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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Waltham Vangaurd

Waltham's Vanguard model is an18 size, 21 jewel, railroad grade pocketwatch movement, and one of the very best of its day.

This one was made about 1900.

The design features a short, Swiss style, lever with no counter weight. These Walthams are tricky to assemble.

The dial side shows as much fine finish work as the back.

This movement needs a balance staff replacement.

There are several different tools for removing the roller table from the balance assembly. This is the one I use. It is an accessory to the staking set.
Here is the balance cock, with the parts that have been removed from the balance assembly.

We can see the broken off pivot at the tip of the old balance staff here. The replacement staff is ready.

Note that the watch's serial number is inscribed onto the underside of the arms of the balance wheel.
The old staff is removed by cutting away the back hub in the lathe, down to almost nothing.
That's about right...
The remaining bit of the old staff's hub is easily broken off.

This leaves a tiny steel washer. I like to save these, they can be handy.

Riveting on the new staff is done first with a round head hollow punch, the spread the rivet. A flat head hollow punch is then used to finish it off.

The size of the holes in the punches has to be an exact fit to the diameter of the staff.

The roller table is re-installed...
The balance wheel is checked for true to round and flat in a special caliper.
The balance assembly is then all done and ready to be placed in the movement.

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