replacing pocket watch bushings

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by tracker, Nov 5, 2019.

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  1. tracker

    tracker Registered User

    Aug 15, 2007
    retired naval aviator
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    I have an Elgin 11 jewel pocket watch that I have not opened up yet, but I was wondering if anyone has ever had to replace one or more of the bushings that are in the plates because of wear? If so are replacement bushings available today and is the procedure for replacing them the same as replacing a plate jewel? Thanks.
  2. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
    Linköping, Sweden
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    Hey Tracker!

    Does this watch have press in bushings? Most watches with metal bearings I’ve come across have had the bushings reamed directly into the plates. The few I have had to address I have mounted on a face plate in the lathe, centered with wobble stick, mounted the plate on the main plate and bored the bearing out, concentrically with the bearing in the mainplate. I then ream to size and replace with a jewel. Not ideal from an originality viewpoint but performance wise I’ve had good results. If you don’t have access to playing equipment, a bronze or brass bushing won’t look original either.

    There is a method of reaming a hole concentric with a single lip cutting reamer in a jewelling tool as well but it takes practice. You need to identify the direction of wear and the boundaries of the wear and then ream the “healthy” portion of the bearing before touching the worn area. This is to make sure you establish the true center of the hole. I still prefer the face plate method though.

    If you have press in bushings you’re in luck. Then you just have to press out the old ones. You can either make or buy the bushings, if you can find a source. I don’t know of a source that sells bushings that small.


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