Winding up an automatic watch.

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  • #48375
    edwardny
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 12

    Hello all. I’m new to this —-> welcome Ed! <—- Thank you!
    I’ve been buying/selling/trading mostly Russian gold watches for quite a few years now (Poljot, Raketa, Sekonda, etc.) – but my watchmaker has moved and being mostly technical I decided to work on all of my watches myself. I bought Bob’s video course and it’s priceless!!!! So I have completely put apart my first non-working automatic Russian Poljot watch for a client (movement #2616 2H), washed it, oiled it, put it back together and it started working again – it’s the most beautiful thing!!! But here is my question. I thought I did all correctly however, in automatic watches, if you decide to wind it up manually, you can keep on winding forever and it’ll never stop like manual wind up watches do. So after I put the watch together the auto winding mechanism works but when you wind up manually as well, it’ll eventually get to the point where the main spring cannot go no more and stop. What did I do wrong when I put it back together? I know it’s a rather dumb question without movement pics and more info but I’m sure some of you pros know exactly the technology used on automatic movements and what keep the winder go forever and not stop when spring is too tight. I hope I explained it correctly. Any suggestion would be appreciated.
    Many thanks.

    #52225
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi Ed and WELCOME TO THE FORUM!
    Happy to hear you like the course and congratulations on servicing your first watch.
    I’ve always heard that All automatics have some type of overwind protection but I’m not too sure that’s true. They may have protection when auto winding but not convinced all have overwind protection when manually wound. I may be wrong but I think I heard somewhere, sometime in the past that some Poljot automatics can be manually wound until tight. Why they would ever be that way I don’t know so I’ll have to research that and get back with you.
    Overwind protection is usually achieved through controlled slippage between mainspring and barrel wall. Most automatic barrels have vertical ridges that catch a ‘bridle’ on the end of the mainspring. When a certain amount of tension is applied to the spring through winding, the spring is permitted to ‘slip’ past the ridge that is holding it in place and is caught by another ridge after losing a little power. Using and applying the correct amount and type of grease to the mainspring and barrel wall is crucial. A grease referred to as ‘Braking Grease’ like ‘Glissalube 20’ is used on the barrel wall and another thick oil or grease such as Mobius 8217 is used on the spring coils and barrel floor. It’s important not to get either of these greases in the wrong place! That is Glissalube on the wall ONLY!

    When you cleaned the watch did you remove the mainspring from the barrel? If the spring and barrel are as I described then you have overwind protection.

    I’ll check a bit tonight to see if I can dig up some info on your movement.

    Hope this helps for now Ed and again a big welcome to you!

    Bob

    #52226
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Addition to my previous post.
    Hi Ed,

    Here’s a little info about the possibility of some Poljot calibers not having overwind protection that I mentioned in last nights post.

    Scroll down to ‘Winding the Watch”.
    http://russian-watches.info/auxpage_manuals/

    This person mentions his Poljot not having overwind protection:
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/f10/poljot-automatic-movements-i-am-novice-here-538497.html

    Same Info. as given in the first link:
    http://www.russianwatchguide.com/vostok-amphibia-manual.htm

    Link showing difference between 2616 30 Jewel and 23 Jewel discussed in second link above:
    http://www.netgrafik.ch/russian-codes.htm

    Again I don’t really know if this is the case and if it is I’m not sure what design would be, but thought I would pass it along with hopes that it will help you determine what you have there.

    Hope this helps Ed.
    Bob

    #52227
    edwardny
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 12

    Bob, this is crazy!!!! You must’ve been hiding in my closet and sneaking up on me when I was working on the watch.
    First of – this particular model 2616 2H(and I went through hundreds of them in my life LITERALLY) does have the overwind protection and before I “FIXED” it, it would work and you could be winding it for the next 15 hours with no end to it.
    So no, I did NOT touch the main spring or the barrel at all when I put it apart and lubricated, etc. I’m still intimidated by the main spring and need a bit of courage to start messing with one – (I have over a 100 of Russian dead movements – some are worse than others, so one of these days I’ll take one main spring out and play around with it).
    Another issue is I do not own a main spring winder – though a guy I buy my watch supplies from (also a watchman) says he has been putting mainsprings inside the barrels by hand his whole life and it always worked. Can you comment on that one? His attitude was “Winder/Shminder – I don’t own any and never needed any – just need strong fingers.
    So I think you could be right on money on this one with the overwind protection…

