Let's See Your Watches! The Vintage Watch Thread.

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Chamorro, Sep 27, 2003.

  1. Annixter

    Annixter Practically Family

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    Up Yonder
    Interesting info Don. Thanks. I assume you're a watchmaker? I'd have no scruple taking in watches more often if not for the cost of a COR. After researching on a couple watchmaker forums this past year, I found that many journeyman watchmakers claim that it takes them 1 hour total to COR a 17-jewel, unadjusted, mechanical pocket watch, and while parts bathe they work on other paying projects--makes sense. I started using my watchmaker in the San Francisco Bay Area because my stepfather has used him for decades and because he specializes in vintage watches. He charges around $200 for most cleanings if no parts need replacing, and I always assumed the high cost was due to the cost of rent/living in this area; however, out of curiosity and to save money, I've contacted watchmakers in Chico, CA, and in Florida--both areas having far lower costs of living--just to receive the same quote. To me $200 an hour labor/material rate with no new parts seems mighty steep to be the norm which keeps me away from the watchmakers as much as possible.
     
  2. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Southcentral PA
    I have never been able to properly overhaul a watch in under three hours. That does include about a half hour in the cleaner. It also assumes there is nothing wrong with the watch. There are usually lots of things wrong with watches that have not been properly serviced in the last few years. Half of my time is spend undoing other "hack" repairs, where they did not know what they were doing and created a new problem to solve an old problem. Then I have to solve the original problem.

    There are some who will take a watch out of the case, remove the hands and dial and put it in a combination "cleaner-oiling" solution in an ultrasonic cleaners. This puts oil everywhere and allows it to trap more dirt and migrate away from where it is needed. A watch cleaned in this way will not last very long.

    The proper way to clean a watch is to take it all apart. That is about 50 parts for a pre-1950s watch. Clean the parts in a cleaner followed by at least two rinses. The cleaning part is automated. Each pivot hole is cleaned by sharpening peg wood to a point and rotating in the jewel hole. The balance jewels have to be removed cleaned by hand a reassembled. The mainspring is lubricated, wound an put back in the barrel. The watch is assemble, inspecting each part as it goes in. If pivot need polishing, it is done then and the part recleaned. Some parts are greased or oiled as they go together, while most pivots are oiled once everything is together. Before the balance is put back, it is checked for flat and round and corrected as necessary. The same with the hairspring. Once the watch is together, the action (how far the balance rotates) is checked. If it is not enough, you must find where the watch is loosing energy. The watch is then rated in several positions and the "beat" is checked. If the watch is out of beat (the time between the tic and toc is not the same as the toc and tic), then the balance has to come out and the collet holding the hairspring rotated and try again. Finally the watch is run in several positions for several days. If everything is OK, return it to the customer and stand behind your work for at least three months.

    The average time for a watch out of grandpa's sock drawer is a solid day.

    By the way, MOST watchmakers out there are not very good. They get the watch running long enough so they are no longer held responsible. A good watchmaker has been through extensive training for two years. Even then their experience is limited.

    Go to http://www.thepurists.com/watch/industryarticlesindex.html and look at the bottom where you will see "A Day in Watch School".

    Don
     
  3. Annixter

    Annixter Practically Family

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    Thanks, Don. My comment about 1 hour COR comes from poking around on the NAWCC forums where supposed watchmakers, who claim to clean the pocket watch properly, supposedly take 1 hour. My watchmaker has been in business since the 80s and apprenticed before that, and he has a 1-year warranty on any work he performs. He's also very knowledgeable about vintage watches just from sight which is reassuring. I've never come out and asked him how long it takes him for a typical COR because I find that borderline rude since he might assume I'm questioning his pricing when I'm more curious than anything. The bottom line is that I use him and pay his fees because I know he is an excellent watchmaker and a very honest and friendly man.

    If your COR process and estimate of 3 hours minimum for a basic watch in good working order is indicative of most watchmakers, then I can understand a $200 service fee; $66 per hour seems very reasonable for a quality watchmaker.
     
  4. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Familiar Face

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Southcentral PA
    I think you should ask him how long it takes to overhaul a watch. Most quality watchmakers are very proud of the work they do and very upset about the poor work done by so many others. They want the customer to know what is involved.

