Pocket watch servicing. Hints and suggestions
Make it a rule to test every watch for magnetism. A small pocket compass, placed close to the balance when the watch is running, will indicate by a vibrating motion if the balance is polarized. If it is, the watch should be treated, case and all, in a demagnetizer.
When repairing a watch inspect the balance pivots carefully to see that they are straight and in good condition. Examine the endstones, and if they show any wear polish off by using a small lap, made of tortoise-shell about 30 mm. in diameter, mounted in the lathe, with a small amount of fine diamond powder mixed with oil put on the face of it. By holding the pitted endstone against this with a slight pressure, while the lap is running at a fairly high speed, it can be made as good as new in a very short time.
After this operation, it is important to clean the endstone and setting thoroughly.
Examine the balance to see that it is true and in poise.
Do not open the bankings carelessly. Remember that the result of excessive slide is a dead loss of power. This loss increases rapidly with any deterioration of the oil on the pallet stones.
Do not neglect to try the jewel pin to see if it is set firmly. Even a slightly loose jewel pin is a source of trouble.
Do not open the curb pins on the regulator. The hairspring should fit between the pins, without pinching, and without play, to get the best result in timing.
See that the hairspring is centered and flat, and has a sufficient amount of clearance under all conditions. Bear in mind that its regular vibrations will be increased whenever the watch is subjected to sudden motions or shocks.
Do not neglect to remove any finger mark or greasy matter on the plates caused by handling of the movement. For this purpose, we find a buff stick very useful, a flat stick of wood, about 14 mm. wide, covered on one side with buckskin, such as is used for buffing. The end is dipped in benzine wiped off rapidly with a clean cloth, and used immediately for cleaning the top surface of the plates.
Do not expect a position adjusted watch to rate the same as it did originally, after any change or alteration has been made in the balance pivots, or balance jewels. Even when the work is done with the greatest care, these repairs may call for readjusting the movement.
Do not consider it a bad investment to put as much money as you can afford into up-to-date tools.
Do not consider time wasted in keeping your tools in good condition.
Do not neglect to keep abreast of the times by reading good books and papers pertaining to the trade. At the same time, be mindful of the fact that you cannot learn watchmaking from books or by correspondence only.
We wish to emphasize to the young watchmaker the importance of practice or training in the various branches of his work. We would recommend, as a profitable way of spending some leisure time, to take a discarded balance and bend it out of shape, and then true and poise it repeatedly for the purpose of gaining experience. We might state that although a beginner may work on a balance all day, and still not succeed in getting it in very good order, an expert can do 20 to 25 in an hour, and get them all good. This applies equally well to the work on the hairspring, the escapement, the pivots, jeweling, and so on. In conclusion, nothing but hard work, conscientious application and study will ever bring forth a skillful and efficient craftsman.
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