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  1. #1
    Registered user. bchaps's Avatar
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch?

    Although my forte is clock repair, I'm comfortable disassembling and cleaning pocket watches and men's wrist watches. A client requested I clean his Thomas Mercer Ships Chronmeter. From reading the bulletin, I know these are gimbal-mounted in a box. Is there any other significant difference between a chronometer and a good grade pocket watch?
    I advised the client that if servicing this piece was beyond my skill level, I would decline the job...the other side of "do no harm".

    Thanks in advance for your comments,
    Bill
    Bill...
    Member Chapter 1

  2. #2
    Registered user. bchaps's Avatar
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    Although my forte is clock repair, I'm comfortable disassembling and cleaning pocket watches and men's wrist watches. A client requested I clean his Thomas Mercer Ships Chronmeter. From reading the bulletin, I know these are gimbal-mounted in a box. Is there any other significant difference between a chronometer and a good grade pocket watch?
    I advised the client that if servicing this piece was beyond my skill level, I would decline the job...the other side of "do no harm".

    Thanks in advance for your comments,
    Bill
    Bill...
    Member Chapter 1

  3. #3
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    Bill,

    You'll be dealing with a detent escapement, a fusee, and maintaining power. And a chronometer for which parts might be a problem. Before you embark on this, it would be a good idea to research marine chronometer servicing. Here is a Hamilton series XXI in pieces:

    Hamilton apart

    And here's the detent escapement:

    detent escapement

    My December column in the BULLETIN is on the dis-assembly, repair, cleaning, and re-assembly of the <STRIKE>victim</STRIKE>, er, chronometer pictured. There will be many similarities between it and the Mercer, and certainly many of the pitfalls to look out for. You might wish to review that column before you set out on the Mercer. Beyong the pitfalls and the particular steps one must take to avoid problems, you could probably handle it. Part of it depends on the condition it is in, and whether parts are necessary.

  4. #4
    Registered user. bchaps's Avatar
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    Thank you Doug! I declined the job. It's a horrible mistake to learn on a client's prized piece. Your information prevented me from making that mistake.


    This is the greatest value of the NAWCC Message board... I can quickly obtain valuable information from experienced resources, allowing me to make knowledgable decisions.

    Thanks again,

    Bill
    Bill...
    Member Chapter 1

  5. #5
    Hardy
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    Doug,

    I shall look forward to your December column.

    These devices certainly are beautiful; the ultimate mechanical timekeepers; all function with no unnecessary parts or roccoco decoration. Just a marvelously crafted and finished instrument. They are to timepieces what Mozart is to music.

    Whitney reports a Dent chronometer with a rate error of less than a second a year. Some call it a fluke but isn't that what he was trying to do.

    The Mercer is probably just like the Hamilton except maybe it has a reverse fusee and the flatter English style detent unlike the Hamilton/Ulysse Nardin type. They are aimed at the same target and it makes sense that they would be similar.

    Regards,
    Hardy

  6. #6
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    Bill,

    I hope what I said didn't discourage you! I remember the first marine chronometer that I serviced over 20 years ago. I had never even SEEN one, let alone being asked to service one. It took me longer then than it does now, but it turned out well, just the same. I would suggest that a Hamilton seies XXI would be a better choice for a first attempt because the parts are available. This covers you if the chronometer needs parts, or if you make a mistake. If you check out my article in the December issue of the BULLETIN, you might wish you had not refused the job!

    Now that I have checked your profile, I realize you may not be an NAWCC member. Membership in NAWCC is just as great a benefit as is the Message Board. Think it over!

  7. #7

    Default Is a Mercer Chronometer significantly different than a Pocket Watch? (RE: bchaps)

    The other advantage of starting with a Hamilton model 21 is that the military repair manual is still in print (or reprint). I spells each step out in great detail. It is not difficult to do a chronometer, but there are boobie traps. Set off one of these three or four mines and you will do damage. Read the manual.

    Don

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