Dial Washer Shims??

Bruce W Sims

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Hi, Folks:

Was watching another video on YT and observed the host using a Dial Washer to shim the Balance Wheel Cock.

I had opportunities to observe other videos where there was evidence of scratching under the cock so as to
raise material in an attempt to add or subtract regarding balance wheel end shake. Personally I thought the idea of using
a Dial Washer was pretty bright considering it readily reversable. Then I started thinking I might be missing
something. Anyone have thoughts on using DW as a regular method of shimming the cock?

Thanks in advance,

Bruce
 

svenedin

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Hi, Folks:

Was watching another video on YT and observed the host using a Dial Washer to shim the Balance Wheel Cock.

I had opportunities to observe other videos where there was evidence of scratching under the cock so as to
raise material in an attempt to add or subtract regarding balance wheel end shake. Personally I thought the idea of using
a Dial Washer was pretty bright considering it readily reversable. Then I started thinking I might be missing
something. Anyone have thoughts on using DW as a regular method of shimming the cock?

Thanks in advance,

Bruce
I’ve seen paper used as a shim under the balance cock on several low end cylinder escapement pocket watches.
 
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viclip

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Would a shard of aluminum foil be usable as a shim or is it too thick or something?
 

Bila

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Was watching another video on YT and observed the host using a Dial Washer to shim the Balance Wheel Cock.
These type of videos are not worth the time to watch or the energy spent to do so, and that energy should be expelled on finding-out what the actual reason is behind the lack of end-shake (in most cases there is only 3 basic reasons for it). Anyone that promotes doing this should stop repairing watches as it is not how it should be done by any means. It always mazes me on what gets promoted/condoned or suggested on this message board regarding repairs:(
 
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Dadistic

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There are watches that come from the factory with shimmed balance cocks, I don't see why shims are a problem. I do have a problem with divots, which was common practice for many years, as this is much harder to reverse in a future service.

There is value in using quick, reversible techniques to get a watch running that would otherwise end up in the trash. There are simply too many watches where it is not economical to repair them to someone's blue sky standard, no one's going to pay for the time required for a watch that might on a good day fetch $100.

Cheers!
 

Bila

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There are watches that come from the factory with shimmed balance cocks,
This is just poor manufacture and quality assurance methods by the producer.

no one's going to pay for the time required for a watch that might on a good day fetch $100
Then best to not even try to fix it, especially when it is getting on sold, too much of the bodging-up goes on as it is. I have $4,000US dollars worth of "US Watch Co of Marion's" here that had their balances and balance cocks butchered by so called Repairer's/Tinkerer's and possibly others. All are in the parts bin as they have been ruined.

Don't get me wrong, your watch do what you will with them, just don't send or sell them to someone else when they have been improperly repaired.
 

Dadistic

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I have no problem sending/selling the watches that I repair, the value is correct. If you are are a well heeled collector, and are willing to pay for a repair or restoration that may put the watch in better than factory condition, then I have no problem with that either.

It's simple economics, if you want to give away your time it's up to you.
 
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roughbarked

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Let's make sure that my comments are not about promoting the shimming of balance cocks because I wasn't ever suggesting that it should be done.
I have seen it done and had to fix it.
My comments were indeed related more to how do you fix ones that were made with shims but the shims are no longer there. I used paper from the vibrograph to gauge how thick I needed to be.
 

Skutt50

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There are watches that come from the factory with shimmed balance cocks,
This is a slightly different type of shimming but I have come across a couple of Russian made wrist watches where the height of the balance cock was adjusted with a number of shimms of different thickness. It clearly was made at the factory and was obviously part of the design.......
 

roughbarked

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This is a slightly different type of shimming but I have come across a couple of Russian made wrist watches where the height of the balance cock was adjusted with a number of shimms of different thickness. It clearly was made at the factory and was obviously part of the design.......
Correct. If you were presented with one of these without the shims, what would you do?
•and indeed in respect to the other posts about shims:
What do you do when placed in the position of how to fix someone else's blunder?
 
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DeweyC

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There are watches that come from the factory with shimmed balance cocks, I don't see why shims are a problem. I do have a problem with divots, which was common practice for many years, as this is much harder to reverse in a future service.

There is value in using quick, reversible techniques to get a watch running that would otherwise end up in the trash. There are simply too many watches where it is not economical to repair them to someone's blue sky standard, no one's going to pay for the time required for a watch that might on a good day fetch $100.

Cheers!
It all depends on whether you want a watch that ticks or if you want a watch that functions.

