American PW Elgin Veritas : Another cleaned watch with low amplitude - roller jewel angle ?

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by MikePilk, Aug 28, 2015.

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  1. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
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    After trying to find the cause of low amplitude on a 'well used' Waltham Riverside (on-going), I decided to clean a (much healthier looking) 16S Elgin Veritas 23J Grade 453 I recently bought.
    veritas1.jpg

    On stripping down, all looked pretty good apart from a broken 4th wheel jewel (replaced) and possibly the roller jewel ...

    I fitted a new mainspring and cleaned + oiled.

    The gear train seems good to me - the slightest turn of a winding stem sets it moving, as does an air blower on the escape wheel.

    Without the pallet fork in, the air blower sets the balance moving nicely, face up and down.

    So when I got it all together I was expecting the balance to spring in to life as soon as I started winding, and good amplitude. But .... amplitude ~ 160 deg.

    So I'm at the same stage as the Waltham - gear train and balance seem ok, but hardly any amplitude. After the Waltham it's a bit dis-heartening to be in the same position.

    Is there any other testing I could be doing on the gear train + balance to show that all is working correctly?

    The roller jewel has been replaced (I checked that it's not loose), BUT is not vertical. How critical is this ?
    It might be a clue that I'm getting weird readings on the timing machine - with the roller jewel lined up by eye, it's showing about 9 m/s beat error, Wouldn't that look way out ?

    veritas_balance.jpg
     
  2. RailwayEagle

    RailwayEagle Registered User

    Dec 19, 2014
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    Make sure that little glob of shellac on the roller table isn't rubbing on the pallet fork.

    Also check the hairspring as well for rubbing, typically if the upper and lower balance jewels are properly cleaned and oiled then loss of balance amplitude lies with hairspring rubbing on the balance arms.
     
  3. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

    Dec 19, 2011
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    In addition" check the clearances you have with the roller table and the fork. With the jewel bent inward like that I suspect that the table is a bit too large and you might have a slight graze between the RT and the safety dart. And, of course, you want the roller to be as far into the fork as it can go so that the most energy is transferred to it during impulse so check that too. Check your banking pins aren't too tight and causing the fork to drag on the roller.

    The hairspring is a good bet as well. Check that the coil isn't dragging on the arms or where the overcoil lifts up to cross over the coils. Usually you can see if it's dragging on the arms by looking at the shadow. A big shadow on one side, a small/nonexistent one on the other and your HS isn't flat. It's VERY hard to see if the overcoil is dragging on the outer coil so I usually just try to lift the overcoil as the watch is running to see if the amplitude increases. If so, loosen the terminal stud screw and try to get the overcoil higher if possible. Sometimes hanging the balance will cause it to shift & slip where it's pinned to the terminal stud. You may have to lightly lift the overcoil to put it back in place if you can't get the stud high enough. VERY fine & scarey work to do this so go REALLY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.

    I also wonder, based on your 2 different movements with the same issue, if maybe your watch oil is too thick, or you're over oiling the balance pivots, or you oiled the lever pivots and didn't need to, or you have too much oil on the pallets/EW.

    9ms? That's what, 9/1000th's of a second out of perfect timing? That level of beat error isn't bad enough to cause running issues. It certainly won't affect amplitude. It could cause it to knock on one side if you had really really big amplitude but that's not your problem at all.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Mike,

    It is quite critical, as is the superfluous shellac on the roller and apparently round the jewel itself, and also the general debris . . .

    I know it can be difficult to keep things clean and free of dust, but it has to be addressed if you want to do good work.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    Also clearly the wrong roller jewel here as it protrudes on the other side of the roller. One of the balance screws on the right looks badly deformed, and the pivot is perhaps a bit mushroomed? Get the right roller jewel for a start and replace it and the deformed screw, and clean up the pivot. It's hard to tell from the photo but the hairspring looks slightly out of level, so rubbing might well be an issue as well.
     
  6. RailwayEagle

    RailwayEagle Registered User

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    I would say someone shaved the corner off of that balance screw in order to poise it, rather than use an undercutter.

    Would the roller jewel make a whole lot of difference being too long? I figured as long as it still fit in the hole it would be fine. I've used steel pins in place of roller jewels and timed the movements to +/-10 seconds a day with those.

