Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!
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You recently repaired my Grandfather's pocket watch. It is running great. I do have a technical question for you though. I have noticed that when ever I let it run down and stop that the second hand always stops at the 12:00 position! Is this a design feature? I would imagine the odds of it being a chance are astronomical. In the couple of months I have had it back I have let it run down 8 or 10 times and the second hand is always at the 12:00 (to the second) when it stops. I have never noticed this before.
When you wind the watch, the mainspring is coiled from the outer part of the barrel to tightly around the arbor in the center. This will always be same number of turns; a function of the diameter of the barrel and the length of the spring. When the watch runs, the spring unwinds and barrel turns (very slowly) the same number of revolutions that it took to wind it. Therefore, the total run-time should be consistent each full wind also.
So, it isn't surprising, all other factors being equal, that a full run-down would leave the second hand at about the same position.
I don't set the second hand in a specific position, and don't generally set the seconds to correct time unless I will be handing the watch, running, directly back to the customer. And the final stages of checking out the watch involve putting only a small amount of power on (just a turn or two, which would throw off the pattern) and making adjusts before a full wind. So the fact that it stops on the 12 position is chance.
The power provided by the mainspring is weakest when it is nearly wound down, so any tiny friction anyplace will have a more pronounced effect when the watch is nearly ready to stop anyway. In a watch that is not so freshly cleaned, or that has a weaker mainspring, or a watch
that has some tiny imperfection, or speck of dust someplace, I'd expect increased variation.
One not-so-obvious thing about watches that is more obvious once you think about it, is that the positions of the watch's internal parts have a direct relationship to, well, the time. For example, if a watch stops at a particular time in a cycle, or a certain interval, it can indicate a problem with a particular wheel - since the wheel will come around to the problem spot at consistent intervals.
My Grandfather, even in his later years, had such experience with this that he could sometimes listen to a watch and then tell me that a particular pivot, or something, had a problem based on the interval in which he could hear an aberration. Once while looking over watches I had cleaned, he listened, then told me a particular jewel has a crack. He was correct!
"Here is a watchmaker that is entitled to a large cake. Among some junk watches I found what I think is the worst case of botch work ever peretrated. It was an American watch, key winder and in place of the balance hole and cap jewels, a lead slug had been inserted and a hole drilled into the lead to support the balance pivots. The roller jewel was made of a piece of copper wire and soft soldered to the roller table. The workman evidently thought the balance was broken so he soldered both ends of the balance wheel. For balance bridge screw he used a machine screw about 5 times larger than necessary. The banking pins were cut off entirely and the center pinion was soft soldered fast to the center arbor. A small piece of brass served as a pallet stone. Instead of closing the train holes in the proper manner, he used a center punch, punching 5 0r 6 marks around each hole. Naturally, the watch did not run."
20,000 G.I.'s STUDYING WATCHMAKING, JEWELRY
AND ALLIED LINES
Nearly 20,000 World War II veterans are learning to become jewelers, watchmakers, goldsmiths and silversmiths under the G.I. Bill and Public Law 16.
This total was disclosed in a Veterans Administration study of the principal courses and employment objectives of 2,535,385 veterans enrolled in schools and job training establishments under both laws on December 1, 1948.
Three-fourths of the 19,991 veterantrainees in jewelry and watchmaking-or 14,784-are enrolled in trade and vocational schools. The remaining 5,207 are training on-the-job.
Of the veterans in classrooms, 12,038 were enrolled under the G.!. Bill and 2,746 were studying under Public Law 16, an act providing for the rehabilitation of veterans with service-connected disabilities.
The job trainees included 3,219 enrolled under the G.!. Bill and 1,988 training under Public Law 16.
Eligibility for G.!. Bill training consists of (1) active military service some time between September 16, 1940, and July 25, 1947; (2) service of at least 90 days, or a discharge for service-connected disability if released before 90 days, and (3) a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable.
For Public Law 16, requirements are (1) military service between the 1940 and 1947 dates; (2) a discharge other than dishonorable; (3) a compensable service-connected disability, and (4) V-A's determination that training is necessary to overcome a handicap.
While in training, veterans may receive a subsistence allowance from V-A.
From American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, December 1959
Free brochure is technical aid
Detailed technical information is given on their No. 111 Ultrasonic Watch Cleaning Solution, No. 3 Watch Rinsing Solution, Extra Fine Watch Cleaning Solution.
Requests for your copy may be addressed to any authorized dealer or to l&R Manufacturing Company, 577 Elm St., Kearny (Arlington), N. J.
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