Twilight Zone uses watches??

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by bchaps, Oct 18, 2009.

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  1. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

    Dec 16, 2001
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    About a year ago, a client came in with a beautiful 18s Illinois purchased on eBay. He told me it ran nicely for a while and now doesn't even tick. After carefully looking inside the movement, I observed a dial screw lodged between a gear and pinion, stopping all power transfer. Probably not too unusual and easily explained in this case since the dial foot was missing.

    However, this past week I encountered a similar incident but one that isn't as easily explained. The movement would not run at all when delivered to me. While the balance wheel was capable of swinging nicely, the watch had no power beyond the second wheel. In fact, the second wheel was frozen. I let down the spring and noticed a flea-sized jewel screw on my bench mat and assumed the physical action and bumping caused a less-than-tight screw to come undone. But the screw was curiously small, much like one would expect to find in a jewel setting on a 21/0 ladies watch.

    As the disassembly continued, there were clear indications the watch had been dunked previously and when the spring barrel was opened, it was filled with a green syrup-like goo. A dunkard watch! Yes, now for sure, this little machine had been submersed while completely assembled in cleaning solution which never drained fully from the barrel and then with time changed into St. Patrick's day tapioca!

    But strangely, nothing was discovered to explain why the second wheel was frozen. And even more strange ... the flea-sized jewel screw didn't have a home in this appoximately 21L Swiss movement. All jewel screws could be removed with a 1mm bit while the unexplained screw would have maxed at a .5mm bit. And to top it all, after cleaning and lubricating the movement, it runs great with excellent balance action.

    Now the brain begins to ask why...why was the second wheel frozen. My conclusion- the unexplained jewel screw was lodged between the barrel teeth and second wheel pinion. But that generates another question...how did a 21/0 jewel screw get into this large Swiss pocket watch movement?

    My thoughts which are open to your comment are that the tiny stray screw may have been introduced while the watch was in a spin-type cleaning machine such as the L&R. The screw is small enough that fluid movement would easily suspend and carry it until the wash ended unless it became caught ...as in a pinion and tooth. The incident had a Twilight Zone impact on me..trying to conceive how an unrelated piece could be found in this movement.

    Maybe this is another reason to give up dunking watches!! Although no living soul can really know what happened in this instance I invite your conjecture and/or strange watch experiences to the thread... all in the spirit of the Halloween season.
     
  2. nick farley

    nick farley Registered User

    Jun 29, 2006
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    The most likely screw that might fit this description is the screw that retains the hairspring stud. They are often .75mm or so. Could that be it? Other than that the only other small ones are in a very small number of pocket watches that have the pallets made in two parts which are then screwed together.

    Nick
     
  3. s. smith

    s. smith Registered User

    Oct 13, 2006
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    Makes me remember a 940 hamilton pocket watch i bought on eaby a few years ago,,it was sold not running i took the movement out of the case and then let the mainspring ,when i turned it over too remove the dial a tiny what looked like a jewel setting screw fell out..There was not any screws missing anywhere in the movement i wound it back up and it took off running ..:)
     
  4. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

    May 20, 2003
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    It may be that the person that cleaned the watch without taking it to pieces had put more than one watch in the cleaner and the screw belongs to one of them.
     
  5. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

    Jun 7, 2008
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    Civil Engineer; woodwind musician; clock repairman
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    I had a jewel screw from my mother's 6/0 Hamilton 986 go flying out of the tweezers and off the bench into the great unknown about a month ago. Is that what was in your watch, Bill? :eek:
     
  6. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

    Dec 16, 2001
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    Possibly Dave....

    I recall reading a (fictional?) story several years ago of a watchmaker who lost a critical part into the great unknown. Because it was a very rare and valuable watch, he repeatedly searched diligently but with no success. Several years later, he moved his repair business to another address and while working, dropped a part. As he scanned the floor for the errant part, his eye caught the glimmer of polished metal in the floor board crack. Using a tweezers to recover the part, he was dumbfounded upon discovering the retrieved part was not from the watch currently on his bench, but instead he found the missing part for the rare and valuable watch that was lost several years earlier at a different address.

    Enter the Twilight Zone
     
  7. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

    Feb 1, 2007
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    the same unknown force that takes watch parts also steals socks from the dryer.
     
  8. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

    Jun 7, 2008
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    NOW you tell me. And here all along, I've been accusing my wife of having an affair with a one-legged man.
     

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