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Orphaned 1800's Longines PW Movements - What To Do With Them?

John Hinkey

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A good friend of mine who is not a watch person at all says he really likes the "steam punk" look of my design - specifically the 9 cap screws on the back cover. I can change the design to have 9 cap screws hold the front cover on as well, but I'm not sure I like that design.
 

gmorse

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Hi John,

Have you given any more thought to the hinged bezel design? It seems an elegant solution to the lever set problem, if you can get the joint and snap to work neatly.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Hinkey

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Hi John,

Have you given any more thought to the hinged bezel design? It seems an elegant solution to the lever set problem, if you can get the joint and snap to work neatly.

Regards,

Graham
Yes, in fact a lot.
I've built 3 versions of the hinged design and I can't get a robust latching method to work due to the plastic characteristics and very small dimensions that are challenging the 3D printer that I have and the resins that I'm currently using.
I have at least 4 different methods that I'm investigating for "easy" access to the setting lever:
- Current bolt on cover with something like the current access design (a cut out of the front cover), but with a rubber plug that can be easily removed to access the lever and also seal the access cut out
- Bolt-on cover and make a lever extension that is easy to gain access to while also being mechanically robust
- Screw-on cover - I would likely use double or triple lead threads so that one only has to rotate the cover, say, one-half of a turn to get it on or off
- Hinged cover with some kind of secure snap-to-hold feature (currently trying to use an o-ring for this)
- Hinged cover with just one captured screw holding it shut that is accessed from the back side using a simple small hex-drive tool (not ideal to have to use a tool, but people did put up with watch keys for a long time . . .)

More thoughts welcome!

- John
 

MrRoundel

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I want to solve the problem of the lever set movement since there are tons of fantastic lever set movements out there waiting for a home.
- J
Yes, solving this would be a great accomplishment. I have been looking for a case for a 12L V&C that is lever-set. 12L cases, designed to accommodate LS movements, are as rare as hens' teeth. There are 4/0s (May or may not work.) that show up very occasionally, but they never seem to be lever set. Best of luck. Keep up the great work! Thanks for sharing your project.
 

roughbarked

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Yes, in fact a lot.
I've built 3 versions of the hinged design and I can't get a robust latching method to work due to the plastic characteristics and very small dimensions that are challenging the 3D printer that I have and the resins that I'm currently using.
I have at least 4 different methods that I'm investigating for "easy" access to the setting lever:
- Current bolt on cover with something like the current access design (a cut out of the front cover), but with a rubber plug that can be easily removed to access the lever and also seal the access cut out
- Bolt-on cover and make a lever extension that is easy to gain access to while also being mechanically robust
- Screw-on cover - I would likely use double or triple lead threads so that one only has to rotate the cover, say, one-half of a turn to get it on or off
- Hinged cover with some kind of secure snap-to-hold feature (currently trying to use an o-ring for this)
- Hinged cover with just one captured screw holding it shut that is accessed from the back side using a simple small hex-drive tool (not ideal to have to use a tool, but people did put up with watch keys for a long time . . .)

More thoughts welcome!

- John
Have you thought of installing a spring alike to those which do have a steel latch spring?
 

John Hinkey

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Have you thought of installing a spring alike to those which do have a steel latch spring?
Yes, but I'm trying really really hard to only use off the shelf components - so anything, especially metal things, that I have to make are very un-attractive.
 

John Hinkey

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One other wrinkle.

The negative set system uses a stem spring. These are available and you may want to install them in your pendants. They normally are threaded.
I measured my Tavannes negative set movement and it needs a 0.95mm square stem/sleeve. There are three or four 0.95mm stems/sleeves available for Elgin and Waltham PWs:

How do I decide which sleeve/stem pairs (that have the right square drive dimension) that are available will (might) work with my movement?
Also, what does "Tap size 3" mean?

Thanks -

John
 

John Hinkey

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There are special crown taps and #3 is one of them. They come in boxed sets.
Cool. The tap size needed for the sleeve thread - are they standard? 3.95 seems like it's an imperial size (5/32) rather than metric.
 

John Hinkey

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There are special crown taps and #3 is one of them. They come in boxed sets.
Cool. The tap size needed for the sleeve thread - are they standard? 3.95 seems like it's an imperial size (?) rather than metric (4mm). What's the thread pitch?
 

John Hinkey

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Feb 21, 2022
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Latest design for the lever set Longines using a rubber plug to fill up the lever access feature on the front cover.
The rubber plug is tethered to the main body so it cannot get dropped and lost.

