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August 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm #49193
Botchmaker or MacGyver?
We’ve all experienced the work of a botchmaker, and I’ll be so bold as to speak for all, that in our early beginnings we have also been guilty of performing a repair that fell under the BW category, I know I have and I freely admit it, because now, I have learned through my own misguided errors & further study, what is not the correct or accepted procedure.
There are times when I question my own efforts, am I performing a botchmaker repair, or am I making a MacGyverism repair in order to get the piece running..
But first lets look at the both of my definitions of the two parties..
Botchmaker = Using any method to get a watch running and out the door. Methods include non-conventional approaches i.e. destructive (bending a balance cock, grinding down incorrect parts to fit etc) The uninformed approach i.e. the home handyman can fix anything style, as long as it ticks, it works.
MacGyver = The star of the 80’s TV series about an agent who, using simple everyday items, used his ingenuity to invent creative means to use them in unconventional ways to achieve his goals.
If MacGyver started to repair watches would he be a botchmaker or just an ingenious repairer who could make anything run?
I often find myself, jokingly, referring to something I do as a MacGyverism, a case in point is a recent watch I worked on. It’s nothing extraordinary, but one that I was missing from my collection of this maker. So the watch was basically a dawg, filthy, and none running, which is always a shame. They say that 1 grain of dirt can stop a watch, how about a 1000+ grains 😆
As I began to disassemble, I saw my first signs of the previous work of….. A Botchmaker or MacGyver?
See if you can spot the fix in the photo and I’ll continue after any comments…. 😯August 26, 2014 at 1:26 am #59137david pierceParticipant
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First, the McGuiver syndrome. I saw a Youtube video a few years ago about a man getting his watch wet while exploring a river in a jungle. His watch no longer worked so he took it to a village and a person in the village repaired his watch with nothing more than a hunting knife.
As far as your watch goes it looks like the pallet jewel is a friction jewel and the rest of the jewels are encased in chatons. I am looking at a picture and not the actual watch and am not sure about the center wheel jewel. I see nothing wrong with that repair technique but a lot of other people far more qualified than me would go into cardiac arrest if they saw it.
In the USA there are two automobile restoration shows that I like to watch. One is called FAST & LOUD and the other is a show about CHIP FOOSE. FAST & LOUD believes in keeping the cars original and Chip Foose redesigns and modifies parts. In the end the FAST & LOUD cars look like crap and the CHIP FOOSE cars are beautiful works of art; but what do I know!
davidAugust 26, 2014 at 6:57 am #59138tmac1956Participant
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About the only car guys I listen to are Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers. I can’t always understand them though – radio has no subtitles.
TomAugust 26, 2014 at 7:12 am #59139Bob TascioneModerator
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Oh great. A puzzle to deal with before my morning cup of coffee.
Could it be the punch marks used to raise the balance cock?
BobAugust 26, 2014 at 7:50 am #59140willofiamModerator
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@Bob Tascione wrote:
Oh great. A puzzle to deal with before my morning cup of coffee
I hear yah Bob, you guys are at it early today.
Chris…I definitely see your problem….there are no parts inside the watch……just so you know…… It wont run that way 😆August 27, 2014 at 9:17 am #59141
Chris…I definitely see your problem….there are no parts inside the watch……just so you know…… It wont run that way 😆
William my brother, you’ve really come a long way since you began delving in time, thanks for the suggestion & keep up the good work, you’re getting there 😆
Good guesses gentlemen, but there is a reason this forum is called Tascione 😆 Bob nailed it..
Yes, the punch marks or pig ears as they’re sometimes called, that act as a shim to raise a bent/uneven balance cock. A kind of accepted way but because it is actually destructive, irreversible, I would say it falls under the BW category, what say ye?
So anyhow, I spent hours pondering about how to rectify this issue properly, and as I was lacking the proper tools to determine if the balance cock was truly straight, I didn’t want to start pounding, bending nor generally messing up this part as they are very hard to fix and very easy to break.
The unevenness wasn’t bad, hardly discernible on the parallels, with a light shone from behind, they are the truest tools I have level wise. So the cause of the bend, IMHO was that someone, back in the day, had the cap jewel removed to check the pivot, then pushed the jewel back in with the cock mounted, or they pushed the index back on, whatever.
