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My new Koma Midget

David Provan

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Bought today - my first mechanical 400 Day. Lovely glass dome, but minus suspension guard and with broken suspension. I'm sure Horolovar can find me the suspension, and from what I've been reading here maybe a mainspring, but they don't list a guard. Ideas welcome!

Also welcome would be any advice, and particularly information on the likely type and date of the clock. For example, is the dial enamel or paper? From my day spent reading on this forum, the movement seems to fit with 1393B and 1471C in the Guide, and probably others. The clock is 6 1/2" high over the dome and the base is 5" diameter. The plates are 42 x 53mm, with a gap of 20mm between them. Please note, the fingerprints on the rear plate are not mine!



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KurtinSA

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Welcome to 400-day clocks, David! I would say given the near exact match to 1393B, that is the plate. Only difference in 1471C is the variation in the lettering and logo. I don't think the dial is paper...I think it is painted on. I have something similar but plate 1396. It won't run for more than 3-4 months, but given the tiny nature of things and the pin pallets, it might be a while before I decide to try and clean it up. I wouldn't think you need to replace the main spring, but if you dive in maybe you'll see a reason for it. Typically the main springs are either dry or over oiled.

As for the suspension guard, I find they are part good and part curse! Anyway, here's the back of my clock so you can see what a guard likely looked like.

Kurt

KomaBack.jpg
 

tracerjack

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Yes, welcome to 400 day clocks. I find the guards a pain as well. Just when I think I have one going well, I need to adjust something and have to take the guard off. I can see why they are easily misplaced or lost. I have been bagging mine with labels or keeping them loose at the bottom of the clock. I don’t see them as essential, so no longer find it necessary to replace them when a clock comes my way without one. I would agree that the dial is painted. Also agree mainsprings are usually fine, just dry and dirty. The midgets are lovely little clocks in all their styles. You might find yourself ending up with more than one.
 

David Provan

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Thanks, Kurt and tracerjack, for a quick response and clarification on the plate and the dial. I just bought an NOS Keininger movement which turned out to have a paper dial, so I'm wary about these. Maybe I won't order a mainspring initially, although one issue for me is that postage to New Zealand often costs more than the parts I buy. My main concern about the guard is that it seems (I've never seen one in action) to retain the top of the pendulum when it is lifted for transport. Not that I plan on moving it around, but I've seen enough on this forum to be wary about breaking suspensions. Incidentally, I intend to order a complete suspension, even though I have all the parts from the old one - it seems a safer way to start my exploration into the mysteries of the 400 Day. My previous experience is limited to repair (really cleaning and a little lubrication) of the stopped pendulum of a Schatz quartz Typ 12, and the conversion of another derelict quartz base and dome to house a nice little movement bought in Budapest.
 

Dells

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I always use the original top bottom and fork because I feel it is nice to keep the clock as original as possible, also make sure you have zero friction because the small torsion clocks are very finicky .
Good lock Dell
 

David Provan

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Thanks, Dell. I will order both an assembled unit and spare spring/s, so that if I can't get it right I can fall back on Horolovar's expertise. Looking at the fork on mine, it could do with polishing inside.

David
 
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KurtinSA

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I didn't see it in the pictures, but does your base have a lever that lets you slightly raise the pendulum? If so, then it would be used to slide the hook up inside the guard for general moving. It wouldn't be enough for shipping in the post, but I suppose moving it around the house it would help. I usually just grab the pendulum with one set of fingers and then pick up the clock with the other hand.

Kurt
 
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David Provan

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Yes, Kurt, it does have that lever. I've managed to hide it behind one of the weights in both photos.

Thanks, David
 

tracerjack

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Well, with postage being a factor, you might want to get the spring just in case. I often have to order parts I only think I might need to justify the shipping cost.
 

David Provan

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Thanks for #9, I'll order a spring. And some Simichrome as well - despite postage costs, it will be cheaper than buying it here. The base cleaned up surprisingly well with acetone and brasso, but everybody seems to like Simi for a finish and lasting protection.

I've been looking around the net for a guard and I've just found a clock in the UK which seems in poor shape, but has one. Catch: 50 pounds postage here! Maybe not.

Regards, David
 

David Provan

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My first Horolovar shopping experience, too. Great! Lori verified that I have a 1393B plate and identified the mainspring, suspension unit and springs I need. John dug around in dark corners until he came up with a complete suspension guard assembly for me. They're on the way, with key, long - reach oiler and Simichrome - you guys have talked me into trying Simichrome instead of the Autosol I can buy cheaply just round the corner..

Yes, I'm definitely going to fit the guard first up because after the first assembly I'll never need to get inside again..... Actually, from what I read on this Forum, that could be a bit over ambitious. We'll see. When the parts are here and I've done my best I'll add a bit more to this thread.
 

David Provan

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The USPS is not accepting mail to Australia or NZ, so it took a while for my Horolovar parcel to get here. I've had my Midget running for a couple of days and it seems generally happy. The Simichrome has brought the brass up well, and I'm hoping that the coat it's supposed to leave will preserve the shine for a while. It is surprising hard to peg the plates clean after polishing, so maybe that's a good sign.

