Marine: Hamilton Model 21 #N2623

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by HUDD, Oct 6, 2015.

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  1. HUDD

    HUDD Registered User

    Apr 11, 2004
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    Just arrived from the Ukraine. Previous owner claimed the USA sent chronometers to Russia during WW2 for use by the Russian Navy ? Not sure this could be true since I thought Russia was quite capable at that time producing their own chronometers ? Anyway, this one will be a nice companion to my 1939 Mercer. Just need an original Hamilton outer box now.

    Here are some pictures .... IMG_5305.JPG IMG_5306.JPG IMG_5308.JPG

    Mike
     
  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Yours has the later conversion of the yoke to immobilize the balance wheel. As I understand it, the earlier chronometers weren't fitted with that yoke. It was added at subsequent occasions when the chronometer was serviced. Nice find!
     
  3. HUDD

    HUDD Registered User

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    Thanks Doug It runs vey well but I think the cannon pinion may need tighting sometime soon. I've made a few "special" tools including a let down tool and a balance stand but I now need the nerve to tackle a strip down. I've overhauled railroad pocket watches and Hamilton 4992B's and Model 22 deck watches but this is something different and I don't want to get it wrong. I am familiar with barrel and fusee movements as per English key wind pocket watches, but the detent mechanism gives me the shivers.

    Mike
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    DO NOT tighten the cannon pinion! PERIOD! If you are afraid of the detent escapement and what might happen, you indeed have reason for concern if you tighten the pinion! If the hands aren't slipping, leave the cannon pinion alone! Do you have the Bureau of Ships maintenance manual for the 21? I recommend you don't get into a major repair unless you do have it!
     
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Before attempting disassembly, it is imperative to let down all power , including the maintaining power, which is often overlooked. ..... unless you want to destroy the detent. ;)

    Ralph
     
  6. Luis Casillas

    Luis Casillas Registered User

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    On these spring detent pieces, don't you have to lock the train before letting the power down?

    I don't recall at the moment, I'd have to check the books. And that's the most important point here...
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    The problem with locking the train on a 21 is that the train blocking screw that was designed into the chronometer, has been removed on many of them, during a subsequent service! As long as the power is let down, and the maintaining power likewise let down BEFORE the balance wheel is removed, I feel it is not necessary to lock the train. If a particular chronometer IS equipped with a train locking screw, extreme caution must be used in deploying it! This screw is meant to project downward between two spokes of the fourth wheel. If the screw comes down ON TOP of a spoke of the fourth wheel, guess what! Broken pivot! I think this is why the screw was left out of these instruments.
     
  8. HUDD

    HUDD Registered User

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    Thanks guys

    That definitly does it ! I shall follow Doug's advice and leave well alone. As a friend of mine used to say ... "If it aint broke ... don't fix it"

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Mike
     
  9. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    If you are an NAWCC member, you have access to the NAWCC Bulletin, on line. I did a tear down, recondition, and re-assemble of a model 21. Including replacement of the detent jewel. The article appeared in issue 365, December, 2006. The article included about 25 photos taken over the process. I know of one person who serviced his own model 21 using that article. BUT! Working on a model 21 is more like working on a watch than it is like working on a clock. I don't recommend anyone undertaking the servicing of a model 21 unless they have lots of experience on BOTH watches and clocks! And if you tackle this yourself, I acknowledge no resonsibility if you run into trouble!
     
  10. HUDD

    HUDD Registered User

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    Many thanks for the info I shall follow up on your bulletin. Photos are an essential guide I find when working on clocks. I always photograph movements before taking them down so I know how to reassemble, and in what order. I'm really a watch man though and have worked on American RR Including Hamilton deck watches and English fusee watches for a long time now. I'm geared up to watches and usually only tackle my own clocks and those thrust upon me by friends and neighbours. My good friend and local watchmaker passed away a few years ago now and I owe a lot of my understanding of watch and clock repair to him.

