American PW Is it necessary to clean a Hairspring Vibrating Tool?

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by bchaps, Sep 18, 2006.

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  1. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

    Dec 16, 2001
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    Several years ago I purchased a hairspring vibrating tool which includes an enclosed balance bridge with balance wheel assembly. I am guessing the pivots would not have been originally oiled due to relatively minimal use as compared to a working balance wheel. And if that is the case, I wouldn't see any need to clean the assembly as long as it continues working properly.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thank You,

    Bill
     
  2. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

    Dec 16, 2001
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    Several years ago I purchased a hairspring vibrating tool which includes an enclosed balance bridge with balance wheel assembly. I am guessing the pivots would not have been originally oiled due to relatively minimal use as compared to a working balance wheel. And if that is the case, I wouldn't see any need to clean the assembly as long as it continues working properly.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thank You,

    Bill
     
  3. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
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    Bill,

    I would suggest that it is not necessary to clean a hairspring vibrating tool. If one were to assume a 3 minute error over 24 hours as given by a watch that needs cleaning, that breaks down to 0.125 seconds every minute. If you use the hairspring vibrator for a prolonged period of say 2 minutes per application or test of the balance wheel you are testing, that would be .250 seconds in that period. This would be a factor likely well within the scope of most regulators on finished, running watches.

    Besides that, if your finished watch after re-springing indicates an error in your hairspring vibrating tool (assuming you are able to match the rate exactly), the tool should have a regulator on it.JMHO.
     
  4. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

    May 25, 2013
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    Well, this is an old but very relevant thread. I just bought a Luthy tool - well aware ahead of time that it might need a cleaning. I got a great deal on it - expected my offer to be refused. In any event, I just got it, and the balance motion is very good, but it does not appear to vibrate as long as the same tools I've seen in various you tube video's. It does however vibrate long enough I think to find the vibration point on a hairspring.

    Should I look into cleaning the balance pivots and jewels, or just use it as it is?
     
  5. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

    May 25, 2013
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    OK, here is what I'm talking about with this Luthy tool. I think it's supposed to vibrate longer... I gave it a good (more aggressive than normal) spin in this video to demonstrate what I'm getting at. The balance to be vibrated is known to run too fast and needs either a longer hairspring, or added weight.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HK4wwpF0oo&feature=youtu.be

    I think the tool's balance should rotate for a longer period of time.

    I should add that the end of the hairspring - a section after the stud pinning point on the tool, actually wraps around the outer coil of the hairspring and contacts that outer coil - it looks intentional. I don't know if this is how all the Luthy tools were calibrated, or if mine is different...
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Steve,

    There's definitely something amiss with that. I'd move the dead end of the hairspring out of the way and see what difference that makes. I can't believe that these tools are any different from normal balance procedure in their essentials.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Thanks Graham.

    You wouldn't happen to be familiar with just how they come apart would you? The Luthy brand that is...? There are 2 screws for removing the "can," but are there any surprises in store when doing so? I can't really see (for certain) how it's constructed...
     
  8. praezis

    praezis Registered User

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    #8 praezis, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    You should examine its pivots. I got several Luthi tools with damaged or broken pivots on its balance. Unfortunately the staff is not ready available.
    Remove the "can" from the main tool as supposed. Then you can pull the top off the "can". Don't loosen the screws on bottom of the can, they hold the balance cock!

    Or take this instead:
    192193.jpg

    Regards,
    Frank
     
  9. darrahg

    darrahg Moderator
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    Dec 22, 2006
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    I have a vibrating tool that dates to the early 1900s, wood, brass and glass. I cleaned and oiled it as I would for any watch since it has a balance just like a watch. Yours appears to be much newer but there is definitely something wrong with the balance in the You Tube vid.
     
  10. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Thanks Frank and darrahg.

    When you say Frank not loosen the screws on the bottom of the can, you are referring to screws that cannot be seen until the can is removed? So you are not talking about the screws that hold the can in place...? I just want to be sure.

    Also, what about the dead end of the hairspring touching the outer coil? Do your other Luthy tools also do this? It seems like this would slow the balance...
     
  11. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    #11 WatchmakerWannaBe, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    OK, can and lid of can removed. I just carefully bent back the dead end of the hairspring away from the main coil, and now it vibrates for minutes instead of seconds.

    And the jewels for the most part look undamaged, although the lower jewels do have dried oil. The problem is, there is a stud post attached to the bottom of the can, and the end of the hairspring is pinned to this post. So, in order to remove the balance assembly, I'd have to unpin the hairspring from the post. I can do that, but it's repining to the exact same location on the hairspring that has me concerned.

    It won't get used that much - even if I fixed 3 watches a week...and they all needed new hairsprings. That's not much wear due to dirty jewels. That's equivalent of running a watch with dirty balance jewels, what, for 5 or 10 minutes maybe?
     
  12. darrahg

    darrahg Moderator
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    I would not remove the hair spring from the stud (post). Leave it alone. However, I would place a minor amount of watch oil on each of the jewels if possible. It will not remove the old oil but should help in keeping the balance running smoothly.
     
  13. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Hi darrahg.

