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AndyHull

Revisiting an old hobby

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Russian 1509b.1 21600bph movement 10mikron GP Sekonda - probably late seventies or early eighties.

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This is the second one of these movements I have serviced recently, and despite the fact that this is a mass produced item,  I still think the movement is a work of art, and an engineering marvel.

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There is hardly any  wear on the body of the watch, and the insides are immaculate.

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It runs well, following a clean and lube at around +50 to -30 s/day and swings away at well over 280 degrees fully wound. Not bad for such a tiny movement (6 1/2 x 8''' ) that is probably well over forty years old. 

It was in with some other stuff in a job lot, so basically cost nothing.

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More  from the bottom of the barrel.

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A 1950s (probably) Fero (Feldman) - 15 jewel - unidentified Swiss movement ladies on solid metal, GP articulated bangle.

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This was a sea of green gunk, but the damage was superficial. The dial responded surprisingly well to a gentle dabbing with a cotton bud and some white vinegar, followed by a second one with clean water and a final rinse with lighter fluid to chase the damp away.

No doubt I could improve on this with a little more time, but given the dial work only took about 5 mins over my lunch break, and given its sorry starting state, I think it looks pretty good.
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The mechanicals are all now shiny and lubed and it is running around +/- 20 s/day with a swing >230 degrees. The beat error is not particularly impressive, but its running fine, so I 'aint going to mess with that.

Net worth before cleaning... nothing. Net worth after cleaning... next to nothing, but what the heck, its shining like a new pin, and I think it looks good, and in the process I've had some dial cleaning practice, so I'm not complaining. :D

Edited by AndyHull

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More of the Fero.

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The degunked dial.

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Much improved following a little more cotton bud magic...

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Does anybody recognize the caliber?


It does seem to be running pretty well after its quick service and lube.

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Ignore the bottom half of the trace, that was a different watch.

The beat error is a little high, and the swing drops to around 200, crown up, but I can live with that.

Edited by AndyHull

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The companion to today's  "British Rail" branded, white dialed Timex Q Gents "Watch of Today" was this similar aged 1979 Timex "Q" ladies quartz, which needed a lot of attention, due to the leaked cell it contained.

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The damage seems to have been superficial, and a brief soak in contact cleaner spray seems to have woken the thing back up. I also sparingly applied a little lubrication to the pivots I could see, but I stopped short of complete disassembly. The tiny wires in these mechanisms mean that any major surgery may well prove fatal.

I popped a cell in it, assuming it was dead and went off to make myself a cup of tea. When I returned, it was wide awake and keeping perfect time, so a quick cosmetic clean up to remove the gunk and scratches, and here it is with its rather pleasing dark navy blue dial and white accents and hands.

Edited by AndyHull

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Edit: The black dialled Timex in the previous post uses the M43 module, which is one of the few production quartz movement with rocking bar lever. The reason I wasn't sure if it was running, when I initially inserted the cell is because it only ticks once per minute.

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A little background info about this movement can be found here.
https://17jewels.info/magazine/early-quartz-movements/

and here

https://17jewels.info/movements/t/timex/timex-m43/

 

Edited by AndyHull

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A couple of Timex Automatics for the 404 club arrived in the post today.

Here is the first of them, next to the Timex "Big Q" BR watch.

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I wont post any pictures of the strip down and clean, as there are plenty of existing posts on the subject.

It was suffering from all the usual troubles of a watch that has probably only been opened a couple of times since it left the factory, but it did have one novel issue. The rotor weight,which I presume to be made of lead, had some very odd soft edged, emerald green crystals growing on it. After a bit of online googling, I suspect they are most likely a form of green oxide, or possibly a carbonate. I can see why lead was used as a pigment over the centuries, as there are actually quite a number of colourful lead compounds, ranging from bright reds, through yellows and greens to bright whites.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_paint

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Here are the crystals I mentioned. Unfortunately I didn't take any close ups, and I have removed them now, so I can't analyze them any further. They were hard and glassy, but crumbled easily in to a fine green powder. I guess I should have stuck them in a flame to see if I got an interesting blue tinge.

There.. I've given you all something else to worry about other than Radium and Tritium. :D

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I cleaned the mechanism of the other "404" Timex from this mornings post, at the same time. It too was DOA, and somewhat grubby.

Here it is awaiting some external tidy up. As you can see it is a 1977 cross hair dialed Viscount.

A fair bit of wear to the crown and the case, but otherwise it looks pretty good, given its "less than a cup of coffee" price.

In fact the job lot of the pair of them cost less than a coffee and a muffin. :P

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While the mechanism looks like a Dundee Special, the case back is stamped Made in Portugal.

Edited by AndyHull

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One more out of the junk pile. This time a blue dialed Petite?! 50xx series ladies Timex from 1973.

