Please help me with watch reassembly

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by S.W., Jan 20, 2007.

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  1. S.W.

    S.W. Guest

    Hi, all.

    Ok, so I've realized that it costs a lot to have a watch repaired professionally. So the logical solution is to learn to repair watches myself, or at the very least, to clean them.

    I got a couple library books that tell very clearly how to disassemble a watch and clean it. I did that, and it was fairly easy. My complaint with these books is in the reassembly stage. They both say something similar to "Put the watch back together." Great. So I learned on my big 16 size pocket watch that placing gears and lowering the top plate onto them is a challenge, but I could do it. So then I decided I would disassemble, clean, and reassemble my wife's Buliva wristwatch, which has incredibly tiny parts. Is there a secret or a tool to help me line up these gears properly such that their pivots go right into their respective jewels? I've been trying for hours, and I'm very frustrated! I'm beginning to see why watch repairmen charge so much! Is there anything I can do, or is it trial and error until you get them lined up?

    Thanks very much!

    Steve.
     
  2. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    This is the tough part for all or us.
    Caution.. Do not force or you can easily snap pivots. Years ago when I re-assembled my first 3 train clock, with over 12 wheels. I forced them and bent even those massive pivots. It was a great lesson for me.
    Everything about a watch should be treated with very gingerly.
    Usually if you have a full plate like you have,
    just lightly let the top place sit on the pivot while aligning those on one end, like where the barrel goes.
    gently reach under with very fine tweezers or very small screwdriver and gently slign the top pivots.
    Do not press the plates together or you will snap the pivots off. Some pivots will be longer than others get these in first. The shorter and pesky pivots you can carefully with the fine tweezers gently lift to align the top pivot holes.
    Also, if it is not working out for you.
    Take a break, don't rush it or you will damage it. Hope this helps.
    PS: I had the same problem yesterday.
    Yet the day before, that watch just fell together easily. If you a having a bad day, leave it for later.
     
  3. bobswatch

    bobswatch Registered User

    Sep 3, 2004
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    You must install one train wheel at a time to get your watch plates back togeather. Stand up all your train wheels in the pillar plate, next sit the other plate on top of the train wheels. Now with a small amount of pressure on the plate take your tweezers and reach between the plated and move the center wheel pivot until it dropes in place. Do like wise on the remaining pivots and you will have your watch back togeather. Next you can put the mainspring back in, followed by the balance assembly. Make all needed checks along the way to make sure all parts work properly.
    Just for the record I only repair pocket watches, but I know watchmakers who only take out the mainspring, balance and its jewels, along with the dial and hands on a wristwatch. They leave the plates togeather and the train wheels between them and run them through the cleaner.
    Bob
     
  4. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User
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    May 20, 2003
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    The weight of the top plate should be enough to get the thing together, anymore risks damaging pivots and jewels. Once the parts are put in position I usually place the screws in place, without tightening, just to keep the top plate in place. I've also made a small tool to help with getting things aligned. It is just a piece of thin pivot wire with a small hook bent in the end and mounted in a short piece of skewer. It works the same as the alignment tools used with clock repair. It will reach into places too small for tweezers. Once everything gets together, spin the wheels to make sure and tighten the screws.
     
  5. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    Also, Putting the balance assembly always bothers me. Especially on a 12 size Elgin. Without the pallet fork it is easy to locate the tiny pivots into the tiny jewel holes but once the pallet fork is installed I always have to wrestle with it?
    I must be doing something wrong!
     
  6. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User
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    May 20, 2003
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    If you put a bit of tension on the mainspring it will keep the pallet fork to one side. When you put the balance in, place it so the roller is to the same side as the fork, then allow it to rotate to center as you place the balance cock. Everything should come together OK, maybe a little fuss but not too much. Remember not to force anything, especially with the balance.
     
  7. fuzzuki

    fuzzuki Registered User

    Dec 11, 2001
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    I think the car's transmission should be next.
     
  8. luger

    luger Registered User

    May 13, 2005
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    "Before Rocket Science was a science, watches were considered man’s finest and most delicate machines." Otto Frei
     
  9. S.W.

    S.W. Guest

    Hey, guys.

    Thank you very much for your help. After a couple more hours of trying, I finally got my wife's watch put back together! What a relief. The bad news is that the watch still doesn't work any better. It runs for a few minutes and then quits. My record is 5 minutes of running. I took a very similar Bulova watch that works, and I put its banance and hairspring in my wife's Bulova, and it did the same thing, so I don't think that's the problem. Maybe I didn't do a good job cleaning and oiling.

    Anyhow, thanks for the help and encouragement as I learn to reassemble watches.

    Steve.
     
  10. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    anything could have happened, but most likely one of the pivots of a wheel is slightly bent. The smaller the watch the bigger the problems. Also the newer watches are really packed tight with very little clearance between parts.I find the 18 size watches made before 1900 are by far easier and more forgiving to work on than size 12 elgins made in 1930.
    You were very daring to try such a small watch as a beginner.
     

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