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Chronograph center sweep second hand only jiggles

Hoosierfdaddy

Registered User
Feb 3, 2013
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I just bought a Formex TS375 3751.3012 and everything seems perfect on this watch except for the chronograph. It has a 1/10 second dial which works fine, a minute hand on a 30 minute dial, which works fine, and then a small seconds dial for the clock which works, but activating the chronograph only wiggles the center sweep second hand. I got it to move a few times, but it mostly just jiggles so you can tell it's running, but usually doesn't advance. The minutes and 1/10 functions work perfectly, so the seconds are ticking off fine. I replaced the battery thinking that was it since it intermittently worked, but that didn't help (and I lost a battery retainer screw). Any idea if something like this would be fixable by a non watch repairman not afraid to get my fingers dirty, or a rough idea how much it would cost to fix. I found out this watch retailed for $1,200 to $1,500 and I only paid $60 at an antique store. I wouldn't mind putting a tad bit of money into it to restore it. Thanks in advance.
 

glenhead

NAWCC Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Ok, in laymen's terms, it sounds like something that's supposed to pivot to engage the wheels isn't pivoting correctly. Either that or something broke. In any case, the likelihood that a non-watch-repairman could fix it is pretty remote. One could probably disassemble it with the tip of the small blade on a Swiss Army knife (who, me?), but getting it apart safely if you don't know what you're doing is going to be very difficult. Getting it back together and expecting it to work would verge on miraculous. Chronometers have scads of teeny finicky bits that all have to work harmoniously for the functions to function.

High-end analog quartz movements, like the one in your watch, are like mechanical (wind-up) watches in that they need to be overhauled every few years. That means disassembled, cleaned, reassembled, lubricated with the correct lubricants, and tested and adjusted. (Low-end analog quartz movements get cannibalized and replaced.) The older lubricants get gummy over time, especially in a spot that's not exercised much, like the actuator for a second-hand timer. The skills required to do an overhaul take quite a while to learn, and the tools to do it are danged expensive. That's why watch repairs aren't cheap.

How much is "not cheap"? I don't think I'm violating any forum rules in answering this one. (If it is a violation, would someone please redact this part for me?) Starting guesstimates are available from several Internet sites. A chronograph overhaul is almost assuredly going to be quite a ways over two bills, likely way over. Call around to watchmakers in your area to ask. There is another national horological organization called the American Watchmakers - Clockmakers Institute (awci.com) that has a referral section ("Find a Professional" on the front page.) That can be a place to go, in addition to your local yellow pages. Good luck!

Glen
 

Hoosierfdaddy

Registered User
Feb 3, 2013
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Thank you for your reply. That was pretty much what I was expecting, on both ends, the chance of me repairing it, and the cost. I was hoping somebody would have a more common solution, but after the battery didn't fix it, I assumed it was something I really couldn't mess with. Thanks again.
 

emso

Registered User
Jun 17, 2012
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do you have a demagnetizer?

if yes a few turns usually helps in some cases, as you dont have equipment to dissasemble this movement i presume you dont own a watch tester.

br
emso
 

Hoosierfdaddy

Registered User
Feb 3, 2013
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I have a demagnetizer that I used for tape decks back in the day, I could try that, but if that doesn't work, which I'm thinking no because I have seen it move correctly, it seems to me to be mechanical, I would like to try replacing the movement if that would be "not "so" complicated".
 

Hoosierfdaddy

Registered User
Feb 3, 2013
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On another quick note, it does seem to stick in the same place. It moved for a few revolutions at one point, but when it stuck, it stuck at 2 seconds past twelve, right where it was when I bought it.
 

glenhead

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Nov 15, 2009
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So, New question. How hard would it be to replace the watch movement. I found a new ETA 251.272 here www.esslinger.com/eta-251-272-quartz-watch-movements.aspx for $125. I'm thinking the hard part would be replacing the hands? Could this maybe be something I could do at home? Also, is there anyplace I could find an assembly/disassembly guide for this watch?
I just saw your latest post after typing most of what's below. That sounds like dirt in the mechanism. For it to run for a bit and hang, that'd be my bet.

