Tightening a Snap-On Bezel (pocket watch)

svenedin

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I have a 9ct gold pocket watch that has a standard snap on bezel that does not snap on very well. It will stay in place but is easily removed with a finger nail and has detached itself in my pocket on occasion.

A lazy solution might be to use a couple of tiny dabs of hypocement to hold the bezel on securely. Hypocement can be removed with alcohol so it isn't a messy solution that would spoil the watch in any permanent way.

A better solution I think would be to correct the bezel so that it snaps on tightly. I assume that this could be achieved by very gentle and tiny bends inwards to the bezel in a few spot around the circumference. This is 9ct gold so quite soft and easily bent as compared to base metal. I saw an old advert for a vintage pair of special pliers that was designed to tighten the lip on a hunter lid.

Obviously, I do not want to harm the watch but it is a nuisance if it has to go to a case maker or jeweller for such a small thing.

Has anyone tried to do this and how did they do it? I am thinking pliers and protecting the metal with some thin leather.

Stephen

IMG_8999.jpeg IMG_9001.jpeg
 

musicguy

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I saw an old advert for a vintage pair of special pliers that was designed to tighten the lip on a hunter lid.
I'd love to see that, or an actual one.


Good luck with the repair.

Rob
 

svenedin

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I'd love to see that, or an actual one.


Good luck with the repair.

Rob
I can't remember where I saw it but if I remember I will post here! The tool was marketed for watchmakers to adjust the lip on a hunter watch where it engages with the latch so that they would close properly. The advert suggested it was a quick a simple fix that avoided the need to send the watch to a case maker.
 
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musicguy

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adjust the lip on a hunter watch where it engages with the latch so that they would close properly.
I know, I would love to have one :)

Rob
 

musicguy

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That is fantastic and the image of it fixing a case is great.

Thanks(I want one)
Rob
 

svenedin

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It pays to look before you leap as they say. Closer investigation has revealed that a minor bruise on the case has distorted the raised ring on watch that engages with the snap ring of the bezel. It is very slightly out of round and pushed inwards. It's very hard to show in a photo but quite obvious in front of me. Not a job I can do!

IMG_9004.jpeg
 

darrahg

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The pliers shown in the link (thread #5) are great for re-forming covers but a case body is stiffer and when compressed (due to impact at the edge) I generally work from the inner side with a round faced punch and hammer. I use a sand bag as the work base and keep at it until it has regained its shape.

When a flared edge is damaged, I use a piece of flat smooth steel and rub the area outward until it becomes stretched and can then be finished to near original shape.

Final finishing is done with small files.

It seems as though every task requires its own method or special maneuver when working dents out so I can only generalize here.
 

svenedin

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The pliers shown in the link (thread #5) are great for re-forming covers but a case body is stiffer and when compressed (due to impact at the edge) I generally work from the inner side with a round faced punch and hammer. I use a sand bag as the work base and keep at it until it has regained its shape.

When a flared edge is damaged, I use a piece of flat smooth steel and rub the area outward until it becomes stretched and can then be finished to near original shape.

Final finishing is done with small files.

It seems as though every task requires its own method or special maneuver when working dents out so I can only generalize here.
Thank you. I thought the problem was that the bezel had lost its "snap" but it is actually a problem with the body of the watch which I think I will not attempt to repair. I can temporarily fix with a few spots of hypocement until it can go to a case maker for a definitive repair.
 
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4thdimension

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I have one of those case lid pliers and my sense is that unless you really know what you are doing you can make things worse. I only used it once.
I agree. It takes a lot of observation to understand how to.massage a case back to functionality. Correcting many of the problems involves undoing the prior work of others. Metal that is gone does not magically regrow. If you bend a bezel in one area there is an equal deformity in another. I have two of these tools and they aren’t a magic bullet for case repairs although they have come in handy for other things. -Cort
 

Jerry Kieffer

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I have a 9ct gold pocket watch that has a standard snap on bezel that does not snap on very well. It will stay in place but is easily removed with a finger nail and has detached itself in my pocket on occasion.

