Should have asked this sooner

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Greetings fellow members,

This is my second post in American Pocket Watches.

My first was very recent regarding a family heirloom (of my wife's family). That project is going great just waiting to get the hunter case back from Dave (at Dave's Watch Parts). He is fitting a new lift spring to that case and I'll put everything back together after I get the case back.

Thanks to all of you that commented on that first post and connected me with Dave.

So - restoring this old Elgin got me to looking at and in to other American pocket watches and I have acquired a few more projects that interest me.

The one I'm posting about here is a 1908 Waltham Crescent Street 16s. I found one (on eBay) that looked to be in excellent condition. For the most part, I would say that it is in excellent condition. However, there are a couple of issues and the first is in the balance. Everything looks great - except for a broken upper balance staff pivot.

I have never changed a balance staff - but I have been doing hobbyist repair (my own watches) for around two years. So, I thought - I'll get a new staff and replace the broken one.

Based on information from Dave - it seems highly likely that the staff needed for this movement is the #4861 (as Dave said the switch to the 4861 occurred around ser# 15M - and the movement I am working on is a 19M).

I already had a K&D staking set (though very rarely used) - but thought I needed a roller table removal tool (not sure if this is true or not?) - so I bought a Bergeon #2810.

Disassembly seemed to go fine until I started looking at putting the balance back together.
At first I thought the new balance staff was not what I needed. However - now I think things didn't come apart as intended.

I have never done this before - but I think there is something still on the old staff that should be attached to the balance wheel. BUT - I am not sure. :???:

I am sure this question must have been asked many times (though I couldn't find it searching). Is there a video or sequence of photos showing/telling how to change a friction fit balance staff?

Is the Bergeon tool that I used (#2810) the wrong tool to use?
I think I may have separated something from the balance wheel that should have stayed attached. :(

You can see where I am at right now (below). The new staff is in the picture along with the old.

I realize that I may have ruined this wheel (which I will be sad about - but not sad about trying). I have a couple of other Crescent St movements acquired for parts - so I do have spares. Both "spare" movements are working - and both are 1908 models with higher serial #'s (so should be same parts).

Any comments - input would be greatly appreciated. As I say, I know it may be too late for this balance (hopefully not) but I'd like to see what I should have done.

Kind Regards,
-Paul
P2232678.jpg
 

musicguy

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Moving thread to watch repair



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topspy

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The blue hub that is still attached to your old balance staff should have stayed on the balance wheel. There are a special set of stumps and stakes in most staking sets that are intended to remove Waltham staffs from this hub. It may be a tricky job to reattach the hub to the balance. There are I believe quite a few prior posts about this subject if you search for them. I'm a bit under the weather right now but perhaps someone will point you to the relevant posts.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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The blue hub that is still attached to your old balance staff should have stayed on the balance wheel. There are a special set of stumps and stakes in most staking sets that are intended to remove Waltham staffs from this hub. It may be a tricky job to reattach the hub to the balance. There are I believe quite a few prior posts about this subject if you search for them. I'm a bit under the weather right now but perhaps someone will point you to the relevant posts.
topspy,

Thanks.

That's what I thought (about the blue hub thingy). And I suspected that the tool I used was not the appropriate tool.

I probably had the right tool (steaking set) all along. My stakes aren't complete - but nearly. And I think I have all the stumps that came with the set originally (K&D 600 series).

Again - many thanks.

I'll try to find the tool/technique info on Waltham friction fit staffs.

-Paul
 

Kent

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Hi Paul:

The numbers scratched on the balance's arm should match the last digits of the movement's serial number. If so, you should try to re-attach the blue hub so as to keep that balance in the movement rather than swapping in a balance from elsewhere.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Hi Paul,

This thread should answer your questions, and so should this page.

Regards,

Graham
Graham,

Indeed VERY helpful.

Any chance that someone knows of a source for the replacement hub (#4866)?

I am going to attempt to reattach the original hub to the balance wheel - if I can't find a replacement hub.

Thank you all!
-Paul
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Hi Paul:

The numbers scratched on the balance's arm should match the last digits of the movement's serial number. If so, you should try to re-attach the blue hub so as to keep that balance in the movement rather than swapping in a balance from elsewhere.
Indeed Kent, saving the original balance is my goal. Seems like I should be able to reattach original even if by unconventional methods.

Any pointers, thoughts, crazy ideas :p would be appreciated.