The solution is pretty much the same. I just pulled down the tech sheet for the 251.272 from www.eta.ch (click Welcome to get English, then Support Center, then Technical Documents). There are separate electrical drive mechanisms for each of the chronograph functions. The buttons don't move levers, they're actually switches. That's what I get for not looking first! Of course, it's possible that testing the movement would show some sort of electrical problem, and it's possible that replacing a component would fix it.

Replacing the movement would certainly be an option. I've replaced high-end movements, too (like in my ex-wife's TAG Heuer), when repairs would far exceed the cost of a replacement movement. Yes, it's something you can do at home, with the right tools. I won't layer on all the caveats; I expect they're somewhat obvious! Having a watchmaker do the swap would be a very (very (no, really, a very)) good idea. Here's sort of the general sequence of events:

First you have to figure out how to remove the stem, then determine how the movement is mounted in the case. Once the movement is out, you have to remove the hands. Removing and replacing the hands isn't hard, exactly, it's just delicate and finicky. You have to have something to protect the dial during the process. Dials are ridiculously easy to mar. There are little plastic protectors you can buy that slide under the hands, but I didn't see them on Esslinger, which is kinda bizarre. Remove the hands using either a puller (look up Presto on the Esslinger site) or lever(s) to lift the hands off the arbors. For a chronograph you may need one or two levers for the smaller hands, anyway, and levers can be used to remove the hour and minute hands, as well (with caution). Then you have to remove the dial (there are clamps at 2 and 8) and mount it to the new movement, all the while protecting the delicate face of the dial. Reinstall the hands (there are Delrin- or nylon-tipped tools for that) after ensuring they're set so the date changes at midnight. Reinstall the movement in the case. Reinstall the stem, preferably with the correct lubricants at the correct points, and preferably with a new stem gasket. The lubricants used in watches are horrifically expensive (the equivalent of $53,000 per gallon). Put the back on, again preferably with a new, lubricated gasket. The new gaskets, with correct lubrication, will help ensure the best water resistance.

In summary, and to repeat, yes, it's doable at home. To do it correctly, it'll require buying a few tools that have very few other uses, and some good magnification so you can see what the heck you're doing at these tiny scales. To really-really do it all-the-way correctly, you'll need a tiny dab of two different kinds of expensive lubricants you won't use anywhere else and at least two, possibly more, gaskets. All it takes otherwise is lots of patience and a thorough attention to the small details (like changing the date at midnight, among others). Again, a local watchmaker can sure as heck be your friend!

Standard warnings go here, don't expect me to accept any responsibility if you decide to try it, etc. etc. etc.

Glen
 

reytosanfo

New User
Mar 31, 2013
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i have the same problem when i bought a second hand watch.
it seems the chrono function has not been used for quite some time that's why the mechanism has gotten used to their position.

try this,
it's risky but it worked on my TAG Professional 2000.
get a magnet and bring it close to the back of the watch while resetting it (pull out crown and pushing buttons)
good luck.
 
Last edited:

TwoTone

New User
Apr 2, 2013
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i have the same problem when i bought a second hand watch.
it seems the chrono function has not been used for quite some time that's why the mechanism has gotten used to their position.


I have seen similar fault on recent watch purchase, (second hand would only 'judder slightly' when chronograph was operated).

It was repaired under warranty with the following comment:- Please note that the calendar wheel has been damaged by improper use. You should never try to change the date after 6pm because that is when the chainring is very close to pin and an attempt to change the date in this position leads to bending and damage.
The manual damage is not covered by the warranty; however we have repaired this watch free of charge in this instance.

They even returned the faulty calendar dial :) Slight distortion on the 'inner gearing'.

This sounds like a 'watchmaker repair' operation to me. Good news, it was only the date dial needed replacing rather than the full movement.

Good luck with the watch.
 

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