1957 Westclox dax pocket watch

Chuck Crouch

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Hey all, I recently acquired a 1957 Westclox DAX pocket watch at an estate sale. Unfortunately, it does not run, but I thought I would try my hand at getting this watch to run.
There is a marking on the watch movement that is 3 57. I am not sure but I believe this to be a date of manufacture. As I did not invest a lot of money into this watch, and I have no experience with any type of watch, I would still like to give it a go. I have been successful with 99% of the antique clocks I have brought in. This would be the first watch I have tried to clean or repair.
I really believe all it may need is a cleaning. Can I clean it with the same solutions I use to clean a clock movement? Can I use ultrasonic without causing damage to the hair spring? If I can us ultrasonic, do I need to disassemble the movement to clean? If I use ultrasonic and not do a complete disassemble, are there parts or gears that may come loose? The hair spring looks to be in good shape and the main spring does not look to be broken.
Thanks for any information you can provide. :)
 

musicguy

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Moving question to watch repair section.



Rob
 

Skutt50

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I believe this is what was refered to as a dollar watch and they are not easy to assemble. Not the best beginners movement to start out a watch servicing career so to say. Dollar watches were not intended for servicing and some even riveted together making it very difficult to take apart. Your watch probably has screws so it can be disassembled.

To give it a good cleaning you need to take it apart. Running the assembled movement in an ultrasonic will not clean all areas. Specially the mainspring barrel and probably the balance will be difficult to reach. Often there is gummed up oil in the pivot holes that needs to be manually removed with e.g. pegwood.

If you insist on not disassembling the movement you may be lucky with running it assembled in the US. It may be enough to get it running again but if you plan to use the movement a proper disassembly and cleaning is recommended.
 

Chuck Crouch

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Thanks for your response Skutt50. Yes, it does have screws I believe will allow the back and dial plates to be separated. My concern is the hair spring. I watched a YouTube that used a 1969 Canadian Westclox DAX. He stated that the hairspring was glued to the back plate instead of a stronger form of securing. That seemed unusual, but with your response, that dollar watches were not intended to be serviced, that now becomes a concern.
I am thinking I will try the US bath as an assembled movement first. If that fails, then I will look into a full disassembly. As I stated earlier, I do not have a lot invested into this watch and with that, but I would enjoy having it running. I think it will be a cautious experiment with a steep learning curve.
Again, thanks for your response and if you can offer any additional information, please do. At this time, I am a sponge and looking for all the info I can gather.
 

roughbarked

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The balance can be removed and should be, to clean things properly and to be able to examine and make appropriate repairs and adjustments. If your watch has screws rather than rivets, then it should follow that the hairspring has a pin rather than shellac to hold it in?
 
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gmorse

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Hi Chuck,

Cleaning a movement in a US without dismantling it first has some hazards. If you're using a water-based cleaning solution, it can be difficult to impossible to ensure that enclosed parts of the watch, particularly the spring in the barrel, are thoroughly dry to prevent premature rusting. This isn't so much of a problem if the cleaning solution is solvent-based, but the issue raised by Skutt and roughbarked of getting everything really clean remains. There's also the impossibility of properly examining the state of the pivots and other parts while the movement is all in one piece.

Apart from all this, you'll learn much more about how the watch works when you have it apart!

Regards,

Graham
 
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Chuck Crouch

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Well, leaving it assembled did not work as most of you predicted. I did a tear down with many photos for reassembly. Does not seem to be too complicated. Not sure if there are pieces that have to be in a special alignment.
Everything is going back to the US bath once more. I use a water-ammonia based solution. I then do a complete water rinse and then a 90% alcohol bath to remove all the water. Dry it with heated air.
I was not sure how to, or if I could, release the hair spring. I left that intact and removed the back plate as careful as possible so not to damage the hair spring. If there is a way to release the hair spring, I am anxious for that info.
Also, is there a different set of rules for reassembly versus a clock?
Thanks
 

gmorse

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Hi Chuck,
I was not sure how to, or if I could, release the hair spring. I left that intact and removed the back plate as careful as possible so not to damage the hair spring. If there is a way to release the hair spring, I am anxious for that info.
If you can post some clear pictures of that area, it would help to get you some replies!

Regards,

Graham
 

Skutt50

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Also, is there a different set of rules for reassembly versus a clock?
The main problem when assembling one of these is that a lot of pivots has to be inserted in the top plate at the same time. On more standard (Swiss made) watches there are 3 or four bridges or cocks which makes the assembly much esier.

A picture of the hairspring will yield more help with its removal but if not glued it might be held in place with a tapered pin. I have seen some hairsprings that are pressed in place. (A folded piece of the plate.) Let's hope this one is not.....

When you have the plates separated don't forget to peg the pivot holes. You can use a sharpened toothpick if you don't have pegwood.
 

roughbarked

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Well, leaving it assembled did not work as most of you predicted. I did a tear down with many photos for reassembly. Does not seem to be too complicated. Not sure if there are pieces that have to be in a special alignment.
Everything is going back to the US bath once more. I use a water-ammonia based solution. I then do a complete water rinse and then a 90% alcohol bath to remove all the water. Dry it with heated air.
I was not sure how to, or if I could, release the hair spring. I left that intact and removed the back plate as careful as possible so not to damage the hair spring. If there is a way to release the hair spring, I am anxious for that info.
Also, is there a different set of rules for reassembly versus a clock?
Thanks
No photos?
 

penjunky

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I was not sure how to, or if I could, release the hair spring. I left that intact and removed the back plate as careful as possible so not to damage the hair spring. If there is a way to release the hair spring, I am anxious for that info.
Hi Chuck.

