Tightening hunter pocket watch case covers...??

Bob Weit

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Dec 30, 2020
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Hello all - a friend of mine asked me to see if I would be able to get his old key wound Hampton (c1882) cleaned up and running..... I haven't started on that project yet, however I noticed that the rear outer cover will not stay snapped shut. I am trying to think of a "safe" method to restore the cover so it snaps and stays closed. My initial thought was to very gently tap around the outer most upper edge with a small brass hammer and effectively reduce the overall diameter of that cover. Now, I am talking just a tad so the cover stays closed - but before I began what some (or many) may view as a very crude method, I wanted to see if there was a more prudent road to follow. I expect that the decades of use have simply worn down the edges of both the cover and case, so the only thought I had was to reduce that overall cover diameter by a smidge.. I did a search for a post on this or a similar topic but found nothing, so while I tried, I apologize if this topic has been addressed and exists somewhere.

And I want to offer a sincere thank you to all who participate on this forum. I am very, VERY new to this (for me) hobby, and the help, knowledge and information available and willingly offered here is awesome. As an example - my wife recently asked me if I could clean and get my mother's (deceased) wrist watch running, as my wife used to wear it and wanted to again. In her mind, since I was working with pocket watches, working on a 5JH Wittnauer would be no different........ Well, after the shock of how small everything on that tiny wristwatch was, I found that it needed a new mainspring. At the time I had no idea how to identify which Wittnauer movement it was, and I turned here for help. Within a matter of minutes, a member not only told me what I had, but provided a link where I could source the exact spring needed. The spring arrived; was installed; and my wife can now enjoy my mother's old watch whenever she wishes.

So - thank you all, as I am sure I will return here again with more questions............
 

Paul_S

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Mar 27, 2015
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Pocket watch case repair is certainly its own craft. Before working on the case, try to determine if the failure to close is due to global wear or if there's a specific worn point, such as a case lip. Depending on the case, it might be a worn lip.

Likewise, the case back may be warped or misshaped rather than worn, and the hinge might be misaligned.

It helps to thoroughly clean a case first to remove the crud, metal shavings, old beeswax, and other things that you find on old hunter cases.
 
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Jerry Kieffer

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May 31, 2005
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Hello all - a friend of mine asked me to see if I would be able to get his old key wound Hampton (c1882) cleaned up and running..... I haven't started on that project yet, however I noticed that the rear outer cover will not stay snapped shut. I am trying to think of a "safe" method to restore the cover so it snaps and stays closed. My initial thought was to very gently tap around the outer most upper edge with a small brass hammer and effectively reduce the overall diameter of that cover. Now, I am talking just a tad so the cover stays closed - but before I began what some (or many) may view as a very crude method, I wanted to see if there was a more prudent road to follow. I expect that the decades of use have simply worn down the edges of both the cover and case, so the only thought I had was to reduce that overall cover diameter by a smidge.. I did a search for a post on this or a similar topic but found nothing, so while I tried, I apologize if this topic has been addressed and exists somewhere.

And I want to offer a sincere thank you to all who participate on this forum. I am very, VERY new to this (for me) hobby, and the help, knowledge and information available and willingly offered here is awesome. As an example - my wife recently asked me if I could clean and get my mother's (deceased) wrist watch running, as my wife used to wear it and wanted to again. In her mind, since I was working with pocket watches, working on a 5JH Wittnauer would be no different........ Well, after the shock of how small everything on that tiny wristwatch was, I found that it needed a new mainspring. At the time I had no idea how to identify which Wittnauer movement it was, and I turned here for help. Within a matter of minutes, a member not only told me what I had, but provided a link where I could source the exact spring needed. The spring arrived; was installed; and my wife can now enjoy my mother's old watch whenever she wishes.

So - thank you all, as I am sure I will return here again with more questions............
Bob

My personal method of dealing with case covers is as follows.

First, if anyone has modified the cover, I return it back to its original shape with out regard to its ability to snap shut.

For quick illustration purposes, the photos will show a chuck with hard jaws and a screw back case.

(1) First I mount a set of machinable aluminum or plastic Pie jaws on my lathe chuck first photo and machine a safe, secure supportive pocket for the case.

(2) The cover is then removed by removing the hinge pin.

(3) The case is mounted in the lathe along with a roller in the tool post per second photo.

(4) The roller is positioned slightly outward in regard to the lip. A slight amount of metal just behind the lip is moved ever so slightly outward increasing the OD ever so slightly, until proper resistance is achieved. The end result is an invisible repair.

While generally not, its possible other items may require removal such as a case spring to perform this procedure.

Jerry Kieffer

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