Points:

The beat is not right yet - you'll see in the photo that I've left a long pin in the top block to aid adjustment. I think I'll build something or other to make adjustment smoother.

The rotation is only about 200 degrees, although it still has reasonable overswing - about half an inch. I have read here that Midgets tend to have limited swing, so we'll see what happens. I'm reluctant to alter Horolovar's setting for the fork. Maybe I'll make up another unit with a slightly lower fork and check it out.

It ran quite slow. It is adjusted very close to full 'Fast' now.

I have another parcel on the way, including Mr Terwilliger's book. Also suspension and mainspring for my Koma Mini and suspension for my Schatz 54 1,000 Day, recently acquired. Also recently acquired are a couple of quartz 400's, one a cheap and cheerful Chinese clock which goes like a Guess What, and a nice Schatz which needs a new pendulum drive. And a Kundo bare movement, plate size 44 x 70mm.

Addictive little sods, aren't they?

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Schatznut

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The USPS is not accepting mail to Australia or NZ, so it took a while for my Horolovar parcel to get here. I've had my Midget running for a couple of days and it seems generally happy. The Simichrome has brought the brass up well, and I'm hoping that the coat it's supposed to leave will preserve the shine for a while. It is surprising hard to peg the plates clean after polishing, so maybe that's a good sign.

Points:

The beat is not right yet - you'll see in the photo that I've left a long pin in the top block to aid adjustment. I think I'll build something or other to make adjustment smoother.

The rotation is only about 200 degrees, although it still has reasonable overswing - about half an inch. I have read here that Midgets tend to have limited swing, so we'll see what happens. I'm reluctant to alter Horolovar's setting for the fork. Maybe I'll make up another unit with a slightly lower fork and check it out.

It ran quite slow. It is adjusted very close to full 'Fast' now.

I have another parcel on the way, including Mr Terwilliger's book. Also suspension and mainspring for my Koma Mini and suspension for my Schatz 54 1,000 Day, recently acquired. Also recently acquired are a couple of quartz 400's, one a cheap and cheerful Chinese clock which goes like a Guess What, and a nice Schatz which needs a new pendulum drive. And a Kundo bare movement, plate size 44 x 70mm.

Addictive little sods, aren't they?

View attachment 684484
Your little Koma looks really nice - well done! Sounds like you've been bitten by the bug... Welcome to the wonderful world of torsion pendulum addiction!
 

Wayne A

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Looks great! And good news, I see room for more!

Wayne
 

David Provan

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Time for an update. I did just the right thing in ordering a built-up suspension as well as some springs, for the initial running. To cure my slow running problem, after about three weeks of flawless running I made up a 0.0023 suspension using my old parts. I ruined one spring in the process (cut it short) and it has taken me about a week to get it properly in beat. Way different from the first one. If I didn't know that the clock was working perfectly, I'd have been stripping it down again or, horrors, fiddling with the escapement. I've followed the Terwilliger book's advice and only thinned the new spring between the fork and lower block: about 40 strokes of 600 grit emery have slowed it down the 2 seconds/min I needed to get it in the adjustment range. Apologies to all those who have given the excellent advice to thin the upper section, but I figure Mr T must have had some success with his approach. And I'm terrified of fiddling with the suspension again.

Koma Mini or Schatz 1,000 Day next? Decisions, decisions.
 

Schatznut

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Glad to hear of your success getting it into regulation, David! Ruining springs is a frequent occurrence for me; I guess that's why they are sold in packs of three... I've accumulated a wide range of spring thicknesses and thus have never had to resort to thinning. Guess I've been lucky that way.

I've done quite a few 1000-day clocks and really enjoy working on them. Once one realizes that they're just a Schatz miniature movement with a honking big mainspring and a third plate, they become less daunting. You might build up to a 1000-day by doing a Schatz miniature coach clock - the principles and techniques there are directly applicable to the bigger clocks - particularly the adjustment of the attachment of the saddle, which carries the rear pivot for the anchor and hence affects the drop of the anchor pallets. One of the unique and nice things about the 1000-day clock is that you can remove the mainspring barrel for service without having to dismantle the rest of the movement. But it's also the biggest spring I've ever encountered in a torsion pendulum clock and should be treated with great care and respect, lest it get away from you and do you a major injury.
 

KurtinSA

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Not to continue the thread hi-jack, but here goes! I'm working on my second 1000-day. It needs bushings, probably half of the holes...lots of power and thin plates is the reason.

Anyway, my observation is that this has very small pivots, so be careful. Plus the cannon pinion is driven onto the center arbor so you have to be able to drive it off and back on. When checking the movement, I found had to do it sort of in reverse order. That middle plate has two mounting points at the top of the movement. Normally I wedge the two plates together from the bottom as I put each arbor in place with tweezers. Have to do that from the top down in this case.

