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Well, it's been WAY too long for me; I had my watch bench put away for several months while I sold my house and moved. But the drought is over, and I'm finally back to tinkering with watches again! Here's my first victim...

I picked this up at an antique show last year, and frankly I think I paid too much for it (I think I talked her down to $90), but it came with a presentation box, and the 39 jewels was interesting. Plus I'm light on automatics that have date complications.

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The case is a bit dinged, and no one will call the dial "mint", but it has a nice patina to it. Inside is a Benrus FR45, which is based on the AS 1581.

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It was obviously a well-used watch; big gouges in the lugs, and some of the winding gears are very worn in places, but otherwise a very nice watch. The winding module is standalone and can be removed entirely without affecting the rest of the watch. This requires a number of additional parts to the design though. Several of the gears in the autowind modules are highly customized and would be extremely difficult to fabricate, so I'm imagining this is one model that will quickly become scarce as time goes on.

Ranfft lists the base model as having 17-25 jewels; they push this one up to 39 by adding a bunch of nominally "functional" jewels underneath the date ring. Because we all know how often the date ring wears out. :-s

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I had to cheat a bit on the mainspring; it's supposed to take a 3-10.5-13.5 mainspring, but the closest I had was a 3-10-12.5. That means the amplitude will be a bit lower, and the reserve a bit shorter. Shouldn't affect it too much though. And so far, it's keeping perfect time.
 

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Wonderful post! I am glad Benrus solved the problem of date rings wearing out. I don't think anyone else ever did... LOL
 

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nice watch with an interesting movement:-!
 

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more really important jewelling

This is nothing - you should see the Centurys, Radger.
 

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Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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Re: more really important jewelling

Someone somewhere has one with 100 jewels. 83 of them "support" the rotor.....

Hartmut Richter
 

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Re: more really important jewelling

Sorry, Radger - Century = 100 (Bulova?, Waltham?, etc??)
Radger, you going to the wedding?
These watches are unfamiliar to me Pithy...I live in the UK. Of course I know
that Century refers to a hundred but you didn't post a watch with a hundred jewels,
I was hoping someone might have one s'all.

What wedding's that then?
 

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your thoughts

These watches are unfamiliar to me Pithy...I live in the UK. Of course I know that Century refers to a hundred but you didn't post a watch with a hundred jewels,
I was hoping someone might have one s'all. What wedding's that then?
Re 100's: If had still had one of them I would have posted it!

Re new image: The bearing cage at the top has 45 "notches" in in for 45 .595mm ruby spheres. The cage and jewels fit in the track assembly below and the weight is attached to the bearing.

The movement proper is stamped seventeen jewels - but I'm not for sure about the actual count. The winding bridge is "married" and is very challenging to assemble and adjust. It has caps on the dial side.

Re wedding: I just assumed you got an invitation.
 

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Re: your thoughts

These are all very interesting and although I knew they exist and have heard of the jewel
wars they would seem rare in the UK.
I'm wondering if these 'highly jewelled watches were an American phenomena.
 

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Re: your thoughts

These are all very interesting and although I knew they exist and have heard of the jewel
wars they would seem rare in the UK.
I'm wondering if these 'highly jewelled watches were an American phenomena.
It was the result of a marketing campaign. It eventually was stopped. I guess the ads didn't run in UK publications :)

Off topic: the best marketing campaign of similar ilk I remember was with canned salmon. A company was trying to use a different breed of salmon for it's canning product but no one would buy it. Previously all salmon was pink but this salmon was fairly white. Few sales until marketing started an advertising campaign of 'guaranteed not to turn pink in the can!'.... LOL The Feds made them stop (back in the day when the Feds would do these things...).
 

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US FTC regs

CFR

§ 245.6 Deception as to jewels.
Industry members should not misrepresent
directly or indirectly, in advertising,
labeling, marking, brand or
trade name, or otherwise, the number
of jewels contained in a watch, or that
a watch is ‘‘jeweled’’ or that a watch
contains a jeweled movement. Illustratively,
industry members should not:
(a) Represent or describe a watch as
‘‘jeweled’’ or as containing a jeweled
movement unless the watch movement
contains at least seven jewels each of
which serves the purpose of protecting
against wear from friction by providing
a mechanical contact with a moving
part at a point of wear;
(b) Refer to the number of jewels contained
in a watch unless each and
every one of these jewels serves the
purpose of protecting against wear
from friction by providing a mechanical
contact with a moving part at a

point of wear. [Guide 6]
 
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