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Should have asked this sooner

Paul Helmuth

NAWCC Member
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

NAWCC Member
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

NAWCC Member
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

NAWCC Member
Apr 25, 2019
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3
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

NAWCC Member
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
 
Last edited:

Paul_S

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Mar 27, 2015
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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

NAWCC Member
Apr 25, 2019
29
2
3
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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Sep 16, 2008
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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

Registered User
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

NAWCC Member
Apr 25, 2019
29
2
3
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.
 

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