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
    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
    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.

  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
    retired and on my second career
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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

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

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