    #52228
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi Ed,
    Yes some people do put mainsprings in by hand and many have been doing it that way for years and swear they have never distorted or caused any type of corrosion or other damage in any way. I use a winder whenever I can since I figure that I can’t possibly know whether I’ve caused damage unless I take it back out and look at it. Even if it looks OK I still have to put it back in and…now how will I know it’s OK after the second insert unless I take it out and check it again and again….”and the beat goes on”. Of course when it comes back in for regular servicing in a few years you can always check. I would rather not guess.
    Mainspring winders are made for a reason. Could just be for the manufacturer to make a buck but I’ll put my money on the possibility that they are doing what they are meant to do. I do recommend using a winder but…if it comes down to not servicing a mainspring during an overhaul due to not having a winder that fits etc. then I would personally go ahead and get my hands into it!
    Dirty, sticky mainsprings will suck up and play power delivery games faster than just about anything else. A clean and properly lubed barrel and spring are essential.

    If the overwind protection was functioning properly just before you cleaned the watch and you didn’t clean the spring or get any solution in the barrel then I’m not sure what could be causing your problem. Again I do highly recommend cleaning and lubing the spring when doing an overhaul. I’ll have to think on other possibilities that might cause this a bit tonight and will get back to you if I get any ideas. In the mean time maybe another member will read this and have a suggestion.

    Enjoy for now,
    Bob

    #52229
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi,
    Been reading this topic and kind of stayed out of since Bob was helping but now I want to jump in because I like puzzles like this. I want to make a guess and explain my reasoning because if Bob comes back with something different it may help us both. Part of my theory is based on idea that an automatic typically stays wound and hardly ever runs down all the way. Means the end of the mainspring is touching the barrel walls but not pressing as tightly as it could. Now when you took out mainspring barrel it had to be fully unwound. This seems like it would cause the end of the spring itself to be pressed up against the inside of the barrel tighter than it may have been in years, especially if it slipped a bit in the power let down operation. What I’m guessing has happened is that the end of the spring has become caught or stuck on the inside of the barrel and is now acting like a normal mainspring. Also barrel itself may have seperated slightly from cap and be putting spring in bind. Seems like a wierd sort of thing to happen but I don’t know what else to think since it was working earlier. If you have another of similar caliber might want to swap out mainspring barrel and all and see what happens.

    Charles

    #52230
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hey Charles that makes perfect sense to me!
    If that outer coil became gummy (sticky) over the years and is now stuck against the wall after letting it down completely then that might be what’s happening.
    Yes swapping another barrel unit if you have one or cleaning and lubing this one should reveal the problem.

    Whatever you find Ed please let us know what you come up with because you’ve stirred some real interest up here with this post!

    Thanks Charles, Good Call!!

    Bob

    #52231
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi,
    Thanks Bob. One other thing I might want to say on dealing with automatic mainspring is that the power let down operation is dependant upon the auto wind up device being removed. On all the ones I have worked on the auto device will only wind up and will not go backwards. So I don’t confuse anybody they will wind no matter which way rotor turns because of the reversing gear but if you just try to turn winding gear on auto device itself it will only go in direction of wind. This means the auto device itself will act as the click spring and prevent you from letting down power. Not sure if that is the way all auto watches work but I just tore down one last week because rotor axle was broken and when I put it back together thats the way it worked. Double checked against one I hadn’t touched and thats the way it works as well. Reasons I mention this is the videos don’t deal with automatics and if you don’t know you might try to let down power and when you release click spring and when nothing happens you might assume power has been let off which could cause you some problems when you then remove barrel. That goes back to my theory of spring being stuck, if you removed barrel bridge while there was still power left spring would have hit outside wall pretty hard which could have caused it to now be stuck there because of gum or because barrel cap seperated slightly and has it caught. I guess sometimes you have to remove auto device just to get to barrel but on the Omegas I have been working on you don’t.
    I’m glad to see someone besides me working on automatics. I really enjoy the extra challenge.
    Charles

    #52232
    edwardny
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 12

    Charles, you’ve been hiding in the same closet with Bob when I was working on this watch and and sneaking up on me.
    unVERYfortunately, you are very right. I remember like it was yesterday and it would make me look like a moron (not the first time this happens too :( )
    I did not let the mainspring down when taking the bridge out and it kind of got stock so I pushed it and pryed it and finally removed it which followed by the usual ZZZAZZZREGFEWRDFZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ noise of the unwinding main spring and other parts that it was hitting.

