Swiss PW Yet Another PW, Tacy Admiral, Soft Solder

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Kirk_Wallace, May 18, 2016.

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  1. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    Hello. Attached are pictures of what came in today, a Tacy Admiral 16s ish size but I suppose Swiss sizes are different. I got it to have a case to learn on. The pictures are the condition of the watch as-received and then a first pass at cleaning the case. The movement actually runs, but is a bit fast at a couple minutes per hour. The hairspring doesn't look right to me. I was expecting a blue spring, but then again the balance isn't split. There is no over-coil and the regulator pin is resting against a coil, which could make it run fast. The balance only swings about 60 degrees end to end, which might also contribute to faster running. It winds and sets well, but there aren't enough jewels. The dial has hairline cracks but overall it looks pretty good to me.

    It looks like the soft solder is just to hold the plastic crystal in. I used a soldering iron to melt the solder and brushed all but a thin film off while it was still hot. I found a tip to use a mix of acetic acid (vinegar) and hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the solder which might have worked since the gold was holding up well, but the exposed brass was getting etched pretty quickly so I had to stop. I have heard that gold solder can be used to cover the brassy bits, but this is all very new to me. One nice thing though, the covers screw on and off well.

    I think I'll clean and oil the movement and go from there.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
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    I think you will find that gold solder will not fuse to a surface that has had lead solder, previously. Let us know what you find. Best of luck trying to turn this watch into a thing of beauty.
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    You have done a great job on the case and dial!
     
  4. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    I have one of these, same plate design, but a higher grade 15J movement marked three adjustments. Mine is a standard 16S movement and will fit any standard 16S case. Mine also has a flat white hairspring and a solid mono metallic balance as yours does. I believe the hairspring and balance were part of the USA patent dtd May 24, 1904.

    I noted that yours is marked Pat Pending, where mine is marked with the patent date. Yours has a serial number and mine does not. Mine also has a whipspring pat regulator.

    Tom
     
  5. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    I have so many irons in the fire and this is not a valuable watch so I'm not sure how far I'll get, I may stop working on it when I learned what I can from it. Thinking out loud, getting the solder off the gold and the base brass is a goal. It would be nice to find a chemical etchant that targets the solder but that may not be reasonable since the brass base metal has lead and zinc in it. Thinking more, it may be that cutting or sanding it off is the only solution. I don't like marring the gold finish but much of it is worn trough anyway. Once the solder is removed, the goal is to clad the brass with gold and build up the gold where it has worn. The Philadelphia Watch Case Co. "Victory" label seems to indicate that the finish is...
    "
    VictoryGold-Filled, guaranteed for 10 years (may be Rolled Gold Plate in later years)

    "
    https://mb.nawcc.org/showwiki.php?title=Philadelphia_Watch_Case_Co

    I didn't know what Rolled Gold was but this link might explain it:
    http://www.bondedinfo.com/faqs/

    Last night while I was not sleeping, I had a vision of applying gold leaf to the bezel, screwing it onto a fixture in a lathe spindle and using a roller to press the gold leaf into the base metal as the bezel spins. I have no idea if this has any merit, but it might be fun to try. I suppose to be correct I would need to weigh the bezel and apply enough gold to bring it to bring it to 5% for filled or a little less for rolled. The gold leaf would need to match the Karat and color of the original fill.

    I am thinking that gold solder might not work well because if the surface is prepared well, the solder should flow wherever the heat is and will sheet the flats and fill the gaps and corners, which is good for bonding pieces together but building surfaces.

    I also would like to find more on laser gold welding:
    http://info.laserstar.net/blog/bid/56549/Laser-Welding-Jewelry-vs-Soldering

    I think it would be pretty neat to have a 3D printer for gold.

    novicetime keeper, I didn't do much to the case to get it to look a lot better. Just getting rid of the plastic crystal and excess solder helped, then cleaning the oil and dust. I have done more of a Duncan Swish so far.
     
  6. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    Tom, thank you for your reply. I haven't found much information on these so far. I suppose mine is a 16s, but I assumed the Swiss use a different sizing system. I think you have convinced me that my balance assembly is original. With some tuning and setting the regulator, it is keeping much better time. The closest thing to a serial number I have found so far is "Ref.999" which is shown in an attached picture. I also attached my Swiss collection. Sorry, the pictures are not very good. The other Admiral is a 12s. There is a Tavannes 15j 16s, an Armida 15j 16s, an Unknown 15j 16s (has a crescent moon with star), and an American Anchor 15j 16s.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. praezis

    praezis Registered User

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Maybe you already know it: Tacy was combined from Tavannes and Cyma. The movement is a calibre 999 (Ref!).

