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New Hair spring?

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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I have been given a ‘tiny’ mantle clock to try and get running which apparently hasn’t run for quite a while. The dial is approx 2inch diameter.

I have dismantled the mechanism and given everything a good clean. They clock runs, however it runs very fast. It gains 1 min approx every 3 - 4 mins! (i have the speed adjustment level on the slowest setting)

i noticed that the hairspring seems in a bit of a state, and as a newbie to clock repair I was wondering if this would be the cause of the clock running too fast?

i have attached a couple of pics and you can clearly see how kinked the hair spring is.

the clock doesn’t seem to have any makers/brand mark anywhere on the mechanism. Just the words ‘made in Germany’ on the clock face (a bit ironic seeing the clock seems to have been presented to someone for their 1st world war service!). So I am unsure what I need to search for to try find a replacement spring.

any advice would be greatly appreciated as to if this bent spring could be the cause, and how I could go about finding the correct replacement.

8074202F-124E-489F-AD19-CAE4FB61219B.jpeg ADC7B872-9861-4987-85DB-26B4CE67AE17.jpeg C58054E5-65B8-44D9-B8E8-0AAE025D3D2D.png
 

bkerr

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Nov 29, 2007
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A bit hard to tell from the pictures but from what I can tell it looks like the HS is bent down. You can correct this with a steady hand and a good set of tweezers. Is the pin holding the spring in place? Is there oil on the spring? Check the fork too. Good luck!
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Yeah the pin is there holding the spring in place and all looks fine to me … with the exception of the bent spring! Do you think this would cause the clock to run fast?
 

gmorse

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Jan 7, 2011
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Hi JDixon,
Yeah the pin is there holding the spring in place and all looks fine to me … with the exception of the bent spring! Do you think this would cause the clock to run fast?
Yes, it could well cause it. If the effective length of the spring is reduced by coils touching each other or parts of the clock, that will certainly make the balance oscillate faster. The spring should be flat, level, concentric with the balance staff and the outermost coil should also be concentric so that the regulator slot through which it passes doesn't push the spring out of shape when it's moved. Trying to correct it with it still in the clock is not usually successful and often results in further distortions or even breakage. When you dismantled the clock to clean it, what did you do with the balance assembly?

Regards,

Graham
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Hi JDixon,


Yes, it could well cause it. If the effective length of the spring is reduced by coils touching each other or parts of the clock, that will certainly make the balance oscillate faster. The spring should be flat, level, concentric with the balance staff and the outermost coil should also be concentric so that the regulator slot through which it passes doesn't push the spring out of shape when it's moved. Trying to correct it with it still in the clock is not usually successful and often results in further distortions or even breakage. When you dismantled the clock to clean it, what did you do with the balance assembly?

Regards,

Graham
I left the assembly in the mechanism as I saw it was ’bent’ and I didn’t want to make it any worse. It sounds like I am going to have to dismantle the assembly, and remove the holding pin and try to straighten the spring. i’m a bit concerned about doing this as I’ve never done it before and as it isn’t my clock and i’m worried I am gonna break it :-/. But then again…., without trying, the clock doesn’t tell the correct time!!
 

gmorse

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Hi JDixon,
I left the assembly in the mechanism as I saw it was ’bent’ and I didn’t want to make it any worse. It sounds like I am going to have to dismantle the assembly, and remove the holding pin and try to straighten the spring. i’m a bit concerned about doing this as I’ve never done it before and as it isn’t my clock and i’m worried I am gonna break it :-/. But then again…., without trying, the clock doesn’t tell the correct time!!
You're right to be cautious, but if you take it steadily and carefully, you can do it.

The first step, (after you've let down the mainspring), is to unpin the outer end of the balance spring from its stud, and feed it back through the regulator loop. Then it's not connected to anything that can hold on to it, which looks as though that may have happened when it was dismantled before you got it. You can then take the balance wheel out by slackening one of the conical pivot cups, and then show us a picture of the balance by itself.

It's probably easier to fix this spring, which is presumably original and once enabled the clock to work correctly, than trying to match a new spring to this balance. Assortments of springs are available, but I doubt if one specific to this anonymous movement is obtainable. Even springs which appear to be tied in knots are recoverable with care!

Regards,

Graham
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Hi JDixon,


You're right to be cautious, but if you take it steadily and carefully, you can do it.

The first step, (after you've let down the mainspring), is to unpin the outer end of the balance spring from its stud, and feed it back through the regulator loop. Then it's not connected to anything that can hold on to it, which looks as though that may have happened when it was dismantled before you got it. You can then take the balance wheel out by slackening one of the conical pivot cups, and then show us a picture of the balance by itself.

It's probably easier to fix this spring, which is presumably original and once enabled the clock to work correctly, than trying to match a new spring to this balance. Assortments of springs are available, but I doubt if one specific to this anonymous movement is obtainable. Even springs which appear to be tied in knots are recoverable with care!

Regards,

Graham
Thanks for that advice Graham, I can see what you are referring to by the pivot cups so can see what I need to do.

I will post another pic of the balance on its own
 

gmorse

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Hi JDixon,
Ok so the spring doesn’t look right at all to me…. ie not concentric circles and seems lop sided…… beyond repair do you think?
It's a little difficult to see from the 'overhead' view, but I think that some coils are tucked underneath others, could you post a clear picture with the spring tilted at 45˚ and the side with the tangle nearest the camera, please?

It isn't by any means a write-off, but I need to see exactly what's tucked under what, and if so, is it through the other coils, (like a knot), or just overlapping coils. If you take a cocktail stick or similar and very gently move the coils around a little, starting from the centre and working outwards, you might be able to persuade it to untangle itself.

Regards,

Graham
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Graham, thank you so much for your advice…. The cocktail stick did the trick!! having worked its around the spring is now perfectly flat and in ‘concentric’ circles! I couldn’t believe it when it all just seemed to right itself!.

I have refitted it , and will see how it keep time in the morning. I have adjusted it to it’s ‘slowest’ speed setting so I am hoping it now no longer runs fast.
 

gmorse

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Hi JDixon,

That's excellent news, balance springs often look far worse than they subsequently turn out to be.

Regards,

Graham
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK
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Hi JDixon,

That's excellent news, balance springs often look far worse than they subsequently turn out to be.

Regards,

Graham
Yeah it was like magic… it just unfurled itself perfectly!

good news is that this morning it seems the clock has been running slow over night as I was hoping, so now I think I just need to tinker with the speed adjustment.

thanks again
 

Firegriff

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Feb 22, 2013
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Before you do anything to the hairspring demagnetize the clock it may have been near a stereo speaker or other magnetic sources in this modern world that will magnetize an older watch or clock hair spring or other parts, one indication is running fast/slow or coils that are sticking together. Do the simple things first before jumping to the worst problem.
 

JDixon

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Oct 22, 2020
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Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK
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Th
Before you do anything to the hairspring demagnetize the clock it may have been near a stereo speaker or other magnetic sources in this modern world that will magnetize an older watch or clock hair spring or other parts, one indication is running fast/slow or coils that are sticking together. Do the simple things first before jumping to the worst problem.
thanks for this advice. I will bear that in mind next time as this is something I have never heard of before. Thank you!
 

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