replacement aquamarine (Liverpool window) jewels

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Michael Bauer, Sep 13, 2017.

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  1. Michael Bauer

    Michael Bauer Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 10, 2015
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    Hi, all:

    I've got a fine old Melrose (Tremont) pocket watch that runs, but whose aquamarine ("Liverpool window") plate jewels' holes are flea-bitten-looking around the edges -- not cracked/chipped per se, more like badly pitted -- and visibly ovoid. I've also got a few Waltham model 1857's in my repair queue, and at least one of these surely has the same issue or worse. It seems I have four options:

    - Leave them be, don't run the watch very often, and hope the pivots aren't getting scraped and scored when I do;

    - Forget "historical integrity" and just ream out the sockets and install great big 20th-century Seitz rubies;

    - Try to replace the jewels with used/NOS, equivalent, aquamarine (Liverpool window) jewels that are correctly-sized and in better shape (I wish!); or

    - Obtain or fabricate brand new white/clear plate jewels

    Having looked in vain for NOS or used Liverpool windows in the correct pivot sizes, it seems obvious that the most realistic option for an amateur collector/watchmaker like me is probably the first (leave them alone), but my questions to the forum are:

    1. Am I correct in thinking that if I do try to replace these jewels, sapphire is a better compromise between resembling the originals and holding up better, than new/NOS aquamarine jewels (which are all but impossible to find in specific sizes anyhow)?

    2. Is it feasible for a hobbyist to grind their own jewels from synthetic sapphire rod? Seems like an awfully deep & expensive rabbit hole.

    3. If it isn't, where could a guy find decent white sapphire jewels in pocket-watch sizes?

    Thanks in advance,

    Mick Bauer
    St. Paul, MN
     
  2. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2000
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    These jewels are next to impossible to find replacements. Correct sixes can be found, but they will stand out as modern replacements.

    I have an early model 57, AT&Co grade that has two cracked top plate jewels. Noted this when cleaning and servicing the watch. When reassembled, the watch runs fine and keeps time to 1 minute/day. Mine will stay that way.

    Recommend--as long as the watch runs, leave it the way it is.

    Tom
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
    Donor

    Jul 26, 2015
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    retired and on my second career
    Dorset
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    I had always assumed the liverpool windows were quartz rather than beryl. Both were regularly carved, so I suppose they could have been either.
     
  4. Michael Bauer

    Michael Bauer Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 10, 2015
    2
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    Tom:

    Yeah, that's my inclination too: leave well enough alone. These watches' "everyday use" days are long over anyhow. Thanks for weighing in!

    --Mick
     
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