other clock tools, that I gave away to an aspiring clock guy over at the Tascione site. But I digress...
Nearly 20 years ago I bought a Hamilton model 21 ship's chronometer. It's an early one, pre 400 serial number, and is a thing of beauty, as these generally are. Back when I got it, I had a professional service it for me. It was done well, but wasn't cheap. $400-500, IIRC. I used to display it in my living room and run it occasionally just to hear the escapement and marvel it its accuracy. From about 2009 to 2014 it sat in my storage unit, waiting for new digs. In 2014 I wound it up and it took off running. I let it run down and then put it away for a couple of years. When I pulled it out, I discovered that it had a broken balance pivot. While originally I thought someone had knocked it over and wasn't copping to it, but now, after inspecting the upper pivot's wear, I don't think that's the case.
After botching the first staff I got trying to replace the hub, I set it aside again for the past couple of years. The way I broke the staff was I overestimated how deep the hollowness went in my hollow punch that I was using to tap it on. It bottomed out in the punch and destroyed the pivot.
Now that I'm finally over that disappointment, I decided to give it another go. I bought a staff that already had the hub installed. I may have to polish the lower pivot, as it doesn't seem to want to set in the hole jewel properly. I'm in the process of verifying all of this. I had to tear down the chronometer at least to the point where I could check to see if the broken part of the pivot was impeding the staff from setting properly. The hole jewel is clear.
I'm doing the best I can to do it right, and get it running again. I won't be running it, but want it running just in case I should decide to sell it. Otherwise the value drops quite a bit. Since I have it completely torn down now, I might as well clean and oil it. Does anyone have a hot tip on the best cleaning solutions for cleaning these chronometers? I'd like to use something that will cross over and work for my cleaning of watches as well. I have both an ultrasonic and the small L&R mechanical. I have one more fresh batch of cleaner and rinse, petroleum, no-water, formula. Should I use that, or make, or get, something new? Any tips for oil and grease types to get me by? Any suggestions are appreciated.
I do have the Manual for the movement.
I know that this is risky business, my working on this chrono, but I just can't afford to spend another $500 to get it running. Plus, I heard that if you're going to run these, you've got to spend this $500 or so to service them every few years. That is not going to happen. Feedback, suggestions, warnings, tips, etc., are all welcome. Many thanks. Cheers.
Hello, I could not fint any answer to this on any other thread.
Im using Isopropyl alcohol for the last step of hand cleaning movements. However i can not find a good way to throw used liquid away. How do you do it, I know that the liquid will turn into gas eventually however since i fill a small jar there is always going to come times when i need to throw it away. Where do i throw it?
How do you do it?
Thanks in advance, Jakob
Hi to you all,
I was wondering, if you use a regular ultrasonic instead of a watch cleaning machine. How would you rinse your parts? And how many times? In which solutions?
I always cleaned my parts in the ultra sonic with a solution and rinsed the parts in benzine( that's the way an old watchmaker learned me) but i've found out that very often this does not give me the results i was hoping for. Can I perhaps get little jars with a rinse solution and run those in the ultra sonic?
I have managed to get hold of a singing bird cage at a reasonable price after years of trying.
It's not working...I would like some advice on what solutions to use to clean it as I think it just requires a good clean, nothings broken.
Can anyone tell me what make of cleaner to use and what lubricant would be best, have attached photo's!
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Hello, I wil add a photo to this reply. The lever is on front rim of movement I think about 3 oclock under dial plate. My watch together working so I don't want to remove dial to get better picture. It took be hours to get hands on and not hitting each other. I used my phone to take a picture every 5 seconds while I worked on watch, the picture I am adding to this reply is one on them. Looking at picture about 1/2 inch to left of my thumb there is a silver lever on rim held by one screw. The lever is connected to keyless yoke by linkage. When lever end (at edge of movement) is down (level end can be moved about .25 inch on rim) the crown works for setting time. When lever is up the time cannot be change using crown. Once movement is in case, the lever is held in place by case. Again, watch in case with lever up time cannot be changed using crown. The advertisement for watch says " self-locking setting device ". The lever pivots on single screw holding it in place.
it's unfortunate that something that can look so pretty in a picture can turn out very poor. On the other hand it's an opportunity to make something much nicer. Like for instance when I'm doing this I'm looking at my computer and the desk I made so it fit the space that I had it met my requirements because I couldn't find anything that was suitable for a computer desk for me. As much as I like my watch bench I would really like modifications like it would be nice to have drawers on both sides of the bench. The entire left-hand side is open and basically it's wasted space. when you're starting out it seems like the bench is a vast open space but it's amazing how fast it gets filled up and then you run out of space.
All of the watch mainsprings I'm aware of can potentially be hand wound into the barrel, some are just more tricky than others - some shapes or types of mainspring can be awkward regardless of method. Having a pre-wound mainspring is nice when everything is going to plan.