1667496080869.png

Still working on getting the hardware I need for the hinged design and also a variation on the above design that uses a small metal piece to extend the setting lever outward so it's easily accessible, but well protected from getting snagged, etc.

More to come.
 

John Hinkey

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Also just picked up last night this orphaned 43mm size Agassiz beauty for an incredibly low price. Supposedly runs well. Just needs a stem:
1667496238963.png

1667496273703.png


It looks like I'll have to pull it apart to figure out what stem is required and likely have to make one (modify a stem that is close-enough).

- J

PS - This appears to be a positive set movement - do you agree since it has the stem release screw visible?
 
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John Hinkey

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Yes it is a beautiful watch movement.
I and got it for <$100 . . . that's crazy, but this is what's happening to very nice movements that get stripped of their gold case (and unfortunately the stem/crown) and are then left without a home.
 

MrRoundel

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I agree that your new acquisition is a great find at that price. There used to be someone around here that concentrated on various Mermod & Jaccard movements. I don't recall who it was, but I haven't seen them discussed much of late. Congrat's.
 

John Hinkey

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I'm not insanely jealous. I am very happy for you on this marvellous find.

I'm not game to search for such things. I couldn't afford most but this has indeed caused me to think, maybe there is one out there for me.
I wasn't even going to bid on this because I thought for sure it would go for $200-$400, but not so. I threw in a max bid of $100 and no one else wanted it that much.
Not bragging that I got it - just showing that I was shocked!

To me these movements are a vanishing work of art from the late 1800s that were not mass produced (at least relative to something like the very nice Hamilton 912 which there are a gazillion of them it seems).

I'm collecting movements to make cases for. On another forum over 50 people voiced interest in either having a 3D printed case very similar to what I've shown above for their orphaned movements or purchasing a complete working printed case and nice looking higher end working movement that otherwise would be in a couple thousand $$ gold case and completely out of their reach.

I need to stop collecting movements and start making some dedicated cases for the ones I have so far . . . :)
 
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PatH

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I agree that your new acquisition is a great find at that price. There used to be someone around here that concentrated on various Mermod & Jaccard movements. I don't recall who it was, but I haven't seen them discussed much of late. Congrat's.
Here's a thread with some Mermod & Jaccard watches by various makers. Perhaps John Hinkey could add pics of his, or a link to his post, to the thread.
 
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John Hinkey

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Latest design concept with independently bolted on front/back and setting lever access rubber plug:
1667779791455.png

1667779813465.png

So how I have three basic designs:
(1) One-side front/back bolted with rubber setting lever access plug
(2) Two-side front/back bolted with rubber setting lever access plug
(3) Bolted on back + hinged front design cover with thumb screw to close the front cover

Any of these designs can be scaled to slightly smaller and larger movements (38mm movement is shown) as well as stem set/stem wound, and negative set designs (assuming I can find the stem+sleeves needed).

The materials can be black, white, clear and grey. Theoretically the plastic can be metal coated with nickel, brass, silver, gold if you want to get really fancy.

Anyways, I'm going to fully print and assemble all three cases and then take pictures of each with the movement installed and then solicit more feedback. I will then print a a clear version of one design as has been requested.

Phew. Lots of work.

At some point I will transition this to printing cases for my slowly growing collection of orphaned movements.

Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement.

- John
 

thesnark17

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I am fascinated by the direction you are going here. This is exactly the sort of thing that I would be interested in doing for my old orphans. Keep up the good work!
 
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John Hinkey

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May not be to everyone's taste, but I like this latest version the best:
1668300066648.jpeg

1668300098904.jpeg

There is an option to use black anodized stainless screws and washers, but I kind of like the bright stainless look against the black.
This is fully functional with the removable rubber plug (it will be tethered so you can't lose it when adjusting the time) covering the setting lever.

Deep black, clear and white cases to print next. The crown is printed plastic, but I've also printed the crown in rubber, which has a nice feel to it when winding.

I've completed the hinged design, but it has some problems that require changing. I think the rubber setting lever access plug is the way to go though.

Thoughts? Opinions?

- John

PS - None of the female screw holes in the main body are tapped - I use glued in threaded knurled brass inserts so that the threads will be durable.
 
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John Hinkey

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Also just picked up last night this orphaned 43mm size Agassiz beauty for an incredibly low price. Supposedly runs well. Just needs a stem:
View attachment 734614
View attachment 734615

It looks like I'll have to pull it apart to figure out what stem is required and likely have to make one (modify a stem that is close-enough).

