Is Atmos chain soldered??

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by Chris, Jan 19, 2010.

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  1. Chris

    Chris Registered User
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    What is the story with the Atmos winding chain? Are the ends of the links soldered to add strength? I have one in for repair from 1957 in which the bellows is still good, but the chain snapped. I put the link back on and gave it a tug and it quickly came apart again.

    Since LeCoultre is so ridiculous about parts, are there copies out there?
     
  2. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    Timesavers #22880
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Registered User
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    Thanks! What about the links made by Jaeger; are they soldered or something? How do they get their strength?
     
  4. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    I have had the same problem that you did when trying to join "broken" chain. I do not know how Le Coultre make their chain.
    A search of the web for chain making machines pulls up lots of old and new machinery. Some just bend or form, some use solder/weld, some seem to use black magic.:D
     
  5. tnmechanic

    tnmechanic Registered User

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    I recently bought my first Atmos. It too has a broken chain.
    I have a replacment chain on order. I would be interested in knowing the best method for installing it. The chain is held to the pulley with a small pin.
    I think this small pin would be driven out and the new chain installed.

    I think that the soldering technique would be attaching to an existing chain that may be weakened from use.

    Would one of the Atmos PRO's please tell us the best practice for this repair.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Registered User
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    Seems our experts are as aloof and elusive as the clockmaker themselves. While they are interesting clocks, I don't see the big deal over their parts and service. Rolex and the other watch companies are like this too.

    Well, I took the motor out of mine and put it in the fridge the other day. It shrank right down like it should and expanded as it should, so for a bellows that is from 1958, it's doing pretty well! The only thing stopping my completion now is the chain. I'm going to bring it to a jeweler friend of mine and have him tell me what the story is.

    I the meantime, how many links should there be from the pin on the winding arbor to the coned "cup" on the end of the winding spring?
     
  7. coldwar

    coldwar Registered User

    May 20, 2009
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    Since no one else is offering some notes, here are a few. Genuine new chain is (was) 32 links, chain stop (bent pin) in the seventh link on bellow end as a start, carefully checking coil spring height. I examined a handful of used and (some) broken genuine chains in sunlight with a 7X loupe, links seem silver soldered, then gold plated. Genuine chain material (newer and older) is very slightly magnetic. The bellow end where genuine chain is cut to link count in manufacturing has a die-stuck gap, no careless side cutters squashing open a void. Newer genuine chain material measures 0.7mm, earlier (such as cal 'ATMOS') measure 0.58mm. When replacing older with newer pay special extra careful attention to pin placement, the older chain at 32 links length finds the placement of pin in seventh link a bit too close to rear plate, I generally in this instance place pin in fifth link so avoid binding the coil spring, to maintain the spec'd height of 45-48mm with mainspring accumulating 5-7 turns winding (when 'fully' wound). Why not pick up a copy of the repair notes to refer to, such as those for cal. 528 which is good reference for those clocks often seen. Check it out regardless. Best - CW
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Registered User
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    CW:

    Thanks! I confirmed your statement about the chain being soldered. I'm waiting for the replacement to arrive.

    Since you were kind enough to answer that question, can you answer a few more?

    First, as the chain is broken, I need to remove the pin on the winding arbor to remove the remaining links. How do you drive out the pin?

    Second, the new chain is coming from Timesavers, as they are the only ones I could find that offer it. In reading your post, what is the ideal spring height for replacement chain (i.e., how far away from the base plate should the spring be?)

    Once installed, does five to seven pumps of the spring/chain assembly really completely wind the mainspring? I don't want to overdo it, but that is what the manual says (I do have it, but it doesn't always allay my concerns).

    Now, onto another project!! I have a junker in which the bellows is dead. Just for kicks, I was thinking of removing the bellows and just attaching the drum, allowing me to open it, wind the clock manually, and reattach it. Does a fully wound spring really last about a year? How stupid is my "project"?
     
  9. coldwar

    coldwar Registered User

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    As you did not specify which model on which you hope to replace the chain, I checked the notes for as many models as I quickly could. Plan on removing the main wheel and disassembling ratchet assy. As I recall, pin pushes out with perhaps a small screwdriver or sharp work tweezers. I'm mostly sure on at least some, the pin is floating, so it may drop out to infinity if you are not careful.

    The repair notes specify coil spring height of 45-48mm when extended.

    There is no measured spec I am aware of for 'pumps' to fully wind spring, which should come to full wind at 5-7 turns of arbor.

    I have heard over the years the clock can run for a year wound fully, but I have not attempted it. Since you asked, to use your own words, this indeed may prove a stupid project. There are no junk ATMOS clocks I am aware of, each being distinct with it's serial number, and given the crazy prices good examples are realizing, you might reconsider before tinkering down your 'junker'. Some one is certainly waiting for a ATMOS to enjoy, even with a poor case finish. Think it over - Best - CW

    https://mb.nawcc.org/https://mb.nawcc.org/https://mb.nawcc.org/
     
  10. coldwar

    coldwar Registered User

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    Considering the question further, how long a healthy ATMOS might run with a fully wound (to point of slipping) mainspring, I did some further reading. Main wheel reported to rotate once every 107 days, given five turns obviously way over one year. An old press release I have translated to bad english reports "....The safety margin of reserve power of the spring takes care of the clock for a hundred days. During this time, absence of variation in temperature is impossible. The motor of the ATMOS will therefore never stop....." It would seem the clock can continue in operation outside of the envelope of power in which it was designed to operate and function properly, such as a Seth Thomas 89 mech which is designed for weekly winding, but can run approaching three weeks, with variance in timekeeping. Food for thought - CW
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Registered User
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    Wow, thanks for the info. I got the new chain in yesterday and was able to push the pin enough to install the chain and return spring. I pumped it about seven times and set the pendulum free. It's been running for two days now, with minimal time gaining (still regulating).

    As far as my junker goes, it's going to have to collect more dust; there's no time to play with it right now. It still has the sticker on the glass and the wood shipping bits inside the case. Unfortunately, someone took the dial, the chain is broken and the base needs some dent (smush) repair to one corner. I haven't found a replacement dial for it yet, so it can wait. Still, if I do ever have time, I think I will try setting it up as a manual wind just to see how it does.

    Thanks again for all the help and info on the chain and setup. By the by, the new chain is several links longer than the old one, but again, it does not matter as the height of the spring is the goal.

    Chris.
     

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