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pmwas

My second Lepine watch... in details

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Not long ago I've visited the old castle ruins in Ogrodzieniec. It's not one hour by car from my place, so it's not very close, but not very far. There were times, when I used to go there with my parents quite often, but somehow we just stopped and for many years we forgot about this place.



The castle was erected in 15th Century as one of the so called 'Eagle's nests' - a line of castles protecting the western boarder of the kingdom. A magnificent castle once, now (like most castles in Poland) in ruins, but you can still see how big and glorious it once must have been. While this picture is just how I remembered, this one surely is not:



Of course, with many tourists arriving here in summer, many crap sellers soon followed. Poland has changed over time and now the colorful stalls mostly filled with cheaply made souvenirs are an inevitable part of such place.
Used to be much nicer...



From the courtyard you can make a nice tour all around the castle. It's unguided (unless you pay for a guide), and frankly - there's not much to see. Just an old pile of stone.
From the high tower you can see the surrounding lands - even up to where I live, somewhere there:



But looking from the castle walls I've noticed something new as well:



There's something on the top of the nearby hill that wasn't there last time I visited Ogrodzieniec long ago...
It's a reconstruction of a wooden castle that used to be there somewhere between 8th and 14 Century.
Looks inviting, so yesterday I went for another trip to see this castle this time.

The trip was timed by my freshly serviced watch, the Lepine...



As I stated in the title - it's my second Lepine watch. The first (even better) one, however, still is still waiting for spare parts to arrive, so I can show you the second one first...
But first - the castle...



It was located on a steep hill, to be easily defended.
It had a wall made of wooden bars, probably somewhat like the reconstructed one, a technology known to have been used by medieval Slavs.



So much time has passed - I believe this castle was raised by the Slavs still worshiping their four faced God Svantevit...
This, BTW, is a lovely sculpture of his I once bought...



There's not much inside, just three wooden buildings, that's all...



One of them is a nicely reconstructed early wooden hut, while the other has an exposition of some slavic relics, both original and replicas.



You can - of course - see the stone castle in Ogrodzieniec from here. Like I said, this wooden castle was demolished in 14th century, and later on, another spot was chosen for the new building.

Let's now see the watch...



It's a cylinder escapement movement, a member of the - so called - "Lepine caliber" family.
The Lepine cylinder movements have one common feature - they all were remarkably thin for the era.
Instead of fusee drive and verge escapement, Lepine used a simple going barrel with stop works (most watches don't have the stop works anymore, but they used to have) and cylinder escapement, achieving remarkable thickness, but not compromising the timekeeping.

Of course, my watch had undergone plenty of repairs already and it's damaged...



Looks like someone installed a new barrel arbor. The ratchet wheel was too thick and would get stuck under the cover (that's why the spring was still wound despite I thought I let it down) nd the barrel was sitted too low in the movement. So - the watchmaker used thick washers under the barrel bridge to lift it.
Poor watchmaking, but parts surely are difficult to get for these...
In the picture you can actually see how such old barrels are assembled - you put the arbor (with integrated ratchet wheel) through the bridge, put the barrel in the arbor, put the mainspring hook and pin it to secure the barrel, put the mainspring in the barrel and close the barrel. Simple...



What I did is I simply reduced the thickness of the ratchet wheel to fit under the cover. Moves freely now...
The parts are cleaned and wait for assembling.



From a Lepine movement I expected a somewhat better quality. The other one I've got is better and I can't wait to get it running. But let's stick to this one for now...
The movement is worn and has some play in the bearings, despite the fact they've already been repaired. I don't very much like the dial side cap jewel setting (crudely made) and the top side cap jewel is not perfectly centered above the hole jewel as well. A nice feature of early Lepines is the nicely polished cap jewel setting and nice, blue, shiny regulator.



The watch has a cylinder escapement, like I mentioned, and it's assembled quickly (not too many parts).
Like I said - the barrel is seated low, so I used a washer as thin as I could to make it running. The hour wheel is a tad askew, touching the barrel, but not too bad.



The movement all assembled...



...and cased. The Lepine cylinder watches had much flatter cases than other timepieces of the era.
This 46mm case is made of silver, has a nice coin edge and two gold plated rings, one on the bezel, second on the caseback.



A very elegant case no doubt.



The dial has some damage, but it's not very bad at all and there is a set of nice, gilded hands, accompanied by a badly made, rather ugly, silver second hand I painted black to look better.



The back cover was re-soldered, somewhat askew as someone repairing it forgot the hinge is a tad off.



And the movement cased once more.
On the Ogrodzieniec test it prooved to work pretty well, sometimes stopping due to the barrel issue (kept loosing the drive). I changed the washer for a slightly thicker one and we'll see how it works now.



And one last shot of the Ogrodzieniec castle. There was some sort of festival yesterday, but I did not feel like taking part in it. Just some people dressed up in old style clothes and stuff like that - I think I've grown too old for this... But have I

That's all for today. I've ordered a parts movement from Argentina to repair my other Lepine and I hope to show it to you soon.
This watch here is a decent piece, but the other one is even better, so you can imagine how impatient I am
Have a nice day!
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Updated 08-12-2017 at 02:01 AM by pmwas

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  1. docbooks's Avatar
    You live a BEAUTIFUL part of the World!