A lazy solution might be to use a couple of tiny dabs of hypocement to hold the bezel on securely. Hypocement can be removed with alcohol so it isn't a messy solution that would spoil the watch in any permanent way.

A better solution I think would be to correct the bezel so that it snaps on tightly. I assume that this could be achieved by very gentle and tiny bends inwards to the bezel in a few spot around the circumference. This is 9ct gold so quite soft and easily bent as compared to base metal. I saw an old advert for a vintage pair of special pliers that was designed to tighten the lip on a hunter lid.

Obviously, I do not want to harm the watch but it is a nuisance if it has to go to a case maker or jeweller for such a small thing.

Has anyone tried to do this and how did they do it? I am thinking pliers and protecting the metal with some thin leather.

Stephen

View attachment 718542 View attachment 718543
Stephen

I do not have your watch in hand, however, I typically reshape the OD and ID of a lip by mounting the case in the Lathe and rolling it with a ball bearing per attached photo. Again without the case, I can not suggest a specific position of the bearing, but the photo gives the general idea.

Once utilized, bearing position and tension becomes apparent. The procedure should be worked slow to achieve desired tension without redoing either the ID or OD.
Once complete the repair is invisible.

Jerry Kieffer

1569FC87-0618-4204-93A3-E26392F57C07_1_201_a.jpeg
 

svenedin

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Stephen

I do not have your watch in hand, however, I typically reshape the OD and ID of a lip by mounting the case in the Lathe and rolling it with a ball bearing per attached photo. Again without the case, I can not suggest a specific position of the bearing, but the photo gives the general idea.

Once utilized, bearing position and tension becomes apparent. The procedure should be worked slow to achieve desired tension without redoing either the ID or OD.
Once complete the repair is invisible.

Jerry Kieffer

View attachment 718657
Jerry thank you. That’s a very elegant method. I can see in my mind how that would work very nicely. The difference between the bezel being a poor fit and an excellent fit is tiny.
 

svenedin

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I agree. It takes a lot of observation to understand how to.massage a case back to functionality. Correcting many of the problems involves undoing the prior work of others. Metal that is gone does not magically regrow. If you bend a bezel in one area there is an equal deformity in another. I have two of these tools and they aren’t a magic bullet for case repairs although they have come in handy for other things. -Cort
Yes. I’ve seen plenty of cases where attempts at repair seem to have made the case look worse. It’s a particular sin to damage hallmarks. Such damage can often be seen where a dent in the lid or back cover has been clumsily repaired. When I have attempted dent repair myself I have used wooden dapping tools and a rubbing action rather than hitting the tool with a hammer. This is slow and hard work but much less likely to make the problem worse.
 

svenedin

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To add to the above, I've seen cases that look like they have been peppered with shot there are so many high spots from metal punches being used. Then they have been polished so that case lids are excessively thin and still all the high spots remain! Definitely something to approach with caution and if in doubt leave it to the experts.
 

svenedin

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I sorted one problem out today. When I bought this watch years ago it had a mineral glass that would not stay in. I tried to refit it but whilst it would go in (with a heated bezel) it would not stay in. I replaced the mineral glass with acrylic and that worked for years. Today I revisited this, years later, and noticed that a ding in the bezel had slightly distorted the channel that the glass sits in. I could feel it whilst cleaning out the glass channel with a cocktail stick. I made a tiny adjustment, really tiny, with a screwdriver and lo and behold the original mineral glass (which I had kept) went in and stayed in.

IMG_9033.jpeg

Fried bezel for breakfast

IMG_9019.jpeg

Original mineral glass back in place

IMG_9020.jpeg

Done

IMG_9028.jpeg
 

svenedin

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I would like to thank members for their help with this small but important job. I have now finished the job (which took about 1 hour work and 4 hours thinking time) and I am very pleased.

I found 3 issues:

1) A little ding in the glass channel of the bezel prevented a mineral glass from staying in place. A plastic crystal would stay in place but not a mineral glass. I found the tiny distortion and corrected it with a screwdriver (it required a very small bend). Watch now has a glass crystal.

