Can anyone help me with these ladies watches?

Accutronica

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Hello. I'm new here and new to Horology. After I get a new stereo microscope, I'm going to clean a 1969 Accutron 214 that my late father had in his drawer for decades.
In the meantime, I took a chance on 4 ladies wrist watches to hopefully restore to their former glory, because one is a Bulova. It is in the best condition and doesn't seem to have anything wrong with it but neglect. I found out that it's a 1926. I also could find info on the Gruen Veri-Thin. But I can't find hardly anything about the Parker and the Lathin. The Gruen, Parker, and Lathin seem to have problems with the balance.
Does anyone know where I can get information about the Parker and Lathin? All 4 of the watch's movements look beautiful.
DSCF3221.jpg DSCF3217.jpg DSCF3229.jpg PICT0010 (11).jpg PICT0052 (2).jpg PICT0049 (1).jpg PICT0038 (2).jpg
 

roughbarked

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Nice to meet you, Robert.
Cannot tell you much about your watches off the top of my head because I've never seen any of them. I would have to research them. Nice collection. Problems with balance usually relate to balance staff, particularly in watches that are not made to be shockproof. (not that this saves everything)
 

Accutronica

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The balance staff's are what I was thinking. I'm not going to mess with them until I do a study course. It's hard to believe that the 1926 Bulova looks so good inside the movement since it just snaps together. The Parker really looks nice, so it's weird that I can't find any info about it.
 

gmorse

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Hi Robert,

I'll add my welcome to roughbarked's.

I wonder if starting your journey with these tiny movements is such a good idea. It's much easier to work on larger pocket watch movements and learn how to handle parts and tools with those, and to understand how the components work, and you'll avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls and consequent frustrations that way. Practice on some cheap old movements from eBay, and then you'll be able to address these smaller pieces with more confidence.

Regards,

Graham
 

Accutronica

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Hi Robert,

I'll add my welcome to roughbarked's.

I wonder if starting your journey with these tiny movements is such a good idea. It's much easier to work on larger pocket watch movements and learn how to handle parts and tools with those, and to understand how the components work, and you'll avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls and consequent frustrations that way. Practice on some cheap old movements from eBay, and then you'll be able to address these smaller pieces with more confidence.

Regards,

Graham
Hi gmorse, I wanted to but I always get outbid on pocket watches and don't know enough about their worth. I got the ladies watches cheap and figured that if I can handle them, I can handle anything. The Lathin looks like the cheapest watch so I'll start with it. Of course, I won't take the Bulova apart until I'm confident that I won't ruin it. But the Bulova seems to be the best one. It just needs cleaning I think. I have some Accutron's to take care of first.
 

roughbarked

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Hi gmorse, I wanted to but I always get outbid on pocket watches and don't know enough about their worth. I got the ladies watches cheap and figured that if I can handle them, I can handle anything. The Lathin looks like the cheapest watch so I'll start with it. Of course, I won't take the Bulova apart until I'm confident that I won't ruin it. But the Bulova seems to be the best one. It just needs cleaning I think. I have some Accutron's to take care of first.
From the way you describe things, you are going to need a minimum of twenty years before you think about the Accutron.
 

Accutronica

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From the way you describe things, you are going to need a minimum of twenty years before you think about the Accutron.
You're joking, right? I have the manuals and tools. I just need to be able to see the index and pawl finger jewels better.
You know, it's kind of funny how I hear people talking about there not being enough watch repairers coming up to replace the old timers as they retire or pass away. Yet, everybody tries their best to discourage me, rather than help...
 

roughbarked

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You're joking, right? I have the manuals and tools. I just need to be able to see the index and pawl finger jewels better.
You know, it's kind of funny how I hear people talking about there not being enough watch repairers coming up to replace the old timers as they retire or pass away. Yet, everybody tries their best to discourage me, rather than help...
You are misconceptualizing what I have said.

OK, the first test for a watchmaker apprentice would be could be.. is can your hands do this...

