Hairspring cylinder escapement 1945

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by jamie powell, Jun 26, 2020.

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  1. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    Hi

    I bought a pocket watch and would like to get it working.
    The hairspring was all twisted up so I removed the balance wheel and the thing came to life. Buzzing and squeaking away.
    It was great!
    Unfortunately the hairspring has snapped in a few places.
    I have researched on here and get the general idea on matching size strength and how to shape it.
    I understand it will be a long process getting the right one or similar and snipping it.
    I really want to get it going.
    Would any one on here have anything like the one I need? Or would anybody know of where the best place to get one would be?
    I reattached what was left of the spring to get an idea of how it works, is it worth unreeling what’s left and measuring it?
    Also I acid tested the workings and there was no reaction, so I assume it’s gold plated. Any ideas on this?
    The hand side of the workings is a different colour.
    Any advice much appreciated

    I have attached photos

    Many thanks

    Jamie

    62C86C39-D7DB-488E-A164-1EE1D053952C.jpeg B0944B92-6A33-4FED-9F61-2E516EC3D762.jpeg E26661A2-81AB-4974-B265-FDB2D2D825DF.jpeg 367B2D0A-8104-40AA-8216-43738E61D5BD.jpeg 66762A7D-E814-42FB-BBFC-524103A7D909.jpeg BE99CBD3-41E1-49A1-A1CD-4C0089E70DA7.jpeg A6FEDC45-2ABA-4B96-9D01-D12C49050285.jpeg BD5C5460-6B1A-4642-9EDE-E52175188AC3.jpeg 26B87292-0289-47B3-9211-5DF5A2553332.jpeg 7B44C1BB-88FF-492A-A326-1E673BC8905A.jpeg 0C24A2E3-924F-465D-9F62-BF5EEA448F0B.jpeg CB950BA7-EEEC-4A18-B450-B0D21FFB23AF.jpeg 963236DC-0AC8-4F19-B8F8-96C790BABE30.jpeg EA06477A-6C38-4010-BE36-C1D54C9FC543.jpeg
     
  2. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    This looks like a Swiss cylinder escapement from late 1800eds. They were made in a vaste number and are quite common, at least here where I live.

    Unfortunately you need more than a hairspring. The balance seems to have at least one broken pivot. The task to re-pivot, alternatively to replace, the cylinder is not done in a beat. In addition the hairspring is a time consuming task to replace.

    Another factor to consider is that these movements were more or less hand made/adjusted so finding a part that fits from a donor movement is equally difficult.

    The cost of these fixes will by far exceed the value of the watch, if you even could find someone that is willing to do the job.

    Best option in my oppinion is to look for another movement.

    If you really want to get into it your best option is to find some donor movements of similar design to pick hairspring material from.
    The cylinder however is not easy to find. There are soo many variations so even if you find some on e.g. eBay you probably will not find the correct one.
    It is probaby easier to try to re-pivot the existing balance, so you would have to learn that task as well.

    Good luck with your watch.
     
  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hi Jamie,

    I think you've already learnt several lessons about watch repairs with this!

    The first is that you must let down the power of the mainspring before dismantling anything; in a cylinder escapement, the balance wheel is the only thing that's stopping the train running away at high speed. When the balance pivot was broken, the watch was probably fully wound afterwards in the hope that it would then run, and when it didn't it was left in a drawer. This high-speed running can damage the train, even resulting in broken pivots.

    Next is that you must be careful when you remove the balance that you don't leave the balance spring stuck in the regulator pins, this can result in distortion or breakage of the spring. Your watch has an arrangement called a boot, which is a tiny piece of L-shaped brass holding the spring between the pins. This must be turned with a small screwdriver to release the spring. Balance springs were made of blued steel and are susceptible to rusting, which weakens them.

    All the pivots in watches of this size are very thin and easily broken, both when dismantling and reassembling; those on the balance are typically around 0.12mm in diameter.

    Skutt is quite correct in his remarks regarding the cost of repairs to this, but the best advice is that if you want to get into this further, a better understanding of how watches work and their nomenclature is necessary first; there's a lot of good material here, and a few books will help. A reasonably priced starter is "Practical Watch Repairing" by Donald de Carle; a little dated now, but it will give you the basics.

    The movement is gold-plated brass, so acid testing isn't necessary, and also most undesirable since it's destructive of the finish. Swiss plating was quite variable in quality, especially on basic pieces like this, and was also influenced by the fact that the plate under the dial was protected by it.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  4. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    Hi thanks for the info.
    Well i was going to give it away to some one who was the knowledge and time but i gave in and took it apart and when it started buzzing away it kinda go me hooked .
    I think its something i can manage and seems a fairly simple watch so will give it a go.
    What makes you say one pivot is damaged? should it be spikier and longer? Would it be worth getting a magnifying glass and seeing if it looks jagged or would it of rounded itself smooth so not be able to notice?

    Thanks for your help



    Jamie
     
  5. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    HI

    Yeah ive learnt one or two, i can laugh about it now but it was gutting watching the spring fall apart in my hands. How would i let down the power of the main spring?
    That's a lesson learnt in time! It was kind of enjoyable winding it up and watching it spin away. Ive looked and it seems like ive not done any much damage.
    Yeah i shouldn't of put acid on it now thinking about it. It was just such a strange gold colour i had to know.
    Would there be any chance that the markings on the inside of the case could contain spring information? How is spring size usually marked up?

    Thanks for the help

    Jamie
     
  6. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Simply by looking at your photos. It appears that the pivots of the balance are damaged i.e. missing, compared to what we would expect from having serviced several of these movements. You can check this by installing the balance without the hairspring to see if it stays in place and performs. You might first want to check the balance jewels with a magnifier since these often gets damaged when the pivots break.

    No. The data of the hairspring is not found on the movement. You could use a micrometer to meassure the widt and thickness (to the hundreds of a mm) and compare with the potential replacement hairspring. The length you have to check by installing the new hairspring on the balance, hold it with some tweezers and let it hang/stand on another functioning movement with a seconds hand. Then spinn the balance and count the oscillations over one minute. Then adjust the grip and repeat untill you find the proper spot on the hairspring where to attach it to the stud. (As I wrote above, not something done in a hartbeat!) You can read up on the procedure by searching for "Vibrating a hairspring".

    As for the mainspring (if that is what you look for) you measure the old mainspring width and thickness. You find the length from the old mainspring or use the diameter of the barrel. Then by checking how it is attached to the barrel wall you can order a replacement from several material supply houses.

    By using a winding key. You put preassure on the mainspring in the winding direction and lift the "click" that locks the mainspring in the wound position. Then slowly and carefully unwind the mainspring by letting down the force one turn after the other. When fully wound it may be a bit trickey to lift the click initially but it does comes loose. Once all force is gone you can remove the balance (on a cylinder escapement or the pallet fork on other movements.)
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Jan 7, 2011
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    Hi Jamie,

    This picture shows the cylinder with a broken pivot next to the balance with a new cylinder fitted:

    DSCF1676.JPG

    The left-hand pivot is broken off. The next picture is a close-up of the cylinder, (from WJ Gazeley's book on escapements).

    Gazeley_Chapter_9_Cylinder 3.jpg

    The click which Skutt mentioned is a pawl which allows the spring to be wound and stops it unwinding straight away afterwards. The mainspring is in a barrel underneath that larger wheel.

    DSCF1830 - Copy.jpg

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Thanks for your help with nice pictures Graham.

    Just to be clear, in this movement the click is made up of the click, a spring and the attachment made in one piece and found on the side of the mainspring bridge. Look at your initial posting picture #4. The click is found at the top of the movement at about 12:30.
     
  9. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    Thank you you’ve been very informative. I will invest in a decent magnifying glass and see what damage is done and go from there.

    Thanks again for your help, I will update progress when I can

    Jamie
     
  10. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

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    Super thank you very much for the pics and help. I did wonder what that little silver bit was for, looked like it was just for show.
    Very informative pics, given me a great understanding of it.
    I will invest in a magnifying glass, see what’s damaged and go from there.
    Will update when I can

    many thanks

    Jamie
     
  11. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

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    Thanks I found it, I did see it before but thought it was just for show

    Thanks

    Jamie
     
  12. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jamie,

    Whilst many parts in a watch can be finished in a way that isn't strictly necessary to their function, there are few whose very presence is 'just for show'. Becoming familiar with all the functions is an essential first step.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  13. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    HI

    I have taken a look at the balance wheel and it seems fine bar a very slight bend in the top pivot. I have attached phots.
    Would this be worth trying to bend back or are they quite brittle?
    Does it look OK to yourselves?

    Many thanks

    Jamie

    CVLT9275.JPG GJZN5952.JPG NFDX9225.JPG XFAV6213.JPG
     
  14. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    If you look at the tips on either side you see that the top side has a longer tip than the bottom side.
    This means that the lower tip (pivot) is broken off and the balance will not do its job.

    You can verify this by simply installing the balance in the movement and check end shake and side shake. It is also likely that the main plate jewels are damaged.

    The bent pivot that was possibly damaged when the lower pivot broke. It needs to be straight for the balance to function properly. Even if it may run with a slightly bent pivot, it will not keep time in various positions. A small bend like this can normally be straightened but it takes some practise. If it was more bent it would likely snap. The harder the steel, the more likely it is to break. Specially the pivots on a verge escapement are known for breaking very easily!
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jamie,

    It could be worth trying to straighten the top pivot, because the bottom pivot is certainly broken and must be replaced anyway, so if you break the top one as well it's no great disaster. The pivots are on separate plugs, which need special tools to remove them and install new ones, which then need to be sized to fit in a watchmaker's lathe or a Jacot tool, (another specialised lathe). Straightening these pivots is a very delicate job, and without a lathe or some other specialised tools, it's a gamble; as Skutt says, these are often quite hard and hence brittle.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  16. jamie powell

    jamie powell Registered User

    Jun 25, 2020
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    Oh right i see now. I'm going to look into buying a couple of donor watches and go from there.
    Many thanks for all your help, i will update once ive a few donors and nearer a new balance wheel

    Many thanks

    Jamie
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jamie,

    I don't want to discourage you, but there are several dimensions on a cylinder that have to be correct for it to work. Referring to the drawing in post #7,
    1. The inside diameter of the cylinder has to accommodate one escape wheel tooth with a slight clearance (the drawing shows a tooth inside the cylinder)
    2. The outside diameter has to fit between two adjacent escape wheel teeth, again with a slight clearance
    3. The height of the lower edge of the larger slot (the channel) in the cylinder above its lower end has to allow the rim of the escape wheel to pass freely
    4. The smaller slot (the impulse lip) in the cylinder has to engage the escape wheel teeth without binding anywhere
    5. The overall length of the cylinder plus its pivots has to fit correctly so that the wheel is free to turn but there isn't excessive endshake (play)
    6. The vertical position of the wheel on the cylinder must also allow the wheel to turn freely without binding anywhere
    Items 5 and 6 are capable of adjustment to some extent, but all of these points are critical if the escapement is to run.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  18. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I aree with Graham. It will not be easy to find a suitable cylinder.

    I have my stash sorted in steps of 1/100 mm diameter, making up some 80 tubes. In each there are different heights etc. and it is seldom I find one that fits without adjustments. The chanse that one fits from a donor movement is, as I indicated earlier, at best very slim.

    Good luck and don't forget to report on your progress
     

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