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Thread: Hair springs

  1. #1
    Registered User sparkey0151's Avatar
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    Default Hair springs

    I am getting a stock of spare parts together to repair my own pocket watches i am buying at auction, i am getting a lot of bits off a well known auction site, the pocket watches are mostly swiss, in reference to hair springs what should i look for, ie is there a common size etc, the reason im thinking of buying job lots etc is to practice as in time i will buy some better quality pocket watches and repair them, but need to practice handling various repairs, many thanks in advance for any help,



    regards john

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: sparkey0151)

    Hairsprings are designated by their GCS numbers, which is a strength designation, more or less. It correlates to size, thickness and number of turns, the spring constant is just one of many aspects of it.

    What you need is entirely dependent on what rate your watch should have, what ligne size watches you are working on and if you have the means of pinning, colleting and vibrating a hairspring. If not you have slim chances of adjusting a spring to your needs. Getting a movement specific spring is probably better for each watch where the need should arise.

    Also note that springs will be different with different overcoil shapes in different watches with a Breguet type spring. Look up "Lossier curves" if you want to know more about them!

    Best
    Karl

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: karlmansson)

    I second what Karl said!

    I have hundreds of "new" hairsprings to choose from but very seldom have any need for them. (They are however handy to have on the rare occations when one is needed!)

    I think you are best off by sourcing what you need when you face a watch with a broken hairspring. It is much more common to find a damaged hairspring that can be fixed than to find a broken or missing hairspring. May I suggest you invest in some nice tweezers that you only use for hairspring work and spend some time on learning to properly shape a hairspring.... I think that will be best way to use your time and if you can learn to correct damaged hairsprings, you will be able to repair most movements with hairspring issues, comming your way!

    PS. Not only are there different strengths etc. but also different materials...... Typical pocket watch hairsprings are blue steel but some have a newer alloy type that are "white". DS.

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: Skutt50)

    Thanks for the advice, never thought of repairing them,

    regards john

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: sparkey0151)

    Hi John,

    Repairing them is often the only feasible option. I do know of one specialist professional working in the south of the UK, and he now charges over £100 to fit and time a new hairspring!

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: gmorse)

    Here is an example from last week. It is a Cylinder escapement and someone had worked hard on damaging the hairspring!

    I worked on the hairspring when the watch parts were in the ultrasonic only to later find out that the escape wheel had one missing tooth (i don't have any of those as spares) and had to give up on this repair. Therefore I did not continue fixing the hairspring 100%, but it gives you an idea of what can be acheived..... and I am by no means an expert on hairspring manipulation........

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: Skutt50)

    It's always worth a shot at repairing the spring. Worst case scenario and you snap it. At that point it's goodnight to good timekeeping. I serviced an old Omega with a 25.5 T2 SOB a while back. The spring had escaped the regulator and someone before me had run the regulator all the way to the stud without realizing that the spring got pinched. That part broke clean off as I tried to straighten it. It was about 5mm. I added some weight to the balance and it now keeps good time in key positions but the isochronism isn't what it presumably was before. This has to do with the studding point relative to the pinning point at the collet relative to each other. George Daniels has a good explanation of it in his "Watchmaking".

    If your goal is to get a watch close to chronometer standard in such a case, your only option would be to either vibrate a new spring from a hairspring blank (very difficult with all things considered), buy a hairspring for that particular movement (hard to find) or to get a balance complete (probably the easiest with the best results but also probably the most expensive. If you don't count the tooling required to do a good vibrating job.)

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: Skutt50)

    wow Skutt50,

    I could never have done that. And I really have spent quite some time with mangled hairspings.

    Sharukh

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: sharukh)

    Right Sharukh,
    Skutt has persevered with that one!

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: PWfanatik)

    As a relative newcomer, hairsprings are my nightmare. While I have managed to straighten out a couple, I have mangled many. I've also found that replacing hairsprings, even when you use one from the same exact make, grade and model is not straightfoward. I believe each spring is vibrated to the particular balance and each balance weighted slightly differently. Thus the serial number scratched on the bottom of the balance arms. There would be no need to put it there if the balances for the same model were interchangeable.
    My current stage of practice is to occasionally work with junk hairsprings to try to improve my skills. I think patience and a good eye are 90% of what is required.

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: ANDY YALE)

    I believe each spring is vibrated to the particular balance and each balance weighted slightly differently.
    That is also my experience! A replacement hairspring may be close but the adjustment arm often ends up to one side!

    Thus the serial number scratched on the bottom of the balance arms.
    I am not sure about this. The balance if vibrated to fit with a hairspring normally works in a different movement of the same caliber! Many movements actually don't have the serial number on the balance arm.

    I think patience and a good eye are 90% of what is required.
    Practise is required however a good tools are very important. I use sewing needels, needels with the eye half removed to form a small fork and most common, tweezers filed to a very narrow tip. (easier to get in between the coils.) I prefer to use one pair that has the tip angled at 45 degrees. This makes it easier to get a bend 90 degrees from the flat. If you try to adjust a bend with straight tweezers and grip the coil at an angel, you are likely to end up with a hairspring that is not flat.

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: Skutt50)

    I have the sewing needles, but the thanks for the tip with the tweezers. All the bends I made with tweezers always had a small crimp in them, which I would try to smooth out after. The 45 degree tips might solve that.

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    Default Re: Hair springs (By: ANDY YALE)

    Andy, I think what is causing your problem is bending too close to the tweezer tips. Try to look at it as if you are just stabilizing the point at which you want to bend (or should I say "curve") the spring. Then you stroke with the needle going away from the tweezers. That way you are shaping the spring little by little for each stroke. But never start with the needle right up to the tweezers, always leave a mm or so in between.

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