The second test is, can your brain handle this.

OK, your hands and brain may work in better ways than most but it is all a confidence thing that is only quickened by necessity.
ie: you work for Bulova.

Don't rush it.
 

Accutronica

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You are misconceptualizing what I have said.

OK, the first test for a watchmaker apprentice would be could be.. is can your hands do this...

The second test is, can your brain handle this.

OK, your hands and brain may work in better ways than most but it is all a confidence thing that is only quickened by necessity.
ie: you work for Bulova.

Don't rush it.
Oh, ok. I'm not rushing - I've been reading everything and every website I can find while acquiring manuals and tools for the past several weeks - authentic Accutron tools when I can.
I'm 56, but I'm blessed with very calm nerves and steady hands. Electronics has been a hobby of mine for about 4 years now, so I'm used to handling tiny parts. It's also part of the reason why I'll install diodes in my Accutron's, rather than phase them for the higher voltage. That may change though. The most difficult thing for me will be restoring dials and hands properly. But I'm just a hobbyist and won't be trying to take business from you guys, so don't worry. I bought the ladies watches to give to family and friends as presents, assuming that I can repair them.
And in the future I will buy watches and clocks that need repaired as cheap as I can, and repair them. I'll keep the ones I want, and give the others away as gifts.
 

doug sinclair

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Good luck with the Accutron! The manuals are only a guide. There's an awful lot of knowledge you'll require, outside what the manual tells you! The manual is useful as a guide for experienced watchmakers. But a trap for a newbie! Words of caution are offered because we run into a lot of aspiring watchmakers on the MB.
 

Accutronica

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Also, I'm a machinist. Not a master machinist like my father was, but I can handle most things. My mom has pictures of me running my fathers turret lathes when I was 10 years old and older. After I get a good microscope, I'm going to get a good lathe to make tiny watch parts with. I'm disabled and can't do much, but I like to have stuff to tinker with sometimes. I can't stand playing video games and watching TV all the time!
 

glenhead

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Howdy, Robert, and welcome!

The two unidentified movements may have markings under the balance wheel that will identify the manufacturer and caliber. That would be a good place to start with trying to suss them out.

I will respectfully disagree with Graham about starting with tiny movements. That's how I did it - several Bulova 5ADs, tiny Gruens and Elgins and Hamiltons and no-names, all fairly good jeweled movements. You can find them by the handsful on eBay, dirt cheap, and if you "ruin" one you set it aside until you can "un-ruin" it when your skills reach the appropriate level. All of them run perfectly now, even after the horrifying disasters with hairsprings and whatnot. (It took me about three years of after-hours watch work to reach that stage.) My daughter has a stable of six 5AD watches to choose from now. If you have the patience and basic skills, starting with tiny watches is incredibly satisfying. Believe me, if you do that, the first time you work on a pocket watch you'll feel like you can do it with your eyes closed and arctic mittens on!

Re your Accutron: Again, be extremely patient if you take it on soon, and be VERY willing to set it aside until your skills increase. The service manuals are incredibly well done. ***Follow them.*** Don't skip steps, don't overthink what they're telling you to do, don't do "what about this" stuff. If you don't understand something, stop working and study it until you understand it. A stereo microscope will make it possible to set the pawls, etc., as you've already determined. One hint: Don't try to work on them if you've had caffeine in the last four hours or so. You may think caffeine doesn't affect you much, but at 30x the micro-jitters will drive you insane.

Have fun building your skills!

Glen
 

Accutronica

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Good luck with the Accutron! The manuals are only a guide. There's an awful lot of knowledge you'll require, outside what the manual tells you! The manual is useful as a guide for experienced watchmakers. But a trap for a newbie! Words of caution are offered because we run into a lot of aspiring watchmakers on the MB.
Lol! Yeah, I kind of expect that. But I love to tinker with stuff when I can. I have just about all of the manuals. I have the 214 manuals; 1960, 64, and 69. I have both 218 manuals, 221, and 230 manuals. I bought authentic book manuals. I appreciate all of the help I can get from you guys.
 

