I have recently purchased a National, Electric Watch Cleaning Machine. Attached is a photo for reference and identification of the model type. As can be seen, it has a fairly typical design, reminiscent of many other types, particularly Elma Super Elite. In fact, I do wonder which came first - the National or the Elma. My musings on this point later.
This is a very old machine, circa late 1940’s, 1950’s, but they seem to turn up sometimes on eBay, in various conditions ranging from the “beyond hope” and only really suitable as a donor for parts, and the “old but serviceable” and might-be-worth-a-punt-on machines.
This one fell into the middle somewhere, as it was a bit tatty and the heating element did not work. On the plus side, it had all its original cleaning fluid jars and lids, and the motor and speed control gave smooth, controllable spinning and no play in the bearings. I went to visit the seller to inspect it and we did a deal on the spot. This is not always possible on eBay, but as the seller had listed it as for collection only (due to its weight), it was a possibility on this occasion.
Once I had it home and gave it the once over, I decided that I would have to either do without heating for the drying stage, or find a replacement element. At the same time, it was very obvious that all of the original cabling was not safe to leave in place and it would all have to be removed and replaced. Any other electrical parts deemed unsafe would also be replaced as I inspected them. So - the idea of a restoration (of sorts) was born.
Now - it is not my intention to restore it to the point where it could pass current electrical safety standards, but I will be making it as safe as possible, without losing any of the essential character of the original machine. This is not going to be for resale, so being safe to use is an acceptable compromise, in my opinion. I will however, perform testing on it once the electrical work is done, to make sure that the essential aspects of earth leakage, earth bonds and polarity etc. are passed. (PAT Testing included.)
Whilst this is not likely to turn into another example of a superb restoration of an Elma Super Elite (as seen elsewhere on these forums), I hope at least to have at the end of it, a perfectly serviceable watch cleaning machine, and a restoration story - of sorts - of a vintage piece of English watch making and servicing machinery.
So first off - the before pictures. This one is a good view of the machine and its cosmetic condition, as purchased. The base is a heavy, cast alloy jobbie, with its original crackle paint job beginning to flake away in places, where the years of cleaning chemicals have attacked it, but generally sound. The jars still had residues of cleaning and rinse chemicals present. The first wash jar (front left), was particularly grotty and can’t have been cleaned for years. Fairly ironic not to clean the thing, that cleans the things! Maybe it was just left unused and unloved for many years.
The mains cable was a cloth-bound type I have not seen in years and could well have been original as it still had the old UK wiring standard colours of red/black/green. Also adding to the vintage-ness, was a very old, Bakelite three pin plug. This must have been one of the first of its type as I have not seen one in brown Bakelite before! (And I am 62...)
Anyway, that’s enough for now, as I’m not even sure anyone wants to read much about such an old machine. If anyone is interested though, please add comments and I’ll add to the story as I make progress.
At the very least, I hope I have found a potential solution to finding/ making your own heating elements for these old machines, which could also include providing replacements for Elma Super Elite, RM80/90 HCS511 etc. Machines. More details later...
My great Aunt died a couple years back. She had had been married to a man that owned a jewelry store back in the early 80's. In her estate was a number of great treasures and even literal gems. After the estate sale not much was left, but I did end up with what Ive deduced to be a Vintage Elma watch parts cleaner. And that is about as much as I have been able to figure out. None of the searches I've performed on the internet have returned with the exact model that I have. Not even an image... Similar , yes. The same . no. ..
I don't have a clue as to how to operate any watch parts cleaner, much less one with minimal text (german) to clue one in on function of switches and dials. So, I can't verify it is in working order. I did notice that the plug had a short in it so I replaced that, Plugged it in and a light above the switch lights up after being flipped, but again end of my road of investigation... So basically, I would really appreciate any information at all about this machine
To the workshop, today I have received this fine old cleaning machine from Germany.
The machine is manufactured by VEB Elektromeschanik in Glashütte.
The machine is a type of AUII and is fully automated. It is about 30 cm. In diameter and 52 cm. high. Weight approx. 30 kilos.
The machine is from 1979 and the gray paint is intact everywhere. In addition to the complete holder and basket on the machine, 8 other curves included. Two of them also with holder. Although DHL and Post Norden have given it a massive transport, everything is all right and it seems like it's going to be! These machines are often sold at ebay.de. It also exists in a version that is not automatic!
Here's a brand new one for starters which looks to be the same as yours (?) ... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DIAL-TAG-HEUER-F1-HX0266/302649416687?hash=item46774f9bef:g:m1UAAOSwYNxagv4f . Someone else on this forum might have another source other than ebay.
However at this price it's also worth looking out for (non-working) complete watches in good condition. Assuming this is the same as yours then this sold for £41 recently as an example of what can come up if you keep an eye out: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ladies-TAG-HEUER-F1-200m-Watch-Spares-Or-Repairs-/293105389179
Perhaps one further suggestion is also to consider an alternative Heuer dial. Unless you're set on the pink there seem to be quite a lot of other Heuer dials available. Of course you'd have to double check diameter and dial feet positions but just an idea if all else fails!