General question about a properly serviced Pocket Watch.

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by James J Nicholson, Apr 6, 2020.

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  1. James J Nicholson

    James J Nicholson Registered User
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    Hello everyone, I had read that after a proper cleaning and service a pocket watch should keep proper time AND the regulator should be as close to dead center as possible. My question is,If the watch is very accurate (according to RR specifications) but the regulator is 3/4 over to one side or the other, would this indicate a problem was not addressed or is this normal for a watch that is not carried but kept in a display case. Any info would me most appreciated. Thank You, James
     
  2. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    You should time it yourself for several days in a few positions with the regulator in the middle and see what you get. It should be in time allowing, about 30 second per week ,about 4 sec. a day allowance.
     
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  3. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I'm going to move this thread to watch repair.



    Rob
     
  4. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    It can depend upon how the watchmaker adjusted the regulator pins, and then again how much the balance itself has been altered. The first can result in as much as 2 minutes of difference in a properly serviced watch that otherwise is within 10 seconds a day across five positions.

    Owners are likely to destroy the balance spring if they try to manipulate the pins though.

    The latter is more complicated. If the balance does not use mean time screws and has not been molested then the regulator should be within a couple of degrees of center. People molested the balance in the misguided effort to statically poise the balance not realizing that by definition a balance is dynamically poised (and no longer in static poise) when adjusted at the factory.

    Usually, they removed mass from screws. This requires the use of timing washers under the screws to correct. If the workman does not have a good selection, he may be stuck doing the best he can.

    The situation is easier with meantime screws because they can be adjusted to regulate the watch with the regulator in its center position.

    By way of illustration. In school we spent a month making a glucydor balance assembly. First task was to statically poise the balance mounted on the staff with the impulse roller. After we pinned up the spring and installed the balance assembly on our watch we dynamically poised it. How, by removing mass from under the balance at the indicated heavy spot with a 3 sided cutter.

    Do you think when we removed the balance spring that balance was still statically poised:???:?

    Jim's advice to compare your watch daily at the same time to a network corrected time source such as NIST is the way to start. You can also use this source to test the positional rates of your watch if you have the patience to let it sit in each position for 24 hours (which is what was done in the old days compared to a master clock controlled by astronomical observation).

    A modern (post 1900) RRG watch will have a daily rate variation of no more than 10 seconds across five positions. A watch with an unmolested balance will meet this almost out of the gate. Others may require a bit of work.

    This article explains the process: https://www.historictimekeepers.com/documents/Watch%20Adjustment.pdf

    All RRG watches can be so restored. Using a modern timing instrument (Vibrograf MU 700) it generally takes me about 15 trials in eight positions, each trial taking a minimum of 4 minutes (30 second minimum reading in each position). It is like zeroing in a rifle sight.
     
  5. Ben S.

    Ben S. Registered User

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    A pocket watch may not have the regulator in the center. On a modern watch this possible to adjust the “business end” of the regulator while leaving the needle in the center. In older watches (including most of the pocket watches I have) the regulator is all one piece so this is not possible. It depends on the individual watch.
     
  6. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    I think you may be confusing the moveable stud holder for setting a WW in beat. In PWs the stud is in a fixed position and setting the assembly in beat is done by turning the collet on the staff. In modern WWs, the moveable stud holder can be positioned to set the watch in beat without removing the balance from the watch.

    But setting a watch in beat It has nothing to do with where the regulator is positioned.

    Best practice is to center the regulator. The watch is designed to give its best performance when correctly serviced with the regulator centered. The position of the regulator on the balance spring (effective pinning point) is one of the first design criteria for a watch.

    In general a centered regulator on an accurate timekeeper is a mark of workmanship. In reality, if the outer coil is properly made (called circling the regulator) the regulator will work properly over its full range. However, this does change the effective pinning point of the balance assembly which can have an effect on positional timing.
     
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  7. Ben S.

    Ben S. Registered User

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    Hi Dewey,

    Yes, that’s correct. I was just thinking about that when I read your post, LOL. Oops, oh well!

    For the record, yes, move the regulator over as needed.

    Thanks for the correction,

    Ben
     
  8. Al J

    Al J Registered User

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    I actually think he was referring to a two piece regulator, which are common on modern watches. The regulating pins are a separate part from the indicator end, with only friction coupling them together. The regulator pins can be moved independently of the pointer end.

    Here's an example...the regulator pointer is the top layer at A, the regulating pins are the second layer at B, and the stud carrier is the third layer at C. All held in place by the Incabloc setting.

    Two%20piece%20regulator_zpsfkbwedwh.jpg

    In this case the stud carrier, regulating pins, and pointer can all be adjusted independently of each other, and the pointer is easily centered. Obviously not possible on older watches, so in my experience watches made before the mid-60's or so will usually have a one piece regulator.

    Cheers, Al
     
  9. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
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    Sometimes part "A" is a microregulator too, which makes the whole setup very convenient.
     
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  10. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    ALJ

    We are describing the same thing. Pictures were very thoughtful.

    Thanks,

    Dewey
     
  11. Al J

    Al J Registered User

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    Dewey,

    Not the way I read your post. You said Ben S. was confused - he wasn't. You didn't mention a regulator that was independently adjustable from the pointer...that is the key item Ben was commenting on.

    Cheers, Al
     
  12. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Fair enough. Fortunately, the OP (Rob) could read my post as intended. I do appreciate your thoughtful pictures to help future readers understand.

