Bent or out of round hairspring - fix?

Luca

Registered User
Jan 19, 2004
873
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This hairspring has an issue as seen - where it would go through regulator pins and then on to the stud. Difficult to straighten out? It is from an older chronograph movement - wristwatch size. When in the watch it is not centered and the hairspring seems pushed more to one side.

Thanks for any advice.

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Samantha

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Jun 28, 2009
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Difficult to straighten out? That's a subjective question. For myself, no, having possession of good tweezers, lighting, magnification, steady hands, and experience. However to someone without those, yes, difficult to straighten out. Mark where the stud is on the balance wheel (for later reference when reinstalling the hairspring), remove the hairspring and straighten the bends in the coils out (truing in the round). You also want to make sure it is in the flat. Once those are good, place the balance cock upside down and install the stud in the hole. Then the hairspring can be centered on the balance jewel. Then install the hairspring on the balance, install the balance on the cock and place in the watch. The beat will have to be adjusted and the hairspring may need a finishing tweak or two.
Samantha
 

Snapper

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Nov 30, 2014
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I had a similar problem with an old jump-hour Sindaco watch from the seventies. The balance spring was coil bound and conical in shape after a botched attempt at repair by its original owner. I had never manipulated a spring before but as the watch was worth little I had a go.

It took many hours of patient manipulation but eventually I got there and it now runs well, or a s well as a poor quality pin pallet movement ever will run.

Do some reading and video searching and have a go.
 

Luca

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Jan 19, 2004
873
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Thanks to you both. Maybe I will practice a bit on some junkers before I tackle this one.
 

DeweyC

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Luca,

I see three bends. (I think. Or is the spring tangled in the last couple coils. If so there is an easy way to undo the tangle.)

Assuming they are all bends, start with the two on the outer coil. The way to deal with them is to "circle the regulator". You first need to level that upward bend. Couple ways to do that, maybe easiest on a glass plate. Then install the spring only back into the balance bridge. Turn it upside down. Now use the hole jewel to center the collet. Next use the regulator to form the the section of the spring that acts between the pins.

The other bend in the third or 4th coil would deem this spring unuseable for precision timing. It was proven to me in Switzerland that you can only correct deformed springs in the first coil from the pinning point or the stud and still get precision timing results.

Yes I know all the stories about "a guy" who perfectly formed a coil after he had pulled it straight and such. All myths. Ask someone to show you and to prove it on the timing machine across the 8 vertical positions. Ain't gonna happen. If Tony Simonin said he cannot do it, then that is it.

If it IS tangled, then there is the only useful thing I ever found in Fried's books. Insert a piece of paper (I keep some 35mm film for this and other things like a dial protector when using levers) into the balance spring past the tangle. Now gently rotate the spring so that the tangle is moved to the stud. You may have to lift the second coil over the stud to clear the tangle, but you are there.

If you cannot get a replacement spring from a donor movt, then you have to do the best you can. Use a microscope and two needles to nudge the spring as near to the bend of that coil as you can. The more moves you attempt, the worse trouble you will cause.

I use a designated broach fitted into a handle for holding the collet for rough corrections. I turn broach with the mounted balance spring broach point resting on the bench. Then I mount the spring on the staff and use calipers. I first level by checking its appearance as it spins. Then I look from the top and check to ensure it looks like an old vinyl record with it flowing out from the center to the stud. You need to thin the arms of the caliper to be able to see the sring well from the top. Levin did make a special caliper for this.

I use needles and reworked stick oilers for everything but that upward bend in your outer coil. That requires two good tweezers, one to hold the spring and the other to rotate to correct the upward bend. This is the only time I use steel tweezers BTW. Bronze are nicer to the parts and they are easy to dress with a file. I bought a dozen pair of 3c bronze in 2010 and I am still working with the first two.

I just corrected a small Longines cocktail watch bought back from WWII by a pilot interned in Switzerland. Used a very soft spring (early alloy that is like the stuff used in the Font 69). I see you also have an alloy spring with mono balance. It was grazing the balance bridge and the previous worker could not see it due to size and clearance, so he added two timing washers to slow the rate by 6 minutes. This watch was only made between 1941 and 1944.