Kind Regards,
-Paul
 

richiec

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Getting those hubs is possible, the way I got mine was buying a Waltham parts repair box, three drawer but used both hubs that were in the repair kit, I am sure someone here can sell or give you one.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Getting those hubs is possible, the way I got mine was buying a Waltham parts repair box, three drawer but used both hubs that were in the repair kit, I am sure someone here can sell or give you one.
richiec,

Thanks so much for the tip!

And if anyone has one they would like to sell - PLEASE let me know.

Otherwise, I'll see if I can find a "parts repair box" - no idea how costly that would be, but I'll have a look.

-Paul
 

Bila

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You will not have to find another hub if that one is serviceable Paul, these can be re-attached (so re-use you existing hub) to the balance arm if you are carefully and know the correct procedure you will not damage the balance arm:)
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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You will not have to find another hub if that one is serviceable Paul, these can be re-attached (so re-use you existing hub) to the balance arm if you are carefully and know the correct procedure you will not damage the balance arm:)
Thank you Bila.

Still prefer to use what I have - however - I may require a new hub - as I presently have the original a bit stuck in one of my stakes.
I was /am in the process of separating the old hub from the original staff and it's presently wedged in the tip of a stake. I put it away for the moment - to allow myself some time to regroup.

If you would care to share the correct procedure for re-attaching that would be helpful :) - assuming I can get the original hub free from the stake.

-Paul
 
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Paul_S

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If you can get a copy, the Lucchina and Perkins book on the "Watchmaker's Staking Tool" is wonderful. It describes all the stakes and stumps, and it nicely walks through the process for replacing friction and rivet balance staffs.

Waltham was an outlier at the time with using friction fit staffs in those hard blue hubs. There are special stakes and stumps for those. The hub is supported in a beveled hole stump so that it isn't punched off the wheel.

I personally like the Waltham friction hub approach much better than the riveted staff approach, but it didn't win the day.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
52
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If you can get a copy, the Lucchina and Perkins book on the "Watchmaker's Staking Tool" is wonderful. It describes all the stakes and stumps, and it nicely walks through the process for replacing friction and rivet balance staffs.

Waltham was an outlier at the time with using friction fit staffs in those hard blue hubs. There are special stakes and stumps for those. The hub is supported in a beveled hole stump so that it isn't punched off the wheel.

I personally like the Waltham friction hub approach much better than the riveted staff approach, but it didn't win the day.
Thank you Paul for taking the time to post.

I am the furthest thing from an expert - but it seems like the friction fit is a better mousetrap. Perhaps patents and greed killed the better approach.?.?

I will see if I can find a copy of that book.

Thanks!
-Paul
 

179

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If you can get a copy, the Lucchina and Perkins book on the "Watchmaker's Staking Tool" is wonderful. It describes all the stakes and stumps, and it nicely walks through the process for replacing friction and rivet balance staffs.

Waltham was an outlier at the time with using friction fit staffs in those hard blue hubs. There are special stakes and stumps for those. The hub is supported in a beveled hole stump so that it isn't punched off the wheel.

I personally like the Waltham friction hub approach much better than the riveted staff approach, but it didn't win the day.
If you can get a copy, the Lucchina and Perkins book on the "Watchmaker's Staking Tool" is wonderful. It describes all the stakes and stumps, and it nicely walks through the process for replacing friction and rivet balance staffs.

Waltham was an outlier at the time with using friction fit staffs in those hard blue hubs. There are special stakes and stumps for those. The hub is supported in a beveled hole stump so that it isn't punched off the wheel.

I personally like the Waltham friction hub approach much better than the riveted staff approach, but it didn't win the day.
If you can get a copy, the Lucchina and Perkins book on the "Watchmaker's Staking Tool" is wonderful. It describes all the stakes and stumps, and it nicely walks through the process for replacing friction and rivet balance staffs.

Waltham was an outlier at the time with using friction fit staffs in those hard blue hubs. There are special stakes and stumps for those. The hub is supported in a beveled hole stump so that it isn't punched off the wheel.

I personally like the Waltham friction hub approach much better than the riveted staff approach, but it didn't win the day.
Thank you Paul for taking the time to post.

I am the furthest thing from an expert - but it seems like the friction fit is a better mousetrap. Perhaps patents and greed killed the better approach.?.?

I will see if I can find a copy of that book.

