21j. Vanguard Assembly Pallet Problem

Robert J. Moore

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Aug 28, 2013
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Has anyone had any experience with assembling the Waltham Vanguards after servicing? After disassembly and cleaning/oiling it is giving me fits trying to get the pallet to stand upright while I attempt to install the top plate. The pallet pivots are conical, the jewel holes are olive shaped and the slightest nudge sends the pallet toppling. Tweezers don't seem to work as I have trouble seeing what's happening as I try to guide the plate in sideways between the fork and potence. I've been told that more then a few have been broken off during assembly because of what I'm experiencing. Any thoughts? I've been thinking of machining a small removable spacer v-block to at least help hold the arbor in a upright position while I'm putting the top plate on.

Did Waltham have a special tool or technique for this in their production department? I just don't see a factory assembler spending a lot of time fiddling with one movement trying not to snap off the pivots.

Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks.

Robert
 
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Skutt50

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Mar 14, 2008
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I think you need to post a picture or two to illustrate your problem.

Is this full plate type? If so try to assemble it "upside down" i.e. mount the gear train on the top plate and lower the main plate down on it.
 

Jim Haney

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You can turn over the top plate and set the pallet in the jewel and use a rubber band to hold it and flip over and set it in place and snip the band or you can use rodico . Some people make a small ball of this putty and put it beside the fork to stand it up,don't get any in the jewel holes.
 

Robert J. Moore

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Aug 28, 2013
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Thanks for the guidance/info. I think I'll try turning the top plate over, mounting the train into it and lowering the bottom plate onto the train procedure. Seems the most logical approach. Since the pallet pivots seem to be around .1 mm (<.03937") in diameter or less I didn't/don't want to do anything that will put them in jeopardy. Thanks again.
Robert
 

Jerry Treiman

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For the 1892 model 18-size, Waltham recommended assembling the watch on the top plate and then lowering the pillar plate down onto it. They made a special jig for this that they would send, free, to watchmakers. If you don't have one of these I find that the top plate of an 18-size movement fits nicely on a 16-size movement holder.
92 mvt holder.jpg 92holder.jpg
 
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Robert J. Moore

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Aug 28, 2013
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Jerry, thanks for the input. I'm going to try and find one of those M92 movement jigs. If not successful I'll try the size 16 movement holder or to work up some dimensions and try and machine a jig copy myself. So there seems to be a consensus that the way to assemble the M92 movement would be a combination of turning over the top plate and installing the train on it and that Waltham had/offered a specific tool. Excellent.
 

Robert J. Moore

Registered User
Aug 28, 2013
99
24
8
I've got a question for Jerry regarding that jig Waltham made up for the size 18s M92 movement. Were the pegs/pins held in their positions permanently in the jig? Or did they slide along the shoulder ring up against the plate and held there more or less by a friction fit? I am looking for a wood shop to turn a piece or alternately will have one machined possibly from aluminum. Unless you know of a possible source where I could get an original vintage piece? Thanks.

Robert
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff