A Swiss Clock I can't get rated properly

T.Cu

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Hello All, I have a small oak case with a Fontaine Melon Swiss movement inside. The clock ticks along well, but the rate is either WAY too fast or WAY too slow no matter in how small increments I move the speed adjustment lever.
It will be twenty minutes fast let's say, over 24 hours, and I creep the f/s lever up slowly in tiny increments over a week, and nothing changes. Then one day *wham* it changes to being twenty minutes too slow all of a sudden.
I wind it each time I am trying to rate it with the lever, so it's at the same place regarding "power".
The man who takes care of clock movement problems for me says he just doesn't know what's wrong with the clock. He cleaned and oiled it, but he can't get it to go the right speed either.
If I can't get it to run right I will sell it as non-functional, but first I thought I'd give it a go here, in case there was some really characteristic thing it was doing that others know about that we don't.
Thanks a lot in advance, Tim

IMG_1454imp.jpg IMG_1456imp.jpg
 

svenedin

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It’s a platform escapement and it’s possible that the hairpring is not properly engaging with the regulator. Odd behaviour like this can also be due to loose motion works, especially the hand tension spring. 20 minutes a day is beyond the adjustment that the regulator can provide so I suspect loose motion work. If it’s an escapement problem this is delicate work more in the realm of watchmaking than clockmaking.
 
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Mike Phelan

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The man who takes care of clock movement problems for me says he just doesn't know what's wrong with the clock. He cleaned and oiled it, but he can't get it to go the right speed either.

Thanks a lot in advance, Tim
Hmmm ...
Tim, you're saying that the loss of time isn't consistent but erratic, so to elaborate on what Stephen says, if the regulator is firstly at one end, then the other one over, say, a week if there any difference in the loss of time?

As I cannot see the movement, if it has a centre wheel it might be worth marking it to see if the train is keeping time but the motion work isn't. Just a thought.
 

gmorse

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Hi Tim,

Can you post a really clear close up of the platform please? I can't see the balance spring at all. The problem could be caused by a magnetised platform, an out of beat balance, various damaged jewels or pivots, a loose or damaged impulse pin, a loose cannon pinion, or a number of other circumstances. As Stephen has said, these little beasts are really watch work.

Regards,

Graham
 

Willie X

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IMOE, watch people aren't interested in working on clock platforms ... But, if you can find one that is, that would be good. They have a little machine that can check the platform for rate and variations in rate. If the balance is vibrating well and the escapement is adjusted properly, the problem might be south of the platform.
Willie X
 
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shutterbug

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Yeah, we really need a video. Post to Youtube and link here.
 
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T.Cu

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Hi, Thanks for your replies! I didn't get my usual notifications so I just saw them. I will do a better shot close up, and also research how to add a video. And I'll answer all the individual responses... thanks!
 

T.Cu

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Hmmm ...
Tim, you're saying that the loss of time isn't consistent but erratic, so to elaborate on what Stephen says, if the regulator is firstly at one end, then the other one over, say, a week if there any difference in the loss of time?

As I cannot see the movement, if it has a centre wheel it might be worth marking it to see if the train is keeping time but the motion work isn't. Just a thought.
Hi, The clock will run either fast or slow and stay that way, I think. So it's not the rate that varies if I don't adjust it.
It's just the adjustment either does nothing or all of a sudden makes it go way into the other direction. When I try to adjust the rate either faster or slower, I move the regulator up hair by hair and... nothing happens. Then one day, my tiny incremental movement of the regulator makes the clock jump to being way too much the OTHER way, from what it was.
Thanks for responding! I am adding new pictures, below.
 

T.Cu

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Hi Tim,

Can you post a really clear close up of the platform please? I can't see the balance spring at all. The problem could be caused by a magnetised platform, an out of beat balance, various damaged jewels or pivots, a loose or damaged impulse pin, a loose cannon pinion, or a number of other circumstances. As Stephen has said, these little beasts are really watch work.

Regards,

Graham
Here you go.. thanks!

IMG_1479imp.jpg IMG_1480.JPG IMG_1481imp.jpg IMG_1482imp.jpg
 

T.Cu

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I agree about these really more like working on a watch, phew, the stuff is tiny. The man who works on my clocks is 83, and I just don't think he can see it well enough. Reminds me of that funny expression "If you can see it you can work on it..."
Thanks everyone for responding, I will see if I can get to putting a video on youtube. Tim
 

gmorse

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Hi Tim,

Thanks for the pictures. The first thing that strikes me from them is that the balance spring is distorted, it's being pushed over to one side, and it must be centred in order to work properly. I can't see clearly how it's sitting in the regulator pins, (actually one pin and a 'boot'), but if it's not true in the flat and free to slide in there, moving the regulator lever can push it out of shape, but that in itself shouldn't necessarily cause your symptoms.

Regards,

Graham
 

T.Cu

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Hi Tim,

Thanks for the pictures. The first thing that strikes me from them is that the balance spring is distorted, it's being pushed over to one side, and it must be centred in order to work properly. I can't see clearly how it's sitting in the regulator pins, (actually one pin and a 'boot'), but if it's not true in the flat and free to slide in there, moving the regulator lever can push it out of shape, but that in itself shouldn't necessarily cause your symptoms.

Regards,

Graham
Hi, thanks for the response. I will try to get a video up on youtube soon. Tim
 

Uhralt

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I'm not sure about this but it looks to me that the end of the regulator "slot" touches the next coil slightly. That could cause your symptoms.