- J

PS - This appears to be a positive set movement - do you agree since it has the stem release screw visible?
This one just came in the mail. The seller did a pretty crappy job of packing it and I almost lost the seconds hand since it had come loose inside the partially enclosed bubble wrap. The naked movement was just very loosely sandwiched between two pieces of carboard with a loose overwrap of bubble wrap and tape. It was very loose inside. Lucky nothing was damaged.

The dial is kind of funky as it appears that is has no feet that I can see and just sits on a rim around the periphery of the movement with a small key feature keeping it from rotating and the seconds hole aligned with the seconds pin, thus being held in place by the case.

I have no stem, but rotating the movement it starts the balance swinging and it ticks for a bit, though at low amplitude.

So this looks like an adventure.

Anyone have a similar movement that has no dial feet?

Now we need to find a stem . . .

Anything missing in the winding/setting works?
1668471505826.jpeg

1668471536250.jpeg
 
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DaveyG

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The dial with no feet is not uncommon, they simply snap on, although the dial plate does look to have provision for dial feet with those countersunk holes at 2 & 8 o'clock (as viewed). I agree with roughbarked that it is in the hand set position and you might find that the amplitude increases somewhat if you either put it in the running position or remove the minute and hour wheels. The barrel arbor does look suspiciously like it has been knocked about a bit and the hole bushed.
 

John Hinkey

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It appears to be iin the hands set position. Looks as if all that is functioning. An odd set up but appears to be all there.
Got an image of the other side? Anything written on the dial?

What's up with the barrel arbor?
See post above:
1668513473440.png

1668513492405.png
 
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John Hinkey

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The dial with no feet is not uncommon, they simply snap on, although the dial plate does look to have provision for dial feet with those countersunk holes at 2 & 8 o'clock (as viewed). I agree with roughbarked that it is in the hand set position and you might find that the amplitude increases somewhat if you either put it in the running position or remove the minute and hour wheels. The barrel arbor does look suspiciously like it has been knocked about a bit and the hole bushed.
I will open this up quickly to try to make a winding/setting stem. We'll see what's up with that barrel arbor. I'm also negotiating on a similar movement (it's slightly smaller) that comes with the winding stem. If so, then I can copy that assuming they are the same or similar enough.
As you all know these can be very adventurous purchases.

On another note, I recently ran across a watch store that had a lot of orphaned higher quality movements. I keep finding more and more high quality naked movements looking for a home . . .
 
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John Hinkey

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I should note that on another pocket watch group it has been said that it's easier to make a case from scratch or to find and modify an existing PW case to find a home for these orphaned movements. Having gotten through a couple of prototype 3D printed cases I still disagree UNLESS you have a movement of a standard size which is close enough of a fit to a standard existing case. Even then many times the winding stem & crown is missing. I still find that this adaptation seems very hard to do.

More to come.

- J
 

mosesgodfrey

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Anything missing in the winding/setting works?
I also don't think so. Here is how these setting works were applied on larger movements. I think the top retainer/spring is not necessary in your case, but there is a different spring on the left side of yours. This is also a pressure fit dial. Mine is complete & has the stem, although the mechanism is evolved by about 5-7 years--do you think it would be similar enough to view/copy?

Yours is the second I've seen--not a usual Agassiz setup! There are at least 8 distinct (more familiar) setting variations for my movement that all look identical from the back/bridge side, but no parts would cross with mine below. Hope you can see the dial side on the second movement you're considering!

1668653349509.png


...Anything written on the dial?
The mark on the back of the dial should be "M & M" Possibly a dial maker--someone like More & Meroz? There is also a chance it indicates the selling "brand," and although I have a good candidate I can't connect them yet to this setting mechanism.
1668654741579.png


1668654656740.png
 

John Hinkey

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Quick update:
Still working on the details of gaining access to the lever for time setting. I think I have it worked out and am printing a final black case that I will then print out in different colors (dark black, clear & white):
1669831173049.png

a real picture coming soon.

- J
 

John Hinkey

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Anyone have a good diagram or pictures of how the case pin typically engages the movement in a pin set movement?

I've passed up a couple of really nice orphaned movements due to them being pin set, which might be easier to deal with than a lever set movement.
Many of these orphaned movements don't come with the pin and thus I'd have to make one that fits into the 3D printed case.
Thanks for any help with this.

- John
 

viclip

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The pin essentially resembles a short finishing nail. It just resides with its shank portion poking out of the case hole & with the head portion sitting within an opening in the movement. There's a lever inside that movement opening which the pin pushes when the pin is pushed in by the user.