    Yes, I really don't want to remove the hairspring from the post either. lol. I can however, fairly easily oil the lower balance jewels - there's a cap jewel on the bottom that can be easily removed (2 screws). And I can clean that cap jewel. I think I can also (maybe) remove the balance cock in order to clean the cock jewels.

    The dead end of the hairspring, I think was intentionally touching the outer coil in order to even the distribution of the coils by pushing slightly on the outer coil. When removing the dead end of the hairspring from the outer coil, the coils on that side spread a little bit, and the coils on the opposite side close together a little bit - it's very slight, but I think the collet is off center. It looks like that dead end of the spring was used to center the coils - but that's not a solution. lol.

    Anyway, here is the result:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV_Ysn68Mos&feature=youtu.be
     
  14. topspy

    topspy Registered User
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    What is the name of this software tool? Is it a kit? (the electronic one above.)
     
  15. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Good question topspy.

    Tell us more about what you've got there Frank? How does it work? And is it something you built and/or is it a product one can purchase?
     
  16. praezis

    praezis Registered User

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    #16 praezis, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
    Hello,

    glad you managed the hairspring issue. Touching of the end was surely not intended.

    @topspy & WatchmakerWannaBe
    Initially I developed and built my "Electronic Sensing Box for Balance Vibrating Tools" (translated from German, maybe someone finds a better name) for my own use in my shop. I had to vibrate and make a series of Breguet hairsprings, but did not like/cope with that eye-based comparison. My little device did it much faster and easier.
    It contains an optical sensor and a microcontroller for data processing, manages all beat rates and has the same dimensions as the original Luthy can. For display you can use a watch-timer or your PC with any timer software.

    Later I made a small series of the device, and created a specialized windows software for it ("Spiraltest", see picture).
    Meanwhile a number of shops and manufacturers here use my device and software.
    Some more info is attached below. For details and prices please PM.

    Regards,
    Frank
    Electronic HS Vibrator.pdf
     

    Attached Files:

  17. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Thanks for the help Frank.

    PM sent
     
  18. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    OK, I must say that I'm enjoying this.

    I've tested my new/old Luthy tool and it's working great. I've been trying out new hairsprings (I found some nos springs for 6/0 walthams), and unfortunately, they are too short (the ones I've tried so far at least) for the balances that I'm attempting to fit with new hairsprings.

    I decided to make sure my Luthy was working properly by vibrating a known balance - from a very accurate, 16s Swiss made Waltham Premier (21 jewels - very nice). The parts on this watch seem HUGE after working on nothing but 6/0 size movements. Anyway, here is the results - And I still need to clean the balances jewels on the Luthy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjwsx2_NzjI&feature=youtu.be

    This is a neat tool! I've also decided that I'm going to go with an electronic version of this hairspring vibrator - for even greater accuracy.
     
  19. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    Ok, another hairspring vibrating update...

    I've tried vibrating 4 of my NOS hairspring assemblies for Waltham 6/0 jewel series watches. These are complete assemblies - collet and stud installed. Vibrating each on the same 6/0 balance shows each of them to be too short...the wheel vibrates too fast. The wheel is relatively heavy (compared to other wheels), and I tried vibrating 2 springs rated as "light" and 2 rated as "heavy." But each runs significantly too fast - more than some balance timing washers I think can cancel out.

    Any ideas? I know the tool works because I just checked it with a known balance assembly - it's back in it's watch and keeping very accurate time...
     
  20. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    OK, yet another hairspring vibrator update. lol...

    I decided to try vibrating one of my Ruby movement's balances - one that is keeping good time (relatively), and so I chose the latest re-build (Since adjusting the stud position on this watch, it starts up on just a half turn...that is gratifying). Anyway, it vibrates correctly - although the amplitude on the master balance in the tool drops off sooner than the hairspring being vibrated...I need to clean the Luthy balance jewels yet.

    So this means that the NOS 6/0 hairsprings are too short for the balances that I'd like to pair them to. The rapid speed of the balance that I'm attempting to match to a spring is so much greater than the Luthy beat rate, that I'm skeptical that enough weight can be added to the wheel to slow it down enough. So, I don't think I should even try.
     
  21. WatchmakerWannaBe

    WatchmakerWannaBe Registered User

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    #21 WatchmakerWannaBe, Jan 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
    OK, I've successfully vibrated my first hairspring.

    It was for a very nice Waltham 6/0-C, 17 jewel movement - complete with hack function (mfg. in 1947). The watch is in fantastic shape and I got it for a song - it's virtually the same movement as the much more expensive Waltham military A-11's...But because it was a civilian watch, I got it for a lot less money...unbelievably cheap. Here's a shot:

    192960.jpg

    Anyway, when I first got the watch it was racing - like a thoroughbred horse. The hairspring was semi mangled and way beyond my current skill level to fix. So, I found some 6/0 hairsprings that would work for this watch and attempted to vibrate one of them on the balance. It was racing too. So, for the sake of confirming the physics of it all, I decided to use some larger balance washers - for 6 size movements...these were just small enough to be flush with the rim of the balance provided you make sure they remain centered when screwing each balance screw back in...This balance and hairspring just laughed at the 6/0 balance washers...

    In any case, the watch had been running for about 1 hour and it was about 3 seconds fast...that's 72 seconds in a day. And I haven't cleaned it yet.
     

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