Uhralt
 

T.Cu

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I think this link will work to get you to my video of "Swiss Fontaine Melon clock" on youtube.
But...I am not sure the quality of my video will allow anyone to get a better idea of what's going on with the clock. It's pretty bad.
 

T.Cu

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Hi Uhralt, Is this the area you need to see? In these two blown up photos? I can try for better photos of this area tomorrow if needed.. Thanks, Tim

IMG_1481impimp.jpg IMG_1484imp.jpg
 

berntd

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Looking at the picture, (which are still not close enough), it appears the hairspring is off centre to the right. In that case, the likely issue here is that the hairspring coils touch or touch the regulator as it oscillates. You would be able to test that with a magnifier and by manually turning the balance slowly and checking if anything touches.

In any case, the hairspring should appear as a nice, evenly spaced coil perfectly centred around the balance staff.
 
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berntd

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Another point: Looking at your video, the balance swing is also way too little, in my opinion.
 
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Tim Orr

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Good evening, Tim!

Looking at the left picture, I can't be sure, but it almost looks as though the two outer coils are captured in the regulator, and that the third coil is touching the outside of the pin. True?

And I agree with Berntd that the balance wheel swing is way too small. Looks like it's only a bit over 45°. That can be a symptom of loss of power. And it can make the clock run very fast.

It might even be that the pin on the regulator is not straight up and down, as it should be, and is pushing the second coil against and touching the third one. Hard to see in the photos. It does look as though the second and third coils are touching to the left in the photo.

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 
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Uhralt

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Good evening, Tim!

Looking at the left picture, I can't be sure, but it almost looks as though the two outer coils are captured in the regulator, and that the third coil is touching the outside of the pin. True?

And I agree with Berntd that the balance wheel swing is way too small. Looks like it's only a bit over 45°. That can be a symptom of loss of power. And it can make the clock run very fast.

It might even be that the pin on the regulator is not straight up and down, as it should be, and is pushing the second coil against and touching the third one. Hard to see in the photos. It does look as though the second and third coils are touching to the left in the photo.

Best regards!

Tim Orr
This is what I see to.

Uhralt
 
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gmorse

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Hi Tim,

IMG_1481impimp_crop.jpg

I think there's only the outer coil in the regulator, but the gap in there seems over-large and there are certainly touching coils further towards the centre, also, as has been said, the whole spring is definitely biased over to the right. It's not possible to see whether the spring is true in the flat, but if it's rubbing anywhere that won't help.

Regards,

Graham
 
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T.Cu

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Hi Everyone, Thank you so much for your responses!
I am determined to get a better photo of that area. If I can. I will set up the light and the camera differently later today or tomorrow. I think I have a tiny tripod to set the camera on, and then do an "automatic" shot so it will be steadier. Then photoshop it.
And I will move the regulator to the center position for one shot and to the far right for another set. Move it around some to see what that does to the spring down there.
 

gmorse

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Hi Tim,
And I will move the regulator to the center position for one shot and to the far right for another set. Move it around some to see what that does to the spring down there.
That's a good idea. It doesn't appear that the spring is being pinched in the regulator pins, quite the opposite in fact, but moving the regulator through its whole range should show whether the outer coil is properly concentric.

Regards,

Graham
 

shutterbug

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The video shows that the balance wheel is very anemic acting. It needs to turn nearly 360° as it rotates. A short rotation like that causes the timing to be ultra fast, which is probably why you are having so much trouble trying to adjust it. You won't be able to until you correct the problem causing the issue. Typically, it's friction in the time train robbing power, but it could be several things. I'd start by really analyzing every pivot hole in the time train.
 

bkerr

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cannot tell for sure but it looks like the HS is touching the coils and it may not be in the pins? The balance may need to be cleaned if the clock is in good condition (checking all pivots as mentioned above). In the platform check the staff, check the hole jewels as well as the cap jewels. Dry oil or bent pivot could cause poor amplitude. The balance itself looks like all the screws are in place from what I can see. I work on Chelsea clocks that use the same type of platform. These need to be completely taken apart, cleaned and oiled, not with clock oil. Also check the fork staff and jewels.
 

T.Cu

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Thanks guys, I will get to more photos when I can.. :)
 

T.Cu

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Hello, Well, I am including some other photos though I wasn't able to improve their quality as much as I thought I could.

IMG_1530.JPG IMG_1529.JPG IMG_1528.JPG
 

shutterbug

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Until you get the right rotation, nothing else matters. If the HS is fine, the time train needs to be serviced.
 

T.Cu

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Thanks to everyone for your help. Tim
 

gmorse

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Hi Tim,
I wasn't able to improve their quality as much as I thought I could.
These are very low resolution images; have they been manipulated in some way or are they as the camera created them? The forum software can accept quite large images, (around 3mb), and will scale them and create thumbnails automatically if necessary.

Regards,

Graham
 

T.Cu

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Hi Tim,


These are very low resolution images; have they been manipulated in some way or are they as the camera created them? The forum software can accept quite large images, (around 3mb), and will scale them and create thumbnails automatically if necessary.

Regards,

Graham
Hi, Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been away a bit.. I don't understand why those images are so small a file. I will attempt to reset my camera, a Canon Elph Powershot point and shoot. It is supposed to be set on the highest resolution. I'll try to get the instructions online.
 

T.Cu

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Ok, did that, maybe had the thing set up too low res. I dunno. Thank you for pointing this out. I was wondering what the heck was going on.
I reset it and set it to the highest file sizes here and there in the menu, and now I hope my next attempts are better. Tim
 

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