First, shims and pigs ears indicate that end shakes are incorrect, either due to a damaged staff or incorrect depth of jewels.

Secondly, the use of shims means the upper jewel is tilted in relation to the axis of the staff. This presents a hole that is oval rather than round to the upper pivot. This in turn makes positional timing essentially impossible.

BUT, if the goal is to "make it tick", then virtually ANY dodge goes.
 
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Bernhard J.

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If correctly shimmed, the upper jewel is not necessarily tilted. The watch can function perfectly.

I have a watch, where some bodger apparently managed to slightly bend the cock (an Englisch watch), resulting in absence of end shake and the watch not running when the cock screw was tightened. The high end dealer sold it to me with the cock screw slightly loose (we are talking about maybe 20-30° turn of the cock screw). This was evident only after close inspection. As a result, the jewel presumable was also slightly (!) tilted, when the cock screw was tightened.

I would never try to bend back an English brass cock for rectifying such a fault, for various reasons. The solution of the problem was slight (!) shimming just on the balance wheel side of the cock screw. This resulted in proper endshake AND presumably even corrected jewel angle.

The watch runs really fine since long. And I dare say that no more sophisticated repair would have made this watch function better. And I personally do not consider this "repair" improper, because it was 1) effective, 2) simple, 3) did not bear any risks of make things worse, and 4) provides all options for someone desiring a "real" repair, because essentially no component has been subject to removing material. May any successor pay substantial 4-figure money in the belief that the watch then functions better (which is very unlikely, even if assumed that the repair is done masterly) ... :cool:

Bodging most often does comprise removing material here and there. Making any subsequent proper repair even more difficult. Removing material is done instantly and thus practised by many "repairers".

Cheers, Bernhard
 

DeweyC

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If correctly shimmed, the upper jewel is not necessarily tilted. The watch can function perfectly.

I have a watch, where some bodger apparently managed to slightly bend the cock (an Englisch watch), resulting in absence of end shake and the watch not running when the cock screw was tightened. The high end dealer sold it to me with the cock screw slightly loose (we are talking about maybe 20-30° turn of the cock screw). This was evident only after close inspection. As a result, the jewel presumable was also slightly (!) tilted, when the cock screw was tightened.

I would never try to bend back an English brass cock for rectifying such a fault, for various reasons. The solution of the problem was slight (!) shimming just on the balance wheel side of the cock screw. This resulted in proper endshake AND presumably even corrected jewel angle.

The watch runs really fine since long. And I dare say that no more sophisticated repair would have made this watch function better. And I personally do not consider this "repair" improper, because it was 1) effective, 2) simple, 3) did not bear any risks of make things worse, and 4) provides all options for someone desiring a "real" repair, because essentially no component has been subject to removing material. May any successor pay substantial 4-figure money in the belief that the watch then functions better (which is very unlikely, even if assumed that the repair is done masterly) ... :cool:

Bodging most often does comprise removing material here and there. Making any subsequent proper repair even more difficult. Removing material is done instantly and thus practised by many "repairers".

Cheers, Bernhard
Bernhard,

As others noted, there is some confusion over what constitutes proper practice that preserves the function of the piece vs expedients that may "get it out the door". This is reflected in the OP's original question.

And even in your example, had the piece received proper service originally, the dealer would not have had to resort to leaving a screw loose and you would not have shimmed the balance cock.

It is only because I understand the purpose of this thread is to ascertain the propriety of the youtube observed by the OP, that I have responded.

Those who employ such dodges (and even your dealer) should be viewed with caution. If they use one expedient, they more than likely use others. It is a shame becasues oftentimes it takes more work to do it the wrong way and is a simple matter of knowledge.

Wouldn't it be nicer if the person who bent the cock had the knowledge and skill to simply replace the jewel or make a new staff?
 
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Bernhard J.

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Hi Dewey,

I definitely agree with all of that.

But consider also: it is at least better to shim than to punch craters into the base of the cock foot for the same purpose (also done more or less frequently as a quick "repair") :eek:

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Dave Haynes

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Consider that a watch used by a railroad worker may have been apart every 2-3 years for the duration. A watch is only as good as the last guy who worked on it. A lot of these movements, especially wrist watches are so poorly built from the factory that a balance bridge won't interchange from one watch to another. Early Gruens are like this, the Quadron and 115s often must have a factory matched bridge and numbered part to function. You just don't see this on what we consider modern 30s+ watches.
 

Bernhard J.

