repair of a English Fusee 1182?

JenStow

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Jun 5, 2007
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Hello,
I am from New Hampshire and I have a Fusee packet watch that is need of repair. I took it to the Swiss watch shop in Portland however, they could not fix it though they did inform me that it was the chain that was broken.

Inside is the inscription "Cha Brown Edinburgh 1182"(?). I'm not completely sure of the date because of the fancy script. Does anyone know of a place where I can send it to be repaired? Thank you for your time.
From,
Jen
 

Bob Reichel

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If you will Email me, I will put you in touch with an Austrailian who when he was younger and more able, did repair fusee chains for watches. He might be able to suggest how or where to get it done. For my Email check my user area.
 

Bob Reichel

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Trying to recall some conversations about repairing fusee chains for watches, I rememember that the process involved annealing a needle and pressing it into the links. If a link is broken, the process becomes more complicated. The basic problem is wear-if one is broken due to wear, how about more being marginal. It really depends on whether you are going to actively use the watch or just want it joined for practical viewing. I think I would pursue a less worn chain. Don't know about new ones being available.
 

Journeyman

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I'm pretty sure new chains are not availiable but most watchmakers have a small collection of old chains (I do) and occasionally they turn up one e-bay so if you know the length, width and thickness I'm sure a replacement could be found.
Peter
 

Tom McIntyre

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It is almost always one of the pins that is broken. If it is a pin, it is not a difficult repair. If it is one of the hooks it is a bit harder and requires either a part from another chain or a hook to be made. There was a specialist in these repairs located in Maine a few years ago and he had an apprentice working with him.

If you sear the Bulletin Index for fusee chain, you may be able to find him.
 

Dr. Jon

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There was also a guy on Ebay who sometimes sells a fusee chain restoration. I have used him and he did a good job although he did increase his price.

In my case there were several problems with the chain and this is frequently the case.
 

Ansomnia

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Hi, I've been lurking over this thread as I have an old verge fusee PW I'd like to restore and run. I imagine the fusee chain is going to break one of these days.

I've looked at the chain in my PW and unlike a bicycle chain the pins appear to only pierce one side (plate) in each link - the pin seems to be actually part of one of the plate in a given link. Is that true?

As for the hook ends, are the hooks different for each end?

I've attached a photo to show one of the hooks (on the fusee end) along with the pressed ends of the link pins and another photo to show the apparently solid plate on the other side of a link.

If a pin were to break, would you have to clean up the hole and then drill through the solid side before "riveting" a new pin through the link?


Michael
 

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Smudgy

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Ansomnia

Yes, both of the hooks are different. One of the hooks will have a protrusion poking out of the top, making it shaped something like a medieval pole arm (a weapon). The other hook is plain.

The pins are separate from both plates and rivetted in place. It isn't noticable on one plate due to the pins being stoned off after being in place. When the pin breaks both ends will be able to bve driven out without drilling, although drilling may be desireable depending on the rivet and desire to reduce possible expansion of the hole while driving the pin out. If one of your pins does break, the join will probably become apparent as the broken stub loosens.
 

Ralph

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From Diderot...

I actually saw a 19th century die & punch for punching links , last week at a chronometer restorer's shop.

Ralph



 

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Ansomnia

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Smudgy, thanks for explaining that to me. It makes sense now - the watchmakers probably had to stone the ends to avoid the chain snagging or wearing on the fusee channel for the chain. It would otherwise be impossible to get a flush fit with such tiny pins.

But boy, these chains are sure tiny. I had a look at the winding barrel of the chain and I now understand what you mean about the "medieval pole arm"! :eek:

I'm still curious as to why the hooks are different as they both seem to attach the chain to similar surfaces. I wonder if the "medieval pole arm" is meant to be a "permanent" link whereas the simple hook on the fusee barrel would be easier to unhitch.

Thank very much again for your kind explanation.

Ralph, your Diderot drawings are great! I guess he was depicting a chain for some sort of "bigger" mechanism.. like a small tower clock maybe. :D

It is quite amazing what these guys made those days.

So did you pick up a "new" chronometer while you were at the shop or were you picking up a repair?


Michael

 

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Ralph

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Ansomnia said:
...your Diderot drawings are great! I guess he was depicting a chain for some sort of "bigger" mechanism.. like a small tower clock maybe. :D
........
So did you pick up a "new" chronometer while you were at the shop or were you picking up a repair?

Michael
The engravings were probably depicting clock chain making, with a lot of artistic license thrown in.

The watch chainmaking workers were children, until their eyes gave out..

No, I was sightseeing and appreciating handling and viewing some rare stuff.....and listening to great discussions. I did get some good books there.

It's probably a good time to plug the Midwest Regional. Marine chronometers and their history are going to be the exhibit and program themes.

Click Here


Ralph





 

Jerry Treiman

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I believe the hook at the barrel end of the chain is designed like it is because, unlike the hook at the fusee, there is no room for the hook to rotate into the barrel if the chain were to be wound this far. It is hooked in a hole rather than around a pin. However, I believe in a properly set up fusee and mainspring with the proper length chain it would never be wound so far that the hook should ever pull other than tangentally at the barrel. The stopwork also prevents it from getting to that point. However, when the watch is fully run down the chain at the fusee will pull away and requires a hook that can rotate.
 

Ralph

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Good observations and analysis...

Thanks, Ralph
 

Ansomnia

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Jerry, thank you for your explanation. It would certainly account for the difference in hook designs. I did not realize the fusee barrel hook was placed around a pin. I have a junker verge fusee PW that I plan to take apart and examine. I kind of like these old PW because they are almost like clocks. The verge escapement, despite their being so "inconsistent", do seem to be pretty robust to me. And luckily, I still have my trusty old Timex to depend on for my appointments! :eek:

Ralph, I know what you mean about artists taking artistic license with horological drawings. I would have to think their depictions are more useful for illustrating technique rather than actual difficulty of the tasks.

It's interesting that you mention the abusive child labour associated with some of the fine work. That's something we certainly don't mind leaving behind with modern technology. I am so glad I bought my microscope early on.

And I really should attend the National Conventions and perhaps some of the regional marts some time!


Michael
 

Ralph

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Michael,

I would highly recommend the Syracuse meeting in August.... regrettably I will miss it this year... the first time in maybe a dozen years or more. Many folks from Canada go to that one.

Detroit used to have one of the stronger regionals and many of my favorite things came out of that area.... Like most of shows, it is not as great as it once was, but I still would not miss it. You never know what will walk in the door.

We have a very creative and energetic lady driving our Midwest regional and I think we will have a good turnout and a successful show.

Ralph
 

Ansomnia

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Ralph said:
Michael,

I would highly recommend the Syracuse meeting in August.... regrettably I will miss it this year... the first time in maybe a dozen years or more. Many folks from Canada go to that one.

Detroit used to have one of the stronger regionals and many of my favorite things came out of that area.... Like most of shows, it is not as great as it once was, but I still would not miss it. You never know what will walk in the door.

We have a very creative and energetic lady driving our Midwest regional and I think we will have a good turnout and a successful show.

Ralph
Thanks for your suggestions Ralph. I used to visit the Detroit area regularly before I checked my pace. The Syracuse one sounds interesting. It's a shame you'll miss it. Let us know if you come across something of interest at the Midwest Regional.


Michael
 
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