Bulova Balance Problem

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by SethSimon, Apr 26, 2015.

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  1. SethSimon

    SethSimon Registered User

    Feb 16, 2015
    Country Flag:
    Hi all-semi experienced hobbyist here. This Bulova auto 23 j was not running at all when I started. Cleaned and oiled it, and when I dropped the balance back in- it started ticking away like a champ. Ran for 2 hours in all positions and I thought I was home free. Then-it stopped and is reluctant to start again. I've had the balance in and out a few times and it is still not running much. The balance pivots look great, the balance jewels are clean/intact. Here are my thoughts of what might be wrong and I wanted your opinion:

    Theory #1: If I give it a puff of air-balance spins nicely but will stop randomly after a while if I move position. I'm thinking balance wheel is out of true and is rubbing at some point and stopping. Visually-it looks level, I don't have the tools to check it. The clearance to the center wheel seems awful tight and I'm wondering if when turned face up-gravity is dropping the balance down closer to the center wheel causing it to rub and stop. I checked all screw heads and none are high and catching balance.

    Theory #2: When I opened the balance cap jewel shock absorber assemblies to oil-they were quite tight to re-engage. Although balance drops back in easier than any other watch I've worked on-I'm wondering if the balance pivots are being held too tightly at one of the jewels causing it to stop. I see no jewel cracks.

    Short of bringing it in to someone to check balance-I'm wondering if there is anything else you might suggest I check? Watch has power-but something is stopping balance....Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
    Country Flag:
    The fact that it ran well for two hours makes me believe there is some foreign involved. Could you have some lint or a piece of hair that is tangled in the wheel train?

    Try letting the mainspring down and remove balance and fork. Give the mainspring half a wind and observe the escape wheel. It should spin evenly, stop and possibly reverse a little.
  3. psfred

    psfred Registered User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Check for recoil, you should be getting quite a bit, that's a good watch.

    However, it only takes a tiny bit of fluff in the wrong place to stop a watch -- I had a lovely Elgin 556 going nicely (in a timekeeping contest, no less) that was running to within a second or two a day suddenly stop. I finally located a cat hair (from the undercoat on my long haired cat) wrapped around the pivot inside the cap jewel for the excape wheel! I have no idea how it got there, had to have been in the case and pulled in somehow.

    At any rate, a hair of bit of fluff can easily drag down the balance, and a bit of crud on a wheel or pinion will prevent power reaching the balance and stop the watch.

    One other thing, if the mainspring is iffy or slipping, unless you are wearing the watch it may hold only a partial wind. If it takes off again when you wind it up, suspect the mainspring.


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