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Man, that's American - has to be crap!

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The title of my blog post might seem ridiculous for American members of our Forum, but when I was getting started collecting American watches - you'd hear it here all the time.
Lucky me, at the time I was rather buying than selling, and such opinion resulted in ridiculously low prices.
Wy would people in Poland say so? Well - most of the immigrants that went from Poland to USA to earn money were poor people, unwilling to spend they hard-earned money on luxury goods like watches.
In fact, they were more willing to take the money back home with them...

Here, in Koscielisko, in Tatra mountains, there are plenty of people who built their houses with money brought back from America.
With them, they would sometimes bring dollar watches - the reason for American watches' bad opinion in my homeland...

This is one of such watches I'm doing today.
It's a New Haven 0 jewel pocket watch I happen to have in my drawer.
I would have done it eariler, but I had no idea how to remove the stem.

Today I figured it out and you can see the watch in parts...
So off we go, to the cutting edge of cost reduction in watchmaking!

Firstly - to uncase a New Haven, you have to turn the small metal plate on the top side, to release the 'setting lever' arbor. With the setting lever released you have to pull it up to release te stem. That's it - the movement can be now taken out...

The movement is of VERY low quality - it has just three plates (pilar, top and barrel bridge), very few parts, some riveted for good to the pilar plate, the hairspring pinned to the to plate and pressed metal dial mounted with bent 'feet' to the pilar plate.
Above you van see the gear train and pin-lever escapement.
Like in Swiss Roskopfs - a pin lever escapement is always a detached lever one, being one of the main advantages of this unit...
Work on hairspring carefully - it's very soft and gets out of shape easily.

My watch turned out to have a broken off barrel hook...

I crudely made a steel barrel hook and riveted it. The barrel suffered badly from a tool slip and I had to straighten the barrel wall
The difficulty is that - due to it's shape - you can't simply rivet such thing on a staking set.
In fact whenever I find a broken hook I convert the barrel to use a T-end mainspring, but this barrel is an open-type, unsuitable for one.

Because the balance is pinned to the top plate, I decided to assemble it upside down and propably that's how the maker intended.
Don't forget to put the setting mechanism's parts on!
It's a very simple design with very few parts. The pendant-set mechanism is a pressed (and blued) steel settig lever that moves one pof the dial side gears to engage either the ratchet wheel or the intersetting wheel. So simple yet so clever...

The barrel bridge is soft and thin.
The dial side balance bearing is adjustable, like in alarm clocks, to get just the amount of endshake you need to keep it running.

Dial side now...

The center pinion is best assemlbled on a staking set, as the small brass gear is tight on the arbor.

In fact, now that it's all assembled - this is the lowest quality watch you could imagine, probably beaten just by the late Westclox with plates riveted together. However, I do admire the design - it's a genious' work!

The dial and hands back on and it can be cased again in its chrome plated case...

This New Haven has a typical dollar watch look...

Snap on caseback..

And the movement again!
Like I said - a genious' design - a working pendant set movements with so few parts!
Just beautiful.
Still - obviously a nothing special ultra-low grade dollar watch

Hope you enjoyed it - I did!
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Updated 05-02-2017 at 03:20 AM by pmwas



  1. Mike Phelan's Avatar
    Half a century ago, when I repaired watches for colleagues and pals, I came across many Ingersoll pocket watches; they were quite similar to this one, like a scaled-down alarm clock.
    I thought they were quite an ingenious design as well as being made down to a price. Then there were the Timex wristwatches, made on quite similar lines.

    Oddly, at auctions in UK these fetch as much as 19th C watches with verge escapements and fusees that cost a small fortune when new.