Waltham rattle…

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  • #48656
    tmac1956
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    • Topics Started: 171
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    OK… Here’s another 18s question – this one is probably pretty standard.

    I’m putting back together a Waltham 18s 17j model 1883 pocket watch with a single roller that wasn’t running when I got it. Again no bent pivots or cracked jewels. Here’s the problem…when I drop the balance wheel pivot down into the foot jewel through the plate, the safety jewel falls nicely into the balance fork. Additionally, the top and bottom pivots seem to be setaing into the jewels properly. However, when I spin the balance wheel more than about 15 degrees of rotation, it rattles and the balance seizes.

    Since all of the pivot seating looks alright, I put my attention to the banking pins. The right pin (as one would look at it from the top view) appears to have been purposefully screwed around a little and also bent outward slightly allowing more fork travel.

    I REALLY don’t want to start messing around with the banking pins unless its pretty clear that might be the problem. I can’t really see what is going on with the escape wheel and pallet fork jewel interface as these Walthams have a funky straight balance fork.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Tom

    #53801
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
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    Tom,
    If you have a microscope check for any flat spots on the pivots and carefully check the jewels to see if the holes are still cylindrical. Make sure the wheel is true and in poise. Make sure the pivot diameter is the proper diameter for the hole in the jewel and check for the proper length of the pivot between the pilar plate and bridge. Make sure that only the cylindrical portion of the pivot is spinning in the jewel hole and that the conical portion is not rubbing on the jewel. Somebody could have relplaced these parts and pressed the jewel in too far and/or made a new pivot and did not fit it properly for the watch. In short, make sure everything fits the way it is supposed to.
    david

    #53802
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    David:

    I do have a microscope, so I’ll check it out. It does act as if the balance pivots aren’t sitting in the jewel holes properly.

    Thanks!
    Tom

    #53803
    steadypin
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
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    Hi Tom, I had this same problem awhile back and if I am reading your question right I would check the roller jewel. Check it for the proper depth and if it is chipped. That was the source of my problem. You should be able to look between the plates to see how the roller jewel is acting. Hope this helps, SteadyPin.

    #53804
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    @SteadyPin wrote:

    Hi Tom, I had this same problem awhile back and if I am reading your question right I would check the roller jewel. Check it for the proper depth and if it is chipped. That was the source of my problem. You should be able to look between the plates to see how the roller jewel is acting. Hope this helps, SteadyPin.

    SteadyPin:

    I will check that.

    THanks!
    Tom

    #53805
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    @david pierce wrote:

    Tom,
    If you have a microscope check for any flat spots on the pivots and carefully check the jewels to see if the holes are still cylindrical. Make sure the wheel is true and in poise. Make sure the pivot diameter is the proper diameter for the hole in the jewel and check for the proper length of the pivot between the pilar plate and bridge. Make sure that only the cylindrical portion of the pivot is spinning in the jewel hole and that the conical portion is not rubbing on the jewel. Somebody could have relplaced these parts and pressed the jewel in too far and/or made a new pivot and did not fit it properly for the watch. In short, make sure everything fits the way it is supposed to.
    david

    David:

    I have the dimensions from OFrei on the balance staff pivot – to – pivot dimensions. I can figure out pretty closely by micing the plates and jewels to come up with a dimension on the bearing depth. However, when it gets into measuring the jewel oil sinks (and the actual holes as-well-as the amount of depth the pinions should bear into those holes), I’m at something of a loss – actually, it’s more like a black hole than a loss… but none the less.

    Do you know where the factory specs can be found for these data? Also, how do you measure the oil sink and pivot bearing dimensions in order to check to see if the ballance staff has the proper jewel to jewel bearing depth?

    Oh… the jewels are ok and I put the watch plates back together without any gears or the palet fork, put in the balance cock assembly, and its doing the same thing without anything else installed. Additionally, I tried the same experiment with another balance assembly from a 18s 1883 and it’s doing the same thing. It sure sounds like its a depth issue… but, unless the wrong jewels are installed, I don’t see how that can be, as the jewel pairs are just pushed in and held in place with screws. :?

    Thanks!

    Tom

    #53806
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Hi Tom,
    From your description it sure sounds like it’s colliding with something. Here are few things you may want to check if you haven’t already.

    1. Contact between balance arm or rim and mainsprng barrel. Make sure the barrel cap is seated in place and if it is make certain that the barrel is running true (not leaning over).

    2. Check that Balance is running true ie. arms/rims bent or twisted off plane. Also check that balance is not riveted off axis and that it is not loose on the staff.

    3. Check that cap jewels are seated tight in place and not allowing the balance to sit too low. This might allow the balance to move down far enough to drag on the plate or barrel.

    4. Any screw that may be too long coming up through the plate or down through the balance cock. I don’t think there’s any screw that could cause this on the 1883 but…

    5. Check in the Dial Up position to see if the interference stops.

    6. Loose balance screw or wrong screw in a balance rim. Probably not an issue with the 1883 as the balance cock foot to balance clearance is pretty wide but this does happen with many other watches so good to have on a check list.

