American PW Seven Seas Pocket Watch

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Doonsbury, Jul 8, 2017.

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  1. Doonsbury

    Doonsbury Registered User

    Jun 21, 2017
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    Hi folks, I have just joined and am enjoying exploring the site. One question that I am hoping some other member(s) might be able to help me out with is.....I brought a 1954 Seven Seas Pocket watch. The movement is made by the Ingraham Company Conn USA. I took the watch to my local watchmaker as it was "Ticking slow" according to the person I brought it off and I wanted to get it serviced and hopefully fix the problem. My Watchmaker told me that these watches (Or more specifically the movements) were of a very basic quality and frankly would not be worth servicing. So my question is....could I purchase another movement to replace the existing one,and would it have to be from exactly the same type of watch or could any movement that is the same size be used? I have provided a couple[​IMG][​IMG] of photographs of the watch and the movement. Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give me!
     
  2. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
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    Doonesbury, these were what was considered a "dollar watch", an inexpensive watch that was never really designed to be serviced. Getting them apart is easy, getting them back together is frustrating at times. I have had good luck, though many will cringe, by swishing them out with lighter fluid and then applying watch oil to the wheel pivots. Please note that these watches tick slowly as opposed to more high quality watches so check how well it keeps time before doing anything, you may find that it keeps decent time. Looks like it has some corrosion issues with the regulator. One of the biggest problems with these is worn holes in the plates due to lack of service over the last 60 years, if there is any slop where the wheels come through the plates, look for another movement. Just remember, these are tricky to remove from the cases. The stem and crown have to be removed then the movement usually rotates to get it out.
     
  3. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    I'd say some are also difficult to take apart. Many cheaper movements like this are riveted together.
    The "dunk n' swish"-method described by Richie will contribute to the problem that you most likely already have that is worn bushings in the plates. A dollar watch that has been used as a carry watch will have substantial wear most of the time. You will need to find a movement that fits your case and dial. And you will need a movement with less wear than the one you already have. Some people actually enjoy working on dollar watches, maybe try to get a hold of a hobbyist that's into them?

    But first I agree with Richie: test it to see if it's keeping time. If it does, enjoy it while it lasts!

    Best regards
    Karl
     
  4. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    I agree with the above however I believe I can see the screws holding the movement together in your second picture. This might just be one of those that can be taken apart without opening rivets.
     
  5. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    Dec 9, 2000
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    Richie's method works. One must remember, this is a dollar watch--not designed to be repaired. Of all the dollar watches, the Ingraham is probably the most difficult to reassemble. These were assembled at the factory using a special factory jig. These jigs do not exist.

    I grew up in coal mining country. Most all of the old coal miners carried dollar watches into the mines. Yes, they took a beating with moisture and coal dust. Most of them would run for about 10 years. It was these old coal miners that showed me how to remove the back, pour in kerosene or lighter fluid, swish it around, shake out the excess, snap the back on, and continue to carry the watch. These guys told me that the watch would run for another 10 years. Some of these guys had dollar watches that were 30 years old and still kept time to a few minutes a day.

    I have used the lighter fluid method with success.

    Remember---a dollar watch. The pivots might be worn. It is what it is.

    Tom
     
  6. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    I agree with that. I was referring to the group as a whole. Even the more modern equivalents such as Timex have bent tabs or rivets holding them together. I've had the misfortune of servicing Timex movements before and the service manual states that after getting the movement out, dial and hands off "You can now install a new or refurbished Timex movement". Disposables more or less.
     
  7. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Yes indeed. If the OP is interested in delving deeper into watch repair it might be good to point out why the lighter fluid method usually isn't a good idea. In my experience with dollar watches it's usually the bushings that are worn with the pivots making their way through the brass. And as the escapements are usually pin pallets very little adjustment can be made to them. I've had in mind to rebush the escapement and make modifications to an old European dollar watch that I have and quite like. Can't get it to run for crap but it's a nice challenge... Not one that would turn a profit but still.
     
  8. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Another thought comes to mind on this topic.
    You say that the watchmaker you talked to didn't think this was worth repairing, and probably rightly so. I've no idea what you paid for the piece (and we're not allowed to discuss value here) but judging from what a repair would cost you and what you would gain from it in performance, he's right.