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Two wrongs do not make it right:(
A "repair" without doing (additional) harm to components, e.g. proper (!) shimming for recreating correct end shake, is better than further bodging around, e.g. punching. The prior state can exactly be reachieved simply by removing shims again. That it a conservatory approach (versus the better than new approach)

If you want a 100+ year old watch to function as new, you will have to replace any and all (!) moving parts by factory new parts (or recreated parts using original materials and original machines). Essentially every moving part (+ jewels or holes) will have wear to more or less extent. Anything else might be considered by the true "like new or better than new" expert as "bodging" Heiligenschein.gif clown.gif .

P.S.: the first paragraph seems even more true in case of non-professionals (or lesser skilled professionals!) handling the "repair". Or simply said: it is difficult to do anything "wrong" with proper shimming.
 
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Bila

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If you want a 100+ year old watch to function as new, you will have to replace any and all (!) moving parts by factory new parts (or recreated parts using original materials and original machines). Essentially every moving part (+ jewels) will have wear to more or less extent. Anything else might be considered by the true "like new or better than new" expert as "bodging"
This is to a large part incorrect, you are entitled to your opinion but in this case it is flawed. It seems very apparent that certain people are quite happy with a bodge job, to each their own I would say and I will leave you all to it:(
 

Bernhard J.

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Surfaces interacting with friction have wear from the very first moment of operation (oil does not extinct friction it just reduces it). What, specifically, is incorrect in this?
 

Bernhard J.

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Yes, I personally would prefer a professional (and expert) watchmaker to "bodge" by shimming, if this resolves the issue well, even in case of watches with a value in substantial 4-figure range. Even the best watchmaker can have an *ups* moment within a "proper" repair and then the problems really start, as experience shows. He might then begin to considering "simpler" solutions to the *ups* issue, because otherwise he would 1) have to admit the *ups*, 2) have to handle it free of charge, the better he does that, the longer it takes (for an hour rate of 0).

I personally would feel well advised, if a watchmaker would say: We have two alternatives with comparable results. First is shimming
(which some consider "bodging"), the second is to do this or that, like shortening the balance shaft, bending the cock, resetting jewels etc. What do you prefer? The costs of first is this and the costs of second that is that. Then it would be my choice and depending on the issue and the value of the watch I might decide in this or that way.

If a customer turns up with a watch worth 500 $ and shimming (always assuming that this will properly resolve the issue, as it was in my case) would cost 200 $, whereas the "proper" repair would cost 1,000 $ (easily reached), then I would consider it a "rip-off", if those two alternatives are not offered.

By the way, my watch "bodged" by shimming of the cock between the plates, not the upper cock, runs well in all positions (maximum difference per day of about 8 seconds in the different positions) and an amplitude of >290 in all positions. I just tested it yesterday evening for interest. So, what is wrong about this? The watch ("bodged" in the 90s):

1.jpg
8.jpg

P.S.: In case of the Henry Graves Supercomplication I would of course prefer "proper" repair. But wonder which watchmaker would dare to take the job ;)
 
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Al J

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Anything else might be considered by the true "like new or better than new" expert as "bodging"
I struggle with this reasoning. Repairing a bent balance cock that is preventing the watch from running, isn't making a "better than new" repair. It's just fixing damage done by others.
 

Bernhard J.

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I struggle with this reasoning. Repairing a bent balance cock that is preventing the watch from running, isn't making a "better than new" repair. It's just fixing damage done by others.
I agree absolutely. I was talking about the alternative "proper" repair (instead of "bodging" by shimming the cock), e.g. resetting the upper jewel by a couple of microns in height and a few angle minutes in orientation (and risking it to become more out of angle than by the very slight bend of the cock). Or shimming the upper jewel setting Oha.gif ;)

By the way, bending the cock back and forth, until the end shake is correct, would that be a "proper" repair? Since we are talking about a few tens of microns, if at all, the chances to get it right in the first try are not all to high. Aside the risk for the hard brass to break, that happens faster than most might think.
 
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pocketsrforwatches

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Personally I am loathe to do anything that is not reversible, however sometimes in order to find a technique that may or may not work one has to experiment. I don't experiment on a customers watch. I did however find myself in the position of losing end shake in that last 20-30 degrees of tightening the balance cock screw on one of my own watches. After measuring the staff and finding it to be the correct length and making sure the balance jewels were correct and seated properly and even rotating them as I have found on occasion that "round" isn't always round, just like crystals, I was about to shim the balance cock when I decided to try something a little different. I removed the lower balance jewels and placed the plate on a large driving out stump from my staking set. I placed the plate on the stump and took a large flat stake and centered it over the now removed lower balance jewel area. I tapped ever so slightly once or twice and then replaced the jewels and placed the balance on the plate. Low and behold I got lucky and achieved perfect end shake with the bonus of no discernible markings to the plate. I certainly wouldn't recommend this as an acceptable mainstream practice, but if everything else has been checked and it is your watch or you explain to the customer what you would like to try as an alternative to a shim, then maybe this would work. I have only done this once and it worked for me. The next time I run into this situation I will definitely consider doing the same thing. Let the flaming begin!
 