Thanks!
-Paul
 

oic55

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Aug 21, 2009
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Hi Paul,

Another option to Mr. Perkin's "The Watchmaking Staking Tool" book, is Mr. Perkins book "Antique Watch Restoration Vol.1" ISBN 978-0-615-63360-2. This is a great book series, Vols 1, 2, and 3 which cover a good deal of info related to repair of vintage watches. Vol 1 has a chapter on the staking tool which is pretty much the contents of the original book mentioned above, and includes some additional info in the balance staff removal and installation including the friction style staffs. This book is currently available from AWCI/American Watch and Clockmakers Inst. website, and might be easier to obtain then the original recommendation as I think it has been out of print for a while. Another great resource for vintage watches is the Chicago School of Watchmaking correspondence course which is set up as lessons that go over a good amount of repairs to watches including staffing and has a small section on friction staffs as well. Have seen this available on CD on the 'bay in the past.

Hope this helps,

Don
 
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179

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Hamilton began using hubs and friction staffs in 1931, and used them until production ended in 1969.
 
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Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Hi Paul,

Another option to Mr. Perkin's "The Watchmaking Staking Tool" book, is Mr. Perkins book "Antique Watch Restoration Vol.1" ISBN 978-0-615-63360-2. This is a great book series, Vols 1, 2, and 3 which cover a good deal of info related to repair of vintage watches. Vol 1 has a chapter on the staking tool which is pretty much the contents of the original book mentioned above, and includes some additional info in the balance staff removal and installation including the friction style staffs. This book is currently available from AWCI/American Watch and Clockmakers Inst. website, and might be easier to obtain then the original recommendation as I think it has been out of print for a while. Another great resource for vintage watches is the Chicago School of Watchmaking correspondence course which is set up as lessons that go over a good amount of repairs to watches including staffing and has a small section on friction staffs as well. Have seen this available on CD on the 'bay in the past.

Hope this helps,

Don
Don,

Thank you very much for posting!

I did manage to find a used paperback version of the "Staking Tool" - but I will look for the antique watch restoration books as well. You can never have too many good books.

Will also see if I can find the Chicago School of Watchmaking stuff.

Thanks again!
-Paul
 

Marv

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This may be a stupid question, but could something like LocTite 609 Retaining Compound work if the balance's hole is enlarged?
 

gmorse

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Hi Marv,

but could something like LocTite 609 Retaining Compound work if the balance's hole is enlarged?
It depends on how much the hole is enlarged; retaining compounds vary in how much clearance they're designed to work with. There's also the problem of how you would ensure that the balance still runs true after the repair. Generally speaking, I regard this type of repair as a last resort!

Regards,

Graham
 

Skutt50

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Agree with Graham....

How would you center the balance arbor? A tiny bit to one side and the balanse will not run true....
 

Kenny S.

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could something like LocTite 609 Retaining Compound work if the balance's hole is enlarged?
I believe this could work provided the hole isn't so enlarged that there is "play" or slop between the hole and the arbor. Then there wouldn't be any concern of it going off center like Graham and Skutt were pointing out.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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I believe this could work provided the hole isn't so enlarged that there is "play" or slop between the hole and the arbor. Then there wouldn't be any concern of it going off center like Graham and Skutt were pointing out.
Update - I managed to free the original hub from the stake and separate it from the broken staff.

I have ordered some of the Loctite compound suggested (609) and will have a go at reuniting the hub to the balance wheel.

This is assuming that I find no "play" between the hub and the wheel - which I am pretty sure is the case. I won't know until I dry-fit them.

I will keep you posted with what I find.

Again, many thanks to all who share their insight.

-Paul
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Hi Marv,



It depends on how much the hole is enlarged; retaining compounds vary in how much clearance they're designed to work with. There's also the problem of how you would ensure that the balance still runs true after the repair. Generally speaking, I regard this type of repair as a last resort!

Regards,

Graham
Graham,

I assume first resort would be to install a replacements hub? Which I have not been able to locate. :(

Is there any other approach between this and using some sort of adhesive (such as Loctite 609) to reattach the original hub?

-Paul
 

gmorse

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Hi Paul,

I assume first resort would be to install a replacements hub? Which I have not been able to locate. :(

Is there any other approach between this and using some sort of adhesive (such as Loctite 609) to reattach the original hub?
A replacement hub would only be feasible if the hole in the balance crossing was undamaged; in removing the hub, which part came off worse, the hole or the hub?

If the hole is damaged it could be out of true and possibly out of flat, and thus needs boring true, which is a delicate job and requires a lathe. The first challenge if this is to work is to mount the balance so that the hole can be properly centred for boring. The next challenge is to make a new hub which fits both the enlarged hole and the new staff and then rivet it in place.