The spring for the setting mechanism is internal to the movement i.e. the lever which the pin pushes against is spring-loaded rather than the pin itself.
 
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John Hinkey

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The pin essentially resembles a short finishing nail. It just resides with its shank portion poking out of the case hole & with the head portion sitting within an opening in the movement. There's a lever inside that movement opening which the pin pushes when the pin in pushed in by the user.

The spring for the setting mechanism is internal to the movement i.e. the lever which the pin pushes against is spring-loaded rather than the pin itself.
That's what I was hoping for my 3D printed cases - a simple pin arrangement.
So I shouldn't be afraid of a high end pin-set movement to build a case around - correct?

- John
 

viclip

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Just bear in mind though that there's apparently no standard position for the pin location, it just depends on whoever designed the movement. At least that's my experience with Swiss/French watches; I haven't any exposure to the relatively few American pin sets that were made. I suspect that there was close liasion between the movement manufacturers & the case makers chosen to house the particular movement.

Commonly for Swiss/French open face cases, the pin location is around either 1 o'clock or 11 o'clock.
 

John Hinkey

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Just bear in mind though that there's apparently no standard position for the pin location, it just depends on whoever designed the movement. At least that's my experience with Swiss/French watches; I haven't any exposure to the relatively few American pin sets that were made. I suspect that there was close liasion between the movement manufacturers & the case makers chosen to house the particular movement.

Commonly for Swiss/French open face cases, the pin location is around either 1 o'clock or 11 o'clock.
Well, as I've learned each movement, even if theoretically a standard size, is a custom design for a 3D printed case. So a moving pin location, diameter, etc. is just par for the course for this effort.
I found some relatively inexpensive, but high quality (fully jeweled) orphaned pin set movements with nice dials that I'll likely buy to gain experience with pin-set movements. I may also try to make a few of the smaller movements into a wrist (marriage) watch as 3D printing for this is fairly straight forward.

Thanks - John
 
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viclip

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I hope that the setting pin was included, it'll be of assistance to you
 

viclip

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This raises another consideration which I hadn't thought of until now.

Not only are the pin hole locations in the case non-standardized.

But also non-standardized are the diameters of the protruding portions of the shanks of the setting pins, which equates to the hole diameter in the case.

There are of course workarounds respecting hole diameter if the intent is to make a generic case however this just needs to be borne in mind.
 

John Hinkey

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Yes, no pin, will have to find something off the shelf that will substitute. Amazing what there is for a selection of small size/diameter nuts, bolts, washers, pins, springs, etc. that are available off-the-shelf (stainless of various sorts, brass, steel, etc.). My goal is to not make anything custom from metal unless absolutely I have to.

Another adventure.
 

John Hinkey

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A quick update.
Have been busy with other things, but have managed to print out a white case for the Longines movement that I've shown above in the black case.
Also printed out a better black case (minor mechanical improvements).

What's more interesting is that I'm dabbling in trying to make dials via 3D printing - I have a few excellent movements that I've not been able to find a replacement dial for. Shame - dial all cracked or messed up that holds an extremely nice movement hostage - thus keeping the movement orphaned.

Idea is to 3D print a thin white, porcelain-like dial and either 3D print the numbers/markings directly onto it with the color added/printed later OR print a completely blank dial that can have the graphics applied via waterslide decals (). Or more likely a combination of both.

The dial would be constructed with brass dial blank base with the white thin 3D printed dial either directly printed onto the brass dial blank or glued on. Dial feet would be glued on:

It would not be perfect, but from arms length it will look pretty good.

Here's a prototype directly printed onto a brass surface to see how the graphics will come out and how well it will stick to the brass, but first here's the original porcelain dial with the cracks (I'll give it a cleaning treatment to see if I can make the cracks become way less visible and try to salvage it).
1674796088828.jpeg


Here's the first decent 3D printed dial that I have the graphics printed 0.1mm higher than the dial surface so that the tops can have black and red ink applied to it:
1674796291676.jpeg

Not perfect, but it could be a way to salvage an very nice movement by re-creating the original dial that came with it.
You can see that my printer, which is not a very expensive one, paired with the right resin can print extremely fine details (that's a 40mm diameter dial).

My plan is to assemble the white colored case with the Longines movement shown way above in it and see how that goes.

Then I have some movements that are better suited to a wrist watch - make them a marriage watch - and 3D print a cool looking wrist watch case.

More to come!

- John
 
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