    7. Hairspring is laying flat.

    8. Anything else I’m missing like hairspring stud not secure in balance cock or not pinned tightly to stud etc.

    Let us know what you come up with Tom.

    Bob

    #53807
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    Bob:

    I’ll check these items – I called myself looking at a few of them already, but I can see that I need to develop a more systematic approach to diagnosing problems. I’ll let you all know what I find.

    Thanks for responding!
    Tom

    #53808
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    Bob and all:

    Using Bob’s check list and David’s suggestions, I think I have isolated the problem, but I want to describe it as accurately as I can and pass my findings on to those here with more experience.

    I took everything apart and examined the balance foot and top jewel pairs again under magnification. They are fine showing no cracks or oval shaped holes. I had already taken them out and examined them, cleaned and oiled them so I am confident that the jewels are intact. Next, I put a stump on my staking set, found the correct flat holed stake and put moderate pressure on foot and top jewels to ensure they were securely seated in the plate and balance cock, putting additional tightening on the screws just to be sure. No slop there.

    I put the balance assembly into a truing caliper and examined the balance wheel. It was about as true in the flat and the round as I have seen yet. Additionally, the hairspring appears to be in good shape lying flat on the wheel with the over coil and hairspring stud in the proper location. The safety roller appears to be a replacement and looked to be seated squarely onto the balance cross arm/balance seat and seemed to be installed correctly. The safety jewel seems to be well secured and nicely perpendicular to the safety roller table. I then attached the hairspring back onto the balance cock making sure that the hairspring stud was fully engaged and that the hairspring was seated between the index pins.

    So without any other components back in the watch, I replaced the top plate and the mainspring barrel plate (without the barrel) tightening them down securely. Next, I replaced the balance cock guiding the balance wheel/staff into the lower plate receptacle and seating it into the bottom jewel hole. I then seated the top pivot into the balance cock jewel and tightened the cock plate down. Using a camel hair brush I spun the balance wheel and examined the wheel/plate clearance. The wheel is running nicely flat above the plate with adequate clearance between the two. Additionally, the timing screws were free of the balance cock all around the balance wheel rotational arc. However, the balance still rattled.

    So, I examined the movement between the plates while the wheel spun and it appeared that either the roller table or the jewel is banging the plate recess which holds the foot jewel. I just kept spinning the balance wheel until it finally locked. I then gently picked it up and visually determined that the safety roller had jammed against the plate with the roller jewel in the back position opposite the pallet fork side. This would be in the position under which the hairspring would be in a wound state.

    Since the bottom jewel hole isn’t cracked and its hole is round, I can only assume one or more of the following problems exist:

    1) The jewel hole is too big, allowing the balance staff to wobble enough to collide with the bottom plate.
    2) Even though it visually appears to be seated correctly, the safety roller isn’t seated properly or is somehow out-of-round and/or off center to the balance staff.
    3) The plate receptacle is not round and true, or the jewel seat isn’t perpendicular to the balance staff.

    I suppose I should attempt to replace the bottom jewel pair first and if this doesn’t fix the problem, I should replace the safety roller.

    OK. I appologize for being so verbose. Am I missing anything?

    Thanks!
    Tom

    #53809
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Tom, dont give up yet. Do you have Henry Frieds book called the watch repairers manual? William

    #53810
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Great job zeroing in on the problem Tom and really good, clear description on how you moved through the check list!
    I am a little confused on one part though. I’ll get to it in a second.
    Yes it is possible that the hole in the jewel is too large or that the pivot is too small. Also possible that the jewel setting has been replaced with one a bit taller which might move the cap jewel out too far. How’s the end shake look? Things do sometimes get replaced with the wrong parts over the years. Other possibilities too like pivot broken off or ground down too short. Sometimes hard to tell.
    When you say “The safety roller appears to be a replacement and looked to be seated squarely onto the balance cross arm/balance seat and seemed to be installed correctly. The safety jewel seems to be well secured and nicely perpendicular to the safety roller table”. I’m not quite sure what you mean. When you say safety roller are you referring to a double roller or the roller jewel? If a double roller is it possible that it isn’t an 1883 movement? What are you seeing that makes you feel that the roller might be a replacement? Is it the bottom part of a double roller (safety roller) that’s dragging or is it the roller jewel? If it’s a single roller and the jewel is hitting then the jewel may be too long or the table is sitting too low. I think as you suggested I would check that the roller is seated all the way up against the hub. If it’s not and it’s a double roller then it could drag on the foot. Also double rollers are located on a taper so if it’s sitting too low it can tilt off axis and may be dragging on a high point on the foot. Certainly worth checking. The 1883 uses two different staffs. One is the 1365 (small waist) and the other is the 1364 (large waist). The taper for the roller is slightly different. If your watch was replaced with the wrong staff then the roller may possibly be sitting a tad lower than it should be and could sit slightly off axis. George Townsends staff interchangeability list shows the major dia. of the small waist staff being .60mm tapering down to .53mm and the large waist staff as .59mm down to .57mm measured over same length…hence more taper on the small waist staff. When I measure the two staffs here I’m not getting that much variation between the two. It’s something to consider though.

