American PW Waltham PW Puzzle

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
I have a real puzzle on my hands: A 16s Waltham Vanguard 23J that I recently serviced. I bought it in non-running condition, and all that appeared wrong was dirt and a missing hand and crystal. After the service, the watch runs with great motion and looks great on the B-200. Likewise, when I run it in any position on the bench, it keeps great time, for as long as I care to watch it. However, when carried in the pocket, it loses time and sometimes quite radically. Then again, it might go for a day with no problem. This evening, it lost about 10-15 mins over three hours. The second hand seems to rotate correctly, and I have tightened the canon pinion to the point where the hands set with what I consider to be just a trifle more stiffness than I would normally use. The hands have good clearance and don't hit the crystal, nor does the center post. The hands also remain in sync with each other.I demaged as well, as I do with every movement. Maybe I'm overlooking something obvious, but this one has me stumped. Any ideas? Thanks.
 

rrwatch

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2000
1,478
436
83
74
Pooler, GA USA
www.antiquewatchmaker.com
Country
Region
I'd suggest taking a very close look at the hour and minute wheels. If one of the teeth is bent or damaged it can cause the problem you are describing.
The other possibility that I can think of is to check that the cannon pinion isn't tight in some places as it rotates around the center wheel post and is loose at other points. This can cause the hands to slip until the cannon pinion reaches a "tight" spot.
 

Smudgy

Registered User
May 20, 2003
2,874
25
38
Country
Region
If the problem isn't solved by looking to the hands and motion works check the escapement. Specifically check that the safety dart is working properly and that the fork has enough draw to quickly bring it back to the banking pin if raised.
 

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
Thanks for the ideas, which I'll check out. The canon pinion tension seems consistant. My dilemma is that the watch runs fine on the bench, or sitting anywhere else, but when I carry it it acts up. Last evening I carried it for three hours and it lost 10 mins or so. I reset it and now at 6 AM the next day it is right on. I carry a pocket watch all the time and have no problem, so I don't think its my magnetic personality messing it up.:rolleyes: Again, I'll follow up on the ideas posted here, and if anyone has any others, chime in! Thanks. George
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,364
64
48
Calgary, Alberta
Country
Region
Check the balance wheel screws to see if one (other than the meantime screws) might be loose. Although even a meantime screw turned out too far to bring the watch to time or to poise the balance wheel, could cause similar symptoms. Running face up or face down would likely not indicate there could be such a problem. But it could in any of the pendant positions. Particularly any position where the balance cock is at the 6:00 position where a loose screw could rub momentarily on the heel of the balance cock. A loose screw will sometimes screw out or screw in, even a microscopic amount as the watch runs. Let us know what you find.
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,885
252
83
Gothenburg
Country
I would also make sure the hairspring has enough clearance all the way around.

On the bench you have a steady situation, when in your pocket the g-forces may cause the hairspring to touch against some part of the movement......
 

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
Thanks for the ideas. I'll definately check those things and report back. I might not be able to get to it till next week, but when I do I'll let you know what I find. George
 

Smudgy

Registered User
May 20, 2003
2,874
25
38
Country
Region
I don't know how far you've gotten with this, but I had another idea. If the clearance between the balance screws and balance cock foot is close it may be possible for the screws to foul against the cock foot when the watch is warmed by carrying in the pocket.
 

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
Hi all and sorry for the delay in responding
I should be able to work on my subject watch next week, but I have been able to observe it running and I think I might have a guard dart interference issue. I'll be back in my shop next week and so will be able to explore all of your suggestions at that time. I'll keep the board posted on what I find.
 

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
Well, I think I have figured it out, with the help of this board. The balance screws were not the problem, but close.
The balance wheel was very slightly out of true in the flat, and would rub on the gold cap jewel setting on the pallet bridge underneath the balance wheel. Not always, and not very often, but enough to drive me nuts. I think the panel here was right when you suggested that carrying the watch in my pocket raised its temperature just enough to let the compensated balance do its thing and try to compensate. Had the rims been true, there would have been no problem. However, since the rim wasn't quite true, it expanded into a slightly different plane, where it would rub on the cap jewel setting underneath. Which brings another question I'll have to explore: As small as the error in truth was, would Waltham have designed the watch with such close clearances? I doubt it. I don't recall any of the other Vanguards I worked on being that way. There seems to be just a trifle bit much endshake on the balance, so I'll pull the dial and double check that the jewels are seated properly in the plate.
I have now carried the watch for a day and a half and it is performing great, just as one would expect.
Thanks for all your help. It got me thinking and pointed me in the right direction.
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,364
64
48
Calgary, Alberta
Country
Region
If the lower cap jewels weren't properly seated, allowing the balance wheel to run a bit lower than usual, and if the pallet bridge was a bit high, with the wheel out of true a bit, might have caused such a problem. Did all the screws look to be the same, or might there have been one replaced by a larger one? Or might it have been a meantime screw that was turned out farther than usual doing the dragging? Perhaps the balance arms might have been bent downwards, previously, when someone triied to true the wheel. Glad you got it!
 

watchwldr940

Registered User
Nov 26, 2008
399
20
18
Doug
It was a combination of the balance arm (just one) being ever so aken by themselves, would have caused a problem (slightly bent and the lower cap jewel not being quite seated. As you will know, the cap jewel resulted in just the smallest amount of excessive endshake. In fact, when I went back into the watch and was checking things, I thought that while the shake was a bit much, it was within tolerance. But when I carefully watched the balance oscillate from the side and observed that there was some slight wobble, the lightbulb came on and it became apparent that it was a combination of two , actually three minor issues that were causing grief. The third being the temp. change when the watch was carried in the pocket. What was confusing me here was the fact that the watch never misbehaved on the bench, only in the pocket. None of these issues, taken by themselves, would have caused a problem (other than slightly less than perfect timekeeping). Even the trace on the timing machine looked OK, within reason.
So I learned several lessons:
If I see any "issues" at all, correct them, because there might still be some other factor (unseen) that compounds another "minor" problem
Just because the timing machine is happy doesn't mean that the watch will function properly. It really must be evaluated in real world use
When stuck, the members of this board are a priceless source of help and encouragement.
I thank you again for your help and patience!
Now about that fusee with an alarm that I'm working on now...
George
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,364
64
48
Calgary, Alberta
Country
Region
Glad you got it. Often, there is more than one component to the answer as to why erratic watches do what they do. Troubleshoot, Troubleshoot, Troubleshoot. Thanks for getting back.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
167,051
Messages
1,455,717
Members
87,270
Latest member
Ravens Watch
Encyclopedia Pages
1,057
Total wiki contributions
2,914
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller