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Waltham Pocket Watch Balance Issue


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Hi, I am very new to the hobby of watch repair/refurbishment and self taught thus far so please forgive any stupid questions! I recently stripped down, cleaned, oiled and reassembled a Waltham pocket watch (pictured) but the balance has poor oscillation, stops when tilted at a certain angle and the movement makes a noise in addition to the usual tick which sounds like something is hitting off something it shouldn't. I've stripped the movement down again and checked every part for signs of damage (finding none) and also replaced the mainspring which has improved things but there's still something off. Any ideas on what it might be would be much appreciated.

j6UOg28CRUGWaxddRiMrAA.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Clackmae said:

Hi, I am very new to the hobby of watch repair/refurbishment and self taught thus far so please forgive any stupid questions! I recently stripped down, cleaned, oiled and reassembled a Waltham pocket watch (pictured) but the balance has poor oscillation, stops when tilted at a certain angle and the movement makes a noise in addition to the usual tick which sounds like something is hitting off something it shouldn't. I've stripped the movement down again and checked every part for signs of damage (finding none) and also replaced the mainspring which has improved things but there's still something off. Any ideas on what it might be would be much appreciated.

j6UOg28CRUGWaxddRiMrAA.jpg

It sounds to me like the end of one of your pivots on the balance staff is damaged, or a damaged jewel that they go through. If you hold the balance wheel with tweezers and give it a move up and down and side to side gently and see if there is excessive movement. You may see it wobbling when it is spinning. There is meant to be a little give, 0.02mm or something like that.

Inspect the jewels with a x10 lens to see if any damage has occurred there maybe?

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10 minutes ago, Jon said:

It sounds to me like the end of one of your pivots on the balance staff is damaged, or a damaged jewel that they go through. If you hold the balance wheel with tweezers and give it a move up and down and side to side gently and see if there is excessive movement. You may see it wobbling when it is spinning. There is meant to be a little give, 0.02mm or something like that.

Inspect the jewels with a x10 lens to see if any damage has occurred there maybe?

Thanks Jon, that was my thought too so I paid special attention to the balance staff and jewels when I dismantled the movement a second time and everything seemed fine. There is no excessive wobble either. I'm sure it's something simple but I'll be damned if I can work out what it is!

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Is the watch running in the photo? If not then it looks like it's way out of beat (the balance arms would generally be perpendicular to the pallet fork if the roller is installed correctly). Also looks like the timing screws at the arms are out quite far, possibly brushing the center bridge in some positions.

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12 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

Is the watch running in the photo? If not then it looks like it's way out of beat (the balance arms would generally be perpendicular to the pallet fork if the roller is installed correctly). Also looks like the timing screws at the arms are out quite far, possibly brushing the center bridge in some positions.

It's not running so will definitely look to re-set the balance spring and those screws are indeed pretty far out. Thanks to everyone for your comments, I will have a tinker and will report back.

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You didn't mess with the eccentric bankings for the for did you? Even if not they are often maladjusted; seems like a favorite thing to tweak on these American pieces when the movement is running funny.

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The balance screws are for the balance poising do not adjust unless you have the correct tools. To poise you need to strip the balance remove the hairspring and use one of these. See vid

 

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So some progress, I tightened the two screws on the balance which were sticking out (I did this before I saw Clockboy's very helpful post and will look into proper poising of the balance as a next step.) and this has improved things as the scuffing sound has gone, oscillation has improved and it doesn't stop when tilted in a certain direction. The balance was in beat but it does this weird thing where if the movement is unwound and you nudge the balance wheel a little it sometimes sticks and doesn't return to it's original position, again can't work out why this happens. 

Rather frustratingly the oscillation deteriorates once the movement is cased... not sure what could cause this.

In answer to TimFitz question the watch wasn't running when I got it as I don't think it had had a clean/service in about 70 years!

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18 hours ago, nickelsilver said:

You didn't mess with the eccentric bankings for the for did you? Even if not they are often maladjusted; seems like a favorite thing to tweak on these American pieces when the movement is running funny.

apologies for my ignorance but what are eccentric bankings?