    Bob

    #53811
    tmac1956
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    @Bob Tascione wrote:

    Great job zeroing in on the problem Tom and really good, clear description on how you moved through the check list!
    I am a little confused on one part though. I’ll get to it in a second.
    Yes it is possible that the hole in the jewel is too large or that the pivot is too small. Also possible that the jewel setting has been replaced with one a bit taller which might move the cap jewel out too far. How’s the end shake look?

    Other than turning the thing upside down and trying to observe how much play is in the vertical, I can’t really tell about the end shake. I looked at the side shake and I observed it to be less than the 5 degree limit. The end shake doesn’t appear to be excessive, but that’s based only on a visual observation. It’s difficult to see much when you have it assembled. I would like to be able to calculate the dimensional difference between the balance staff length and the assembled components, but we’re talking hundredths of a millimeter, so I’m guessing that would be a futile exercise with the equipment that I have. I did try shaking it while listening, but that didn’t reveal anything either.

    @Bob Tascione wrote:

    Things do sometimes get replaced with the wrong parts over the years. Other possibilities too like pivot broken off or ground down too short. Sometimes hard to tell.
    When you say “The safety roller appears to be a replacement and looked to be seated squarely onto the balance cross arm/balance seat and seemed to be installed correctly. The safety jewel seems to be well secured and nicely perpendicular to the safety roller table”. I’m not quite sure what you mean.

    The last person to repair the watch scribed the date “1983” on the balance wheel cross arm, so other than that and the fact that it looks to be newer than the rest of the components, I just assumed that it was not original to the watch. The balance staff and safety roller look newer as well. Again, I’m only going on what I can see, so I could be wrong about that. The comment about the roller jewel being perpendicular to the roller table was to note that the jewel wasn’t tilted out of the veticle plain and thus would be unlikely to strike anything when assembled into the watch.

    @Bob Tascione wrote:

    When you say safety roller are you referring to a double roller or the roller jewel? It’s a single roller.
    If a double roller is it possible that it isn’t an 1883 movement? What are you seeing that makes you feel that the roller might be a replacement? Is it the bottom part of a double roller (safety roller) that’s dragging or is it the roller jewel? If it’s a single roller and the jewel is hitting then the jewel may be too long or the table is sitting too low.

    I did try to look to see it the jewel was hitting the plate, but I couldn’t really tell. However, where the thing seems to be hanging, there isn’t anything that the jewel could collide with because it’s hanging when the jewel is on the back side of the rotation.

    @Bob Tascione wrote:

    I think as you suggested I would check that the roller is seated all the way up against the hub. …snip

    Yes – I think I’ll just put it on the staking set and give it a few light taps just to make sure.
    @Bob Tascione wrote:

    The 1883 uses two different staffs. One is the 1365 (small waist) and the other is the 1364 (large waist). The taper for the roller is slightly different. If your watch was replaced with the wrong staff then the roller may possibly be sitting a tad lower than it should be and could sit slightly off axis. George Townsends staff interchangeability list shows the major dia. of the small waist staff being .60mm tapering down to .53mm and the large waist staff as .59mm down to .57mm measured over same length…hence more taper on the small waist staff. When I measure the two staffs here I’m not getting that much variation between the two. It’s something to consider though.
    Bob

    I did see that on the OFrei site and in some of the catalogs that I have. I guess replacing the staff will be the last resort. If it comes down to that, I suppose I’ll need to buy one of each and try them both until I solve the problem.

    Thanks for responding with the great suggestions. I know you all get tired of my inane questions. :(

    Later,
    Tom

    #53812
    tmac1956
    Participant
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    @willofiam wrote:

    Hey Tom, dont give up yet. Do you have Henry Frieds book called the watch repairers manual? William

    William:

    I have several books but not that one. It sounds like I need to get my hands on it though. ;)

    Thanks for the heads up!
    Tom

    #53813
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Hi Tom,
    Hey ask away! The more questions the better. This has been a really good topic. Lot’s of normal trouble shooting techniques are being posted that others can refer to in the future.

    You can check the end shake first by turning the watch upside down to see if the balance moves much as you did or by carefully carefully lifting the balance by an arm. Also sometimes helpful to remove the cock cap jewel. The end of the pivot should be fairly close to to edge of the hole jewel when in the dial down position. You can also remove both cap jewels to check if the pivots are extending beyond the hole jewels far enough to contact the cap jewels. This will tell you if the staff is long enough and/or if a pivot is too short (or jewel too thick).

    Also when doing these tests you can view all of this mush easier if the plates are not assembled.

    Looks like the side shake is ok so jewel hole diameters should be fine.

    I may have missed it but still not sure whether you have a single or double roller (when you say ‘safety roller’ I visualize a double roller or 2 piece double roller) Is it the roller ‘jewel’ that’s jamming against the foot or the safety roller part of a double roller? I always thought that the 1883 used a single roller only but I might very well be wrong about that.

    Bob

    #53814
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
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    Bob:

    I appologize … Its a single roller. I’m still fighting the terminology here. I have memorized tons of mnemonics in the networking/computer programming field but I can’t seem to master a few dozen watch part names. 😳

    Thanks!
    Tom

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