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This one came out really nice.

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The pictures don't really do it justice as they were taken during the polishing process, and you can see some polishing compound around the edge of the crystal. 

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I was starting to win the game of "hunt the scratches" at this point. :D

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At the risk of entering deep and dangerous waters, what does anybody know about rubber?

 

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I've seen a couple of these on ebay, but generally they sell for well over the 404 club membership rate, but this one presumably wasn't shifting and the seller messaged me with a buy it now offer of three quid, so I took the plunge.

From the pictures in the listing I could see that the condition of the watch was pretty poor, and when it arrived, it was fully wound and locked up solid. The case had a big dent in the "hubcap" back and the "tyre" is somewhat perished and cracked. The watch is complete, and one of the older examples, judging by the mechanism (Made in Scotland of course :biggrin:)

Getting it working was the easy bit, although it did take a couple of cleaning cycles, as the hairspring was very sticky (and as a result slightly conical). Mechanism running and dial cleaned,   next came dent removal, for which a little light "panel beating" with a rounded dowel and a hammer proved very effective. Following a quick minor polish (keeping the vintage look), you would never know the dent was there.

However the major issue is the rubber. Is it even possible to restore cracked and brittle rubber I wonder? Should I make a cast clay or plaster mold and cast myself a new tyre from silicone sealant?

What experience does the membership have of rubber? :P

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More fishy tales from the dark damp corners of ebay.

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Does anybody have any idea what the mechanism is?

Apparently it is"Stainless Steel Back","Water Protected","Guaranteed Fine Quality", "Antimagnetic","Lifetime Mainspring","Tropicalized","Diamond tooled", and furthermore "Radar Tested", so it must be good. :D

So good in fact, that it doesn't even give a hint as to what continent it comes from, far less which country.

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Casio W800-H "Illuminator" rescued from the junk pile.

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This was so scratched up that I doubted I could get it half way readable. I guess that just goes to show, with enough grit and determination you can actually polish a turd. :P

Enjoy the strap. I couldn't find anything less suitable, so I stuck it on this. I think it actually works, in a strange and faintly disturbing sort of a way.

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A little restoration work brought this 1977 Timex Mercury back from the scrap heap.

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Here it is with a couple of similar restored vintage Timexes, a 1978 Mercury three hander and a "British Rail" Big Q quartz.

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Wound up and raring to go, I get these numbers. Not bad for something that has been running since the birth of a small computer company in a Californian garage.

 

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Edited by AndyHull

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I was working on an erratic movement recently, and trying to figure out why it kept stopping, here are a couple of tg-timer graphs that illustrate the issue very nicely.

Just for the record, the issue was a tiny spec of dirt on the edge of one of the teeth of the  pallet wheel of a Timex model 32 movement, but the movement in question is not really relevant.

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Note how on the vertical chart (the time axis) the rate speeds up as the dirt comes in to contact with the first pin of the fork, then speeds up further and becomes a little erratic when it hits the second pin, only to then slow back down again as that tooth passes and the mainspring manages to return some energy to the balance. Also note that this is a gradual increase, the recovery is not instant, since the balance needs several cycles to get back up to full amplitude, and back in to beat. 

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Here is the inevitable result when the dirt eventually causes sufficient disruption to get the thing to stop.

Note how the ballance continues to bounce around, but since it has insufficient energy to allow the pins to clear the tooth, its amplitude just drops off a cliff and it stops.

One final point. Although I like tg-timer, the open source watch timer software that produces these graphs,  it has one glaring failure, in that it doesn't put numerical time marks on that vertical chart, which would be useful, as it would allow you to see that the disruptive event takes place at one minute intervals, which is also how long it takes for this particular palette wheel to make one complete revolution.

Those horizontal red lines are at 60 second intervals, but this is not immediately obvious, and some additional numerical tags would make things much clearer in my opinion. 

 

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Here is the same watch, following a gentle brushing of the problematic tooth to remove the crud, and a tiny amount of oil applied to the tooth face and the pin faces.

Not 100% gone, but a whole lot better. There is still a  slight wiggle there, but hopefully once the oil and the cleaning takes full effect that will go.

Edited by AndyHull

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Just for completeness, this is what I see now. (Click on any of these tg-timer images if you need to see more detail).

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There is still a slight irregularity but that periodic slow down has gone, the rate is now much more constant, and the swing is pretty impressive for a 1974 Timex.

One thing I didn't mention. I put a tiny sharpie ink mark on the side of the affected tooth, using a pin to dot the ink on to the palette wheel while I was fault finding. This allowed me to check to see if it was always the same tooth it stopped on (which it was). The sharpie mark is easily removed as its adhesion to metal is poor, so it tends to rub off with little effort. I have used laundry marker ink on occasions, but that is far more difficult to remove.

