Waltham Vanguard Mainspring

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by beepilot, May 19, 2017.

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  1. beepilot

    beepilot Registered User

    Nov 22, 2016
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    I have a recently acquired a 1901 Waltham 23j Vanguard 18S 1892 model pocket watch which is very stiff to wind and occasionally stops shortly after being fully wound. It has recently been cleaned and oiled and now keeps excellent time within a few seconds per day. It almost certainly doesn't have the original mainspring having been serviced/repaired several times in the past. I am beginning to wonder if it has been fitted with the wrong mainspring possibly one that is too strong for the watch. I know that the correct spring for the watch is No. 2222 which is available in various strengths/thicknesses. Can someone please tell me the correct strength/thickness mainspring for this 23 jewel version of the Vanguard and any advice on whether or not the wrong strength spring could be the cause of the above problems. Has anyone who owns this watch or has experience of one tell me if a stiff wind is normal or not. Thanks.

    Roger
     
  2. rrwatch

    rrwatch Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2000
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    Before you replace any parts, try lubricating the crown wheel. Sometimes doing this will make the watch much easier to wind.
     
  3. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
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    Next question, who serviced it, how far down did they take the watch, did they lubricate all parts.
     
  4. PWfanatik

    PWfanatik Registered User
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    Jul 7, 2015
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    Right, as Richiec implies did they go under the dial and under the barrel and in other places...
    How does it feel when you set the watch? Does it feel smooth as you run the hands all the way around the dial?
    Under the dial the wheels can greatly effect the running and time keeping of a watch.
     
  5. beepilot

    beepilot Registered User

    Nov 22, 2016
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    Thanks for the replies. The watch has been fully and properly serviced and lubricated by a professional who has worked on other Waltham Vanguards so this is not an issue about a servicing. My understanding is that Vanguards are fitted with a range of different mainspring strengths (probably 0.15 - 0.20) according to the jewel count, the higher jewel counts needing the lower strength springs. Hence I'm thinking it possible that at some point in the past a too strong a mainspring has been fitted thus causing potential problems e.g. stiff winding. Therefore I'm asking anyone with actual experience of a Waltham 23j Vanguard what is the correct strength spring for this watch and do other owners experince problems similar to the ones I have mentioned.
     
  6. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
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    From my experience the strength of the spring has minimal effect on the winding smoothness. Is yours a 2222? I would check the width/length for possible binding and also check for worn barrel arbor/bushes especially if it has a tendency to stop occasionally after a full wind.

    2222 mainspring: 3.25-3.30 mm wide, .15-.20 mm thick, 25 inches long (Waltham material book)
     
  7. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    I'd say that the fact that the Watch stops after being fully wound is a bigger issue than the Watch being hard to wind. The Winding issues could have to do with anything from the Crown down to the mainspring. The Watch stopping however puts you in an entirely different part of the movement. If could be overbanking, hands could be binding or there could be any number of gears bindning in the going train. The two could be linked, of course, but I would recommend taking it back to the repair person to sort it out. You have at least one serious issue in the Watch.

    Best regards
    Karl
     
  8. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Feb 24, 2007
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    karlmansson, I don't think beepilot said that the is watch stopping, he states it keeps very good time.
     
  9. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Maybe I misunderstood, this was before the recent service?
     
  10. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    Dec 28, 2010
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    I have an Omega that I had to use a significantly stronger spring in. It too is hard to wind. Smooth, but surely more tension than it was designed for. I mean I've really got to grab that crown and twist with force. Sometimes you've got to do it. However, I'm guessing that the lowest strength 2222 spring is available, so you should be able to get the proper one for yours.

    What does your watchmaker say about what seems like extraordinary resistance in the winding mechanism? I'm pretty sure that, like most 18s American models, the barrel-bridge is removed without having to disassemble the train, so your watchmaker could remove the barrel fairly easily to check the MS strength. There would probably be some nominal cost, but it would answer your question. There's also the possibility that they will have a "aha" moment when they try to wind the watch and attribute it to something else. Good luck.
     
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