So my dilemma was how to fix it, how to get it running without resorting to the BM method. There isn’t really a lot you can do, other than pig ears or shims. So I chose the latter of the two evils. I carefully filed away what was left of the punch marks then cut two tiny brass shims, tested the balance a few times with its newly installed staff and bingo, spun like a top, without the jewelry mounted on the balance that is.
So I removed the bal/wheel, replaced the cock once more and tightened it down well in order to compress the shims. Then tried it again..
I felt bad about this fix, because it is not the correct way, my only consolation is that now, it is obvious to the next future owner and easily reversible.
So on to BM or MacGyver trick #2
So with the bent balance cock addressed, it came to mounting the hairspring/roller, the collet was a loose fit, ok, tighten it up, no biggie. Now it’s back together, I wind it….. nothing, I’ve replaced the MS also, so lots of new power with the fractionally stronger spring. I give it a little touch and it rewards me with a slow oscillation then stops!!
OK, so here’s my next question, what do you think is the reason/s I found for the problem listed above?
Remember, the watch is back together, the balance runs fine (without HS or Roller mounted) with the balance cock shimmed. We have lots of power to the train, which also runs smoothly. No gears are binding and the plates are installed correctly.. Any ideas?August 27, 2014 at 1:24 pm #59142aruthaParticipant
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What is the condition of the roller jewel, banking pins and hairspring? need to ask so we can start the process of elimination
Without knowing about the above items I am guessing the balance cock was “adjusted” to compensate for a replacement balance assembly which had a slightly longer balance staff?
Paul.August 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm #59143
Good points Paul, lets address them…
Roller jewel – a missing jewel would be a no go…. Period
A broken jewel would still run if there was contact with the fork, but 99% of the time they are completely gone, so a no run.
Too large a jewel would just jam up, as the hairspring would not be able to overcome the jam
Too small a jewel would still run, it may cause erratic behavior or lock ups of the stones, but it would oscillate at a good rate or suddenly stop as the pallet binds, you would have to manually unlock the bind.
Dirt – A dirty jewel or fork would cause problem but the movement has been cleaned.
Banking pins- I can remember the term, it’s 4 am tired brain but incorrect setting would cause sudden stops or a no run situation.
We have a slow run situation with a stop that is not sudden although I think I didn’t mention that it wasn’t a sudden stop….Oops..my bad. 😮
Oh yeah, over banking
Hairspring – condition wise is good, it’s level, and clean. You are warm on this one though..
You’re correct about the balance staff/cock which were set before mounting the jewelry on the balance wheel..August 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm #59144aruthaParticipant
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Mmmm, you mentioned that the hairspring collet was lose, a replacement hairspring of the wrong strength? Difficult to tell from the picture but I am guessing if the spring was too thick it would be enough to run slowly and stop?
Clutching at straws here, put us out of our misery!
Paul.August 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm #59145
You’re on the right path Paul, that’s what I thought, maybe someone replaced a HS as a unit, generically. But that is what was happening, the HS was sitting too low and just touching the balance arms..
So how to fix it? I don’t have a new breguet HS of the same strength and this one vibrated fine. SO… I chose the BM or was it MacGyver, to solve the prob..??
As I mentioned, the HS was in nice shape, flat, no rust, a beauty.. So I decided to make a little tiny washer and fit it over the staff just so the spring cleared the arms. I figured it shouldn’t effect the balance of the wheel because it’s in the center and the washer was perfectly round. Anyway, it worked great, it took off like a rocket and has been keeping excellent time so far. I had to tweak the index pins a tad but now it seems within 120 – 200 seconds in a 24hr period.
I’m not proud of my fix, I mean, I am, because it’s running, and well, but I just keep seeing the shims and that tiny washer as big flashing red lights on a billboard that says…. BM or MacGyver 🙄August 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm #59146bernie weishaplParticipant
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You definitely the MacGyver. Great job Chris.August 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm #59147Bob TascioneModerator
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Looking good Chris!
That’s a MacGyver. No damage to the watch. Maybe a ‘head scratcher’ for the next watchmaker though.
Hey you might check that the arms are straight and not bowed upward. This is a fairly common problem which usually occurs from a past watchmaker driving out a balance staff without removing the rivet. This can even occur when using a staff remover if the collar on the remover isn’t large enough and/or the pressure between the collar and the arms isn’t just right or is uneven between the two arms. If the arms are bowed upward they can interfere with the spring.
Just a thought.
Adios for now,
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