Waltham Model 1908 16s parts interchangibility

meatlips01

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My parents ran a watch repair place for 40 some odd years. I actually used to work there for a few years when I was younger as a watchmaker. They recently had to close down and retire due to health reasons, so I was able to get my old bench and tools as well as a pile of old pocket watches that have really nice movements.

Having set up my bench in my basement, I've been slowly getting back into watchmaking again as a hobby now. I've decided to concentrate on pocket watches because I appreciate their beauty and value.

So after that preamble, one of my watches is a Waltham 16s Vanguard 23j that is in beautiful condition. Like no marks or scratches on the movement whatsoever. Except somebody worked on the balance assembly and replaced the roller jewel with a metal pin. They also managed to bend the balance wheel.

In an ideal world I'd just replace the entire balance assembly and have a near perfect and mint movement. But there's no such thing as an ideal world. I've thought about trying to replace that pin in the roller with a proper jewel, but I'm not sure what size I'd need. Also my understanding is that the original jewel would have been crimped into place on the table. So that leaves me wondering where I can get a replacement double-roller for this. I'm pretty sure I can straighten the balance wheel, but I haven't disassembled it to really see what the issue is. Half the wheel seems to be true, so that leads me to believe it's just the other half. But I'd replace the whole assembly out of laziness and to avoid the risk of making it worse.

What other model 1908 16s waltham models are compatible? I guess the double-roller was only used on a few models. Anyone have any ideas as to where I could get a replacement roller?

The serial number is 18054445.

Thanks in advance.

--R
 

musicguy

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Welcome to the NAWCC Forum!

I moved your thread to watch repair



Rob
 

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Roller jewels are not crimped in place. They are either set in shellac or in case of a bronze roller table friction fit. Straighten the balance wheel, it is a serial numbered component.
 

meatlips01

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Roller jewels are not crimped in place. They are either set in shellac or in case of a bronze roller table friction fit. Straighten the balance wheel, it is a serial numbered component.
That may be true about friction fit since this is a bronze roller table. But I'm pretty sure whoever replaced the jewel with the metal pin probably damaged the roller table installing it. So I'm still on the hunt for a replacement double roller.
 

MrRoundel

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If I'm not mistaken, your Vanguard will have the two-piece roller, where the roller is bronze but the safety roller is polished steel. A while back I too was looking for a replacement roller table for a 1908 or 1899 model Waltham. Eventually I narrowed down donor possibilities to 19J Riversides on up. I don't believe a Bartlett or Royal would have the right roller. Riverside, 645, Crescent St., and Vanguard. And you can pretty much forget about finding just the roller as NOS somewhere. I think a donor is your best, and perhaps only, chance. You might check Daveswatchparts.com, owned by forum admininstrator, Dave Coatsworth. (Link in page's upper right margin.) Good luck.
 
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meatlips01

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If I'm not mistaken, your Vanguard will have the two-piece roller, where the roller is bronze but the safety roller is polished steel. A while back I too was looking for a replacement roller table for a 1908 or 1899 model Waltham. Eventually I narrowed down donor possibilities to 19J Riversides on up. I don't believe a Bartlett or Royal would have the right roller. Riverside, 645, Crescent St., and Vanguard. And you can pretty much forget about finding just the roller as NOS somewhere. I think a donor is your best, and perhaps only, chance. You might check Daveswatchparts.com, owned by forum admininstrator, Dave Coatsworth. (Link in page's upper right margin.) Good luck.
I did reach out to Dave and he said he's got nothing at the moment that would work. So currently I have a bid on eBay for a 16s 21j Riverside that's got a broken staff. I'm hoping if worse comes to worse I can just restaff that wheel and salvage the whole assembly. The current balance is really worn out and I'm not entirely sure its original anyway.
 

