Dial foot replacement

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by John C.Smith, Apr 15, 2006.

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  1. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
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    Hi, I just aquired a Bulova Accutron that has been partially taken apart, and the dial feet have been broken off. Is there a way to replace the dial feet without damaging the front of the dial? It's a very nice 14K watch, and I would like to get it fixed. Any and all help or replies are greatly appreciated. Thanks,
     
  2. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
    47
    0
    0
    Hi, I just aquired a Bulova Accutron that has been partially taken apart, and the dial feet have been broken off. Is there a way to replace the dial feet without damaging the front of the dial? It's a very nice 14K watch, and I would like to get it fixed. Any and all help or replies are greatly appreciated. Thanks,
     
  3. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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    John,

    Can you post a photo of the front and back of the dial?
     
  4. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
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    Mike, I'll try to take a picture of both sides of the dial with my "cheap" Polaroid digital, which is sometimes difficult to do closeup work with, because my very good Canon digital stopped working a few months ago. The dial is two-tone, in very nice condition (other than the dial feet), and that is why I am worried about damaging the front of it. Thanks,
     
  5. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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    John,

    Did you save the feet?
     
  6. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
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    Hi Mike, the dial feet were already missing when I aquired the watch. I will get the pictures of the dial later today. Thanks,
     
  7. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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    John,

    I'll be looking for it.
     
  8. Phil Hannah

    Phil Hannah Guest

    Aren't the Accutron dial feet threaded with female studs that mount through the movement the movement?
     
  9. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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  10. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 27, 2000
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    Calgary, Alberta
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    Phil & Mike,

    Are we discussing a 214 Accutron, or a 218? The 214 is the only Accutron which has threaded feet. All the other Accutrons have a standard foot with regular dial screws. Thus far, nobody has come up with a solution for soldering new feet on the back of a dial without burning the finish. If this is a 214 dial, applying threaded feet will be a bit of a complication!
     
  11. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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    Doug,

    My understanding was a 214.
     
  12. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
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    Hi, all, the dial in question is for a 2182 day/date Accutron, and it has normal dial feet. I am posting links to the pictures here, and I hope I did a good enough job on them. The dial is gold tone and grey.
    Dial front
    Dial back
     
  13. Phil Hannah

    Phil Hannah Guest

    Not a 214, all bets are off. I would think as mentioned by Doug that soldering will discolor the dial. How about having the dial refinished with new feet installed at that time?
     
  14. Mike Kenley

    Mike Kenley Registered User

    Mar 4, 2002
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    Phil,

    I guess I'm lucky but when I resolder a loose sub seconds dial, it doesn't discolor the dial. But I use a solder with a low melting point.
     
  15. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 27, 2000
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    Mike,

    Might that loose sub seconds dial be on an enamel dial? If so, soldering should work. The Accutron is anodizing or paint on a thin metal dial. Repairing these successfully might be possible. If someone knows how to do it while preserving the dial, I'd sure like to know how!
     
  16. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

    Jan 31, 2003
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    Horologist, Teacher of Horology
    Rural Iowa
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    A regular old electric carbon-rod soldering machine will work-

    Clean the back of the dial, and make sure there isn't any grease on. Lay the dial on a soldering pad and ground it. Then you use copper wire of the right OD, flux the end and make a doghnut out of some very soft solder. Put the copper foot against the dial, on top of the solder doughnut and press it down till the foot is flat in contact with the dial, and stroke the wire you are soldering on with the carbon. Twist it while you are at it. Current will flow in such a mannor that the solder will flow at the base of the foot, soldering the foot on, and the wire can be cut to length.
     
  17. 4thdimension

    4thdimension Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 18, 2001
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    Legend has it that there are those who are expert in the use of electric soldering machines who can attach dial feet to metal dials in seconds without damage.
    Sadly, I don't know anyone who does this and I
    haven't had an opportunity to try it out either.

    For painted metal dials I have replaced one or all feet by this method:
    I start with commercially made dial feet( or when I can't remember where they are I turn them). These are usually made of copper and have a foot and a a head. I choose one that has a foot diameter that is about 90% of the diameter of the hole it will go in. The next consideration is the head diameter which should be as large as possible.
    The heads are always too thick so I turn them down until they are almost foil thin. I put the foot into the movement and tighten the dial screw.

    Warning: I use glue so those with weak constitutions hit your "back" button now.

    I have tried several glues and most are lousy
    for this. The quantity needed is so small that
    many glues set up before the dial can be positioned. Crazy glue is terrible and will break away. The best I"ve found so far is the two part epoxy I use for glass crystals. It stays wet long enough and, though very tenacious, it has just enough give to it too.
    Mix the glue and toothpick* on a bead that is small enough that it won't squeeze out any excess. Those are the basics. It's not a miracle cure but, hey, remember "dial dots"? :eek:
    -Cort
    *"toothpick" is a verb here.
     
  18. JustWatchMe

    JustWatchMe Guest

    Find someone who uses a "sparkie" fusion welder. They work well and have long dial feet that fit into collets, and can be shortened. If done carefully, they won't heat up the front, or dent out to the front of the dial. I've done it before and it works great. Also, put a very small drop of water where the weld will be and it leaves almost no residue after wiping. Care is needed for alignment though. Gary :)
     
  19. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User
    Donor

    Dec 16, 2001
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    They say confession is good for the soul... Like Cort, I too have succumbed to the temptation of "gluing" dial feet in place. I grind off any remnants of the old foot and apply a touch of J&B weld to the bottom of a Bergeon replacement copper foot. Allow it to cure overnight and it's as good as new. I absolutely FEAR applying heat to a client's antique dial. Until I can practice on old dials and gain a level of comfort and experience soldering dial feet, I will take the "safe" path. I really don't want to try explaining a big yellow burn mark on an otherwise perfect dial. Note: the glue is reversible. If a later repair person is adequately skilled to solder a foot, the glue is easily ground off.

    Bill
     
  20. John C.Smith

    John C.Smith Registered User

    Jan 25, 2003
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    Hi, all, I ended up taking the safe route with the dial, and used Crazy Glue to put feet back on the dial. It worked out just fine, and I didn't mess up the dial any more than it was. Thanks for all the input,
     
  21. Phil Hannah

    Phil Hannah Guest

    The problem with "crazy glue" is that it has great strength in tension, but poor sheer strength. If a watch is hit or dropped on the side (parallel to the dial) you run the risk of having the dial break loose. I have used "Dial Dots" in those extreme cases, and find they work well.

    Phil
     
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