this poor pocket watch

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
In my effort to up my skills, I got a rather mangled pocketwatch for a few bucks. I liked the case (equally mangled though). It said it didn't run, but sometimes you get lucky. Well ... about 10 minutes into this disassembly it started feeling like an archeological dig gone terribly wrong. I wondered what one does with something like this. My observation:

Metal dial has no feet, appears hand cut and is rusted. Hour hand only, bent.
One dial screw missing.
Pallet fork missing (!)
Four wheel pivot badly bent, other side appears slightly bent also
Center wheel teeth bent in various places, wheel is bent
Fourth wheel bridge jewel blown
Fourth wheel bottom jewel cracked
Main spring set and not attached

Ironically, the balance, which was advertised as broken was not. It appears someone had trouble removing the cannon pinion and wrenched on the center wheel.

The plate has a cool dragonfly mark with the letters D.J. It is a 0,800 case, grouse, crescent/crown marked "Tilleul".

I just can't imagine getting something like this to go, finding a replacement pallet fork for a totally unknown watch, likely a new center wheel also ... really too bad. Thoughts? I was proud that I did get the friction fit cannon pinion out this time with the hammer as you advised before, and also got the barrel loose this time. It was similar to the another watch I posted about where I had trouble with that - so you have helped me learn!

s-l1600 (1).jpg s-l1600.jpg 2021-03-30 15.26.30.jpg 2021-03-30 15.27.06.jpg center-wheel (1).jpg center-wheel (4).jpg fourthwheel (1).jpg fourthwheel (2).jpg fourthwheelbottom-jewel (5).jpg fourthwheelbridge-jewel (2).jpg PICA0022.jpg PICA0033.jpg
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Well hey now, wait a minute ... I just looked up cylinder escapement (total newbie here), that does not need a pallet fork? I had not encountered a pocket watch with that yet. That is totally cool, might there be hope for this yet then?
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
No kidding! I know how to pick them apparently. The center wheel is a big concern with the teeth all bent. And I already broke the pivot off another fourth wheel that was bent .. I saw the video on how to fix that but I have none of that equipment sadly. Not yet anyway! I didn't even look close but I think these are rubbed in jewels too ... Well I'm game .. where would one start? Replacing the dial or adding feet I've read how, finding a dial screw can be done, replacing hands and main spring also. The tough parts are the rubbed in jewels, the center wheel and the fourth pivot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: roughbarked

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,791
211
63
Gothenburg
Country
When I take apart a cylinder movement I avoid removing the small plate with the bottom jewels for the balance. That plate is removable and can be adjusted to get the proper interaction between the escape wheel and cylinder. If not removed there is a good chanse the watch will run good as is and one will avoid that step in the assembly.

I don't know how good you are at micro mechanics but here is what I actually did a long time ago on some similar movements, when I got started in watchmaking....

1 - The center wheel. I could not find a replacement wheel so I filed away the damaged teeth. I then sourced a similar wheel and cut out a piece to replace what was filed away. Soldered in place.

2 - The other wheel with bent teeth I would try to bend straight. There is a good chanse it will work but if not, time for a second replacement as per above.

3 - The fourth wheel might be straightened. I use heat and a heated pair of pliars. Bend only a little at the time and repeat many times. If you get it close to straight, don't over work it. Better with a slight bend than a broken pivot.

4 - You need new jewels. I don't know where you would find any except eBay. Unfortunately if one finds an assortment the usable jewels are often missing...... But it may be worth a try...
To fit them there are some hand tools. They typically come in sets of three and one is for opening the seating and the other set for closing.

The watch itself is not worth the effort but as has been said very usable for training.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,
I just looked up cylinder escapement (total newbie here), that does not need a pallet fork? I had not encountered a pocket watch with that yet.
That's correct, the escape wheel engages directly with the cylinder which forms most of the balance staff. It's a 'frictional rest' escapement, unlike the lever, which is detached.

Skutt is right, nothing is beyond repair, it just depends on the resources you're prepared to commit to it.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thank you Skutt and Graham for your valuable advice. I have not done mechanics, nor micromechanics, but I have a love for restoring vintage things. As much as I'd like to stay in the realm of just cleaning and replacing main springs, it appears these old things need more and so I must learn. One thing I wondered is whether there are courses where one might learn these particular skills. I don't have much interest in modern watches, just old pocket watches. I wish there was a course in pocket watch repair and everything that comes with it!

Well shocks you know there was a set of those expander tools on ebay a few weeks back, I should have snagged them. Do you know the proper term for them? I had a hard time finding them last night when I was searching. Good to note on the rubbed-in jewels, I think I will start getting what I can, as it seems I'm now 2 months and some funds into this "hobby" and still enjoying it.

