Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by RyanM, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. RyanM

    RyanM Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 27, 2019
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    I've only been servicing and repairing pocketwatches a short time and still have a lot to learn. I had a mentor, briefly, but most of my knowledge comes from watching videos, reading books, these forums, and an online course.

    When I picked up a 23j Waltham Vanguard that wasn't working, I was intimidated with the prospect of fixing it up. It was sort of working before, but would stop frequently and refused to work at all stem right. On top of that, the crystal was a hazy scratched plastic. I replaced the crystal after an unsuccessful attempt to fit one in that was slightly too big with one which I had to UV glue in place, which seems to be holding very well.

    Today I decided it was time to get to work on this watch. I inspected it as I disassembled it completely, making sure to take lots of pictures along the way so I could refer back later if needed. All the jewels were intact, not so much as a chip in any of them. The mainspring seemed to be in good working order as did the hairspring. The wind indicator wasn't nearly as complex as I had imagined either. The watch was filthy, though; hairs, grease filled with debris, and the pallet jewels looked like they were wearing boxing gloves made of sledge.

    After leaving the parts soaking in L&R 111 for a few hours, I kicked on the ultrasonic and let it go for 15 minutes while I hand cleaned the pallet fork and balance wheel and used one dip cleaner on the springs. It turns out I had stressed out about remembering where everything went that I didn't have to refer to my pics as I put it back together and it went very smooth.

    I just wound it up for a test and the amplitude is amazing. It may be a tad too high in fact as it seems to be a little over 360° now in dial down, which is as it is laying on my bench. It is such a relief getting this watch running, I've restored others but none of this quality. While there were no major issues like I've ran into with others, this one felt the best to complete. Maybe because I'd built it up in my head so much ahead of time.

    I do owe a big thanks to everyone here for sharing their knowledge. It may sound like an exaggeration, but I truly believe that restoring these watches saved my life. I am a disabled veteran and wasn't handling PTSD very well before. Since starting with watches, I stopped drinking and playing video games, I've lost somewhere around 40 lbs, I am not too anxious to leave my house... I have something to do from which I can derive great pride and satisfaction. But I digress, below are some pics of the tear down of this watch.

    I can't post video here, but I have a nice slo-mo of the movement running showing off the amplitude now that it is fully lubed and reassembled on my Instagram.

    20190613_181000.jpg 20190613_165945.jpg 20190613_181308.jpg 20190613_170622.jpg 20190613_172018.jpg
  2. Tim Fitzgerald

    Tim Fitzgerald Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Oak island North Carolina
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    Great job & great watch!
    I can understand how watch repair & collecting helps with PTSD , I also am 100% disabled Veteran with PTSD from Vietnam. You have a long road ahead , It does get better , however you will always have the dreams & fears. You sound like your on the right path. Drinking, drugs and locking yourself away from people is the worst thing you can do. Try to get out more and see people.
    I also found going to a headshrinker is a complete wast of time, they are crazier than we are.
    RyanM likes this.
  3. Chris Radek

    Chris Radek Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 13, 2014
    Watchmaker (now accepting new customers)
    Lincoln, NE, USA
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    Cool, congratulations, a wind indicator is sure a bit of an extra twist. You will have a really nice watch to wear now.

    About your cleaning process - if you are worried about putting the lever and balance in the L&R solutions because of shellac, don't be, it's just fine to put them in there (although I use an automatic machine and have never let parts soak in the solutions.)

    I haven't found a use for one-dip other than evaporating into my shop, a dubious use at best...
    RyanM likes this.
  4. 18k BPH

    18k BPH Registered User

    Aug 18, 2016
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    First, I would like to thank you for your service. Also, I am glad watch repair is helping you instill pride and satisfaction. Nice work!
    ralph1 likes this.

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