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Discussion Starter #1
At the behest of another forum member, I'm posting this in the watchmaking forum in addition to the public forum...

I apologize in advance for posting a Citizen-centric thread on the other forums, but I think I need some serious help :)

Last month, I was blessed to encounter a total GRAIL WATCH - a '70 Citizen Bullhead Octagon Chronograph powered by the renowned, classic 8110 movement. These are awesome watches, workhorses if there ever were ones and simply unique at a time when the idea of a "retro-modern" watch was just being born.

The seller, the classiest dude I could hope to deal with, made sure this puppy was mine and is still a real gentleman, honest as could be. It ran perfectly for the better part of the month - keeping good time and a 12-24 hour power reserve at least.

After wearing the watch for a few weeks every day, I put it in the watch-box for a couple days. When I returned to it, I wound it, put it on my wrist and enjoyed it for another day. The next morning, I realized it had stopped in the middle of the night. So far, even though the watch is still keeping perfect time on my wrist - the power-reserve has randomly dropped to about 2-3 hours.

I'm boggled as to how it could have happened randomly, without an "event" and after so long functioning perfectly. The time-keeping on my wrist is still fantastic, and every other function seems just swell. It genuinely is just the power-reserve that seems bad.

This is looking more and more like a funky mainspring, correct? If it is - What are my options for such an old, notoriously out-of-print movement?

Thanks in advance,

Noah
 

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When you got it, did you have it cleaned and serviced? It could be as simple as a speck of dirt on one of the wheels that jams up when it comes around. Doesn't happen on your wrist because the motion of your arm restarts it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It hadn't been cleaned/serviced when I got it. In my experience a good "whack" against the palm can help a funky mainspring or dislodge dirt/dust, so I've been trying that. It may have actually bought me a few more hours of power overnight, come to think of it.

My quote for a mainspring was under $100 (labor being the cost) and a service/cleaning was closer to $50-$60, which seems reasonable. I guess I could have it serviced and let the watchmaker tell me if it needs the spring.
 

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Mechanical watches need to be serviced every 3-5 years (depending on if your watchmaker uses synthetic oils, and how dust-proof the case is). If he's doing a full service, that should include visually inspecting all the parts. I'd be a bit leery of $60 for a service on a vintage chrono though...seems low.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think the point was if he was going to just replace the mainspring (a cheap part costing $90+ to do w/ labor) or add a few more bucks ($50-60) for a full-service.

All together, it was a quote of about $150 for a service with a mainspring and a warranty, which does actually seem about reasonable for a vintage automatic chronograph.

Obviously, I'd prefer to give the watchmaker the timepiece and plan for the less expensive inspection and service, hoping that the mainspring isn't actually shot (or any other component for that matter).
 

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No, spend the money. It is a grail watch, right? You may never find another and servicing is necessary, possibly repair. You end up with what you wanted in perfect working order for $150. It has to be money well spent because a new mainspring, (they do go soft when they get old) will give the watch more amplitude which, in turn will improve its stability and accuracy as well as restoring the power reserve to as new condition. Think of it as a restoration and of the mainspring as a new engine and divide that money by the years of pleasure you'll get from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That was exceptionally well-put, sir. I couldn't agree more.

Not only is this a "grail watch" for me, but its a wonderful, original example of a unique piece any way we cut it. I'd like to think of it as wearable investment and see it in my collection for a long time, so the expense of the service would not only pay off in terms of wearability, but investment in records and appreciation as well as a relationship whereby if something went funky further down the line, I could bring it to the watchmaker.

No, spend the money. It is a grail watch, right? You may never find another and servicing is necessary, possibly repair. You end up with what you wanted in perfect working order for $150. It has to be money well spent because a new mainspring, (they do go soft when they get old) will give the watch more amplitude which, in turn will improve its stability and accuracy as well as restoring the power reserve to as new condition. Think of it as a restoration and of the mainspring as a new engine and divide that money by the years of pleasure you'll get from it.
 
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