Thanks Skutt on the note on the plate jewel, I will not remove it (so far I haven't for any of the watches so far, worried I would strip the tiny screws). Someone did try and that screw is not looking great.

PICA0014.jpg
 

Marv

NAWCC Member
Jan 29, 2021
75
31
18
66
Country
Tinkering with my first cadaver movement last night and was a little surprised how tight many of the screws were. When I got to one of tiny screws for one of the jewels I was relieved that one of them turned with less force. Ahh...

Unfortunately, only the head came off. :rolleyes:
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Oh no!! See Marv, that's exactly what I'm afraid of with this one, so I'll leave it alone.

Cadaver movement ha. Nice term.
 

Marv

NAWCC Member
Jan 29, 2021
75
31
18
66
Country
Think of it this way, the screw was bad before I put a screwdriver on it, so it still would have needed to be replaced. Sometimes ignorance is not bliss.

Well, they wouldn't let us dissect live people in anatomy class, so it seems only fitting to start with a dead movement. :)
 
  • Love
Reactions: Quinn

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Quinn,
Do you know the proper term for them? I had a hard time finding them last night when I was searching. Good to note on the rubbed-in jewels, I think I will start getting what I can, as it seems I'm now 2 months and some funds into this "hobby" and still enjoying it.
These are openers and closers for rubbed-in jewel settings.

Jewel setting openers + closers.JPG

The openers are on the top layer and the closers are underneath. The openers are only used once the jewel is removed.

The problem with the jewels themselves is that they haven't been made for a good many years and without looking closely at them under decent magnification it's hard to tell the difference between them and the later 'friction fit' pressed in type, mainly supplied now by Seitz. In essence the later friction type have cylindrical outer diameters, whereas the rubbed-in ones are more chamfered on the edge, to allow room for the setting to be rubbed over the edge to hold them in place. If the setting is deep enough you can sometimes get away with rubbing in a Seitz jewel but that's not guaranteed by any means. I've seen videos of people grinding down the edges of friction jewels to form the chamfer, but even if done very carefully this can result in an eccentric jewel.

Removing a rubbed-in jewel from an old setting without damaging it so that it can be reused is a delicate task and the success rate isn't good.

You might find that the vendors on the auction sites don't always know the difference, or indeed the exact sizes of what they're selling.

Regards,

Graham
 

Quinn

Registered User
Feb 18, 2021
68
5
8
Country
Thanks Graham , yep those are the tools I saw for sale only in the familiar purple box. Now of course I cannot find any. So rubbed in jewels are not an easy find. You'd think someone might manufacture a bunch and sell them, as I'm sure there is still some call for it.
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,791
211
63
Gothenburg
Country
Unfortunately, only the head came off.
Broken screws happens.....

If you soak the plate in luke warm saturated Alum solution, the remainder of the screw (and any other non coated steel part) will be gone in some 24 hours.........

You can cover "any other" steel parts with some bees wax to protect them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Quinn

Marv

NAWCC Member
Jan 29, 2021
75
31
18
66
Country
Broken screws happens.....

If you soak the plate in luke warm saturated Alum solution, the remainder of the screw (and any other non coated steel part) will be gone in some 24 hours.........

You can cover "any other" steel parts with some bees wax to protect them.
Can you expand on the solution needed?

That sounds interesting. I know that some of the acid (I think it's acid) solutions used in anodizing will dissolve broken taps.
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,791
211
63
Gothenburg
Country
Ask your pharasist for Alum. In some places you can find it in grocery stores. It is a white substance, looking like sugar and you dissolve it in tap water. Add alum until the crystals does not dissolve any more (=saturated). I
I have a one liter plastic bowl with a lid to store the solution. When I need it I simply cover any steel part I want to save with bees wax and soak the plate in the solution. I leave it in a warm place (typically some 30-40 degrees centigrade) until the next day. Then the steel has turned to a black powder that easily can be cleaned up.

It does not affect brass so other parts are safe. Sometimes a slight blackenening of the brass but easily cleaned up. Any stainless steel part also appears to be unaffected.

I leave the solution with a lid on until next time. It lasts for years if you don't use it "daily".
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,339
2,038
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Marv,

It's aluminium potassium sulphate, which has several other uses, including stopping the bleeding if you cut yourself shaving, in the pickling of vegetables and as an ingredient of deodorants.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: roughbarked

Marv

NAWCC Member
Jan 29, 2021
75
31
18
66
Country
Thanks to all. Easy to order on Amazon.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
164,986
Messages
1,435,669
Members
85,907
Latest member
Fed1984
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre