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Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Shifting A Dial

Before...

These images show a problem with this watch's dial. There is damage to the dial, suggesting to me that it took a hard landing on the edge. As a result, the dial has shift, bending the dial feet, such that the 4th wheel post, where the seconds hand goes, and the center, where the other hands mount, are now too close to the edges of the holes in the dial.
With the hands installed, the watch would not run because the boss of the hands would rub against the inside of the holes in the dial. In this case, there isn't even enough room to get the hands on, so the trouble is fairly obvious.

There's a delicate technique for fixing this; basically "bumping" the dial, installed on the movement, with a punch that looked something like a flat-bladed screwdriver. This has be done against the metal base of the dial only, so the tool used has to be fairly precise, and it takes a bit of practice to be able to hold it in place just right. A couple sharp, but light, blows with a watchmaker's hammer and the dial will shift on the soft copper feet without damaging the enamel.

This dial is especially tricky though because where I want to shift it is directly were the dial is most damaged and weak.

After...

Here we have the posts for the hands now centered in the holes in the dial.  The hands now go in place perfectly.




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