American PW Minute/Hour Hands Causing Stoppage?

Pocket Watch

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Mar 2, 2011
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Hello all,

I have a 14S 1887 3/4 Plate Bond St. Waltham pocket watch which I did a full disassembly and cleanup last evening. The main issue is that after I remounted the hands, the watch will run for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes before abruptly acting like there is no more mainspring tension (even though there is), and the watch will suddenly "lose power" and stop. The mysterious thing here is though that if I remove the hour and minute hands, the watch will resume normal operation. I've had hands not mounted all the way flush give me results such as this, but I've re-seated these hands at least 3 times now to their flush positions to no avail. What can I do?
 

Skutt50

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Are you sure the hands do not interact to lock the mechanism? (You should easily feel this after the watch stops.)

You could try them one by one and see if that makes any difference.

Another thought is if you accidentally press the center arbor downward every time you fit the hands, and there is something funny going on around the center wheel. Try pushing the arbor some, from behind, after fitting the hands.....

Do you do the tests with or without dial?

Have you tried to remove the seconds hand. I have seen a watch which stopped when the other hands were fitted. The dial was not original and it was shifted ever so slightly but enough to lock the seconds hand against the dial when the other hands were fitted.
 

Tom Huber

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Also, pul the dial and check the gear teeth on the hour and minute wheel. A small piece of dirt or a burr in the teeth can cause a stoppage as you have described.

Tom
 

Pocket Watch

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Skutt50;540293 said:
Are you sure the hands do not interact to lock the mechanism? (You should easily feel this after the watch stops.)

You could try them one by one and see if that makes any difference.

Another thought is if you accidentally press the center arbor downward every time you fit the hands, and there is something funny going on around the center wheel. Try pushing the arbor some, from behind, after fitting the hands.....

Do you do the tests with or without dial?

Have you tried to remove the seconds hand. I have seen a watch which stopped when the other hands were fitted. The dial was not original and it was shifted ever so slightly but enough to lock the seconds hand against the dial when the other hands were fitted.
The flathead screw on one of the three positions holding the dial seems stripped and I have no idea what to do. I had to grind down one of my existing precision screwdrivers to fit the small recesses around the dial, and I believe I caused this mishap myself.

There is enough grip for a needle or other small object to fit inside the head, but when I turn it, the screwdriver slips and I notice the ledge has become smoother than it should.

I need to remove the dial because I think it's a matter of looking at the cannon pinion and other gears. I don't know what to do and I'm sincerely aggravated at my own wrongdoing.

Any help would be sincerely appreciated.
 

Pocket Watch

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Well, after hitting the mainspring release at 90% tension, the mainspring will not hold any tension anymore. After examining the inside of the barrel, the leading area of the mainspring is badly skewed and I'll need to obtain a replacement.

Which mainspring part do I need for a Model 1884 7 Jewel Bond St. Waltham movement? Also, any suggestions for the dial screw issue?

Photo below (mainspring eye broke when trying to curve spring back into its original position):

View attachment 5110
 

richiec

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Feb 24, 2007
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Steve, mainspring number 2211 in Waltham. These aren't easy to come by in alloy and almost every blue steel one I have been sent was set. If that spring works, I would very carefully try to reshape the end and hope it doesn't break while trying.
 

Pocket Watch

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richiec;540674 said:
Steve, mainspring number 2211 in Waltham. These aren't easy to come by in alloy and almost every blue steel one I have been sent was set. If that spring works, I would very carefully try to reshape the end and hope it doesn't break while trying.
Richie,

What exactly do you mean by the blued steel ones being "set"? The eye of the particular spring above that connects to the arbor broke when I tried to shape the piece. My watchmaker on the other hand is pretty good with using mainsprinngs that may not be original but can be tailored to work with just about any movement. He may be able to make a stub on the barrel in order to accommodate a more modern mainspring.
 

sderek

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Have you tried measuring the spring and ordering another based on those dimensions? Jules Borel and other suppliers stock a wide variety of springs in many different sizes and end types.
 
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Pocket Watch

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sderek;541156 said:
Have you tried measuring the spring and ordering another based on those dimensions? Jules Borel and other suppliers stock a wide variety of springs in many different sizes and end types.
I went ahead and ordered a #2211 spring from Dave's Watch Parts, checked for reliability and strength, and was said to unwind to a size of about 6 inches, which is serviceable. Only cost me 10 bucks, and it's a new old stock part. Will need to have my watchmaker drill out that dial screw though if he can't remove it.
 

darrahg

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Richie,
What exactly do you mean by the blued steel ones being "set"?
Steve, since Richie did not answer what 'set' means, I will try. It means the spring has lost its springiness'. After many, many years a blue steel spring can, not always, conform to the way it is bound, usually by a wire. It wants to stay in that wound state rather than straightening out. That tendency to want to straighten out is what gives the spring power potential when coiled (wound) up.
 

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