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roughbarked

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I agree absolutely. I was talking about the alternative "proper" repair (instead of "bodging" by shimming the cock), e.g. resetting the upper jewel by a couple of microns in height and a few angle minutes in orientation (and risking it to become more out of angle than by the very slight bend of the cock). Or shimming the upper jewel setting View attachment 737793 ;)

By the way, bending the cock back and forth, until the end shake is correct, would that be a "proper" repair? Since we are talking about a few tens of microns, if at all, the chances to get it right in the first try are not all to high. Aside the risk for the hard brass to break, that happens faster than most might think.
Bending is not really a repair, it could more likely be classed as a breakage. Unless of course you are bending it back to where it was. One shouldn't try guesswork with watches.
 
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roughbarked

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Hi Dewey,

I definitely agree with all of that.

But consider also: it is at least better to shim than to punch craters into the base of the cock foot for the same purpose (also done more or less frequently as a quick "repair") :eek:

Cheers, Bernhard
I'd call a shim a temporary repair or a checking tool to help find the fault. True that it it is reversible, which is why it is a useful tool.
 
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Al J

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I agree absolutely. I was talking about the alternative "proper" repair (instead of "bodging" by shimming the cock), e.g. resetting the upper jewel by a couple of microns in height and a few angle minutes in orientation (and risking it to become more out of angle than by the very slight bend of the cock). Or shimming the upper jewel setting View attachment 737793 ;)

By the way, bending the cock back and forth, until the end shake is correct, would that be a "proper" repair? Since we are talking about a few tens of microns, if at all, the chances to get it right in the first try are not all to high. Aside the risk for the hard brass to break, that happens faster than most might think.
Anything short of putting it back to original could be considered a "bodge"...

I do agree if someone doesn't have the skill or confidence to effect a proper repair, better to shim than to do more damage.
 
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Bernhard J.

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I do agree if someone doesn't have the skill or confidence to effect a proper repair, better to shim than to do more damage.
As is in case of many "average" persons calling themselves watchmakers ...

My watch, which I told about above, had been allegedly fully overhauled by the expert specialist of the well know professional seller. I am happy that this person preferred slightly loosening of the balance cock screw and lifting the cock end for "repairing". Instead of punching the cock base.

And I admit that I am reluctant to repair "properly" (i.e. with considerable efforts), if the (reversible) "bodge" works out so well.This is less a matter of skill :cool:. Or perhaps I am just lazy :D

P.S.: If I sell at some far away future juncture, I will of course disclose (and explain) this "bodge" explicitely.
 
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Al J

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had been allegedly fully overhauled by the expert specialist of the well know professional seller.
My advice to buyers is that unless you have proof in the form of documentation (not just the seller's word for it) of a service being completed by a known to be good service provider, then always account for the cost of a proper service when you decide how much to pay for the watch. If it turns out to be well serviced, a rarity based on the number of "freshly serviced" watches I get from people that are a mess inside, then consider it a bonus.
 
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Bruce W Sims

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In a round about way you folks have been wonderful about airing the puts-and-takes
of making this sort of adjustment. I have repeatedly cringed each time I have seen a vintage
watches gouged in order to raise material. The most recent was an ETA 6498 which reportedly
had chronic balance issues and was found to routinely have the plate punched up from the
Factory. I understand it may be something of a quick, economical fix but it ran against my own
view of doing things in the "right" (...and reversible) manner. Of course my goal is to make the
adjustments in the most acceptable manner, hence my curiosity about these shims.

Does anyone have a favorite resource for tuning the Balance Complete?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 
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Al J

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The most recent was an ETA 6498 which reportedly
had chronic balance issues and was found to routinely have the plate punched up from the
Factory.
Curious and wanted to clarify - are you saying that is came with punches under the balance cock from the factory? I would find that difficult to believe, honestly. I've ordered, serviced, and sold many hundreds of these in watches (6497's and 6498's) and I've never seen one with anything like this from the factory., It was likely done after it left ETA.
 

Bruce W Sims

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Exactly right. A presentation on assembling a 6498 brought this to light by

pointing up a "defect" in the material. My own personal ETA likewise had

such a small punch. FWIW
 

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