It's been a long long time since I was in a westclox, but if I recall correctly the hair spring is fastened directly to the back plate with a pin. If removed it must go back "EXACTLY" as it came out so as not to upset the timing of the spring and balance staff/speed.

As Skutt pointed out the plate is in one piece and was rather difficult to reinstall over pivots. I believe I had to oil the balance before reassembly cause there was no hole to do so in either plate.

I think my westclox was trying to tell me if I succeed the first time it don't want to be serviced a second time.

Good luck

Roger
 
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penjunky

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the hair spring is fastened directly to the back plate with a pin
Hi Chuck

Just recalled, I believe the pin holding the hairspring is sort a spot weld or something of that nature. I didn't mess with mine.
 

Chuck Crouch

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Hi roughbarked, I did take a lot of photos during the tear down. Unfortunately, only one of the hair spring itself on the dial plate and no detail pictures. Didn't want to just upload pictures that had no purpose. Fortunately, I guess, this hairspring is pinned. Understanding penjunky that it has to go back EXACTLY. :oops: I will get more detail photos of the hairspring before I remove the pin and the spring from the regulator. I think that should free the balance wheel and spring as one piece. It looks as if it could be a pain in the butt to get that spring back in the exact spot. However, after reassembly, and if it runs, I can then play with the timing, if necessary.
Clocks are so much simpler for old, fat finger people like myself. ;)

New question, this crystal is pretty scratched up. I have not determined how to remove the crystal from the bezel without either breaking the crystal or warping the bezel. Is there a method or trick to removing the crystal? I can probably find it on YouTube, but I prefer an experts process to an expert amateur's way. Although, at this time, I too am an expert amateur! :D
Thank everyone
 

Skutt50

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Again we need pictures to see the crystal/case.

Some are acrylic some glass, some are quite normal some have a bit of a lip under the bezel.

I would guess you could prey the bezel off and then it would be obvious how the crytal is fitted.
Prey the bezel like you would open a case back.....

The EXACT replacement of the hairspring means a) the same pinning point lengthwise to maintain the time keeping and b) the pinning of the hairspring so it rests in a horizontal position.

To make things worse some of these tapered pinns have a flat side to be fitted against the hairspring.........
 

penjunky

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Understanding @penjunky that it has to go back EXACTLY
Hey Chuck

I updated below my first reply. I am almost positive the hairspring is permanently fastened to the plate by some sort of spot weld or something of that nature. I don't believe it was meant to be taken off.

But we never know unless we give it a try. Like you said, don't have much in it.

Rooger
 

Chuck Crouch

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Hey everyone, hope you are enjoying your 4th of July. I uploaded pictures of the crystal and the hair spring. I have the watch reassembled and pinned the hair spring. Unfortunately, I will have to tear it down again. It still does not run. Not sure what the problem may be as it all went together without too much trouble. Try again tomorrow.

20220704_082242_resized.jpg 20220704_082254_resized.jpg 20220704_082317_resized.jpg 20220704_082345_resized.jpg
 

darrahg

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Your crystal looks like plastic and, if so, can be polished with Flitz or any other fine polishing compound.
Also, if you haven't already do so, make sure you polish the staff cups (pegwood or toothpick with polish) and pivots (can be done manually if necessary) and then add a trace amount (light film) of oil. A very small amount of oil on to the fork pins can help in some cases.
 

gmorse

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Hi Chuck,

Helpful pictures, but could you take one of the balance actually in the pivot cup? It's hard to see how the balance spring looks with it all bunched up to one side like that. Also one with the lever in place would be good.

Regards,

Graham
 
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Skutt50

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That looks like a normal crystal. I would press it out with my fingers from the back towards the front. If acrylic no problem but if glass use some protection. It may break......

If acrylic and without cracks running through the crystal you can polish it. I use some 400 followed by 800/ 1200 emery paper. Then either Polywatch or even auto paint scratch remover polish will make it as good as new.

Why it does not run is a harder question to answer. You might need to take it apart and test the gear train without pallet fork and balance. Then remove the gear train and test the balance. A lot of work but that is one of the problems with the dollar watches.

The hairspring looks a bit odd but I guess that is linked to the balance not beeing in the proper position.
 

Chuck Crouch

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Hey guys, sorry for the late responses. Having to build a new fence to divide pastures, and between the monsoons and the heat in SE AZ, it has been a slow go. gmorse, I am assuming by lever you are speaking to the fast/slow lever that the hair spring goes thru?
My plan is to do another disassemble. The pivot pins are so mall I am afraid of breaking one. I did that on an escapement wheel for an 1870 French Spiral clock. Fortunately, Richard Cox of Findley-Cox was able to repair it. Arbor was way too small for the equipment I have to properly repair.
Is there a way to test if the crystal is glass or plastic? I realize that sounds like a dumb question, but i am not aware of a good way without trying to scratch it.
 

gmorse

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Hi Chuck,
@gmorse, I am assuming by lever you are speaking to the fast/slow lever that the hair spring goes thru?
No, I meant the lever which engages with the balance at one end and the escape wheel at the other. It's what gives the escapement its name.

Regards,

Graham
 

Skutt50

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Is there a way to test if the crystal is glass or plastic? I realize that sounds like a dumb question, but i am not aware of a good way without trying to scratch it.
This may sound stupid but I put them against my forehead. If it fees cold it is glass, if it is luke warm it is plastic.
 

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