Waltham Model 1883 - 2 questions

JayW

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Hi All,
Back from a summer of home projects and back to watches.
A friend sent me his newly purchased Model 1883 to look at.

Symptoms: When my friend received it - it was running. Some time after (not specified - maybe a couple of days) it stopped and balance wheel wouldn't oscillate for more than a few seconds. Eventually he sent it back to the seller who did 'something'. He got it back, running, smelling of some 'solvent' and again after a short number of days it stopped again. When I got it the balance wheel would only oscillate for a few seconds, despite the mainspring being almost fully wound.

I took it apart, cleaned and oiled it. (While 'overall' it looked clean, under a microscope the gear pivots (axles?) seemed dirty and also having maybe some grooves. - After cleaning it definitely looked much better - see some photos. I know it's not perfect, but we're not looking for 'railroad' quality. Note that the balance wheel roller was really caked and I cleaned it a couple of times and got it somewhat better, but not fully clean. I oiled and put it all back together. (Interesting - when you put it together take care that the pallet arbor end fits into a slot in the plate indentation - if you don't see that you'll try to put on the plate and it will never close.) It's been running for a couple of days now. Mainspring seems fine.

Question 1: Is there something that a seller might have used to 'temporarily' make the watch run (both times), which dissipates after some days? I'm wondering whether the watch will stop again, after the work I've done, or if the previous experience was no indicator of what I might expect after my work?

Question 2: I've never worked on a watch with a pallet arbor (instead of a pallet fork). I noticed that the balance wheel is rotating about 180-190 degrees or so. With a pallet fork I'd shoot for 270 or so. Should I expect differently for this 122 year old Model 1883 with a pallet arbor? It's keeping time to within a minute a day or so.

B-0002.jpg B-0003.jpg B-0004.jpg B-0006.jpg
 

Kevin W.

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A Duncan swish is used by some, that call this a service. It involves putting the whole movement in the cleaner. Its not good as it does not clean. Its very possible that is what they did to this watch and it ran a short time. A minute a day is not bad. A watch repair person could improve the time keeping. In the pictures you posted the parts are not clean.
 

darrahg

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I agree with Kevin. I might add that dipping in a cleaner or solvent (lighter fluid is an example) for a short period of time will soften old lubricant but will not remove it completely. The old lubricant will also go back to it old ways of being hard and sticky once the solvent evaporates. A through and proper cleaning will more the likely solve the problem.
 

JayW

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Thank you very much.
Interesting info about a Duncan swish and softening the old lubricant.. So - on the one hand - what I did was not a Duncan swish. I would hope (/expect?) my component cleaning will produce a different result than the seller's swish. I'm gonna interpret from your responses - Now that it's running after my work, I won't expect it to stop soon.

The continual question in my mind is how clean is clean. You should have seen the pivots before I cleaned them; what I thought might have been groves was actually caked up rings. Those are mostly gone, and as I said the watch is running. While I'm not a certified watch repair person, I have repaired a number of watches of varying degrees of difficulty (as long as lathe work isn't needed). So I'm very interested in what Kevin means by "the parts are not clean". Can you please point out where they are not clean and what you might do to more properly "clean" them?

Thanks for your help!
 

darrahg

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I am not sure what Kevin means but I will suggest that you peg each pivot hole both top and bottom with peg wood. This will remove any unwanted residue that your cleaning method does not remove. Other steps to consider: 1) remove the main spring and clean it and the barrel; lube with appropriate grease (e.g. Moebius 8200); 2) use One Dip of anything similar and soak the balance and pallet fork for about 30 seconds; and 3) the removal of all cap jewels, if present, prior to cleaning and applying appropriate oil (e.g. Moebius 8000) when replacing them is a must in my work. Apply any of these methods you feel comfortable with as they will definitely help get your watch up and running better.
 
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JayW

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Thank you darrahg, very much. That's helpful info, especially on the oil grades.
- Yes I do/did peg the pivot holes (in this case there are NO jewels),
- and removing and greasing the mainspring was going to be my next step if the cleaning didn't work (it's still running).
- I've always been afraid of cleaning the balance, unless I've disassembled it. (While I've replaced some impluse jewels - it's still not easy.) But in this case, I did put the assembly in the ultrasonic cleaner on low power. It came out unscathed, and much improved but the roller didn't come out fully cleaned.
- Same as above for the pallet arbor, seems clean, if not overall dark color.

Any advise on a 'micro-brush' for doing some light hand scrubbing?

P.S. I didn't see any specific feedback on the oscillation amplitude. I'm leaning towards thinking that it's not a significant concern at this point ??
 

JayW

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And P.S. I do now see the dust bunny on the gear outer circumference in photo 0004. I did remove that before reassembly.
 

Kevin W.

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If you searcgh Duncan Swish there are many threads about it here. Its been used for both watches and clocks.
 

JayW

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OMG - I just got it. I'm slow. "Dunk And Swish". LOL
Thanks for the search idea - I looked through some of them.
But beyond "dollar" watches, it should be a sin to use it on decent collectibles.
 

darrahg

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I have no advice on a micro-brush other than using very small foam tipped swabs. I might have purchased them from Esslingers but not sure now. I generally don't put any escapement parts in a ultrasonic unless it is beyond 'grunge'. One Dip (it is expensive) usually does it for me.
You might want to consider burnishing out all of the pivot holes since you probably have a 7j movement as suggested from when you wrote.
Keep at it and report back to the committee when you can.
 

Al J

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Peg the jewels, and push pivots (and pinions) into pith wood for mechanical cleaning.

Regarding the question how clean is clean - has to be spotless with zero residue under higher magnification that a loupe. I use 50X for general inspection.

Cheers, Al
 

JayW

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Thanks to all, again.
Watch is still running.
-- I'll be ordering some one dip. ($17.95 on Esslinger, but I'll shop around.)
-- Can one reuse it (e.g. put used portion in a separate container)? Or is a one time use and then dispose?
 

darrahg

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I reuse One Dip until I see any sign of color in the liquid. It is an expensive process as it also evaporates rapidly but have found nothing better. I do not pour used back into the original container. Do a search on this subject in this section and you might be able to find an alternative.
 

richiec

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Your used OneDip has to be very tightly sealed as it will evaporate in a matter of hours, even when still in the can or bottle.
 

JayW

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Okay - understood.
I ordered the OneDip and a selection of microswabs.

Am I correct that a glass jar would hold it without 'disintegrating'?
I put my #111 and #3 solutions into plastic containers. That lasts for a while (weeks +), but eventually evaporates and then the plastic cracks (at the top of all places) a few months later. I'm going to try glass for this as well.

Any thoughts?
 

Chris Radek

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One Dip evaporates from anything you put it in, including its own original container. It cannot be contained. You will breathe more of it than you use for cleaning.

It will attack any rubber seals on your glass jar's lid. I think your best bet might be all glass (a glass jar with a matching ground glass stopper.)
 

JayW

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Understood. Consider me suitably warned. All I have are glass jars with a rubber seal.
I'm not sure a ground glass stopper would be very 'tight' But I don't know.

Does that mean one should buy the minimum amount possible and if it's a month between needing to use it, not to expect there to be any left in the original, once opened, container. I'm asking if it lasts days, weeks, months ??

Maybe an interesting experiment would be to put the original container inside another container and see what happens to the outer container?
 

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