2) The bezel was not a good fit and could fall off in the pocket. I thought the problem was with the bezel but it was the body of the watch that was the problem. A small bruise on the band of the watch (more like a flat than a bruise) had distorted the lip that the bezel sits on out of round. I have pushed out the bruise from the band, corrected the lip and the bezel now snaps on securely.

3) With the movement out I noticed that the "ledge" inside the case that movement screws hold on to was bent from over tightening of the screws. I have improved this by bending the metal back. I think this is a problem with negative set watches (as this one is) because the movement is pushing against the spring of the setting mechanism and is always trying to pop out to some extent.

The tools I used:

Jewellers leather sand bag, nylon dent removal tool with interchangeable heads (actually for motor car dents), wooden dapping tools, polished steel doming punch (2mm), small hammer with plastic and hard rubber head.

Dent tool with interchangeable heads. Bullet type head fitted

IMG_9042.jpeg

Gently pushing and rubbing against the lip that was out of round. Metal doming punch was also necessary with a few gentle taps of a hammer.

IMG_9043.jpeg

2mm polished steel doming punch. This was also able to get inside the band to remove the flat spot bruise. No tapping used here just rubbing and pushing carefully.

IMG_9045.jpeg

Distortion where the movement screws push on the case

IMG_9044.jpeg

Not perfect but much improved. A few taps with the doming punch was all that was needed.

IMG_9046.jpeg


Incidentally, I feel a bit daft for never really realising why movements could be loose in pocket watches but here is the answer. It seems most watchmakers do not realise either and tighten the movements down excessively making the problem worse (sometimes even chewing the metal away under the movement screw).

Now I suppose I have no excuse not to service the movement.........

The take home message from this thread is: Look before you leap. The problem may not be where you think it is. Another recent thread described a problem with a mainspring barrel. The OP thought the issue was with the lid and wanted to planish it but the problem was not the lid but the lip on the barrel.....

Stephen
 
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svenedin

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I couldn't put the movement back in that nice case without a service could I? Unusually, the watch already has an "unbreakable" type mainspring but not the modern "S" shape. I do have a new mainspring but I will clean this one up and reuse it providing it is the correct spring. I don't take it for granted that a spring in the barrel has the correct dimensions. Movement is in absolutely amazing condition for a watch from 1929.

IMG_9051.jpeg
 

svenedin

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Hmm. This doesn't look right does it? It's the inside surface of the setting mechanism cover. I may have another I can examine for comparison.

IMG_9053.jpeg

IMG_8752.jpeg
 
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svenedin

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Cleaned and all back together again. Seems to be running well. I was having trouble oiling endstones (particularly putting them back together again once the endstone was oiled). Somebody recommended the Bergeon auto-oiler. I got one and this is the first time I have used it. Expensive for what it is but marvellous! So much easier.
 
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svenedin

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Did you work out which Revie it is?
This one? Revue 31. Same as the last one I did but this one 15 jewels and last one was 17. Last one had endless problems and no less than 4 broken jewels. This one was a dream in comparison. Really good condition. Looks either hardly ever used or maintained by a very good watchmaker over the years. I have a number of other Revue 31 based watches in the queue. I like them. There are a few differences: some have a pallet bridge with 2x screws that also does the banking (fixed banking) and others have a pallet bridge with 1x larger screw and separate banking pins. The variant with a 2 screw pallet bridge is a nuisance. The bridge is really unstable and likes to fall out of place before the screws are in. Really fiddly. I bet that is why they changed to the 1 screw type. Other than that the variants have different jewel settings and minor variations in the setting mechanism covers.
 
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svenedin

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I found a few things wrong with this watch. Par for the course I suppose. The long pivot of the 4th wheel (that the second hand attaches to) was bent. I do not have the tools or skill to properly straighten a pivot so I swapped the 4th wheel for a good one from a scrap movement. I also discovered that the escape wheel had a lot of endshake so again I swapped it for a good one. The watch was really wild with those 2 faults, timekeeping all over the place on the timing machine.