    Also I wonder why that gap exists between the roller table and the balance staff hub. Maybe there's another step there?
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Magnetized? Too little corner freedom where the roller jewel is entering the pallet fork (rapping)? Roller table dragging on the pallet fork (too low)? Hairspring flat? Overcoil not rubbing on the underside of the balance cock? If there is a cap jewel on the top pivot of the pallet arbor, do you have the jewel well set, correct jewel screw, and screw tight (maybe rubbing the balance, especially if it might not be running true)? Pallet bridge with correct screws, and down tight? Lotsa possibilities!
     
  8. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User
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    With the roller set crooked, and being a roller meant for a single roller, I would start there. Check that it is the right diameter. It looks like when the roller was replaced, it was replaced with what was on-hand. There is a reasonable chance that they may have used a jewel that was slightly smaller diameter along with being too long. A roller that is even slightly too thin will cause low balance action. The jewel being crooked will also cause problems, especially when going from DD to DU positions. The shellac does need to be cleaned up. The length of the roller is wrong, but with the way it is installed it will act like a roller of the correct length, so if you find the roller is the right diameter you can just straighten and clean it.

    Check the pivot where you had the broken jewel. Burnish it if needed. A rough pivot will cause frictional losses the can cause low balance amplitude.
     
  9. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
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    A quick update on what I found - thanks for all the useful advice.

    It seems that the whole balance is a not as I first assumed. I've been a bit guilty of assuming all parts are correct.

    The number on the balance doesn't match the rest of the watch.

    The lower pivot is shorter than the upper - I assume this isn't correct? In which case it has broken

    I'm not sure the rollers are the correct ones - see the gap below jewel roller in the picture above (well spotted RailwayEagle) ?

    The hairspring collet has a VERY wide slot, enough to distort the inner coil and was incredibly difficult to get off.
    (Got a copy of Fried this week and made the tool he shows).

    As the balance numbers don't match, I'm going to try to find a complete replacement balance. Not sure how hard that will be.

    Rob.P - I'm trying to be sparing with my oiling, but I probably still oil a bit much.
    I use 9010 on escape wheel, pallet jewels and balance staff. I don't oil the pallet arbor!
    I use D5 on the gear train and barrel.

    Graham -that isn't dust on the roller table. I cleaned it all and that's fixed to the surface. Don't know what it is.
    You told me off before about dust so I'm trying to be much more careful with my working environment !
     
  10. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #10 RJSoftware, Sep 3, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
    If you have a Jacot tool you could tidy up the bottom pivot and file the cylinder portion of the pivot a touch longer. It might be camera shot but the cylinder portion looks a little tapered. Not sure.

    Fixing the current balance is probably best as you will never recover the original -unless you really got lucky :) and probably the replacement is same maker and has poised hairspring.

    The pivot should stand in each balance jewel with capability of 5 degrees of leaning. (side shake). I'm not too much of an advocate for the blowing and spinning of the balance test. I have had mixed results with that. If it spins relatively free I think ok. Some say that it should spin for at least a minute. That's the part that I have not got consistent results with. It does not seem to work for me. 5 degrees of lean means the cylinder portion of the pivot is long enough and the cone portion is not touching the edge of the donut shaped hole of the balance hole jewel. That and blowing proves it does spin. The donut hole (curved on inner jewel edge) provides freedom from imperfection of jewel hole alignment. Use a powerful loupe to determine that the cone portion of the pivot is not resting on jewel edge if you can. This is why I generally make longer cylinder portion and be done with it. Not good for strength but good for results. A touch only on side of cylinder length by perception.

    As to the roller/jewel situation after straightening and perhaps sinking the jewel to be a hair shorter and cleaning excess shellac keep in mind that the fork will have some amount of end shake, so it is possible that dial up will cause interference with roller table and fork touching. But you can slightly bend the fork to avoid that.

    RJ
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Mike,

    I do sympathise with your dust problem! If whatever it is won't come off the roller with a dunk in solvent, you might have to try scraping it very carefully with some sharpened pegwood, and then use the solvent again, being very cautious around the impulse jewel obviously.

    As for lubrication, 9010 is fine where you've used it, although 9415 is much better on pallet jewels. However, D5 is rather heavy for everything other than centre pivots and the barrel arbor. Some 9010 will do on the rest of the train from there down to the escape wheel pivots.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
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    Graham, I found a couple of lubrication charts which suggested using D5 for the gear trains of pocket watches.

    Does anyone know if this model should have separate rollers or a one-piece double roller - as this one has?

    Swigarts lists #2696 Roller Table with Pin, Combination Roller
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Mike,

    Lubrication is a good way to start controversies here! I maintain that D5 is simply too viscous for the faster moving wheels in pocket watch trains. However, I think one of the best sources of information on the subject, which is pretty well up to date, is the BHI publication "The Practical Lubrication of Clocks and Watches". It's been posted here in various threads in the past, but if you can't find it, let me know.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

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    I believe that most literature for the use of D5 limits it to barrel and center wheel pivots. It's just too thick for the other gears even for Goliath size pocket watches.

    You know, looking at your pics and seeing that the RT doesn't meet flush with the hub, I'm not sure that your staff is the correct one for your movement. You might want to see if you can find the dimensions for the correct staff and compare them to what you have.

    http://home.elgintime.com:8080/elgintime/StaffLookup?I=1.6&IV=

    This is a site mostly for Elgins but you can use it to cross ref and vice versa for other makers. The correct dimensions for your staff should be in there someplace.
     
  15. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
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    Rob, I'm not sure that any of the balance is genuine : The bottom pivot much shorter than the top, the roller table not sitting flush, the hairspring collet not fitting and the balance has a selection of different types of screws fitted.

    Graham, Rob : I used this Moebius Lubricating Chart, I assume they know what they're doing !

    moebius.PNG
     
  16. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
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    Just had another look at this watch as I was thinking about ordering a new staff.

    I just noticed something unusual. Anyone spot it ? :

    Veritas 1.jpg Veritas 2.jpg


    A friction fit staff. From what I've read Elgin never did friction staffs ?
    So what is this balance?

    Going to place an ad for a whole new balance. Ive been searching on ebay for a while for a balance from a suitable grade, but very few around.
     
  17. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

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    I swear that it looks like someone bored out the hub and friction fit a new staff in there. I'd pull it apart and see if that's the case. If so, get the correct staff and install it.

    Do the numbers scribed on the balance arms match your movement serial number?
     
  18. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

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    No, the numbers do not match, and I just discovered why !

    20150925_185304.jpg

    The balance on the right is the one I just pulled out, the one on the left is a Waltham #4860 !
    It looks like a proper Waltham hub on the balance.

    So I have Waltham balance + staff, Elgin rollers and hairspring. No wonder it all looks so odd - the gap under the roller and the hairspring collet being so distorted.
     
  19. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    Definitely a Waltham balance wheel and staff you have there. If you run the serial number off the balance, it should come up as a model '99 or '08. The overall length of the Waltham #4861 (which is what you have in the photo) is 5.4mm. The overall length of the Elgin #2532 is 5.32mm. Pretty close and, as you can see in your photo, the pivots on the Waltham staff have been shortened slightly to fit the Elgin.
     
  20. psfred

    psfred Registered User

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    Don't you just love "minimum cost" repairs?

    Check the pallet fork slot length against the roller table -- you may find the roller jewel is tilted back because the jewel is out too far and hits the bottom of the fork if it's upright!

    I do have to say it's a clever "kludge", fitting a balance from one maker into another's watch and getting it to run, but I suspect you will be much happier with the correct balance, if you can find one in repairable condition.

    And I would never use anything with higher viscosity than "clock oil" on the train with the possible exception of using KT-22 on the second wheel arbor. That moves slowly enough that the higher lubricity of KT-22 is a benefit. All the other arbors move too fast and are of too small a diameter for D5, a synthetic clock oil will result in less frictional loss. Escape wheel and balance should have a fine watch oil (what you used is just fine), but the escape wheel teeth should have 9415 or similar, not oil of any type, it will spray off from the impact.

    But I don't believe the low rotational angle has anything to do with lubrication in this case.

    Peter
     
  21. MikePilk

    MikePilk Registered User

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    #21 MikePilk, Sep 30, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
    Peter, I'm trying to find a replacement balance. I have a list of the grades which use the same balance, but they seem rare. I will keep trying until I find one.

    As I posted above, I used D5 on the gear train because that is what it shows on the Moebius lubrication chart ! (see above)

    But since Graham mentioned it, I now only use it on the barrel arbor and center wheel, and use 9010 for the gear train.
     

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