    This site is about celebrating and preserving the great things from the past, when most could not afford to buy and throw away. They had to buy and make last. Today you buy a quartz watch, it keeps great time until it does not, and then you throw it away. I doubt that in 50 years there will be a site celebrating quartz watches. If there will be, then quartz watches will truly be rare and expensive! Fine mechanical watches can last for centuries, much longer than originally owners or us. I think of it this way, we do not own these watches, we are their caretakers. With our help, they will outlive us, our children and their children and more.

    Don
     
  5. They will outlive us as long as we foster an appreciation for them in the next generation---one family at a time. My sons both have their own mechanical watches just to get them used to t. p
    I can even live with the hybrid battery powered mechanicals like the Accutrons. My son has a Seiko that I similar too.
     
  6. Rogera

    Rogera My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,364
    Location:
    West Texas
    I picked up this Elgin last weekend at an estate sale for $12.50. It keeps perfect time so far.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One of the things I have always liked about vintage watches is the raised, acrylic crystals. The concept just fascinated me since I was raised with the normal quartz watches and flat mineral crystals.
    [​IMG]

    From what little research I have done so far I have found that the time frame for the production of this watch should be between 1947 and 1958 because the "Durapower" main spring was introduced in 1947 and the "dp" marking on the face changed to "db" in 1958. If anyone has any information or thoughts they would be appreciated. The minute hand is blocking the logo but this watch does have the "dp" at the 12 o'clock position.
     
  7. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    I'd put a nice leather strap on that baby.:)
     
  8. Rogera

    Rogera My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    3,364
    Location:
    West Texas
    My thoughts exactly!
     
  9. SHOWSOMECLASS

    SHOWSOMECLASS A-List Customer

    Messages:
    441
    Location:
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Yes, AC nailed it. Those after-market Speidel bands are abrasive to the lugs. In a addition they are also hideous.
    Enjoy, that's a fun watch.
    Btw a "band" is made of metal and a "strap" is made of leather, rubber, or other material. If you spend good money on a strap, buy a butterfly deployant it will make the strap last forever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  10. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Familiar Face

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Southcentral PA
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  11. Warbaby

    Warbaby One Too Many

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    1,549
    Location:
    The Wilds of Vancouver Island
    Nice Shockmaster! I'm particularly fond of dials with Roman numerals that tilt as they go around - also dials that have all the numbers, not just the ones at 3/6/9/12 or some other combination with missing numbers.
     
  12. dh66

    dh66

    Messages:
    13,167
    Location:
    down south
    Rogera- what a great find!! That's a beautiful watch. Enjoy wearing it.

    Sent from my SGH-T959V using Tapatalk 2
     
  13. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,206
    This is my Ernest Borel Cocktail Kaleidescope Automatic Watch with Date. It belonged to my Dad, he definitely wore it a lot, as you can tell by the wear. My mother bought it from a local jeweler. The story was, Frank Sinatra bought a bunch for The Rat Pack, and there was one left over! Probably not true, but, it makes for a great story. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    fabiovenhorst likes this.
  14. dh66

    dh66

    Messages:
    13,167
    Location:
    down south
    Very cool watch. Even more so because it was your dad's.

    Sent from my SGH-T959V using Tapatalk 2
     
  15. Annixter

    Annixter Practically Family

    Messages:
    783
    Location:
    Up Yonder
    This is my most recent purchase. The watch I've been wearing on a daily basis needs servicing, so I found this one as a substitute and to share the workload.

    Early 1960's Elgin Sportsman. 17 Jewels, waterproof and resistant to shock, dust, and magnetism. It's a basic, unadjusted French movement, but it keeps great time. After some fiddling with the regulator, I have it a hair off center position to where it's only losing 2 seconds per day. I prefer the models with Arabic numerals, but I couldn't pass up on this one for the price and condition.

    [​IMG]
     
    Trenchfriend likes this.
  16. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    I might put a honey brown pigskin strap on that baby.
     
  17. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    I know it's wrong but I like a stretchy metal band. Who makes the best version of these much maligned watch bands?
     
  18. Corky

    Corky Practically Family

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    505
    Location:
    West Los Angeles
  19. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    I vaguely recall there being a high end version of that ilk for sale at Tourneau.
     
  20. Picard1138

    Picard1138 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Picked up a few vintage watches yesterday from a local jeweler friend of mine. He keeps an eye out for decent working vintage watches for me, and this time I scored an Elgin, and two Bulova wrist watches. This one happens to be my first tank watch so I wore it to work today to try her out. It is a nicely running gold filled Bulova tank, symbols for both 1940 and 1941 on the 17j movement.

    IMG_20140131_104303_518.jpg


    -Max
     

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