Edited by AndyHull

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Just for the record, with a little work, and a relatively unworn movement, you should expect pretty good results with these old Timexes.

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This is from this 1976 -  burgundy to black shaded dial, hexagonal bodied Marlin.

Following the initial clean, and a general lubrication of the various pivots and points indicated in the Timex service manual this is the result.

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Not bad, but we can do better.

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This is the same watch following some carefully targeted, delicate cleaning and lubrication of the V-Conic bearing and the pallet wheel and fork pins. (Ignore the low level noise in the graph, that is coming from the fan in my laptop).

As you can see we have improved the rate (which now varies between -7 and -11 both dial down and dial up) the amplitude, and the beat error.

Nothing has been done to the relative position of the balance spring. No hair spring massage, nothing like that. The improvements are entirely down to ensuring that all of the surfaces are spotlessly clean and adequately, but not overly lubricated.

Admittedly this isn't quite COSC standard, but not far off, and probably a lot better than you might have been lead to believe that these calibers can manage. I will also concede that not all of the movements I have been tinkering with are quite as good, but this is the sort of result you should be aiming for, and most of the ones that I have got working well, will be close to this level. Some you find will be so badly worn that they will struggle to remain stable, but if the movement is in good working order and if serviced well, it should keep good time, even if it is 40 plus years old.

Edited by AndyHull

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21 minutes ago, JerseyMo said:

yikes that crown is worn!

I have a small confession. I "fixed" it after that picture was taken, by carefully carving the notches back in to the brass with a sharp knife.

It looks and winds a whole lot better, but yes, the real fix would be to replace the crown. The wear  to the crown and the plating suggests this is a well used watch, so the results of the service are all the more impressive.

Edit: The crown carving was done by removing the crown and stem assembly and grabbing its shaft in my rechargeable drill's chuck, then cutting in to the surface with a sharp modeling knife blade. The original notches were barely visible, so some good light and a steady hand were needed. The result is vastly improved in terms of both looks and function, but a new crown would be the correct solution to the problem. 

Edited by AndyHull

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A gents "UK Time Dundee" on the bench today.

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This is one of the earlier Dundee Timex watches as it has the "UK Time" branding, so probably mid to late 1950s

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This is what arrived in the post. Not very clean and that crystal is almost certainly made from pure unobtanium.

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The "works" are stamped Made in Britain, but later versions often had Made in Scotland on them.

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I have it running, but the winding mechanism is badly worn (who would have thought it, looking at that crown :P), so it feels a little "gritty" while winding.

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I used UV cure phone glass glue to close up the cracks in the crystal, but it really needs to be replaced. None the less it ticks and tells the time, and I've removed the case klingons, and given everything a good shine, so it is a whole lot more presentable.

I'll let it run for a bit and regulate it. Another piece of local history joins the 404 collection.  

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20 minutes ago, HSL said:

Quite cool pice of history..

The original application to build the "UK Time Corporation" factory that became Timex Dundee was posted by Timex in January 1946, according to this article.

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/2016/01/29/dundees-timex-new-group-to-archive-stories-of-controversial-factory/

Production began in the early fifties and Timex produced watches and a variety of other hi-tec products there for 47 years.

Little remains of the factory complex now, most of that area of Dundee having been "redeveloped" into the usual collection of out of town shopping centers and small industrial units.

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Here are a few more little Timex Group related facts.

Shortly after purchasing the Waterbury Clock Company in 1941, founder Thomas Olsen renamed the company Timex, as a portmanteau of Time (referring to Time magazine) and Kleenex.[3]

The Fred Olsen group is also one of  the  Scotland's large land owners, which makes them one of the handful of entities that "own" Scotland, as a result of its arcane and feudal land laws.

More interesting history here -> http://www.andywightman.com/archives/category/who-owns-scotland

Now I'm not suggesting we go quite as far as this guy, but...

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... the current situation of "land management" (i.e. large slash and burn "grouse moors" and industrial scale toilet roll farming) is unsustainable in the long term. We do need a rethink.

 

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Inspired by this thread.

I decided to fix up one of the Sekondas that has been lying for quite a while in my box of bostoks, or should that be vox of vostocks... you decide.

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The watch in question may look familiar as I sorted an almost identical linen dialed Sekonda a few months back.

The dial is a shade lighter, but otherwise they are extremely similar.

This one however was in a pretty poor operating condition. Adjusting the hands resulted in some erratic movement of the hour hand and little else. Winding wasn't possible. The balance was fine (and has two shims, for those of you who have played the vostok 24xx shim game). The donor was a similar Sekonda with a destroyed dial and no hands. It generously donated its canon pinion, one of its keyless work springs and a movement clamp.

It is now "running in" on my arm, so I'll report on its progress later.

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