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The eccentric bankings are the pins that limit the movement of the pallet fork. They are accessible from the dial side and are slotted twice almost looking like philips head screws.

That the balance sort of hangs up on the fork with no power is almost certainly due to it having a single roller instead of a double roller. I'm guessing this has a single roller. The action of the guard pin is much less secure on a single and it can get a bit sucked in to the roller. Usually not a problem in use but faults tend to show up differently or more with little or no power.

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9 minutes ago, nickelsilver said:

The eccentric bankings are the pins that limit the movement of the pallet fork. They are accessible from the dial side and are slotted twice almost looking like philips head screws.

That the balance sort of hangs up on the fork with no power is almost certainly due to it having a single roller instead of a double roller. I'm guessing this has a single roller. The action of the guard pin is much less secure on a single and it can get a bit sucked in to the roller. Usually not a problem in use but faults tend to show up differently or more with little or no power.

thanks for explaining, no, I've not fiddled with the banking pins. From double checking a couple of diagrams online I believe that it is a single roller

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Just saw the video, is there sound? When I was in school the teacher would have tossed the whole movement in a box of sawdust for that fingerprint on the ratchet wheel...

Doesn't look that bad, you have about 220 amplitude, considering these often really do need some adjustment to the escapement and being of low jewel count probably some bushing/pivot work I'd say it looks ok.

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1 minute ago, nickelsilver said:

Just saw the video, is there sound? When I was in school the teacher would have tossed the whole movement in a box of sawdust for that fingerprint on the ratchet wheel...

Doesn't look that bad, you have about 220 amplitude, considering these often really do need some adjustment to the escapement and being of low jewel count probably some bushing/pivot work I'd say it looks ok.

Ha! Yes, that finger print is a bit of an eyesore isn't it! There is sound on the video.

That's good to hear, I think I'll case it up and see how it performs over a couple of days. If the oscillation drops again once cased do you have any idea what might cause this?

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Most likely issues of low amplitude or stopping from casing are due to the motion work or hands interfering with each other or the dial. You should have a dial washer on the hour wheel, hopefully you installed the canon pinion before the minute wheel (easy to squash a tooth on the minute wheel which will lead to stopping), with the dial on check that the hour wheel can be lifted a bit so you know it's free and not being clamped by the dial, check that the seconds hand pipe isn't rubbing in the dial hole, nor pressed all the way down in contact with the plate, check that the hour hand tube isn't touching the dial, or that the hour and minute hand are coming in contact.

Other than that see that the square in the case which is connected to the crown really disengages the setting mechanism, and if all that is good see if it runs better or stops with the casing screws loosened or tight. That could be a sign of a very limited endshake somewhere that is closing up with a slight distortion of the mainplate.

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1 hour ago, nickelsilver said:

Most likely issues of low amplitude or stopping from casing are due to the motion work or hands interfering with each other or the dial. You should have a dial washer on the hour wheel, hopefully you installed the canon pinion before the minute wheel (easy to squash a tooth on the minute wheel which will lead to stopping), with the dial on check that the hour wheel can be lifted a bit so you know it's free and not being clamped by the dial, check that the seconds hand pipe isn't rubbing in the dial hole, nor pressed all the way down in contact with the plate, check that the hour hand tube isn't touching the dial, or that the hour and minute hand are coming in contact.

Other than that see that the square in the case which is connected to the crown really disengages the setting mechanism, and if all that is good see if it runs better or stops with the casing screws loosened or tight. That could be a sign of a very limited endshake somewhere that is closing up with a slight distortion of the mainplate.

Thanks, that's good to know. I'll assemble carefully and hope all goes well.

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Hi

I have seen cannon opinions pushed on too hard and this in turn pushed on the jewel or bush of the bridge plate and distorted the bush hole thus causing binding on the wheel pivot in the bridge. If this is running freely then ignore this suggestion but have come across it before.

 

Andy

 

 

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