AR & JE Meylan Lemania CH27 - And a Story

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by Kevin Neathery, Dec 15, 2018.

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  1. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    Word of warning...this is a long post. But there are pics at he end so it is always worth pics.

    So there is an older collector in the area that I have talked to for many years. He decided he wanted to start parting with some of his watches. Only wristwatches and he was never big into wristwatches. More of the American pocket watch enthusiast and clock repair.

    So on one of my trips over to visit he offered to let me look through some of the "junk". I must state, I always offered to buy at what something would sell for retail. He is a family friend and watch karma will get you. So I was looking through bags of...yes junk. But off to the side there was this chronograph. face down in the case without a back. In a kind of Tupperware lid. I picked it up and counted 4 hands laying in the lid, a clutch, winding pinion, and that was it. Dial looked interesting and best of all original.

    I inquired how much. I had bought maybe 20 watches from him at this point he did not think were worth more than $5 so he was thrilled with the way more I was giving him. But this watch he said....take it. I kept offering to pay him but he thought the watch was beyond saving and only good for parts. It was at this point I decided this would one piece I would do all I could for out of respect for him. He had tried fixing it and hand never gotten it going. The last time he had worked on it was over 25 years.

    So I got it home and got a crystal on it after fitting the 4 hands I did have. The hour and min hands were broken. Such a fine metal frame. The goal was to protect the dial and hands from any further damage. I tried to wind it but after a few turns....I could feel a grind. But it did what I needed and I got a few faint ticks. I knew the balance was ok but no telling if anything else was wrong. I now knew what he was trying to do, fix the winding. He did not have the right parts. The winding stem was wrong too. But the case was stainless and shoudl have a stainless back. I head back over and after a bit of searching....the back was found.

    So I order a clutch and pinion. I also order the correct winding stem. I am no watchmaker and will never claim such. So I took it over to my local guy. It was missing a piece within the movement ring that allowed one of the pushers to work. He figured he could make it...ok. I would figure order it but whatever. He got a central second hand and cleaned it. He made the part and while it was apart he said that I may as well replace the mainspring. Sounds fine to me. Fitted the stem and crown and said all good.

    When he was testing it though it stopped after an hour...this is when the things he says can get under my skin a bit. Don't get me wrong...the guy is great and I can see his point of view on some things. So the question was "Do you want me to figure out what is wrong? You could always just throw it on eBay and make it someone else's issue. I don't really want to take it apart again." Take it apart and figure it out, I want to know. So a day later he calls me up and says a few teeth on the barrel are bent. So I order a new barrel.

    He gets the barrel and tells me it is not the right one. Ugh. So I look and it is the right barrel and he figures out it is too. He thought it looked different...until he measured it. Well that was good but the ratchet wheel is missing some teeth too....I order a ratchet wheel. It come in...he says it is the wrong one. This time he is right, I ordered the wrong one. I go and order the right one and take that to him. He gets it all together and a week later he say it is ready.

    Honestly though he charged me only $250. Winding and setting are not exactly smooth but hey...at least the 6 week project was done. Or so I thought. I am playing with it, like one does with their new toy, and I notice that it had stopped resetting properly. It was acting like a single pusher chronograph. Then it stops ticking. AHHHHH!!!!! Ok so I get it home and I think the hammer bolt is not in the right spot....snap. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! Enough. So I ship it out to Blake. I only use him in emergency...I don't have that much in my watch budget.

    He gets it and a week later he lets me know why it stopped running. Bent tooth on the barrel. Ummm seems like I went through this before. So I asked him to have a look at the reset pusher. Yep...the part the watchmaker had made was pushing too far into the movement and actually bending the teeth. I give him the green light to order whatever part he needs. He is timing out the watch and poses a question I usually just flat out say no to. Add lumen to the hands as the old lumen was long gone. I said only if he could match the color of the numbers. $90, it matches and I like it or its free. Why not, I am already in to about $800 in parts and labor on the free watch.

    He did keep his word....I have never had relumed hands that I wanted or liked. These though he did an awesome job. Took him almost a week. The color is good and it helps keep the hands together and in shape. I plan on seeing the older gentleman soon. I had told him what I was up to and he was thrilled I was willing to go through so much over a watch he had long given up on. Enough of the words.....now the pics.

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  2. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Well, done, Kevin, don't know if you may have more into the watch than it is worth, can't find any on Ebay, it was a valiant saga. I, like you, like to see if I can resurrect some old, broken down watch even if it cannot be resold for anywhere near what I have into it. It is a beautiful watch.
     
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  3. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    great story

    Rob
     
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  4. Kevin Neathery

    Kevin Neathery Registered User
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    #4 Kevin Neathery, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    Some watches just trike a cord with a collector. I have found a few references to these watches and the value is more than what I put into it, but at the time I started I told each watchmaker to do anything and everything. The first one reminded me of the cost a few times. The reply was always the same, charge whatever is fair for the work done and just keep going. Cost was no object, only the end result mattered.

    I have been tempted to keep going a little more and hunt down the correct chrono seconds hand. It should be more black and have a drop shaped counter weight point. I did find a advertising booklet for the company on line. It has 6 models on it. I don't own the image so can't post it. But it looks like they did use a CH27 C12 as well and I have seen a few of those go on line. But this model was one of the 2 waterproof models they made. This was a #26 "Meylan Fifth Second High Grade Watcherproof Wrist Stopwatch with "TIME OUT" Feature" and was sold for $48.40 with a list price of $60.50. The next model up with the CH27 C12 was $52.00/65.00 in waterproof or $47.00/$58.75 not waterproof. Looks like you could do a 10 day trial before buying. The front page says June 1941. Pictures don't match exactly so I cant say that was the exact time frame for the watch.
     

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