Accutronica

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Howdy, Robert, and welcome!

The two unidentified movements may have markings under the balance wheel that will identify the manufacturer and caliber. That would be a good place to start with trying to suss them out.

I will respectfully disagree with Graham about starting with tiny movements. That's how I did it - several Bulova 5ADs, tiny Gruens and Elgins and Hamiltons and no-names, all fairly good jeweled movements. You can find them by the handsful on eBay, dirt cheap, and if you "ruin" one you set it aside until you can "un-ruin" it when your skills reach the appropriate level. All of them run perfectly now, even after the horrifying disasters with hairsprings and whatnot. (It took me about three years of after-hours watch work to reach that stage.) My daughter has a stable of six 5AD watches to choose from now. If you have the patience and basic skills, starting with tiny watches is incredibly satisfying. Believe me, if you do that, the first time you work on a pocket watch you'll feel like you can do it with your eyes closed and arctic mittens on!

Re your Accutron: Again, be extremely patient if you take it on soon, and be VERY willing to set it aside until your skills increase. The service manuals are incredibly well done. ***Follow them.*** Don't skip steps, don't overthink what they're telling you to do, don't do "what about this" stuff. If you don't understand something, stop working and study it until you understand it. A stereo microscope will make it possible to set the pawls, etc., as you've already determined. One hint: Don't try to work on them if you've had caffeine in the last four hours or so. You may think caffeine doesn't affect you much, but at 30x the micro-jitters will drive you insane.

Have fun building your skills!

Glen
Thanks, glenhead. I appreciate the encouragement and advice. I'm used to that from electronics. Also, in electronics, being impatient can cost you your life...
I got the ladies watches for about $5 apiece.
I will stick to the manuals - I'm a very rules and procedure type of person. I can't wait till I can win a nice pocket watch. I have always wanted a nice pocket watch.
 

gmorse

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Hi Robert,

All power to your elbow if you're comfortable with this approach; we're all different, and now you've told us more about your background I'm sure you'll get where you want to be, as Glen has. I started with French mantel clocks, went on to wrist watches, (including some very small ones!), and I now concentrate on 18th century English pocket watches.

Keep on posting!

Regards,

Graham
 

roughbarked

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Yes. They do look to be the FHF 60.

As for small watches. It is what I started on too.

Now, with accutrons and the ESA versions, the coils are no longer obtainable. To repair these you may send them back to be rewound but otherwise there simply aren't any out there.

The wire is so fine that simple daily temperature fluctuations will break them if the watches are not running.
 

Accutronica

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Yes. They do look to be the FHF 60.

As for small watches. It is what I started on too.

Now, with accutrons and the ESA versions, the coils are no longer obtainable. To repair these you may send them back to be rewound but otherwise there simply aren't any out there.

The wire is so fine that simple daily temperature fluctuations will break them if the watches are not running.
Hi roughbarked, in electronics we call it, "unobtainium". I think it was this forum that some guys said that they have built a machine that can rewind coils. If they are serious, they will probably get rich. I love listening to my Accutron humming away.
 

masterwatchmaker

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hi Robert

i was Lucky because in 1982 was the last year my watchmaking school teached accutron repair and because of that i dared to repair accutrons now i know them well i m a kind of specialist for accutrons to adjust the pitch you better use 10x loupe instead your microscope because you need chirugicaly precision and with a microscope its much harder to feel the hair spring that holding the rectangular rubies your too far from the job unless your a chirurgical doctor and worked years with it

by the way the accutron cause the lost of bulova in my book at the begining one on two watches were not working in display of jewelers stores even brand new the Watch was a problem bulova was forced by the governement to create those accutron watches for to be use in space
 

masterwatchmaker

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bulova never really recover from making those accutron then in 1973 pulsar comercialized the quartz L.E.D. Watch and then accutron was left behind also in 1975 omega made the 1st (beta)quartz with analog display (hands) and bulova still making those obsolete (in precision compare to the quartz) even in 1977 making smaller accutron movement men s watches then near 1980 bulova was sold to hong kong owner and started to make cheap Watch with a lot of plastic in it ,bulova is dead because accutron kill it
 

masterwatchmaker

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but all the accutron lover will tell you; the sound it make kind of humming they like it also the way the hand smoutly runs and also in fact this Watch is kind of magical a diapason that run a Wheel that turn like magic
 