On assembly the watch seemed to run reasonably but not as well as I had hoped. It showed a big drop in amplitude dial down which I really was puzzled about. I checked and checked that the hairspring was not rubbing but it was not. Eventually I traced the problem to the dial side balance endstone setting which was loose. It needs to be held down firmly with a probe as it is screwed down because if it is not it can remain loose even when the screw seems fully home.

I'll let it run for 24 hours and then regulate it. Seems a bit fast at the moment (25 seconds/day) but we'll see in due course (it was significantly slow before service). Amplitude DU/DD around 290 and 250 PU with the correct beat angle set for a Revue 31 (49 degrees).

This was loose:

IMG_9054.jpeg

Seems happy now:

 

svenedin

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Watch ran overnight and I put it on the timing machine this morning (half wind). There is little bit of noise in one of the traces which is more noticeable pendant up (PU) than dial up (DU). Not quite sure about that. The escapement (exit pallet was oiled) is lubricated but perhaps not quite enough. I'll also check the pallet bridge is tight as in the past I have forgotten to fully tighten it down. Regulator is amidships at the moment. 20 second positional error which might suggest a balance poising issue but I think the escapement needs checking before considering that. Perhaps even pallet fork worn pivots creating excessive endshake (escape wheel had excessive endshake and has been replaced).

Dial UP

IMG_9059.jpeg

Pendant Up

IMG_9060.jpeg
 
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gmorse

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Hi Stephen,

There's certainly something going on with one of the pallets; if there is excessive sideshake in the lever pivots, that could account for it, and that pallet could be mis-locking. This movement allows a clear view of the pallets through the holes in the bottom plate, so that's the place to see it.

Regards,

Graham
 

svenedin

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Hi Stephen,

There's certainly something going on with one of the pallets; if there is excessive sideshake in the lever pivots, that could account for it, and that pallet could be mis-locking. This movement allows a clear view of the pallets through the holes in the bottom plate, so that's the place to see it.

Regards,

Graham
Thanks Graham. I will investigate and report back in due course........
 

svenedin

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I investigated. I checked the fork for endshake and side shake. Seemed OK. Checked the escape wheel jewels and fork jewels (both pivot and pallets). OK, no chips. Cleaned escape wheel and fork, reassembled, re-oiled escapement and re-tested. Just as bad.........

Switched the fork for a spare and it seems much much better. Not perfect but perhaps there is some irregularity in the escape wheel.

Diagnosis? Not sure. Perhaps a pallet stone has been re-fitted in past incorrectly.

Before

IMG_9067.jpeg

After swapping for another fork (ignore amplitude as hardly any wind)

IMG_9069.jpeg
 

gmorse

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Hi Stephen,

I think your results confirm that there is a problem with one of the pallets, but the necessary adjustments are probably very small even though the effects are quite large, and without an accurate reference gauge, unless there's a really obvious displacement it's down to trial and error, so best left alone if you have a good lever and pallets.

Regards,

Graham
 

svenedin

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Hi Stephen,

I think your results confirm that there is a problem with one of the pallets, but the necessary adjustments are probably very small even though the effects are quite large, and without an accurate reference gauge, unless there's a really obvious displacement it's down to trial and error, so best left alone if you have a good lever and pallets.

Regards,

Graham
Yes I agree Graham. It's beyond my ability and with parts on hand I don't see the point. All the parts I swap from movements end up tins labelled with the calibre, manufacturer and "faulty" on the lid. At some point they would make good practice parts for bent pivots, repivoting etc etc.

I went through my tin of pocket watch hands and gave the watch some blued hands in better condition. They came from yet another JW Benson Revue 31loose movement.

I did notice that the hand setting was far too easy and difficult to set the time precisely due to play (nothing happens when turning the crown and then suddenly the hands move). A new dial washer has sorted that. Just like the hand tension washer in a clock.