    What I think is a problem is the perceived value of a watch. You were right to ask about this watch and I'm glad you did. I hope you do it the next time you find a watch that you like and are trying to decide wether or not to have it serviced.
    The risk lies in people thinking a watch is low quality or "cheap" because they paid little money for it. And as such the cost of a repair will often times be many times the price of the purchase. So unless you know what you have, you're always right to ask about it to someone who might know.
    Of course it's a supply and demand situation, where certain pieces go in and out of demand. Small ladies watches are currently very low in demand for instance. That means that they can be very cheap to buy but are often times very much serviceable indeed. A small ladies watch from a known brand from the mid 1900s is cheap because few people want them. A dollar watch is cheap because it's low quality and made to be disposable rather than serviceable.

    A good quality watch movement can be made to run almost forever if only serviced regularly. The trick is knowing if that's what you have in your hand.
     
  9. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    It appears the markings are made for sailors and the strikes of a ships bell.
    Personally I would try yo get this watch to work because of the dial, but then again my forefathers were captians of ocean going ships.......
     
  10. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    I have had these apart, the can be made to go back together with a lot of fiddling and cursing. Much care has to be taken with the hairspring as it is pinned to the plate and, if rusted, will break if mishandled. Usually after cleaning you find how worn the pivots are so the time keeping usually doesn't get any better. If you like a challenge, try to fix it or find another, cleaner movement, and swap the dial.
     
  11. Doonsbury

    Doonsbury Registered User

    Jun 21, 2017
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    Wow! I'd like to thank everyone for taking the time to post their thoughts on this watch. Very much appreciated guys! I have monitored the watch over about 18 hours or so now and I find that it has lost 6 minutes...which to me seems reasonable considering it's age and, from the comments, the fact that it was always meant as an inexpensive "Workman's" type watch. Possibly the best thing to do is as karlmansson suggested and simply enjoy it while it lasts. I did purchase it because I thought the dial was great....the type of watch I always wanted to own as a child....so even if it does stop running, I can still enjoy it for it's ascetic value. Thanks for the advice about asking on here before getting a watch repaired, I will certainly be doing that in the future. I only have a small collection so far..2 Omega's, 1 Waltham, 1 Elgin & a recently purchased Coventry Astral half hunter...all these watches are running and keeping time withing 2 or 3 mins over very long periods, but they will need serviced and I plan to do that over the next few months (Or rather have the local Watchmaker do it!) But thanks again for all the comments and great advice! Regards, Doons
     
  12. Doonsbury

    Doonsbury Registered User

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    Hi Skutt50....Yep I have to admit, it was the dial that got me in right off the bat! Just loved the look of it.
     
  13. NC Plumber

    NC Plumber Registered User

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    It appears that there's still room to move the regulator a bit. If one were to oil the pivots and move the regulator I think it wouldn't lose quite as much time.
     
  14. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    Happy to hear you found something you've been looking for!

    I'd suggest changing the crystal in any case. These older celluloid crystal yellow over time. It also makes a huge difference for the general appearance of a watch to have a new, scratchless crystal. You can get new acrylic crystals for pocket watches that look great.
     
  15. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I can understand and respect your thoughts.

    Just don't forgett that you might just have a watch that is not excessivly worn and running it without any service will likely take it to the worn state.

    Could you possibly ask your watchmaker if he would consider cleaning the movement without disassembly and oil it. This might increase your chanses of having a working movement for some years.....
     
  16. Doonsbury

    Doonsbury Registered User

    Jun 21, 2017
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    I did have the crystal changed karl.....and it certainly did make a very big difference as the dial itself is in very good condition and the watch looks cosmetically so much better now.....I live in a small rural town in Australia, so the glass had to be ordered from Brisbane and this added a great deal to the cost. Still it looks so much better and was definitely worth it!
     
  17. Doonsbury

    Doonsbury Registered User

    Jun 21, 2017
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    That is an excellent suggestion Skutt! I will see if the local watchmaker will agree to that...after all he is not actually having to dismantle the watch (And I think that was possibly the main reason behind his refusal to service the watch) so he may be agreeable to that. I'll keep you guys posted & thanks again for all the help! Doons
     
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