Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!
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Anyhow, this watch had an odd irregular beat problem, and I finally realized that the roller jewel was loose.
The jewel is held in place with shellac. The part is heated with an alcohol lamp, while held in a certain tool, the shellac melts, and when it cools, it hardens and holds the jewel. Getting the temperature right is a matter of experience. Too hot and the shellac scorches. The roller jewel, which has a 'D' shaped profile, also must be perfectly straight and square to the balance staff. One gets very little time to move it before the shellac cools and firms up.
Finally I realized that someone previously had used what actually seemed to be some sort of wax (?!) on the roller jewel, which is why it was loose, and why new shellac would not stick to the resulting oily surface of the jewel. I had to disassemble the thing again and hand clean the jewel and the roller table with acetone. That did the trick, the jewel is now secure. On to the next issue...
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