Jerry Treiman

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In an ideal world I'd just replace the entire balance assembly
As already mentioned, the original balance wheel should have the serial number of the movement that it belongs to scribed on the underside of the balance arms. The “ideal” repair is to keep the original balance, true it, and just replace the missing roller jewel, or the roller table, if necessary. As MrRoundel noted, the safety roller is a separate piece and would not need to be replaced unless it is damaged. (These are brittle and very scarce and must be fitted carefully to avoid splitting them).

There were two different bronze rollers for these, depending on which balance staff is used, so you need to consider that as well in matching parts. The 4860 balance staff takes a #4872 bronze roller with a large hole and the 4861 staff takes a #4876 bronze roller with a smaller hole. Just to illustrate the difference in hole size, the attached image shows the two styles in steel single-roller tables (4870 for the 4860 staff and 4874 for the 4861 staff). The larger hole slips onto the square shoulder of the 4860 staff, which sits just below the blued hub. If your Vanguard has the taper-shoulder #4861 staff, there was also a steel roller table available (part #4876A) for the double roller escapement which may be easier to find.
4870-4874.jpg

The current balance is really worn out and I'm not entirely sure its original anyway.
Check the underside of the your balance for any finely scratched numbers to see if they match your movement.
 

roughbarked

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My parents ran a watch repair place for 40 some odd years. I actually used to work there for a few years when I was younger as a watchmaker. They recently had to close down and retire due to health reasons, so I was able to get my old bench and tools as well as a pile of old pocket watches that have really nice movements.

Having set up my bench in my basement, I've been slowly getting back into watchmaking again as a hobby now. I've decided to concentrate on pocket watches because I appreciate their beauty and value.

So after that preamble, one of my watches is a Waltham 16s Vanguard 23j that is in beautiful condition. Like no marks or scratches on the movement whatsoever. Except somebody worked on the balance assembly and replaced the roller jewel with a metal pin. They also managed to bend the balance wheel.

In an ideal world I'd just replace the entire balance assembly and have a near perfect and mint movement. But there's no such thing as an ideal world. I've thought about trying to replace that pin in the roller with a proper jewel, but I'm not sure what size I'd need. Also my understanding is that the original jewel would have been crimped into place on the table. So that leaves me wondering where I can get a replacement double-roller for this. I'm pretty sure I can straighten the balance wheel, but I haven't disassembled it to really see what the issue is. Half the wheel seems to be true, so that leads me to believe it's just the other half. But I'd replace the whole assembly out of laziness and to avoid the risk of making it worse.

What other model 1908 16s waltham models are compatible? I guess the double-roller was only used on a few models. Anyone have any ideas as to where I could get a replacement roller?

The serial number is 18054445.

Thanks in advance.

--R
In a lot of ways, I resemble you.
I trained as a watchmaker yet didn't.
Because at the time it wasn't deemed necessary to teach me any more than was required to do everyday work and when my apprenticeship was ended, they kicked me out the back door and said, go fend for yourself but there was no out there to even work in. Because the digital watch had pushed the likes of me aside.

All you need to realise is that this concept of the ideal world in watch repair came along after watchmaking was real.
I was lucky enough to be trusted enough to be asked back and kicked out more times than Rick Wakeman or Roger Dean were from the band, YES.
Yes, Roger did tell me that he was kicked out as many or more times than Rick was.

Here I am now, called back for the last time before they shut the shop for good and gave me all the rubbish that they were finished with.
So, I'm now retired and trying to save it all from rusting away.

I recall walking into what I imagined was a big enough jewellers and asked, do you need a watchmaker?
He said, "son come upstairs". I followed to see a room the size of a dance hall. He said, "I employed eighteen watchmakers to sit here. Now I send all the work from twelve shops to one watchmaker to do at home". Would you like to manage this bathroom sized shop down near the beach for me? You can do the watch repairs, jewellery repairs and have your morning tea, all in this room the floor space of a clothes dryer.
By the way, this above was in 1982.
 
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MrRoundel

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roughbarked , And if you hang your clothes to dry you might even be able to work on a clock or two. ;)

FWIW, I believe I have been noticing a bit of an uptick (so to speak) in the prices of American pocket watches. This is especially true in the better grades. But even the more common SEEM to be appreciating a bit. Maybe it's one of the only places in our crazy world to find value?
 
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meatlips01

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Mar 17, 2021
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In a lot of ways, I resemble you.
I trained as a watchmaker yet didn't.
Because at the time it wasn't deemed necessary to teach me any more than was required to do everyday work and when my apprenticeship was ended, they kicked me out the back door and said, go fend for yourself but there was no out there to even work in. Because the digital watch had pushed the likes of me aside.

All you need to realise is that this concept of the ideal world in watch repair came along after watchmaking was real.
I was lucky enough to be trusted enough to be asked back and kicked out more times than Rick Wakeman or Roger Dean were from the band, YES.
Yes, Roger did tell me that he was kicked out as many or more times than Rick was.

Here I am now, called back for the last time before they shut the shop for good and gave me all the rubbish that they were finished with.
So, I'm now retired and trying to save it all from rusting away.

I recall walking into what I imagined was a big enough jewellers and asked, do you need a watchmaker?
He said, "son come upstairs". I followed to see a room the size of a dance hall. He said, "I employed eighteen watchmakers to sit here. Now I send all the work from twelve shops to one watchmaker to do at home". Would you like to manage this bathroom sized shop down near the beach for me? You can do the watch repairs, jewellery repairs and have your morning tea, all in this room the floor space of a clothes dryer.
By the way, this above was in 1982.
My dad at his busiest around 2012 to 2013 was doing the work for 150 stores. He'd have me come in on the weekends to handle all his mechanical watches. So I spent my Saturdays breaking down and running wrist and pocket watches through the cleaning machine. I'd also do small repairs like staffs or stems and crowns, the occasional hairspring straighten. At the time my dad was employing three other full time watchmakers. I certainly didn't mind the extra cash I was making, although I was doing just fine with my tech job.

My dad inherited the business from my grandfather in 1980 and ran it with him until my grandfather passed in the mid 90s. Now at 78, my father needed to retire due to my mother's failing health. So after over 40 years of running the most well known jewelry store in our hometown, he finally closed the doors. He kept all the major production tools like the automated cleaning machine and plans to do the work of around 5 stores in his retirement for the extra money.

I still have the book that Henry Fried wrote that I learned from. I also learned the two different schools of thought when it came to watch repair: Speed versus quality. Now that I'm not under the gun to get repairs and cleanings completed within a single day, I plan to focus entirely on quality. I want to make this a hobby that I enjoy, not something with people breathing down my neck like my dad dealt with for 40 years. I only plan to work on watches that belong to me. I will miss the large inventory of watch parts he had since he sold them all off. I probably could have found the bronze roller table I've been looking for.

On a different note, I have noticed that the price of pocket watches on ebay have grown considerably. Heck, I've been looking around for a replacement upper balance jewel for a fairly high-end swiss chronograph pocketwatch that I've had for years, and I did find someone with the part. Except he wants like $350 for the case, dial, and a handful of parts from the movement. No complete or partial movement, just a handful of parts. He wasn't enthused with just selling me the balance cock, and I wasn't enthused with spending $350 for a gunmetal case, dial, and handful of parts. I guess those particular watches have a lot of value, even if it's just the case, dial, and a handful of parts. I'm not gonna say anything bad about him in case he's on this forum (if you're reading this, come on bro, sell me the balance jewels!). I'm sure the case and dial are worth a ton, except my watch already has those.

As a side note, I did try to pursue this career as a professional in the mid 90s. Actually went into a high-end jewelery store in Boston with some of my sample pieces that I had restored and got an interview. The interview consisted of this dude telling me he had no use for me since I wasn't Swiss certified. To early twenties me, the idea of flying off to Switzerland and studying swiss watch repair was like booking a ticket to the moon in terms of cost and time. It would have been a fantastic experience, but not one I could afford. Today that store has been out of business for at least a decade I think. Take that for crushing my dreams at the time!
 
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