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      Good morning everyone,

      I have a quick question, I see a lot of watch videos where the person who is working on the watch as soon as they put the balance cock into place the balance wheel starts moving right away. The question I have is, if everything in the watch is working and looks fine after examination and cleaning and if you put the balance cock back into place and it doesnt start running right away, could that be a problem with the beat?

      Thanks everyone

      Bob Tascione

        Hi Chaplin,
        Yes if out of beat the balance will need to be rotated more to start it oscillating than if in beat.


          Thanks Bob,

          This definitly sheds light on a lot of things for me.

          chris mabbott

            Hi Chaplin,

            I agree with Bob on this and if I may ask you…. When you mention that everything looks fine after cleaning/inspection, does this mean that you have tested the train without the pallet fork installed? i.e. assembled the movement and wound the mainspring slightly to see if the train engages smoothly and runs freely?

            After testing this, do you then install the pallet fork and balance, then apply tension to the mainspring, or are you installing the balance with the mainspring fully wound?

            Everyone has their own method that works for them but personally I aire on the side of caution as things can go horribly awry when there is power on the MS.
            Some other reasons that the balance will not start can be..

            Misaligned pivots in the jewels
            Misaligned balance cock
            Jammed hairspring
            Balance jewels not replaced correctly, causing a bind
            Pallet fork is binding

            If you could provide a little more detail about your movement, possibly a photo…



              Hi Chris,

              Yes, the train engages and runs smoothly when the pallet fork is not installed and the mainspring has a little bit of power in it. I put the balance in beat and it seems that it is still not running. I’m going to examine the pallet fork a little bit further to see if thats a possibility then run down the list of suggestions you made. Thanks again.

              david pierce

                Chaplin 37,
                To test for binding, shim the pallet bridge up a bit and see if you can get it to run. If the jewels are pushed in too far they will bind on the conical portion of the staff. Also make sure the pivots are properly placed in the jewel holes.


                  Thanks David,

                  I definitly will try that, thanks for the advice.

                  chris mabbott

                    Sometimes, not always, some watches don’t start until a few winds, or after a twist. A couple of things I’ve remembered are…

                    1. check the second hand pivot, the part that projects through the dial somewhat. Sometimes, if you’ve put the dial back on, it can catch or is not center. Also I had a problem when the pivot, of this same gear, bent just enough that it would slightly bind on the jewel, which prevented instant start, only after 3/4 winding.

                    2. Check the regulator curb pins, those two little brass pins that the hairspring slips through. You or someone, may have inadvertently bent them slightly as it is really easy to do, I sometimes forget about them.

                    If they are too close together or too tight, it can make for a hard start and slow oscillation. OR If the HS has not entered them, yet the stud is in position, it can also bind the works..


                      So I shimmed the pallet bridge and it still is not running and Chris I did all the suggestions that you said and everything looks good.


                        Hey chaplin37, Some good advice already, an easier way to check for binding is like you already did, by checking the train without the balance in, also the lever and balance can be checked without shimming the balance cock, just check for endshake when it is all together, should have a bit of endshake through out the train and escapement.
                        Have you checked the lock and drop of the escapement at each tooth? how do the banking pins look? are they straight and adjusted with a perceptible amount of run to banking? After all that I think adjusting for beat. That would be my process.
                        I cant remember right now if Bob shows how to adjust these areas in the videos, I will have to check. getting old :( William

                        chris mabbott

                          Chaplin I think it would also be nice to know what kind of movement this is. Is it an 18, 16, full plate, 3/4. What make is it also? Does it have jewels?

                          If possible can you post a few photos?

                          When you put in the balance wheel, connect the hairspring stud, tighten down the balance cock screw, does the balance move freely when you give it a twist?
                          If yes, like William has mentioned, how does the action of the escapement look?

                          Also try this… With the movement securely in a holder, take a piece of peg wood or toothpick and carefully apply a little pressure to the main wheel, I do it on the teeth, apply the pressure in the direction of normal travel, as in the way the MS would rotate the gear.
                          With your pressure on the wheel, try to give the balance a nudge and see if it works.

                          As I say, be careful with the pressure you apply and try to keep your wood in the same plain as the gear, Don’t push down or something may break. If this is a full plate, then it is very difficult to do this, but it can be done on the MS teeth.


                            Hi Chaplin, I don’t think this has been mentioned but with the balance assembly out and your pallet fork and bridge in place put a few winds on the mainspring. Now check the pallet fork as it is resting on one banking pin by gently pushing the fork towards the other what you are looking to see if it snap over to the other banking pin. Also you can try slightly pushing the fork off the one it is resting on and see if it snaps back to that banking pin. If this all this happens your problem most likely is in the balance assembly which can be a host of reasons causing your problem. The first place I would look would be to see if the hairspring is level and not touching the balance bridge. Good luck, Steadypin.

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