I HAD to use a microscope at 30X and quite honestly, I shudder to think what I pretended I could see 30 years ago. But, I was able to correct the leveling because rather than having my nose in the way with a 10X loupe I had 6 inches of working distance with the benefit of 30 x mag. Removed the washers and it holds a respectable rate across 3 positions (30 seconds variance) over 24 hours with the regulator centered.
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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Luca,

I see three bends. (I think. Or is the spring tangled in the last couple coils. If so there is an easy way to undo the tangle.)

Assuming they are all bends, start with the two on the outer coil. The way to deal with them is to "circle the regulator". You first need to level that upward bend. Couple ways to do that, maybe easiest on a glass plate. Then install the spring only back into the balance bridge. Turn it upside down. Now use the hole jewel to center the collet. Next use the regulator to form the the section of the spring that acts between the pins.

The other bend in the third or 4th coil would deem this spring unuseable for precision timing. It was proven to me in Switzerland that you can only correct deformed springs in the first coil from the pinning point or the stud and still get precision timing results.

Yes I know all the stories about "a guy" who perfectly formed a coil after he had pulled it straight and such. All myths. Ask someone to show you and to prove it on the timing machine across the 8 vertical positions. Ain't gonna happen. If Tony Simonin said he cannot do it, then that is it.

If it IS tangled, then there is the only useful thing I ever found in Fried's books. Insert a piece of paper (I keep some 35mm film for this and other things like a dial protector when using levers) into the balance spring past the tangle. Now gently rotate the spring so that the tangle is moved to the stud. You may have to lift the second coil over the stud to clear the tangle, but you are there.

If you cannot get a replacement spring from a donor movt, then you have to do the best you can. Use a microscope and two needles to nudge the spring as near to the bend of that coil as you can. The more moves you attempt, the worse trouble you will cause.

I use a designated broach fitted into a handle for holding the collet for rough corrections. I turn broach with the mounted balance spring broach point resting on the bench. Then I mount the spring on the staff and use calipers. I first level by checking its appearance as it spins. Then I look from the top and check to ensure it looks like an old vinyl record with it flowing out from the center to the stud. You need to thin the arms of the caliper to be able to see the sring well from the top. Levin did make a special caliper for this.

I use needles and reworked stick oilers for everything but that upward bend in your outer coil. That requires two good tweezers, one to hold the spring and the other to rotate to correct the upward bend. This is the only time I use steel tweezers BTW. Bronze are nicer to the parts and they are easy to dress with a file. I bought a dozen pair of 3c bronze in 2010 and I am still working with the first two.

I just corrected a small Longines cocktail watch bought back from WWII by a pilot interned in Switzerland. Used a very soft spring (early alloy that is like the stuff used in the Font 69). I see you also have an alloy spring with mono balance. It was grazing the balance bridge and the previous worker could not see it due to size and clearance, so he added two timing washers to slow the rate by 6 minutes. This watch was only made between 1941 and 1944.

I HAD to use a microscope at 30X and quite honestly, I shudder to think what I pretended I could see 30 years ago. But, I was able to correct the leveling because rather than having my nose in the way with a 10X loupe I had 6 inches of working distance with the benefit of 30 x mag. Removed the washers and it holds a respectable rate across 3 positions (30 seconds variance) over 24 hours with the regulator centered.
Excellent write up, DeweyC. My master used a fine oiler to help untangle hairsprings.
 

Luca

Registered User
Jan 19, 2004
873
12
18
Luca,

I see three bends. (I think. Or is the spring tangled in the last couple coils. If so there is an easy way to undo the tangle.)

Assuming they are all bends, start with the two on the outer coil. The way to deal with them is to "circle the regulator". You first need to level that upward bend. Couple ways to do that, maybe easiest on a glass plate. Then install the spring only back into the balance bridge. Turn it upside down. Now use the hole jewel to center the collet. Next use the regulator to form the the section of the spring that acts between the pins.