So in summary:

1) Dents repaired
2) New glass (mineral) fitted
3) New mainspring
4) Replaced 4th wheel with good used part
5) Replaced escape wheel with good used part
6) Replaced pallet fork with good used part
7) New dial washer

and of course full disassembly, cleaning and lubrication.

I will give it some pocket time now!

IMG_9070.jpeg
 
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svenedin

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PS: After an hour or so the trace settled nicely. Oil being distributed on escapement I imagine. Yes it's fast but I will regulate it in due course.

IMG_9071.jpeg
 
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svenedin

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Problems were not over with this watch. I looked at the trace in post #33 and although it is much better there is a "blip" to the trace that occurs at regular intervals. I thought this might be a damaged tooth on the escape wheel so I investigated further. No damaged tooth on the escape wheel but I noticed (from the top) a cracked jewel for the 4th wheel in the bridge. How I missed this I do not know but it is not the first time this has happened. I should have been suspicious because the long pivot of the first wheel was bent. I suspect this is from rough handling putting the second hand back or trying to lever it off.

The cracked jewel is a rubbed in jewel and of the old fashioned very pale pink. Even if I had the skills and tools to replace it with a friction jewel (which I do not) it would not be a colour match and would be an eyesore. Fortunately, I had another bridge from an identical JW Benson movement and I simply swapped the bridge to a bridge with identical pale jewels that are undamaged.

I then proceeded to check every jewel in the movement again and found no further problems.

IMG_9073.jpeg
 

gmorse

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Hi Stephen,
I suspect this is from rough handling putting the second hand back or trying to lever it off.
This can also happen if the movement is placed dial down on a hard surface once the dial is removed; a good argument for always using a movement holder!

Regards,

Graham
 

svenedin

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Hi Stephen,


This can also happen if the movement is placed dial down on a hard surface once the dial is removed; a good argument for always using a movement holder!

Regards,

Graham
Yes indeed. It’s an old injury and not one I caused! When I run pegwood round the cracked jewel on either side I can not really feel the cracks but I changed it anyway.
 
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svenedin

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Before service this watch was slow even with the regulator hard over to fast.

Now the regulator is amidships and I am pleased. Beat error perhaps a little higher than I would like but I am going to leave it for now.

One thing I cannot work out right now is: Consistent across DU/DD and PD but loses significantly PU. Odd........Current hypothesis is it must be the hairspring rubbing somewhere......

IMG_9075.jpeg
 
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svenedin

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I could not find any evidence of the hairspring rubbing anywhere. I thought the overcoil might be rubbing against the balance cock but it is not. PU is 25 seconds per day slow compared to DU/DD/PD.

I am thinking this is a poising issue. Maybe the balance has a heavy spot?
 
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svenedin

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I just read the excellent article on dynamic poising by DeweyC. I need to track down some timing washers and will have a go. There is no amplitude difference between PU and PD which is why I think this is a poising issue. I will do the testing recommended in the article.
 

svenedin

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I have the luxury of a spare balance from a scrap plate which I had previously cleaned and is ready to go. I swapped balances and the watch is very consistent for position with the other balance. I do not think it is pivots (bent or worn) because the amplitude is identical DU/DD and there is only the expected drop in amplitude in the vertical positions. Amplitude is consistent across the vertical positions within less than 5 degrees.
 

Skutt50

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So you did not find why the first balance was not keeping time PU......

Have a look at the pivots. Measure thickness and check surface under a microscope. Perhaps one pivot is worn and allows the balance to shift slightly in the PU position.
 

svenedin

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So you did not find why the first balance was not keeping time PU......

Have a look at the pivots. Measure thickness and check surface under a microscope. Perhaps one pivot is worn and allows the balance to shift slightly in the PU position.
I did not find out why. I do not have a microscope or an accurate way to measure the pivots unfortunately. I plotted a graph as in the DeweyC article and it is clearly positional without a change in amplitude but I agree that wear is likely because it is an old watch, 90 odd years old and unknown service history. I would like to have the tools and skills to replace staffs as they are available NOS and not expensive. A stereo dissecting microscope is on my wish list along with many other things; a bench micrometer, staking set, etc, etc, etc.
 

svenedin

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Hi Stephen,

Have you demagnetised?