    Cyma 999.jpg

    Frank
     
  8. Backyard

    Backyard Registered User

    Jul 23, 2015
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    I have a Tacy Admiral that i picked up at a flea market for $30.00. On the movement it states 15 jewels, 3 adjustments, swiss, U.S.A. pat. May 24, 1904, Tacy Watch co. Admiral Non Magnetic. Inside the case Supreme Guaranteed Ten Years, 3161271 IWC. It does need a little work. I hope someone can tell me more about it.
     
  9. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    Hello Backyard. I have been into watches for only a few months so I don't know a lot about your watch. I got my watches as part of purchases of American watches, but the two I have are as good as the my American watches of the same class. There doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation available because it seems the Swiss were not into record keeping like the Americans were at the time. Plus, I believe Tacy was created and run by three different parties that were working with or against each other over time. I wish now that I had saved the links I found. I'll have to pay more attention in the future.

    Fortunately, I was able to find a replacement balance staff to fix my 12s watch from eBay, so parts may be available if one waits long enough.

    For the watch I'm playing with now I tried some 600 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper to the solder on the bezel and it came right off. A little metal polish brought the finish to a gloss. Now the problem is the exposed brass. I found a process called Keum-boo which bonds gold foil to a base metal which looks promising:
    http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/keumboo.htm
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWf8lOiXM6U

    but the temperature seems to be critical and I think it is right at the annealing temperature for brass at 600F for several minutes. If the bezel anneals there is no way to harden it. I also have extensive brassing on the case center to address. I'm leaning back towards electroplating.

    I would like to remove the winding stem to see why it is so difficult to pull the stem out to the setting position. It looks like a tubular spring affair, but I don't see how to get it out of the neck. Any hints would be appreciated.
     
  10. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

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    #10 Kirk_Wallace, May 20, 2016
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
    praezis, thank you for your information which seems to indicate that my movement is a 19 ligne size. This prompted me to look into the ligne system and according to this link:
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~fotoplot/tech/wmms.html

    My caliper measurement matches 19''' at 42.8mm. 19''' is close to 16s but smaller. It looks like the difference is enough to keep from mixing the two.

    Darn, this watch thing is getting complicated.

    P. S. - Other sources conflict with the data at the link above, so ignore the above.
     
  11. ANDY YALE

    ANDY YALE Registered User

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Hello Kirk - nice work on the case. I had about six different versions of the Tacy Admiral at one time or another ranging from 6 to 17 jewels. I could never get any of them to run well - always issues with the hairspring, which is kind of flimsy and brittle. Admittedly the ones I had were bought uncased as junk movements and may have already had a checkered history. I sold the whole lot, and moved on to Record Watch company movements - also Swiss made for the American market, but considerably better quality.
     
  12. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    I got a hint from reading a comment in another thread -- something about backing off the stem spring to insure that the stem is fully in the hand setting mode.
    https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?134001-Hampden-Grade-440-will-only-set-counter-clockwise&p=1036386&viewfull=1#post1036386

    To me backing off implied a threaded bit. With that in mind I tried to unscrew the insert and sure enough I got it out -- pictures attached. The insert had a brass collar which shortened the spring length making it stiffer. I removed the collar and reassembled the stem bits and now the crown needs normal force to pull into the hand setting mode.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. ANDY YALE

    ANDY YALE Registered User

    Jun 14, 2013
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    The "insert" is called the sleeve and it controls the movement of the winding stem as it is pulled up to set or pushed down to wind. It also holds the stem in correct relationship to the winding pinion and castle gear.
    I don't see a photo of the brass insert, but I would not discard it until you understand what it is for.
    When you thread the sleeeve down into the case, you must get it at the proper depth for the watch to both set and wind in the respective positions.
    If it will set and not wind, the sleeve is too high. And vice versa.
    Check to make sure the sleeve and crown will not pull out of the case when moving to setting.
    The spring action is provided by a click spring under the shifter bar that acts on the castle gear.
    best of luck - you are on a great learning curve.
     
  14. Kirk_Wallace

    Kirk_Wallace Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
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    I attached the pictures I should have done earlier. I replaced the brass ring that was on the sleeve and it definitely makes pulling the crown out way too hard. I don't see any other function for it other than to make my life harder. The top of the neck was staked closed a little, I assume so that the sleeve would not back out on its own. I also assume that once the sleeve is adjusted it might have been common to stake to lock the sleeve into position. Instead, I, might dab a bit of shellac on it once the watch is sorted out.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. ANDY YALE

    ANDY YALE Registered User

    Jun 14, 2013
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    Never seen the like of that before. Others may differ, but I dont believe the brass ring belongs there. Someone put it there for a REASON, tho, so try to find out what that reason might be.
    No need to stake or shellac the sleeve, it will stay put by itself.
     

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