    As far as my newly acquired model 21 goes I shall leave it well alone for the time being though, or until I feel I have all the info ( your article in issue 365 ) at my fingertips.

    Mike
     
  11. burt

    burt Registered User
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    As to the claim the United States sent chronometers to Russia (U.S.S.R.) during WWII is very plausible. As we sent almost everything else in military aid and the Soviet Government chronometer program didn't start producing instruments until 1949. I guess after they pillaged Germany, after the end of the war,it took them some time to get the "acquired" machinery up and running.
     
  12. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Russia never had a watch production factory of any kind until their government purchased the assets of the Hampden Watch Company after it failed in 1930. This equipment formed the nucleus of the First Moscow Watch Factory, (Poljot /Kirova). Most collectors I think would concede that the products produced were not known for their high quality of manufacture and certainly not in the class required for precision timing devices like marine chronometers.

    In "The Ships Chronometer" by noted author Marvin Whitney, nearly a 500 page volume, he takes about a paragraph of space to cover the two early Russian chronometer makers, Paul Bure and Augusta Ericson of St. Petersburg who were involved in chronometer making and repair. Many European chronometer makers supplied their products to the Russian Navy and advertised as such on their instruments dial faces.

    John Cronin, in his book "The Marine Chronometer It's History and Development" writes "Production of the MX6 (Russian chronometer) began soon after the Second World War, probably using machinery taken as war reparation from German factories in Glasshutte, the center of Germen watch and chronometer manufacturing before the war". These instruments were produced for the "Cold War" and none date to WWII.

    So I think I'm on firm ground in assuming Russia was not capable of supporting a war time need for marine chronometers/ chronometers herself and probably were supplied Hamilton instruments along with everything else military our government sent to our ally at that time.
     
  13. HUDD

    HUDD Registered User

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    Thank you Burt for this information. I didn't know that Russia didn't manufacture chronometers of their own during WW2, so it does look like it could have been on a Russian warship after all ! Perhaps it was shipped by one of the convoys to Murmansk my father was protecting in HMS Lark !!!!

    Mike
     
  14. burt

    burt Registered User
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    #14 burt, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
    Mike,

    Your welcome. Perhaps the following information may be of interest to those who have in their collections or are considering the purchase of "Russian Chronometers" from Russia and former Soviet Block countries.

    I found out the First Moscow Watch Factory was founded in 1930 under direct orders of Stalin. They also purchased the assets of the defunct Ansonia Clock Company of Brooklyn N.Y. Hampden reportedly moved 28 freight cars full of machinery and 21 former skilled employees moved to the Soviet Union to train the Russian workers. The factory was renamed in 1935 for the murdered Soviet High Official Sergei Kirov. Early "Kirov" or "Kirova" production was limited to 7-15 jewel men's and lady's wrist and pocket watches. It appears during WWII they did produce airborne clocks made at the factory and that Soviet pilots and navigators were equipped with their wrist watches also. The first dates I could find on the production of marine chronometers and deck watches appears to be 1947.( a second source has it at 1949) I'm referring to a level of production that you would expect from a factory and not perhaps a few instruments from small shop makers.1949 Shturmanskie navigator's watches, 1956 Rodina, 1960 Poljot. (I'm listing these dates as a guide for some of our collectors to help date their timepieces.)

    John Cronan, in his book " The Marine Chronometer it's History and Development", writes of the Russian chronometers. "The numbering system is a mystery, although it is possible to distinguish the Soviet era instruments from later ones by the CCCP inscriptions on the dial. Information on the production of these instruments (MX6) is very hard to find, but it seems there is still a small facility in the First Watch Factory in Moscow making these chronometers for sale to collectors and it is possible to purchase examples that appear to be new". If this is true it certainly explains the large number of that type and condition of chronometer on the market today.

    burt
     
  15. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I decided to do a bit of Googling on Hampden and discovered the Hampden Watch Co. blog by Alan Garrett. It veers away from Chronometers and related military timepieces, but has some great material on the start of the watch factory and very very early history on "Hampden."
     

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