Regards,

Graham
Yes I did but I can always do it again! I studied the running watch from every conceivable angle under magnification and with good illumination. I even studied the running watch in the PU position whilst it was on the timing machine.
 

Al J

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I just read the excellent article on dynamic poising by DeweyC. I need to track down some timing washers and will have a go. There is no amplitude difference between PU and PD which is why I think this is a poising issue. I will do the testing recommended in the article.
Dynamic poising is the very last resort to correct these issues. Before you do this, you need to make sure absolutely everything else is perfect, or you will be chasing your tail. When employed properly, it is a great tool to get very good timing results, but it's no magic bullet to fix all manner of other problems that can show up as positional errors in the vertical positions.
 

svenedin

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Dynamic poising is the very last resort to correct these issues. Before you do this, you need to make sure absolutely everything else is perfect, or you will be chasing your tail. When employed properly, it is a great tool to get very good timing results, but it's no magic bullet to fix all manner of other problems that can show up as positional errors in the vertical positions.
Yes and that is why I won’t attempt dynamic poising on the problem balance when I cannot determine whether the problem might be caused by something else. For now with an identical balance from a scrap movement it is within 5 seconds across all positions.
 

svenedin

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I decided to put some of my other pocket watches that use the Revue 31 movement on the timing machine. They are all just as bad or much worse! :emoji_laughing:. I use those watches without a second thought.......in the real world I've never noticed their timekeeping was that bad.........The one I have had in my pocket for several weeks is awful!

The timing machine has been a blessing and a curse for me (as an amateur). For years I was happy if I could get a non-running watch to run reliably and I only regulated them by using them and adjusting over several weeks. I would look at the balance and if the swing looked good and the tick was strong (without extra noises) I called that good. Now I am fussing over whether a watch keeps time across 6 positions! In other words, I think I am being a bit too fussy.
 
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svenedin

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Thank you Skutt50 for encouraging me to persist in trying to find the fault. This morning with fresh eyes I discovered a crack in the dial side lever pivot jewel. This fits the symptoms of a positional fault and a noisy trace for one pallet only in certain positions. I only have a 10x loupe. That's the highest magnification I can do and it is very marginal for a jewel so small. I had started out re-cleaning the lever pivot jewels and was pegging them out with sharpened peg wood dipped in isopropyl alcohol. The dial side lever pivot jewel never seemed to get properly "clean" as I looked at it through a loupe with a light shining from behind. I stared and stared at it and cleaned it again. Was it a chip? It just did not look right. Then I got my head torch and put it on a fairly dim setting (so as not to blind myself) on the bench and used it like a lightbox to allow me to look at the jewels and move them in the light. Eventually I spotted the crack with the angle just so...........

So now I am a bit stumped yet again. Old rubbed in jewels of probably funny sizes. I could try to farm the job out or possibly I could use a good donor plate. It gets a bit silly though with a movement made up of parts from other movements but they are all Benson movements of the same caliber and era. Fortunately, these watches are not serial matched to the case or any parts serialised to a particular movement........
 

svenedin

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Jan 28, 2010
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I decided it was not good practice to be mixing parts around so I have decided to service an identical orphan (uncased) movement I have and put the broken jewel movement in a tin with all its original parts with the intention that it is repaired in due course. In fact the movements do have a sort of serial number to the extent that the main train bridge and main plate are stamped with a 3 digit number that varies between movements and is not the caliber number. There also seem to be slightly different standards of the gilding but it is hard to differentiate whether this was an original difference or wear and tear over time.

With this movement I did a pre-clean of all the jewels with peg wood dipped in isopropyl alcohol and thorough inspection BEFORE the parts go in the ultrasonic. I have been caught out too many times before to be laboriously cleaning movements that actually cannot run due to broken jewels!
 
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