Hampden hairspring

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by watchtinker, Jul 5, 2017.

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  1. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    I have a Hampden 16s watch with a rusty hairspring. Since I am not really comfortable with doing hairspring work I was wondering if it is possible to just replace the entire balance assembly. If that is possible are there other grades that would work for this? The Serial No. is 3417829.
     
  2. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Sure, if you find another watch of the same model and roughly the same vintage it's an easy swap. Double-check the pivots in the jewels and triple-check your endshake. Sometimes you can get a balance-complete from a parts house if the stars are in perfect alignment and you've led a really clean life. If the balance wheel has the serial number scribed on the bottom of the arms you'll get people who shriek about frankenwatches. "Running" sometimes doesn't matter to absolutists. If the balance is serialized, you might hold on to the original balance wheel just to flameproof your fanny. Someday if you get more comfortable fiddling with hairsprings you can fix and reinstall the original. If not, you'll be able to enjoy a running watch without making purists hyperventilate.

    Glen
     
  3. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
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    If the hairspring is rusty, you will need to find a new hairspring as the rate will be way off even if you clean up the old spring, metal will be removed weakening the hairspring causing the balance to oscillate longer and lose time. Changing the hairspring is not heresy so if you can find an appropriate spring, go for it, just use your original balance wheel.
     
  4. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Will the balance, staff, and hairspring work from any other movement other than a grade 98? The last time I tried to take a hairspring, I broke the collet. What is the proper way to take off and put back on a hairspring? Also, do you need a staking set to put it back on?
     
  5. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    1-probably not, 2-a collet lift is nice to have to make removal easier and safer but not essential, much safer though, 3-you can usually just push the hairspring collet back on without a staking set, just be real careful, 3-just have to get the hairspring stud in the right position to line up with the hole in the balance.
     
  6. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Thank you very much. How do I determine the correct hairspring?
     
  7. 18k BPH

    18k BPH Registered User

    Aug 18, 2016
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  8. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Well I bought a Hampden No. 109 movement and managed to pull the hairspring off and put it on the original movement. It turned out to be easier than I had expected.
     
  9. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    I started to time the watch and it is way too fast. I'm talking about gaining 10min over 6hrs. I am assuming this would be a problem with the hairspring, but I never tried to time it with the old hairspring, so I really wouldn't know. Would not getting the hairspring stud in the right place possibly cause this?
     
  10. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    the length of the hairspring is critical along with the strength. If the spring is too light , it will likely run slow, too long an oscillation and if too heavy, too fast, a very rapid oscillation.
     
  11. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Were hairsprings made for individual watches in which case, would it not be possible to replace the hairspring without adjusting the length?
     
  12. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2010
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    There were differences in the weight of the balances even between the same grades made by the same manufacturer, so a lot of them supplied different strength hairsprings, so it is not just about length.
     
  13. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

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    So basically it is difficult to find the correct hairspring for a particular movement?
     
  14. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2010
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    It can be very much so, unless you are with in 50 serial numbers or so with the donor movement and you might have a chance.
     
  15. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    You would have to weigh your balance and the donor balance to see if they are even close, maybe measure the thickness of the spring as well.
     
  16. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    40 minutes in 24 hours can be easily corrected out with timing washers. You have to be ready to make those kinds of changes when swapping hairsprings. If the balance/staff/etc. from the 109 is in good shape and fits your 98, you can also put in the balance complete. Purists may rage about doing so, but sometimes you have to decide if you want a working watch that you can enjoy or an inert hunk of metal that you can stare at and say "well, at least it's all original".

    PM me if you want help with the timing washers.

    Glen
     
  17. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    I found that the donor balance will work. I think I will do that since it is easiest, cheapest, and I don't care about originality that much. Not to say I don't like a watch to be original, but something like a balance, you actually have to take out and look at to realize it's not original.
     