Accutronica

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but all the accutron lover will tell you; the sound it make kind of humming they like it also the way the hand smoutly runs and also in fact this Watch is kind of magical a diapason that run a Wheel that turn like magic
Thanks. I love listening to my Accutron hum also. I think they are pretty cool. I doubt very seriously that the Accutron brought down Bulova: Accutron's weren't the only watches that they made.
 

Accutronica

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Also, I want a good camera microscope so that I can take great photos, and possibly videos. That's just the way I do things, even in electronics.
 

roughbarked

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As a first year apprentice, They'd just come back from the moon and my master and shop owner both wore accutrons.
The hum, the whole spectra enthralled me from the beginning. Not that it missed my attention that the trade of watchmaker was already dead before I started. The accutrons were always a novelty in the scheme of progress. My father was born before electricity was available and lived until after they landed on the moon. If he was alive today he'd be totally amazed at the thousands of new discoveries that have been made every year since. The least interesting thing about a light bulb is that it goes out.

I may be one of the few people left on earth who has a pair of working accutron coils.

Also, I want a good camera microscope so that I can take great photos, and possibly videos. That's just the way I do things, even in electronics.
I would love to see the results of your work.
 

Accutronica

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As a first year apprentice, They'd just come back from the moon and my master and shop owner both wore accutrons.
The hum, the whole spectra enthralled me from the beginning. Not that it missed my attention that the trade of watchmaker was already dead before I started. The accutrons were always a novelty in the scheme of progress. My father was born before electricity was available and lived until after they landed on the moon. If he was alive today he'd be totally amazed at the thousands of new discoveries that have been made every year since. The least interesting thing about a light bulb is that it goes out.

I may be one of the few people left on earth who has a pair of working accutron coils.



I would love to see the results of your work.
There are people that repair Accutron's that have coils and parts. There are some guys that claim they built a machine that can rewind the coils. The Accutron just may soon get a good kick-start back into popularity. We'll see.
The 2182 that I bought recently only runs 45sec/Day fast. After I put a diode in it or phase and adjust it, I'm sure it will keep great time.
 

roughbarked

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There are people that repair Accutron's that have coils and parts. There are some guys that claim they built a machine that can rewind the coils. The Accutron just may soon get a good kick-start back into popularity. We'll see.
The 2182 that I bought recently only runs 45sec/Day fast. After I put a diode in it or phase and adjust it, I'm sure it will keep great time.

Yeah I have accutron repair sites bookmarked but I'm a repairer. I do wish you luck in your attempts.
The coils need to be rewound. The old coils would break with changes in ambient temperature if they were in storage. Only the coils that have been still running or stored where temperature changes are controlled would be still viable.

I haven't bothered to search but no news has otherwise passed my eyes about the accutron left on the moon. I'm sure it died years ago but it would be interesting to know that someone bothered to track it. The word, unobtainium was used further back in this thread.

When I finally reinherited the bench I started on, I found both the original shop owner's and his wife's accutrons in bits in a drawer under the watch bench..

In the short time I've been back at the bench, I did get an Omega version of this tuning fork design. You know the ESA thing. I'm in the backwoods of nowhere and I was told that there were no omega parts available in Australia but I found a bloke who could supply me with the sweep second wheel. I don't have a microscope and my eyes aren't young but I made the watch work accurately.

Hasn't this thread come along way from the humble FHF 60? Basically the predecessor of the ST69. Fontemalion basically founded ESA and was pushed into the background by ETA.
 
