Like pulling teeth!

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by justin time, Jan 14, 2008.

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  1. justin time

    justin time Registered User

    Mar 24, 2007
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    This watch hobby sure is tough. I'm know, I'm new at it, but seems difficult to impossible to get information at times.

    I bought a slew of books, just as much, or more tools/ equipment, and inexpensive watches to practice on. There just doesn't seem to be any source or standard to guide a novice like me. If it wasn't for the forum help at times, I could be having a fire sale on ebay.

    My latest inability is to find ,or even understand PW sizes. I think I get the American sizes. But I have a couple of PW's that are 50 mm movements. I don't see that size on my American chart. I assume its European. No luck finding any size info there, other than they're mm.(I think) Forget about finding a case. I've yet to see one for sale over a size 18.

    I actually need a repeater-chronograph case. (If I find one of those my next stop is lottery tickets)

    Sorry for the rant, I do appreciate the help I get here.
     
  2. Luca

    Luca Registered User

    Jan 19, 2004
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    That's a tough one (very) - repeater chrono case. Either they already have movements in them or they're melted. Many of us are resigned to just collecting movements. The 'complete price guide' has some size info - american and european - have you looked at that?

    Luca
     
  3. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2001
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    My recomendation is to join the NAWCC and find a mentor that can help guide you through the confusing parts.. Trying to figure out watchmaking by yourself with a couple of books is not something I would attempt..and if I did, it would lead me in the same direction you refered to... Sell it All..:bang: Watchmaking has evolved over the last 400 years or so..
     
  4. justin time

    justin time Registered User

    Mar 24, 2007
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    Luca...
    I'm actually attempting to modify old old useless case to accomadate the movement. Finding a size in even an old useless case is difficult. Thanks



    John....

    I certainly am humbled by, and expect no quick study, in this time honored,(no pun intended), trade. Your suggestion is well taken. I have slowly been introducing myself to the craftsman in my area. Thanks
     
  5. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

    May 20, 2003
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    The european watches are measured in Lignes (denoted as 'L' as opposed to the American 'S' sizes). I don't have a chart handy, but there are charts to convert mm to S and L sizes and they should be easy to locate on the Web (try keyword Ligne). If you have a movement guage it will give the sizes in either S or L.
     
  6. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 14, 2001
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    Most European cases were made for individual calibers. A caliber was a template used to lay out the dial plate. They never standardized.

    Case making as as separate and specialized branch combining gold smithing and watchmaking and is still learned through apprenticeship.

    Since the US was a major market a significant number of Swiss calibers correspong to US watch case sizes but when they don't you need to be very skilled to make decent case.

    I was going to write that its impossible for somelone to do by themselves but I know a couple of people who have done this. They are very talented and worked very hard.

    I believe this is an NAWCC craft contest category. You may be able to find someone who has done this via the contest records.
     
  7. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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  8. Englishlever

    Englishlever New Member

    Jan 4, 2008
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    Try this link to the British Horological Institute, you should find a conversion chart between American sizes, European 'Lignes', plus metric etc.
    May be worth bookmarking the main index page - lot of good stuff on there!

    Hope this helps
    John.

    http://www.bhi.co.uk/hints/wsize.htm
     
  9. StanJS

    StanJS Registered User

    Sep 20, 2006
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  10. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

    Feb 1, 2007
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    justintime,
    Get the chicago watchmaker course on ebay, the guy selling that also has a chronograph course. you have to start at the beginning. The chicago couse takes youthrough the first stages nicely like case work, before you get into the movement. Then you have to start dissasembleing and reassenbling watches without distroying them. This take prasctice and a fine light touch. There a several good videos out there too. The watch repair video is very good on 2 dvds.

    Take you learning in stages. don't try to do too much in the beginning.
    My uncle's family was famous for his expert watch repair business in New York for over 100 years and they often said that even so a major bread a butter parts of their business was merely cleaning watches. Even though other New York watchmaker frequently sent them their hopeless cases which they knew that my uncle could fix.
    First, Strive to be able to disassemble, clean and reassemble a watch successfully. Clean by hand with simple Naphtha, like they did it in the old days.
    Work in a ventilated area.
     
  11. justin time

    justin time Registered User

    Mar 24, 2007
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    Thanks to all for the encouragement and suggestions.
    I started a year ago with a cylinder kw/ks,( still working on that one). I liked them and they were reasonably priced. Unfortunately I found a lack of identification for most of them, so finding a part wasn't easy.
    I have disassembled - cleaned-reassembled some cylinder movements. Tried repairing, some successful, some not. Still have a number of inexpensive cylinder kw/ks that I enjoy working on and honing my skills.

    I wanted to explore the chronograph repeater PW. I purchased a working movement in need of a good cleaning. I also, by luck, found the exact same movement ,less a few pieces. Thought this was a perfect opportunity to disassemble the working piece to clean, knowing I had another movement to help in the reassembly. I actually discovered a few problems and was able to correct. Very satisfying.

    I also bought another non working gun metal case repeater that wasn't working. From the little bit of practice and identifying a simple problem with the watch winding gear,(sorry still learning the terminology), I was able to replace part of the gear and the watch keep perfect time. Got lucky I think.

    So, I know more than I did a year ago,( and I know a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing), thanks in part to the member help and direction .


    To be continued.......
     
  12. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 31, 2000
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    You are starting with very difficult watches. Most of us will not touch a cylinder escapement. The parts are not standard, so you have to make most everything or do major modification.

    Repeaters add complications as well.

    Most people start with low jewel Elgins or Walthams 16 size. Then they go on to 16 size. First you learn to clean them, then you learn restaffing, jeweling, hairspring replacement and truing.

    After that it is usually wristwatches, to refine your technique to handle smaller sizes. Then you go to watches with complications or those which may require making parts.

    Watchmaking is a long process. The NAWCC teaches a very abbreviated series. It is 7 three week courses. A WOSTEP program is two solid and intensive years. Even then you only know the basics. The final education is experience, which never ends.

    Yes, it is like pulling teeth. That is why dentists have to go to college and dental school for eight years.

    Don
     
  13. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

    Feb 1, 2007
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    Actually, Mr Just in time, Pulling teeth my not be an appropriate expression anymore. The last time I had a tooth pulled I was amazed at the ease of if. The dentists that pull teeth are now called oral surgeons and use small crow bars instead of pliers. They just slightly nudge the tooth from side to side and gently lift it from the socket with a rocking motion. I didn't even feel it. Perhaps I'm getting too old and my teeth are falling out on their own.
     
  14. justin time

    justin time Registered User

    Mar 24, 2007
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    I see you do not accept PM or email. Hope you check this

    This acrylic case is amazing. You wouldn't by chance know how to get in touch with the maker? I see he has book as well, but can't for the life of me figure how to get any info as to purchasing it. Any help greatly appreciated.
     
  15. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    Hello Justin Time,

    As you can see, I am very new on this forum. Will try to fix the PM/email problem.

    Well I did some R&D and here's what you need to do.

    Go to this link

    http://www.s1p.de/

    Then click on the little animated pencil at the top of the page, a new window will open.

    Click on the question mark in this new window, and you can leave your email address for Steffen Pahlow. Hope this helps.

    Kind regards

    Aditya




    I see you do not accept PM or email. Hope you check this

    This acrylic case is amazing. You wouldn't by chance know how to get in touch with the maker? I see he has book as well, but can't for the life of me figure how to get any info as to purchasing it. Any help greatly appreciated.


    [/quote]
     
  16. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

    Feb 1, 2007
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    Justintime!
    Thanks a million for sharing those wonderful restorations and the acrylic pocket watch case. It is amazing. I never would have thunk it.
    Perhaps I will try to make cases for several movements I have. Some out of acrylic and some out of hardwood. Thanks for stimulating my aging imagination.
    As far as the movement restoration, if a base plate is to be re plated, does if first have to be completely etched?

     

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