The other bend in the third or 4th coil would deem this spring unuseable for precision timing. It was proven to me in Switzerland that you can only correct deformed springs in the first coil from the pinning point or the stud and still get precision timing results.

Yes I know all the stories about "a guy" who perfectly formed a coil after he had pulled it straight and such. All myths. Ask someone to show you and to prove it on the timing machine across the 8 vertical positions. Ain't gonna happen. If Tony Simonin said he cannot do it, then that is it.

If it IS tangled, then there is the only useful thing I ever found in Fried's books. Insert a piece of paper (I keep some 35mm film for this and other things like a dial protector when using levers) into the balance spring past the tangle. Now gently rotate the spring so that the tangle is moved to the stud. You may have to lift the second coil over the stud to clear the tangle, but you are there.

If you cannot get a replacement spring from a donor movt, then you have to do the best you can. Use a microscope and two needles to nudge the spring as near to the bend of that coil as you can. The more moves you attempt, the worse trouble you will cause.

I use a designated broach fitted into a handle for holding the collet for rough corrections. I turn broach with the mounted balance spring broach point resting on the bench. Then I mount the spring on the staff and use calipers. I first level by checking its appearance as it spins. Then I look from the top and check to ensure it looks like an old vinyl record with it flowing out from the center to the stud. You need to thin the arms of the caliper to be able to see the sring well from the top. Levin did make a special caliper for this.

I use needles and reworked stick oilers for everything but that upward bend in your outer coil. That requires two good tweezers, one to hold the spring and the other to rotate to correct the upward bend. This is the only time I use steel tweezers BTW. Bronze are nicer to the parts and they are easy to dress with a file. I bought a dozen pair of 3c bronze in 2010 and I am still working with the first two.

I just corrected a small Longines cocktail watch bought back from WWII by a pilot interned in Switzerland. Used a very soft spring (early alloy that is like the stuff used in the Font 69). I see you also have an alloy spring with mono balance. It was grazing the balance bridge and the previous worker could not see it due to size and clearance, so he added two timing washers to slow the rate by 6 minutes. This watch was only made between 1941 and 1944.

I HAD to use a microscope at 30X and quite honestly, I shudder to think what I pretended I could see 30 years ago. But, I was able to correct the leveling because rather than having my nose in the way with a 10X loupe I had 6 inches of working distance with the benefit of 30 x mag. Removed the washers and it holds a respectable rate across 3 positions (30 seconds variance) over 24 hours with the regulator centered.
Thanks for a seriously detailed response that I am sure will be useful to many here!
Luca
 

Berry Greene

Registered User
Oct 2, 2017
457
25
28
Chichester
Country
Region
Luca,

I see three bends. (I think. Or is the spring tangled in the last couple coils. If so there is an easy way to undo the tangle.)

Assuming they are all bends, start with the two on the outer coil. The way to deal with them is to "circle the regulator". You first need to level that upward bend. Couple ways to do that, maybe easiest on a glass plate. Then install the spring only back into the balance bridge. Turn it upside down. Now use the hole jewel to center the collet. Next use the regulator to form the the section of the spring that acts between the pins.

The other bend in the third or 4th coil would deem this spring unuseable for precision timing. It was proven to me in Switzerland that you can only correct deformed springs in the first coil from the pinning point or the stud and still get precision timing results.

Yes I know all the stories about "a guy" who perfectly formed a coil after he had pulled it straight and such. All myths. Ask someone to show you and to prove it on the timing machine across the 8 vertical positions. Ain't gonna happen. If Tony Simonin said he cannot do it, then that is it.

If it IS tangled, then there is the only useful thing I ever found in Fried's books. Insert a piece of paper (I keep some 35mm film for this and other things like a dial protector when using levers) into the balance spring past the tangle. Now gently rotate the spring so that the tangle is moved to the stud. You may have to lift the second coil over the stud to clear the tangle, but you are there.

If you cannot get a replacement spring from a donor movt, then you have to do the best you can. Use a microscope and two needles to nudge the spring as near to the bend of that coil as you can. The more moves you attempt, the worse trouble you will cause.

