• The online Bulletins and Mart and Highlights are currently unavailable due to a failure of a network piece of equipment. We are working to replace it and have the Online publications available as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

American PW Riveted Balance Staff Replacement

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,513
150
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
I have recently encountered, twice, a problem of which I was aware but had not met before. On removing the staffs (one on a '92 Waltham and one on a Tavannes) I discovered that the staff hole in the balance arm had been enlarged. I remove staffs by turning out the rivet in the lathe and do not use 'balance staff removal tools', so I don't think that I caused the problem. However, especially on the Waltham balance, the hole was quite a bit too big and I was concerned that the replacement staff may rivet up off centre. I managed to get staffs fitted correctly to both balances by taking great care, particularly with the Waltham. It took me quite a long time.

Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the problem:confused: Is it possible to get staffs with oversize balance seat dimensions for instance? I can think of no other way but I would love some advice in case I come across this again
 

FredWJensen

Registered User
Feb 1, 2007
1,973
3
0
There are variations in the dimensions of balance staffs. They have certain tolerances and may you got one on the low end. Order 3 or more if you can get them and see if you get one that will fit. But if you really have a deformed hole you can try the following:
I have successfully closed the holes very slightly on balance wheels. I agree it is not the best practice but has worked on several occasions. It is good to use an actually hole closing punch with a centering pin, to assure that you are reasonably centered. Remember, we are only talking about closing the holes ever so slightly. To do more than that could result in turning the balance into an off centered "cam shaped thing". Realistically, even if you get and enlarged staff to fill the hole that may be deformed you can never be certain of the eccentricity of the existing oversize balance hole anyway , because the stretched out hole may no longer be concentric anyway.
 
Last edited:

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,513
150
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
Thanks for the guidance Fred. So the answer, if the hole is seriously deformed, is a replacement balance or true the hole in the lathe and make your own staff. Serious stuff. Hope I don't ever meet that situation.
 

FredWJensen

Registered User
Feb 1, 2007
1,973
3
0
Making a custom staff would be the best solution, if the hole is concentric.
If the hole is deformed, I would try to first make the hole reasonably concentric or just try to get another balance. Think of it this way, if someone damaged some parts in your watch you can either fix, make them, or get new ones. Note: Some older and more crudely made pocket watches can operate reasonable well with less than perfect balance wheels.
I have a Seth Thomas size 18 made around 1890 that has quite a bit room for the balance and can operate with a little play. Whereas a choice Hamilton railroad watch could never stand that kind of sloppiness.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
168,781
Messages
1,472,628
Members
48,577
Latest member
nanette7fl
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,955
Last update
-