Failing the resources to achieve the above, an adhesive could be the next best solution, but you would still need to ensure that the hub was properly centred before the Loctite cures, and for that, a lathe is also the best tool, although a staking set could suffice at a pinch. The clearance between the hub and the hole would have to be minimal and within the limits for the particular Loctite you're using; the technical data sheets published by Loctite will help with this, because the viscosities and gap-filling properties vary. At the very least, you should try and use a product that's removable in case you aren't successful on the first attempt and need to repeat the process.

Regards,

Graham
 

Marv

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Graham,

I assume first resort would be to install a replacements hub? Which I have not been able to locate. :(

Is there any other approach between this and using some sort of adhesive (such as Loctite 609) to reattach the original hub?

-Paul
I just finished the chapter in Henry Fried's book Watch Repairer's Manual about balance wheels and at one point Fried mentions a method to fix something similar, stretching a balance arm, by carefully peening the balance arm with a stake (page 350). Not for the faint of heart, but it might be possible to use a stake to close the hole for the staff slightly.

Most likely you will need to rebalance the wheel (explained is subsequent chapters), but I think the theory is sound. Perhaps someone else might be able to expand on the idea.

The other method is to make a new staff with a slightly larger diameter on a jeweler's lathe.

The last resort is to send it to an expert for repair, but be prepared to limber up your wallet.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Hi Paul,



A replacement hub would only be feasible if the hole in the balance crossing was undamaged; in removing the hub, which part came off worse, the hole or the hub?

If the hole is damaged it could be out of true and possibly out of flat, and thus needs boring true, which is a delicate job and requires a lathe. The first challenge if this is to work is to mount the balance so that the hole can be properly centred for boring. The next challenge is to make a new hub which fits both the enlarged hole and the new staff and then rivet it in place.

Failing the resources to achieve the above, an adhesive could be the next best solution, but you would still need to ensure that the hub was properly centred before the Loctite cures, and for that, a lathe is also the best tool, although a staking set could suffice at a pinch. The clearance between the hub and the hole would have to be minimal and within the limits for the particular Loctite you're using; the technical data sheets published by Loctite will help with this, because the viscosities and gap-filling properties vary. At the very least, you should try and use a product that's removable in case you aren't successful on the first attempt and need to repeat the process.

Regards,

Graham
Thank you Sir!

I think it only feasible if there is no observable damage to the wheel or hub - at least none that would be an issue reuniting them with the result being true.

If I think it looks good under 45x zoom (stereo microscope) I'll proceed, if not - I'll wait for a better plan.

Thanks for the input,
-Paul
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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I just finished the chapter in Henry Fried's book Watch Repairer's Manual about balance wheels and at one point Fried mentions a method to fix something similar, stretching a balance arm, by carefully peening the balance arm with a stake (page 350). Not for the faint of heart, but it might be possible to use a stake to close the hole for the staff slightly.

Most likely you will need to rebalance the wheel (explained is subsequent chapters), but I think the theory is sound. Perhaps someone else might be able to expand on the idea.

The other method is to make a new staff with a slightly larger diameter on a jeweler's lathe.
Marv,

Roger that - I totally follow where you could close up the hole with some peening. Probably not something I would attempt at this point, but perhaps in the future.

I also wouldn't be able to make a staff - as I am lacking the tools and training for that.

Will see how things look under the microscope. And post my observations...

-Paul
 

gmorse

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Hi Paul,

I totally follow where you could close up the hole with some peening. Probably not something I would attempt at this point, but perhaps in the future.
I wouldn't, not ever! I think this is one of Mr Fried's more questionable sayings.

Regards,

Graham
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Looking at the wheel and the hub under 45x - everything looks really good. No discernible damage or distortion of any sort to the wheel.

The Bergeon #2810 did put a couple of marks in the hub, but I don't think any mass was removed. No doubt there has been a small redistribution of mass on the hub, but I think that will be very small.

The hub is still a press fit to the hole in the balance - so no slop (or problem) there.

I think things are about as good as they could be for me to attempt the repair with Loctite 609 (or any other adhesive material?).

I won't have the Loctite on hand before tomorrow - so, if anyone has a better suggestion, I would to hear.

Absent that, I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks!
-Paul
 

gmorse

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Hi Paul,

The hub is still a press fit to the hole in the balance - so no slop (or problem) there.

I think things are about as good as they could be for me to attempt the repair with Loctite 609 (or any other adhesive material?).
That sounds promising, just make sure that the hub is fully seated when you put it back. The 609 should do the job, it's designed to augment press-fitted joints, you only need a smear of it on the mating surface of the hub.

Regards,

Graham
 

Marv

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Jan 29, 2021
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Looking at the wheel and the hub under 45x - everything looks really good. No discernible damage or distortion of any sort to the wheel.