  18. pocketsrforwatches

    pocketsrforwatches Registered User
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    Since nobody mentioned it, I guess I will. Matching a hairspring to a balance is called 'vibrating the hairspring'. The weight of the balance has to match the strength of the spring in order to get the typical 18,000 bph needed to keep proper time. If you wanted to keep the original balance wheel you would need to either make the balance lighter or heavier. In your case, since the watch is running fast with the new hairspring you need to add weight to the balance in order to slow down the oscillation to 18,000 bph. Correcting 40 minutes a day with timing washers is a bit much IMO so what I would do is this. First, with the hairspring off, poise the balance. Next, see if there are different sizes of balance screws and pick a pair of the smallest from opposite sides of the balance wheel. Since you probably don't have a scale to measure the individual screws (a very nice tool to have!) you can make something that looks a bit like seesaw and place replacement screws from a donor balance on one side and one of your screws from the original balance on the other. You need a pair of matching heavier screws. If you get close but still are a bit fast then timing washers can get you where you need to be or if you have mean time screws in the balance you can make adjustments with those (fast or slow). This is a slow process but in the end you will have made a repair that keeps the original balance and doesn't cost anything more than time.

    Roger
     
  19. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    40 minutes a day is "a bit much"? Take two pair of 20-minute-per-day timing washers. Remove one timing screw and insert a washer under it. Put a washer under the directly-opposite screw. Go about 90 degrees away and remove a screw and insert a washer. Put another washer directly opposite. You can even put two washers under a screw if there's clearance so the farther-out screw head doesn't hit something, that way you can get it all done with two screws. Nothing to it, and far, far simpler than playing musical screws.

    It's good to hear the donor balance works. That way you have a matched system and can avoid any folderol. Good on ya!

    Remember you can save the original balance wheel to include with the watch if you sell it. That way if it goes to a purist you'll dodge the freak-out. Maybe duct-tape it to the case or something...

    Glen
     
  20. pocketsrforwatches

    pocketsrforwatches Registered User
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    #20 pocketsrforwatches, Jul 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
    I have never seen a 20 minute per day timing washer. I have several boxes of timing washers and the maximum on any of them is 4 minutes a day. If they do indeed exist then it would be a viable alternative. (They must be pretty thick though!) And BTW...I'm not suggesting that by swapping a balance complete that there is anything inherently wrong with that. The owner of the watch can do anything he/she wants with it. The purpose of my post was to give the OP another alternative to making the repair and to explain the process of vibrating a hairspring.

    Roger
     
  21. watchtinker

    watchtinker Registered User

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Thanks for all the help. The watch is much better now. It lost about a minute in 12hrs.
     
  22. pocketsrforwatches

    pocketsrforwatches Registered User
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    glenhead,

    I would be interested in seeing those 20 minute per day timing washers you mentioned. I have checked around and still haven't found any that are more than 4 minutes per day.

    Roger
     
  23. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

    Apr 15, 2005
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    Not sure which is easier, adding timing washers or just vibrating a hairspring in typical manner. I don't know if it has an overcoil but that takes time to do as well. I definitely don't like removing weight from the screws. At least my luck doing that has been poor.

    I need one of those balance wheel scaffolds. Anyone make a homemade version?
     
  24. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    #24 Bila, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    No such thing as 20 minute timing washers to my knowledge unless you make some yourself and boy you will need to do some poising corrections on the balance if you hang those from the screws :) Majority of the kits go up to only 4 minute washers, only ever seen one kit with any higher and that was a Swartschild issue that also has 2 extra bottles then normal with washers that are 5 & 6 minutes per day.
     
  25. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Vibrating a hairspring is how to customize a hairspring so the balance wheel will oscillate the right speed by adjusting the length. The extra portion of the coil is cut off once the vibration point has been found.

    The normal/standard way to do it is after the collet is installed (many times you can skip the collet install because you can buy hairspring that already have collets but the collet has to fit the staff ) is to hang the balance by the hairspring and if the weight of the balance stretches the hairspring 1/2 inch then that is a good choice of hairspring.

    You put a small bend on end of outer coil to pick up balance wheel with and pick up whole thing by the collet. If you get the 1/2 stretch then your good. If it stretches noticeably farther then your selection is too weak for the balance and vice versa.

    Next you find the vibration point. A tool for this vibrating machine has elaborate setup but basically it has a tuned balance and hairspring below a glass and it is flicked to oscillate back and forth, at same time the one your working on sets on top of the glass so you can compare the two oscillation.

    On the tool is a stationary arm with tweezer so the repairman can grab the hairspring at different locations. Once the hairspring is clamped it is tested for oscillation by comparing with the one below. The clamping point is adjusted on the hairspring in/out till the oscillation matches.

