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Waltham 1877 rebuild query

walthambarmy

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Jan 10, 2009
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Is there a trick in getting the top plate on as the fork end on the pallet arm has to fit through a hole and I keep knocking it out of position?
 

richiec

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Feb 24, 2007
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Assemble the parts into the lower plate instead of the upper, that way the pallet is through the hole prior to putting the top plate on, it is tricky and requires a gentle touch. These and the 1883s can be a bear to assemble but once you get the knack, they are not all that hard, practice, practice.
 

pmwas

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Dec 12, 2010
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Interestingly, even experienced watchmakers say that they find full plate movements tricky to assemble as all pivots need to be fitted in their bearings together. Somehow, even though I'm not trained at all - I've only once experienced problems, with the 14s waltham I've recently described on my blog, where the seconds pinion was tricky to fit in it's hole for some reason. Otherwise, every time I've assembled a full plate movement, it was not any difficult at all, and they have less screws, too ;)
Some practise and it's really a piece of cake, like richiec said :)
 
Last edited:

Tom Huber

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Dec 9, 2000
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Yes, Assemble an 18S full plate upside down. Put the top plate down, add the gear train. then put on the pillar plate. I find that 18s full plates are much easier to assemble that 16S 3/4 plate.

Tom
 

walthambarmy

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I found that another way is to hold the pallet arm in place with a touch of Rodico (or blu tack) attaching it to the end of the top plate. Fit the plate and remove the Rodico when all is lined up.
 

Harvey Mintz

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An even better way is to hold the fork with a small clip (which you can make from a piece of broken mainspring or a small plastic paper clip). Put a "V" cut in the end that contacts the fork. Then assemble all the other parts on the dial plate as usual, invert the top plate (with fork held by the clip) and tease all the pivots into the holes.

The other advantage of using the clip is that you can hold the fork in place when taking the movement apart, preventing bending (and often breaking) the lower fork pivot.

Using the clip makes assembling full place watches just as easy as working on 3/4 plate watches.

I personally use a clip made of a piece of broken mainspring. The edgers are polished smooth to prevent scratching the movements when sliding the clip into place or removing it.

Rodico isn't a particularly good idea because it can leave a residue. If you decide to use it, always use a fresh piece, and try not to get any into the actual fork area - it tends to leave little pieces of itself behind that are a pain to remove (it should be obvious from that last statement that I've tried that method and had a few troubles with it :cyclops: ).
 

pmwas

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I still don't understand the problem here... In most watches I've assembled (ok, ok - not that many, but still) these were the pilar plate's bearings depressed slightly in the plate, prepared to help the watchmaker fit the pivots inside. Rodico, paper clips - one can leave residue, the other is unnecessary pressure on the forh and it's pivot, while all that can be done really very simply, by placin all parts on the top plate and gently covering them with the pilar plate.
One has to simply hold the pilar plate in proper position (not turning it when it's down on the pivots ;) ), aim for the center arbor that goes in and then try to fit in the seconds pinion. Easy - really. Later tha pilar plates rests on the three remaining pivots and all you have to do is to fit the (at least in Elgin and Illinois) 3rd pinion, fork pivot and escape pivot in their holes. And since the bearings are silghtly depressed, the pivots are right next to them.
In a high quality movements, no additional pressure is needed the pilars jump in their holes without resistance, so all you have to do is to slightly help the piviot in it's hole. When it's done you just turn the movement around, which - again - is quite simple, check all pivots again, if they have not jumped out while turning the movement, and secure it with screw(s).
Believe me - this is simple. No further, potentially dangerous manouvers needed. Of course, one can have his own way, but it's a bit like forcing an open door...
 

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