The Bergeon #2810 did put a couple of marks in the hub, but I don't think any mass was removed. No doubt there has been a small redistribution of mass on the hub, but I think that will be very small.

The hub is still a press fit to the hole in the balance - so no slop (or problem) there.

I think things are about as good as they could be for me to attempt the repair with Loctite 609 (or any other adhesive material?).

I won't have the Loctite on hand before tomorrow - so, if anyone has a better suggestion, I would to hear.

Absent that, I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks!
-Paul
Wow! Great news.

Any distortion of mass at the center of the wheel will have negligible effect so close to the center of rotation. The book I mentioned shows how to test the balance of the wheel and make adjustments should it be necessary, but I would suspect that will not likely be needed.

Let us know how it goes!
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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Wow! Great news.

Any distortion of mass at the center of the wheel will have negligible effect so close to the center of rotation. The book I mentioned shows how to test the balance of the wheel and make adjustments should it be necessary, but I would suspect that will not likely be needed.

Let us know how it goes!
I received the Loctite 609 yesterday - but didn't feel like messing with it after work. So, waited until today to clean everything and refit the hub to the balance.

I did the pressing-fitting with my K&D staking set. Used a large round flat stump to support the wheel on and flat nose stake to do the pushing.
The thought being that if anything (that I have) is going to keep things true, it's the staking set.

Much to my delight, the press-fit between the hub and the balance was so tight, it required a little tap with the hammer to get things fully seated.
Not sure that retaining compound was even necessary - but it certainly couldn't hurt. What little of it there is in that joint. I had to purchase a 50 ml bottle. Which is probably enough to perform similar "repair" on every balance that Waltham ever made. :chuckling:

Going to let that "set" overnight - and then reassemble the balance (staff and rollers). Will see if I can get a decent pic of the balance with the hub reattached before adding the other parts.

-Paul
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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A couple of pics.

Not the greatest - was using the autofocus - which was fine for the "flat" views. Not as fine the off-angle view.

From the "hub side"...
You can see where the hub is a little deformed from the roller removal tool. But all in all - I think I was very fortunate. Though, I'll reserve judgement until after I get everything reassembled.
P3112692.jpg


side opposite the hub...
P3112694.jpg


On angle to see the hub seated in the arm. Unfortunately, the focus is down on the balance screw threads. Could set aperture priority to have more in focus - but not going to bother with it now.
P3112693.jpg
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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UPDATE:

After installing the new staff (on balance wheel only - no rollers) - I installed in the movement to check that everything (at least staff and wheel) rotated freely and true.

That test went great. The semi-assembled balance spins freely in all orientations. Wheel seems to be true and "normal" (perpendicular) to the staff.

So far, so good. Will proceed with installing the rollers and see how things look with those on.

Again, many thanks to those who generously share their knowledge.

-Paul
 
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179

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I think you will be fine, just try to remember that blue thingy (hub), you might find it again on a Hamilton. Good luck.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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I think you will be fine, just try to remember that blue thingy (hub), you might find it again on a Hamilton. Good luck.
Thank you 179!

Yes - doing pretty well with regard to the balance repair. I think I got very lucky.

I do have a follow-up question relating to adjusting and repair.

The movement is generally showing great health - tons of amplitude and clean timing traces.

BUT - the top cap jewel has a small divot and the top hole jewel is cracked. I don't think the crack in the hole jewel is hurting anything yet - as it looks like everything is there and nothing has shifted. But of course, the divot in the top cap jewel is causing a measurable (albeit very small) problem.

Considering it's very slight - I can continue with the jewels as-is (are) and get some excellent time keeping. But is there any source for replacement cap and hole jewels? Do they exist as NOS parts (jewel and setting)? Have to be replaced by size in to the original settings? Or?

Many Thanks!
-Paul
 

179

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I would be more concerned about the cracked hole jewel than the cap. The pivot will eventually be scored. The hole jewel should be available in a setting. I do not remember if this movement has gold settings, if it does it will be harder to find a cap. The hole jewel is in a comp. setting.
 

Paul Helmuth

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Apr 25, 2019
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I would be more concerned about the cracked hole jewel than the cap. The pivot will eventually be scored. The hole jewel should be available in a setting. I do not remember if this movement has gold settings, if it does it will be harder to find a cap. The hole jewel is in a comp. setting.
So - the jewels (in the settings) should be interchangeable? At least generally?

I have a couple of other 16s Crescent Street movements that I could check.

-Paul
 

179

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Generally yes, but you need to verify the hole size is correct for the pivot size.
 
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