I use a designated broach fitted into a handle for holding the collet for rough corrections. I turn broach with the mounted balance spring broach point resting on the bench. Then I mount the spring on the staff and use calipers. I first level by checking its appearance as it spins. Then I look from the top and check to ensure it looks like an old vinyl record with it flowing out from the center to the stud. You need to thin the arms of the caliper to be able to see the sring well from the top. Levin did make a special caliper for this.

I use needles and reworked stick oilers for everything but that upward bend in your outer coil. That requires two good tweezers, one to hold the spring and the other to rotate to correct the upward bend. This is the only time I use steel tweezers BTW. Bronze are nicer to the parts and they are easy to dress with a file. I bought a dozen pair of 3c bronze in 2010 and I am still working with the first two.

I just corrected a small Longines cocktail watch bought back from WWII by a pilot interned in Switzerland. Used a very soft spring (early alloy that is like the stuff used in the Font 69). I see you also have an alloy spring with mono balance. It was grazing the balance bridge and the previous worker could not see it due to size and clearance, so he added two timing washers to slow the rate by 6 minutes. This watch was only made between 1941 and 1944.

I HAD to use a microscope at 30X and quite honestly, I shudder to think what I pretended I could see 30 years ago. But, I was able to correct the leveling because rather than having my nose in the way with a 10X loupe I had 6 inches of working distance with the benefit of 30 x mag. Removed the washers and it holds a respectable rate across 3 positions (30 seconds variance) over 24 hours with the regulator centered.
There are some clever people about aren't there? Yes and you're one of them. I have to practice doing this on low value items and my most presing requirement is to see what I'm doing. Old eyes are just the start of my excuses. I have a little microscope but I did wonder if a ISB (video) scope would work? I read about someone doing it that way but now I cannot find the reference. Has anyone some good suggestions? These hairsprings are a real challenge. They tangle so easily. I could do with a lesson on the removal/replacement of the balance cock. How best to hold it in the tweezers? Another issue is how brittle is the hairspring? Is it hardened? Or did I hear alloy? Antimagnetic must be a plus?
I gotta say some of you peple are so deft, so handy with your handies! Is that just a gift or can it be learned? How to relax and keep one's temper? Regds Berry G
 

Rob P.

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Dec 19, 2011
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Keeping your cool in the face of frustration can be learned. The key technique is to breathe. Yep, breathe. you study what you're going to do, make ONE TEENSY TINY change, then sit up and breathe. Relax, breathe, and study what you're going to do next. Two to three minutes in between changes is about what I need to just get rid of the tension. And then I can only do this a few times before I'm done for the day.

You can't rush anything. You can't let yourself just make a second change either. Do the one thing, sit up and breathe. If you find that you can't, put it away until tomorrow. You'll k now you're at this place when you start mumbling (or shouting) words that would be filtered if you tried to post them here on this board. At that point, put the tweezers down and walk away.

Tremors: I have to take meds to help control my tremors. You learn to do what you can when you are the least prone to twitches and trembles. No matter how bored I am and how much time I may have to work on something, I won't if my body won't let me.
 

gmorse

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Hi Berry,

I have a little microscope but I did wonder if a ISB (video) scope would work?
From what I've seen of the cheaper ones, the depth of field is insufficient to be any use. A decent stereo microscope which allows a good clearance for your hands and tools to work under the objectives is far better; the stereo is very important, especially when manipulating hairsprings. You don't need enormous magnification for this.

Rob's tips about breathing and keeping calm are important, and something to avoid is caffeine!

Regards,

Graham
 

Berry Greene

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Oct 2, 2017
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Hi Berry,



From what I've seen of the cheaper ones, the depth of field is insufficient to be any use. A decent stereo microscope which allows a good clearance for your hands and tools to work under the objectives is far better; the stereo is very important, especially when manipulating hairsprings. You don't need enormous magnification for this.

Rob's tips about breathing and keeping calm are important, and something to avoid is caffeine!