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Accutronica

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I would love to see the results of your work.[/QUOTE]
Ok. Can we post MS .docx articles here in threads?
 

Accutronica

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The coils need to be rewound. The old coils would break with changes in ambient temperature if they were in storage. Only the coils that have been still running or stored where temperature changes are controlled would be still viable.

I haven't bothered to search but no news has otherwise passed my eyes about the accutron left on the moon. I'm sure it died years ago but it would be interesting to know that someone bothered to track it.
My dad kept his 214 in a drawer for decades. It looks great the best I can tell. I don't want to put power to it until I've cleaned, repaired it for the voltage, and oiled it.
 

Accutronica

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Yeah I have accutron repair sites bookmarked but I'm a repairer. I do wish you luck in your attempts.
The coils need to be rewound. The old coils would break with changes in ambient temperature if they were in storage. Only the coils that have been still running or stored where temperature changes are controlled would be still viable.

I haven't bothered to search but no news has otherwise passed my eyes about the accutron left on the moon. I'm sure it died years ago but it would be interesting to know that someone bothered to track it. The word, unobtainium was used further back in this thread.

When I finally reinherited the bench I started on, I found both the original shop owner's and his wife's accutrons in bits in a drawer under the watch bench..

In the short time I've been back at the bench, I did get an Omega version of this tuning fork design. You know the ESA thing. I'm in the backwoods of nowhere and I was told that there were no omega parts available in Australia but I found a bloke who could supply me with the sweep second wheel. I don't have a microscope and my eyes aren't young but I made the watch work accurately.

Hasn't this thread come along way from the humble FHF 60? Basically the predecessor of the ST69. Fontemalion basically founded ESA and was pushed into the background by ETA.
The wires on the 214 look good the best I can tell. I'm not going to start on it until I get my microscope, and I'm not touching my 2182 until I'm finished with the 214.
Yeah. So Parker was just a jeweler that used the FHF 60 for his watches? I guess it's the same for Lathin?

- - - Updated - - -

Hi Accutronica,



Yes, if you click on Go Advanced, then scroll down to Manage Attachments, it will let you do that.

Regards,

Graham
Ok. Thanks gmorse.
 

masterwatchmaker

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accutron was selling in 196o`s was selling for around 600.00 so it was an high grade Watch but its the only bulova Watch with magor trouble 50% of the Watch in display for sale was defect that made big damage to bulova
 

doug sinclair

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I still have my 1964 Accutron 214 which I acquired, brand new, that year. Still looks and runs like new. the price was NOT $600.00, unless you went an exotic gold one. Mine was $195.00 when new! Bulova knew that there would be a period of time during which they would have to train watchmakers in servicing them. This assertion that 50% of new Accutron watch inventory was faulty, is totally wrong! I was there, back then! The problem was that so many of the staff in stores knew nothing about these watches, and they did things like fitting cells upside down. None of the techniques used for normal mechanical watches worked with Accutron! Another problem back then that it took time for people to learn how to wear the Accutron. They would drop then, hit them, whatever, then they would quit! Store staff would monkey with them, making the problem worse!

In 1963, Bulova initiated a program where they sent trainers across the country. For $195.00, you got an Accutron 214 watch to work on, a meter, many of the special tools you'd need, a manual, microscope, an eight hour class, and lunch! You provided your own screw drivers, non-magnetic tweezers, loupe, bench tissue, etc.. I still have my class Accutron 214, as well. So before you jump all over Bulova for dumping an inferior product on the market, check your facts! You are totally wrong!

My 1964 Accutron 214.


IMG_1161.jpg
 
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roughbarked

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The wires on the 214 look good the best I can tell. I'm not going to start on it until I get my microscope, and I'm not touching my 2182 until I'm finished with the 214.
Yeah. So Parker was just a jeweler that used the FHF 60 for his watches? I guess it's the same for Lathin?