    The saddest thing is I finished a beautiful Russian Poljot Gold Poljot watch last night. The stem wasn’t going in – it’s a known issue with Russian 2616 2H movements so you have to remove the bridge and move the setting lever down, insert the setting pinion right on top of it and then it would all connect. So when removing the bridge on this beautiful finished watch, I didn’t let the main spring down again (it was late) same ZZZZZZZDRLKJSDLKJSDZZZZZZZ. I installed the stem but when put the barrel and bridge back now something happend that I have never seen. If you wind the watch and remove the clicker it would not unwind – NEITHER IT WOULD POWER THE WATCH TO WORK – MAIN SPRING IS WOUND BUT CANNOT UNWIND TO POWER THE WATCH – basically something is stuck at one of the gears – when I was taking it out like a barbarian – something went wrong…. and now the only way to take out is again to pry it open without letting the main spring unwind because removing the clicker does not unwind main spring – removing the whole bridge does….
    I got upset and went to sleep – 3:30AM :(

    But it’s ok – there is always another day and one day I’ll get it right :) – hey! after 15 years I learned how many pair of shoes my wife needs to be happy – just one more! So I’ll learn watchmaking as well – it’s just a matter of time…

    #52233
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi again,
    I tried to find a picture of the 2616.2h movement but all I could find was 2616.1h. I’m guessing they are very smilar. I am also guessing that to let down power the auto wind parts will need to be removed. If you haven’t tried that might want to try, also by removing it you can maybe eliminate it from the cause of the trouble. If you remove it and watch still doesn’t power down after you move the click then issue probably isn’t with auto. If it does let down then possibly a gear in auto wind assembly is now in a bind preventing barrel from letting down or powering watch. Of course you could remove it and have watch start right up. There are a lot of things that could have happened, barrel and cap could have seperated slightly which is putting barrel in bind preventing power transfer. I just got in from work and can’t think of anything else right now. I’ll check back later to see progress you made and what issue was and if I can think of anything else I’ll let you know.

    Charles

    #52234
    edwardny
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 12

    Hey Charles!
    Well, to answer your first question 2616 2h is completely different from 2616 1h – also 23 jewels versus 30 jewels – you know – in mother Russia only few things made sense and this is not one of them.
    You do not need to remove anything in 2616 2h to led the main spring down – I have other identical movements and all you need is just to work with the clicker.

    As far as main spring not clicking back and wound up spring not powering the watch – well, me – the great watch repairman – took out the bridge together with the barrel when it was wound and from all the friction of the unwinding main spring with gears, etc. – just when the zzzzzzzzzsdflsdjfksjzzzz noise happend – it broke staff in one of the gears – that – in turn sent the entire watch berserk…
    I have replaced the part with a new one and the watch is ticking happily on my wrist now for two days. Yey!!!!

    And today, I have put apart a 14k Lucien Piccard watch I bought on ebay from a State Auctioneer – it spent decade in safe deposit pox – all dirty with G-d knows what glued to the case, rusted parts stuck inside but suprisingly clean dial – it’s a 14k coin watch that looks like a $20 gold coin – took me 4 hours to put apart, soak in different solutions, clean, etc. Put it back together and it’s gorgeous! Ticking proudly on my other wrist – dying to get back on eBay :)
    I’m very new to watch repair but man, it could be lots of fun…

    #52235
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi,
    Good deal. I kind of figured that a gear was in a bind but I sort of thought it was in the auto part rather than drive train. Yes getting these old pieces of art back running is a lot of fun. I’m looking for a parts watch right now myself as I have two good Omega movements that just need a few things to be perfect. People at work have brought me watches to work on but all they had was very simple fixes. Anyway glad you got it going.

    Charles

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edwardnyWinding up an automatic watch.