    But to repeat, we are talking about the same thing. Your example is of a moveable stud regardless: the stud is moveable, yes? In Neuchatel it is termed as I indicated to avoid company specific trade names. Like tissue vs.Kleenex.

    There are multiple ways to name things and when dealing with multiple cultures I prefer using terms that are more easily translated. Again something I came to appreciate in Neuchatel.

    If you have a picture of what you "think/read" I meant, please post it here and I will comment.

    Otherwise, this is about semantics and perhaps we should let this pass like the flu? At least I will.
     
  13. Al J

    Al J Registered User

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    Hi Dewey,

    Let's back up a bit. The OP asked if the pointer for the regulator should be in the middle of the range if a proper service was done. You gave all the right answers for why it should. Ben then pointed out that on modern watches, the pointer and regulating pins can be moved independently from each other, so it's possible to have the pointer centered in the range no matter where the pins are acting on the balance spring. Yes I've explained it more fully than he did.

    You then said he was confusing the regulator with a stud that can be moved instead of turning the collet - he was not referring to the stud at all.

    Yes in the example I posted above the stud is moveable - that has nothing to do with what Ben or I am talking about. I am not using any brand specific terminology here, simply describing the functions of the parts.

    To illustrate, here is the movement with the regulating pins shifted one way:

    Reglatormin_zpscyuotflw.jpg

    And here shifted the other way:

    Reglatormax_zpsxqv3vsen.jpg

    In both instances, the stud is in the same place, and the pointer (indicator) for the regulator is in the same place. This is what Ben and I are referring to - again, nothing to do with the moveable stud.

    The regulator is in two parts, and each part can be moved independently of the other.

    Cheers, Al
     
  14. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Huh?

    If you are certain you know I had a different picture in my head, please post a picture of what you think I was describing.

    If you are out to prove I am fallible, I confess! I make mistakes and even lose and destroy parts from time to time!

    But in this case my wording was intentional and precise. And it was accurately received by the recipient. So it meets the test of effective writing.

    I am not understanding why you want to belabor semantics. It is bordering on churlish.
     
  15. Al J

    Al J Registered User

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    Dewey,

    I have no idea what is in your head, and why you are reacting the way you are here. I was basing my comments on what you wrote:

    "I think you may be confusing the moveable stud holder for setting a WW in beat."

    I was simply trying to clarify that Ben S was not confused, as you have stated he is, and let others know what he was referring to. If we all agree that was what he was referring to, it's unclear why you said he was confused.

    I am not out to prove anything. I am not intending to upset anyone, simply clarify the conversation.

    Cheers, Al
     
  16. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    It would seem Ben S. was Crystal Clear about my use of the term "moveable stud".

    You write the way you wish, I will write the way I find most effective. If others are unclear about what is written, they can ask for clarification.

    Once again, I confess to being fallible. In this instance the recipient confirmed he understood clearly my use of the terms which avoided trade jargon that causes problems in other languages. I understand you disagree.

    Tomaeto tomaahto.
     
  17. Al J

    Al J Registered User

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    I honestly have no idea what youa re talking about Dewey. I didn't use any "trade jargon" and Ben said nothing that was confused or incorrect.

    But I'll leve it here since you are intent on taking this in a way it wasn't intended.

    Stay safe.

    Cheers, Al
     
  18. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Jumpin' Jiminy, did this thread go off into the deep weeds.

    James, to answer your question, there's not a blessed thing wrong with the regulator being off to one side or the other. Especially on an older pocket watch, the hairspring's resilience is going to change a bit over time and you'll have absolutely no idea what a previous watchmaker might have done to tune things based on his abilities. The only thing that really matters is "does it keep time, yes or no". Where the regulator is in the slow-fast range is window dressing. With some watches you can adjust the rate a bit by diddling with the balance wheel - if you know what you're doing. If you want the regulator in the center of its range it can usually be done by someone who knows what he's doing. Diddling the balance wheel for the sole purpose of centering the regulator isn't necessary for the function of the watch and does not indicate a problem that was not addressed, it's purely for show.

    Glen
     
  19. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Thanks for bringing it back Glen


    Rob
     
  20. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    #20 musicguy, Apr 8, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    I may be wrong about this and knowledgeable people here can correct me.

    Like some others here I wear a PW on a daily basis. I wear it in my
    Jeans coin pocket. When I am standing the watch is in one position, sitting another,
    and all different combinations of positions as I move
    around during the day(and on the table in one position all night).
    I use the micro regulator adjustment(toward F or S) to
    adjust the watch to my caring habits. Sometimes it takes me a few weeks
    to get it exact(based on my own usage) but once I have it dialed in it keeps
    RR time. After this process if the regulator ARM is all the way to Fast
    or Slow I know I have a problem, but most times it's just a little off center.
    To me there is nothing wrong with it not being in the exact center.
    I am not a watchmaker(just a tinkerer) so this is my interpretation of
    what the micro regulator is for(on vintage American PW's).



    Rob
     
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  21. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Rob,

    You are correct. That is what the micrometric regulator is for. Hamilton, and I bet other companies, had a specification for how far off center was permissible when delivered from the factory. I forget and if important will try to find it.

    The reason for the centered regulator is because that is where the effective pinning point of the balance spring was designed to be.

    This choice of pinning point depends on open face vs. hunting case and is chosen to minimize the natural errors of the assembly when in pendant up position.

    In the extremes, it will impact positional rates.

    As mentioned earlier, the space between the pins can have as much as a 2 minute impact on the regulator position.

    This becomes a challenge in watches that did not use meantime screws like the early Hamiltons.
     
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