- - - Updated - - -
Yeah. If the watch hums, the coil wires are intact. Parker anyone can put their name on a dial. It is whether they can buy good movements cheaply or not. The FHF 60 or FHF ST69 became the standard. Not only do the majority of watches I see today regardless of case size, dial size or movement construction have a movement of the precise or similar dimensions, ie some may be thinner but the dial feet are also in the same place as the ST69.
 

Accutronica

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Yeah. If the watch hums, the coil wires are intact. Parker anyone can put their name on a dial. It is whether they can buy good movements cheaply or not. The FHF 60 or FHF ST69 became the standard. Not only do the majority of watches I see today regardless of case size, dial size or movement construction have a movement of the precise or similar dimensions, ie some may be thinner but the dial feet are also in the same place as the ST69.
Parker also put their name and numbers on the movement as well. For some reason, Lathin didn't. Lathin has "GREWACO" on their movement. Since they are hardly mentioned anywhere, and not many people seem to know much about them, maybe that makes them a little more valuable?
 

roughbarked

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Parker also put their name and numbers on the movement as well. For some reason, Lathin didn't. Lathin has "GREWACO" on their movement. Since they are hardly mentioned anywhere, and not many people seem to know much about them, maybe that makes them a little more valuable?
There were some better dressed versions cased by various brand names. If they stamped their own numbers on the movement, it doesn't necessarily mean that they made more than appearance changes. There were a lot of FHF 60 in circulation but many more of the ST 69 pictured below.

30080008674_89315cd2a8_z.jpg
 

doug sinclair

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Up until the advent of the cheap quartz watch in the late 1960s and early 1970, the Accutron (224, 218, and clones) was not the first battery powered watch on the market, but for about 15 years, it OWNED the electronic watch market! It was the first huge success in the world of battery watches. Any growing pains were only temporary, and NOT because of an inferior product. I WAS one of those Accutron dealers and service people around during the era of the Accutron. Believe what you want! They were, and remain today, a tremendous watch!
 

roughbarked

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you can have your opinion and i can have mine too and both can be true
Fairynuff. :)

I think that the quartz watch shot everyone in the foot but that again, is opinion only.

I do recall an early Omega LED watch that cost $1600 Australian dollars in 1970. I also recall the NEC LCD watch that was produced cased and banded for $2 USD.
 

JTD

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you can have your opinion and i can have mine too and both can be true
No. Opinions are just that - opinions- and can be many and varied, but providing one of them is the right one, only that one can in fact be true.

And I would suggest that someone who actually had hands on experience of the matter in hand would likely have the correct/true 'opinion'............

Is what I think.

JTD
 
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MrRoundel

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I know, I know, I know that resurrecting old threads is frowned upon in some circles, but this one was pretty interesting to me and I thought worthy of Lazurus-thread status. This is because I'm sort of getting into working on the little ladies movements, and perhaps Accutrons, of late.

I will say that my experience with many of the little Swiss movements, like roughbarked's highly regarded ST 69-21's for instance, has been very good. Despite there "small-ness", they are well designed and surprisingly easy to work on. The biggest, or should I say smallest, issue with them are the shock springs. OK, and the "fiddly" (Thanks again to Kalle at Chronoglide for that perfectly descriptive term.) nature of handling the balances, with their hairs of a hairspring. Even the pivots often seem to line up easier for me than many a larger pocket watch. So it may not have been a terrible idea for the OP to start on the small watches, as roughbarked mentioned he did a few years back. That said, if there was a normal, logical course, it would probably start with larger, perhaps pocket-watch sizes.

When I got into working on watches, I started with pocket watches. The reason had to do with my being more interested in them than in wristies. I ended up buying a set of VHS tapes that were a very good introduction to working on pocket watches. The over the years I gravitated towards wrist watches a bit more. And now I'm liking some of the electronic watches as well, like the Accutrons and ESA 9150 series. Watches are cool, and working on them double-cool, no matter what size gets you into them.

FWIW, I do miss Doug Sinclair's posts. He shared a lot of his experience here. I somehow missed that he was such an Accutron fan.
 

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