L&R Master Watch Cleaning Machine

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  • #48095
    wingman
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 91

    I was just given an old L&R “Master” watch part cleaning machine. There are no instructions.

    I didn’t want to try it out until I understood what some of the buttons and knobs are for. Any idea what the push button does or the knob. It looks like it could be a timer or rheostat.

    Also at the bottom of the black container is a cylinder. Is this a heater or what?

    Steve




    #50802
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi Steve,
    Nice looking machine!
    If you haven’t used one of these before you’re going to love it. I think they are the best value out there for cleaning antique pocket and vintage watches.
    The big knob in the center is your speed control and when turned all the way counter clockwise will shut the machine off. The toggle switch on the side of the unit should be for your heater (yes you’re correct, the big black cylinder is the heater) and the red button (I think) should be for reversing the spinning direction. I have two of these machines which I still use. Mine have a toggle switch for reversing direction where your red button is.
    Hope this helps Steve,
    Enjoy that machine!
    Bob

    #50803
    wingman
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 91

    Thanks Bob

    I’d have never guess that.

    The fellow who gave it to me said it was missing a canister. What is that for? Do you heat the cleaning solution in the glass jars? The glass jars have a metal spacer to keep items off the bottom. It looks like a cookie cutter. Any idea why you’d need that as the rotor is attached to the parts basket? I’m full of questions on this one.

    Steve

    #50804
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi Steve,
    It looks like it’s complete from your pics. If you have all three of your jars and the main basket that attaches to the spindle then you wouldn’t be missing anything. I actually shouldn’t have called the black cylinder the heater but rather the dryer. The heating element is down inside the dryer. You don’t heat any of the solutions. You just put the head down into the dryer and spin the basket to dry the parts when finished cleaning and rinsing. Your machine has a stop on it so that you can’t lower the head down too far into the dryer. I think the spacers that you are referring to are the agitators that fit down inside the jars. If they are then they have fins on them and fit snug into the jars. You would push them to the bottom of the jars. They will offer some resistance to the solution and keep the liquid from swirling around in the same direction as the spinning basket. If they are loose in the jars then they are probably something else that’s not ringing a bell for me. If they are loose please put a pic of them up here when you have a chance.
    As always keep having fun Steve and ask more questions if you have any!
    Bob

    #50805
    wingman
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 91

    Thanks Bob

    Your information is so helpful. I will take a photo of the spacer/fins. They look like star cookie cutters. They might keep the solution from swirling as you mentioned. It would make sense.

    #50806
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Old Thread, but I am considering picking up one of the rebuilt ones I see on eBay, yeah, I would use exclusively the solutions from L&R,

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-VINTAGE-RESTORED-L-R-MASTER-WATCH-CLEANING-MACHINE-JEWELRY-CLEANER-/111579669985?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19faaaa5e1

    these have been rewired to act like the Mastermatic ones, auto reverse, etc. Would prefer the VariMatic, but whoa, they are proud of those..

    Would like to hear the Pro’s and Cons from the ones “in the knowledge”

    Thanks

    #50807
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    The L&R is a great machine as Bob states, … Fantastic example of vintage technology, love em, although since moving to the land of 240v, I haven’t been able to find a euro converted model..

    Here’s a vid of the 400 series.. If you look on you tube there are lots of examples in operation, for you viewing pleasure :)

    #50808
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Steve, I have 2 vari matics and another “parts” machine. I have been debating on how to sell these. If your interested get ahold of me thru Bob (he would have my phone #) and we can chat about what I have. William

    #50809
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Steve, just looked at the one you posted for sale on ebay. A good question would be whether the rheostat works or not, one basket would work but you will probably eventually want more than that. I also have the mastermatic and I do like the forward reverse swishing that it does. He is getting a pretty penny for this, I would not be much more expensive for one of my Varimatics but you would have to go thru it again. Want to mention that I also have a Wolf Jahn watchmakers lathe, inspection microscope and other stuff. Since you live just south of me it may be worth a trip. I just now remembered that under my avatar there is a link to my website. William

    #50810
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Thanks William, although, you might soon become my wife’s nemesis, offering me to sell me more toyz!

    I will give you a call during the week, the wife has a full agenda for today,

    #50811
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Sounds good Steve, at first my wife did not understand either, she now fully supports what I do and the tools / machinery I buy because she has seen the outcome of my decisions. I see it all as a investment in bettering my business AND future for my family, someone had mentioned watchmakers lathes increasing in value better than a 401k or something similar.
    Reminds me of years ago I had a fishing boat, wanted to buy another anchor and the response was “we dont have the money for a anchor, you already have one” so I took her out fishing. That day it was a bit breezy and with the one anchor set we were blowing all over the place, made it difficult for fishing. On the way home she said, “we need another anchor” I just responded with, “great idea” Anyway, I dont pay any attention to the cost or necessity of makeup. :D and life is good…..William

    #50812
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Ok, I purchased two L&R Varimatics from William and have one running, with the second still needing attention, and since this thread already exists I thought sharing the information that I have dug up would be beneficial to other members, so I am going to post links to the manuals, and replacement part sources as I find them.

    Manual – http://www.bestoftimeswatch.com/images/l&r.pdf

    Service Tips – http://horologist.yuku.com/topic/816/t/Repair-Of-The-L-amp-R-Vari-Matic-Watch-Cleaning-Machine.html#.VTpeBOlFA6Z

    parts- right now ebay has been the best solution for parts,

    Cleaning Jars- they can be found, although the jars run around $50 a piece, but I have found a replacement jar that is almost identical, it is the Libbey Drinking Jar, so if you need a replacement jar, a dozen cost only $16. These jars are 3.75 inches wide, mouth of 3.5 inches wide and height of 6.75 inches.

    http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/libbey-glassware/92110/p1580446.aspx?utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=Libbey-Glassware-92110&utm_campaign=Beverage-Glasses&utm_source=googlepla&source=googleps&utm_content=googlepla|mkwid|xJr0LdMO|pcrid|48649851050|pkw||pmt||pdv|c|&gclid=CjwKEAjwsOKpBRCDtfOnzaDg3HsSJAAJ2ojib6rI2QWHtCSrIPz_ozlzbFxH4KMJOV5gXRG9aTJrGRoCKAjw_wcB

    There is a guy who sells generic jars, for the mastermatic units, they are smaller, and do not work with the Varimatic, he also rebuilds the MasterMatic units, here is his ebay listings. He seems to sell a lot of L&R items.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/mdean-o/m.html?item=111646052799&hash=item19fe9f91bf&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562

    as I find more information or part sources I will post the information here..

    #50813
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Steve, perfect place to post your new found info, thank you, great job and very helpful! William

    #50814
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Ok, I received my Libbey Drinking jars today, and even thought the salesperson assured me the mouth opening was over 3.25″ it is not.. 2.99″, so they do not work..

    The outer dimension is 3.5, so the glass is very thick there, so I am looking for other options,

    #50815
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    Ok, time to update this thread

    Glass Jars- if you have a manual machine the previous ones will work, but the automatic with the ultrasonic head, it is too narrow in the neck. If you have a varimatic without the ultrasonic head, it works will work fine.

    Ultrasonic Unit- the main part that fails on these units are the large vacuum bulb, I have found a vendor for this bulb, they cost $95

    http://www.electronicinstrumentservice.com/

    they also offer a solid state upgrade for the ultrasonic units for $600, and will rebuild the Varimatic Units also, check out their website, they seem to specialize in horological instruments and offer rebuilt machines fro sale.

    in the future, I will be doing a detailed service/repair video for the Varimatic and Ultrasonic units

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wingmanL&R Master Watch Cleaning Machine