Week 2, Days 1 & 2

Monday was a continuation of what I had done last week. It was tearing down and re-assembling movements. Again, the whole point of the exercise is getting used to the tools, the posture, the parts, and the process. All in all, I think I am doing well. There are still some areas that are giving me difficulty (obviously, I’m only 6 days into my education)-namely the replacing the gear train bridge without knocking the gears around (along with that is making sure the gears are seated in the jewels in the first place).

From Wikipedia

In the above picture, the red part is a jewel. It is a bearing that is used to reduce friction. The part in the center is a pivot. On both ends of a gear, you have a pivot on the bottom that fits into a jewel in the base plate of the movement, and one on the top that fits into a jewel in the bridge that keeps the gears train in place. Right now, as I am placing the bridge into place, the gears sometimes get askew and I’ll have to jiggle the gears with my tweezers or reset the bridge. Sometimes turning the center wheel (always the easiest to see the pivot in the jewel) with my tweezers is enough to get the gears to slowly align with the pivot.

That, and the balance wheel re-assembly is taking me a bit, but that is more an exercise in patience.

Here are a few shots of the watches I worked on yesterday.



This watch was a lot of fun to work on. It was working (well, it was running) prior to me starting it, and I was able to ensure that it was still running after I tore it down and rebuilt it.




This watch was pretty awesome, sadly it was just the movement-no case or dial. According to Pocketwatch Database, this watch was made in 1883.


Today, the bulk of the day was spent learning about material systems (basically parts supply management and ordering). There is an encyclopedia set called Bestfit. Bestfit is a whole system that is used to catalog parts and to help expedite ordering. Every watch part that you can think of has been given a “File Number.” (Mainspring, balance staff, pallet arbor, etc) From there, if you know the Movement model, you are able to find out the exact part that you need-or, if you need it, alternatives that you can order.

What was interesting to learn is that that if you are working on an older movement that doesn’t have a manufacturer stamp on it (ETA, Valjoux, Fortis), there is a way to identify the movement maker:

  1. Measure the movement in Lignes (pronounced Lines)
  2. Disassemble the setting mechanism (the pieces at the right near where the screw is coming out)WP_20140515_08_34_26_Pro
  3. Place those parts on a 1:1 copy in the book. Once you have an exact match, you will know the movement maker and the model.

For the rest of the day, we were given a series of watch movements. Some had identifying marks and some didn’t. We had to figure out which movements we had, and create an “order” for specific parts. It was a good exercise-until I got to the Russian Poljot movement. That thing had the weirdest setting mechanism I have come across. Luckily, it uses pretty much all the same parts as almost every other Cold-War Era movement. It was explained to me that a lot of Russian movements from that time period are not stamped with the factory/company emblem due to import restrictions. They were made, sold to an assembler in another country and then sent here.

Once I finished that, I was able to finish up a movement from yesterday and strip-down another one (wasn’t able to re-assemble that one due to some questions I had about the design choices that I found while taking it down). Here are a couple of preview images. I’ll get into the questions I had later this week.



All in all, it was a pretty good couple of days.

I may be a little late with my 2nd post this week. I’ll be attending a wedding this weekend and might not have time to get everything up before Sunday. I’ll do my best to get one up.




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