Kurt
 

Wayne A

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Like the 1000 day's for sure and some of the pivots are just so tiny like there other miniature and midget 400days. With such small pivots if theirs much wear or damage to them by the time you remove enough metal to fix it there may not be enough left to handle the load. Working on a Schatz 53 that had pitted pivots, re-pivoted two arbors so far and bushing everything.

Wayne
 
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David Provan

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18 - 20, I appreciate your advice on the 1,000 day. The mainspring is probably similar to those I've worked with on Grandfather and mantel movements, so I have some background with that size. Interesting that re-assembly is a problem, so I'll watch out for that as well as the thin pivots. I doubt mine has run for too long, judging by the lack of apparent wear, but I'll find out when I pull it apart. I think it is next in the queue, despite lacking a dome, as the Koma Mini needs a wooden base turned and I'll have to persuade a friend to do that. The original is badly split open from season cracking (Here).

If I can't get a dome for the 1,000 Day, I may wind up making a wooden coach style case for it. Problem is, I love the domes. Anyway, how do you get into a coach case for minor adjustments? Do they have doors, like a carriage clock?
 

KurtinSA

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Anyway, how do you get into a coach case for minor adjustments? Do they have doors, like a carriage clock?
Typically what I've done is find a donor base or something that I can secure the movement to. Or if your movement hangs from the top of the case, you might want to create a test stand that you can hang off of something...an L-shape...that lets you mount the movement. Using these setups, you can fiddle with the movement and ensure it will run. Once happy, then transfer back into the final case.

Kurt
 

David Provan

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Working on a Schatz 53 that had pitted pivots, re-pivoted two arbors so far and bushing everything.

Wayne, I didn't mention that if you've managed to re-pivot those tiny arbors, you have my utmost respect. I'm an engineer, but only on weapons and aircraft, which don't seem to run to such tiny items.

David
 

Wayne A

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Wayne, I didn't mention that if you've managed to re-pivot those tiny arbors, you have my utmost respect. I'm an engineer, but only on weapons and aircraft, which don't seem to run to such tiny items.
Thanks David, but its allot about having the tooling that makes it possible. Its fun as well running the lathe. Just seeing what I'm doing is half the battle.

Only aircraft I work on are radio control models, heli's and planes.

Wayne
 

Schatznut

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David, if you come up empty on trying to find a dome, I have enough spare parts to put together one of the rectangular cases that you would be welcome to. Let me know...
 

David Provan

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Thanks, Wayne. It's not so much the cost price but the cost, risk and time delay of postage. I've got agents scouring the antique shops of NZ. Incidentally, I just used the techniques I've painfully developed for my Midget to beat set the 1,000 Day and it's running nicely.

I'll still be pulling it down, though. My wife hates its bow legged look so if I make a coach case I may have to make a prettier stand as well.
 

Ken M

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What's the base diameter of that dome? Height? I saw a dome that might work at an antique shop the other day.
 

Schatznut

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The 1000-days also came with straight-sided legs that might not offend your wife's tender sensibilities. They're less common but out there.
 

David Provan

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Ken, the base diameter is 132mm and the height 180 - 200 (I've never seen one in the flesh). If you find one and the shop is willing to pack and post to New Zealand, that would be great.
 

Ken M

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The thing is $12.95, some artsy thing with a character on a wood base. I'll go see if it's still there. I'll measure it, if it fits, I can do that if you want. I'll get back to you.
 

Ken M

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I picked up that dome, cost me $13.90. It is the same size as that Kundo next to it. The ID is about 135mm, and about 7 7/8" tall, about 200mm. I swung by the Post Office, ballpark estimate to your shores is $80. So $100 or so would get it to you, hopefully in one piece. You can have the wizard and wood base if you want it, it's glued on there pretty good. I found a dome for a bandstand clock at a thrift store once, shipped it to a guy in the upper midwest as I recall. Don't know if it's worth to you for that much, but I'll get it to the post office is you want it. If not, now I have to find a clock for it!

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David Provan

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Ken, that's amazing. Sadly, 133mm is the outside diameter I need. You'll see from the photo that the dome wouldn't sit in the depression on my base. I really appreciate what you've done and, if we can find a way to do it, I'd be happy to pay you the cost of the dome and leave it with you. Maybe I could buy you something from Horolovar and get it sent to you. Bank transfer from here to the USA is quite expensive.

Looking at the Wizard's wooden base, you might be able to fit a clock in there with the pillars mounted to the wood. I may wind up doing this for my Koma Mini, which has an extremely badly cracked base - Here.
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Ken M

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I see, just out of tolerance! Don't worry about it, I got a dome out of it. I was tempted to get it the other day when I saw it. I'll keep an eye out during my travels, I do anyway. I have quite a few domes, now I have another. I have another wood base like that that fits standard domes. I'll do something with them, or not!
 

David Provan

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Schatznut, thanks for your offer at #26. If I can't get a dome I'll come back to you. So far I've found a few that nearly fit!
 

David Provan

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Back to the Midget. Today my PC Calendar told me that it has been running for a full year on its first wind! It has been slowing for the last month, but I wanted to see how long it would go. I'll wind it tomorrow, as I don't really want to wait out the 400 days.
 

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