Reply To: Ladies Swiss Cylinder Pocket Watch Problem

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Bob Tascione
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Hi Paul,
I believe William is right on target. Escape wheel to cylinder fouling is a very common problem with cylinders. I too would check the plane of the escape wheel to make sure it’s perfect. If it looks good then you might try removing the balance and check the freedom of the escape wheel using a blower in dial up and dial down positions. If all looks well then there is a good chance that either the escape wheel and/or the cylinder has too much end shake (I’m not talking about shake or drop of the tooth inside and outside the cylinder). From what you said in your post my guess would be the problem is with cylinder end shake. With those small ladies cylinder watches there is often a fine line between enough end shake and too much. Even .1mm too much could be enough to cause problems. You said that you had difficulty locating a correct jewel to fit. Is it possible that what you used isn’t seated all the way down and is allowing the balance to drop down a bit too far in the dial up position? This could easily result in tooth/cylinder fouling by allowing the escape wheel arm (the support for the stalk that the tooth sits on) to hit the lower portion of the cylinder slot (passage) . Also if the balance cock is bent out slightly this too would increase the shake. If it is the jewel placement then getting it back into place would be the fix. If excessive shake isn’t the case but you can determine that fouling is the problem then raising or lowering one or more plugs will allow for adjustment. When replacing tampons (plugs) you often need to make some depth adjustments to eliminate fouling. The fact that the balance took out both end stones but didn’t break either pivot may mean that one or both of the tampons got knocked in a little. Especially if the cylinder/plug fit was a bit loose. This of course would result in some extra end shake in which case a plug depth adjustment should take care of things.
If the escape wheel is a little out of whack then only one or two of the arms supporting the teeth may be slightly fouling. This can be difficult to detect. Getting a good dial up edge view at high mag at eye level with the bench top may reveal the fouling. It’s difficult with those smaller watches though. A little trick that I use is putting a white sheet of paper vertically behind the watch and then reflect some light off of it. You’ll see the light cutting out between the tooth and cylinder if there is contact. You may need to adjust things just a hair or so (pun intended!)

Hope this helps a bit Paul.
Please let us know,

Bob TascioneReply To: Ladies Swiss Cylinder Pocket Watch Problem