    The point where the hairspring is clamped and the balance oscillates by the flick equal with the already regulated one below is the REGULATION point. So from the point where the hairspring was clamped additional length is added for the termination block.

    The hairspring vibrating tool is expensive. So people like me use trial and error method using the watch to establish the vibration point by continuously adjusting the pinning location.

    This does not include the additional complication of having an over coil.

    But, in general, you can count the number of turns in your original, make an over-coil if necessary, and then work the terminal location in/out.

    Keep in mind you have to occasionally re-establish the beat (position of collet on balance) so that the roller jewel will swing in the correct location. I say occasionally because a small adjustment can still vibrate well enough to establish the termination. Beat can be established after the termination point is done.

    This is also what I go through when trying to sweeten up the regulator position to center as I hate to see a regulator way off in one direction or other.

    RJ
     
  26. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Nov 15, 2009
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    Sorry to dispute your word, but I have a miniscule wooden kit with 20, 10, 6, 3, 2, and 1-minute washer vials. I tried to get a picture of the label, but it's so tiny and faded and worn that the printing is illegible except at the right angle. A picture of it just looks like a yellow rectangle in a brown rectangle. Maybe I'm misreading it, but the sequential nature of the printing gives me that interpretation of the times of the pairs, hence my statement. Maybe they listed the minutes first (1, 2, 3, 6) and the seconds last (10, 20)? Dunno. Of course, the corks are all disintegrated and the washers are rolling around in cork dust in the bottom of the box. There are some that are pretty doggoned thick, and they're all nasty. I have no way to weigh them. I got that kit solely because the craftsmanship of the box is beautiful.

    I have an Elgin 313 movement that came with one of the gilt hairsprings. The collet was broken, and someone had super-glued it to the staff. I replaced it with a steel hairspring six or seven years ago. It ran almost exactly 30 minutes fast, so it was in the someday drawer. I pulled it out last night and wasted a couple of hours playing with this. I loaded on timing washer pairs out of one of my other kits that goes up to 6 minutes. ( I have two kits that go that high.) Starting at the screws next to the mean-time screws, I stacked washers until the screws no longer cleared, which usually meant they dragged on the inside of the cock. I could get two six-minute washers, but not three, and three three-minute washers, but not four, etc. I'd been concerned about poising, too, so I checked the poise after each screw pair was maxed out. It never changed if the pairs were loaded opposite each other. (I really need to get a life, don't I?) Anyway, with four 6-minute pairs, two 5-minute pairs, and one 2-minute pair, I was able to slow the balance down to close to the middle of the regulator. Yes, that equals 36 minutes' worth of washers to get 30 minutes of change. As I added more washers, the effect of additional pairs got farther and farther away from their rating. For example, the two-minute pair slowed things down by only about seventy seconds. Interesting.

    I didn't go past the 90-degree screws, because messing with the farther-out screws starts to seriously dork up the temperature compensation. (It's going to be bad enough as it is.)

    I also checked the beat, and nothing changed there. Amplitude dropped by about 40 degrees, down to right around 200 degrees. (I'd always expected that the hairspring was overdriving the weight of the wheel, anyway.) The beat stayed the same as it had been in positions, too, which I believe indicates that the dynamic poise stayed sane. (The watch is in great shape, and the beat is 0.0 to 0.7ms in all positions.)

    Don't get me wrong - vibrating the hairspring is the gold-standard way of doing this. Swapping for heavier screws would also be a very viable option, but as I say I don't have any scales that go down to that range. However, if there's no tail on the hairspring to slow things down and you don't have a kit full of balance screws, timing washers can save the day. (Now I'm going to have to find another kit with bigger washers, just to prove to myself I'm not hallucinating again!)

    Glen
     
  27. Bila

    Bila Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2010
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    Maybe they have listed the minutes first on your kit, as I said never ever seen kits over more then 6 minutes per day per pair. I have kits from Aune, Bestfit, Newall, Swartschild, Excelsior and the Waltham Horological supplies, none go over the 6 minutes.
     
  28. Al J

    Al J Registered User

    Jul 21, 2009
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    I've got about a dozen kits here from different suppliers - none are over 4 minutes. While I suppose it's possible that there are 20 minute washers, it's clearly not a common thing if it exists...
     
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