Regards,

Graham
Thank you Graham. All tips welcomed and yes I totally understand the stereo part of scope. BTW I should have typed USB not ISB but you correctly guessed that was a typo error. I rather think that some of this fine work would be better achieved in the mornings. :<))
 

Berry Greene

Registered User
Oct 2, 2017
457
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28
Chichester
Country
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Keeping your cool in the face of frustration can be learned. The key technique is to breathe. Yep, breathe. you study what you're going to do, make ONE TEENSY TINY change, then sit up and breathe. Relax, breathe, and study what you're going to do next. Two to three minutes in between changes is about what I need to just get rid of the tension. And then I can only do this a few times before I'm done for the day.

You can't rush anything. You can't let yourself just make a second change either. Do the one thing, sit up and breathe. If you find that you can't, put it away until tomorrow. You'll k now you're at this place when you start mumbling (or shouting) words that would be filtered if you tried to post them here on this board. At that point, put the tweezers down and walk away.

Tremors: I have to take meds to help control my tremors. You learn to do what you can when you are the least prone to twitches and trembles. No matter how bored I am and how much time I may have to work on something, I won't if my body won't let me.
Hello Rob and many thanks for the response. I will have to learn to pace myself and just do a little at a time. In so many ways impatience has been both my strength and my enemy. In this particular sport a special disposition is advisable. I will take your advice on board, do a little at a time and thank you for it. Rgds, Berry G
 

RJSoftware

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hello. I must admit I did not read all of the replies but I have lost my laptop and now using a small screen kindle one of my kids gave me (too much eye strain) so this may be redundant.

there are two basic things i do to make hairspring work easier. first is two rules to understand. for out of round bends go 90 degrees prior to the peak of the bad spot. for out of flat go 180 degrees before peak of bad spot.

these rules help you to know where to bend.

you start at most inner coil and workyour way out. when out of round you can get away with one tweezer only. remember the hairspring only bends where you grab it withthe tweezers.

what this means isthat when the hairspring is still on the balance you can use the staff/pivot to push against the hairspring. so you grab the hairspring where youwant it to bend, flex the coil next to the staff ( on either side) and push.

the hairspring isflexable enough that it wont distort and the only place it will bend is at the edge of where you hd it with your tweezers.

if you do this you will immediatley see its advantages because the pivot acts lime a stationary extra hand giving you a controlled way to bend.

however tbe out of flat bends requre 2 tweezer approach. tbis is also done with hs off balance.

the other two trick moves are reverse flexing a coned hs and the stretch orbit.
 

Berry Greene

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Oct 2, 2017
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hello. I must admit I did not read all of the replies but I have lost my laptop and now using a small screen kindle one of my kids gave me (too much eye strain) so this may be redundant.

there are two basic things i do to make hairspring work easier. first is two rules to understand. for out of round bends go 90 degrees prior to the peak of the bad spot. for out of flat go 180 degrees before peak of bad spot.

these rules help you to know where to bend.

you start at most inner coil and workyour way out. when out of round you can get away with one tweezer only. remember the hairspring only bends where you grab it withthe tweezers.

what this means isthat when the hairspring is still on the balance you can use the staff/pivot to push against the hairspring. so you grab the hairspring where youwant it to bend, flex the coil next to the staff ( on either side) and push.

the hairspring isflexable enough that it wont distort and the only place it will bend is at the edge of where you hd it with your tweezers.

if you do this you will immediatley see its advantages because the pivot acts lime a stationary extra hand giving you a controlled way to bend.

however tbe out of flat bends requre 2 tweezer approach. tbis is also done with hs off balance.

the other two trick moves are reverse flexing a coned hs and the stretch orbit.
First of all a big thanks for that practical information. It is selfless of you to give away such information. Unfotunately in addition to the bends I have now got a tangle. It happened when I removed the balance, I can see what's happened but I cannot yet see how to get it straight. It is so tiny!! OK under a microscope but I can't work like that can I? I am waiting for some (hopefully) better viewers. Then we'll see. Sincere thanks for this. Berry G
 
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