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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally got cleaning solution for my cleaning machine, so I wanted to finally properly clean and service my hamilton 950.

A little back story here: I've had this movement for years in a can since it came into my father's store as part of a bunch of movements whose cases had been scrapped. I recently got a new case for it and now that my home shop is mostly set up, I figured it was time for a cleaning.

15819245


I removed the balance cock and realized that there was a plastic shim there. Trying the balance bridge without the shim and the balance wheel was loose.

I guess I'm at least thankful that whoever affected this bootleg repair opted to shim instead of digging into the plate itself. But it makes me wonder: if the staff is too short, is it worth replacing the staff? Or just living with the shim? No idea yet if this will even keep time. Timing machine has it gaining and losing by a lot depending on position.

This is becoming another case of there being no such thing as a simple restoration.
 

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Finally got cleaning solution for my cleaning machine, so I wanted to finally properly clean and service my hamilton 950.

A little back story here: I've had this movement for years in a can since it came into my father's store as part of a bunch of movements whose cases had been scrapped. I recently got a new case for it and now that my home shop is mostly set up, I figured it was time for a cleaning.

View attachment 15819245

I removed the balance cock and realized that there was a plastic shim there. Trying the balance bridge without the shim and the balance wheel was loose.

I guess I'm at least thankful that whoever affected this bootleg repair opted to shim instead of digging into the plate itself. But it makes me wonder: if the staff is too short, is it worth replacing the staff? Or just living with the shim? No idea yet if this will even keep time. Timing machine has it gaining and losing by a lot depending on position.

This is becoming another case of there being no such thing as a simple restoration.
Just go through the watch as usual. Make sure all's well with the jewels and pivots and...everything else. Make double-sure (!) that the balance jewels are OK, and fit the pivots, and that all's well with the rest of the balance.

Then: when all's clean & ready to go, put the balance in the bridge, and attach the bridge to the pillar plate...all by itself. Tighten the plate screw slowly, making sure balance is not pinched. Once the screw's snugged-down, see if the balance is free, and has enough end-shake. You should be able to give the plate a gentle twist, and watch the balance spin away merrily dial-up / dial-down / pendant-up ( or down...your choice ). If the 950 passes this little test, make sure the roller jewel's aligned between the banking pins when at rest.

There's a decent chance that your Hamilton is actually OK, and that the shim's there for no good reason, save for a lack of attention to detail during the last Service! It's up to you, then, to go through this step-by-step, and ensure that if there is a problem, you know just where it is.

From what I can see, this 950 looks to be in very good shape. With just a little luck, if there is a problem, it'll be a little one!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So update: you were right, Michael.

The foot jewel was wrong. See attached pics:

15820454


15820456


Some previous servicer replaced the foot jewel. They chewed up the cap jewel trying to force it in too. Fortunately grandpa had a small assortment of hamilton 16s foot jewels, so I was able to find one that fit correctly and fit the staff. No more loose balance wheel and no more shim.

Movement is now completely broken down and running in my cleaning machine. You were also right about the main spring. It appears to be blue steel, so I'll probably be ordering an alloy replacement.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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So update: you were right, Michael.

The foot jewel was wrong. See attached pics:

View attachment 15820454

View attachment 15820456

Some previous servicer replaced the foot jewel. They chewed up the cap jewel trying to force it in too. Fortunately grandpa had a small assortment of hamilton 16s foot jewels, so I was able to find one that fit correctly and fit the staff. No more loose balance wheel and no more shim.

Movement is now completely broken down and running in my cleaning machine. You were also right about the main spring. It appears to be blue steel, so I'll probably be ordering an alloy replacement.

Thanks for the advice!
There: that's GOOD NEWS!

Good job chasing this one down so quickly...if only, say, 10% ( ! ) were this easy.

I have a 950 and 950B: if I were going to Antarctica for a Winter, this is the Grade of watch I'd take. Although there are other watches I like a bit more, there's zero doubt but that there is not a watch that runs any better for any longer, than a Hamilton 950.

Period!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There: that's GOOD NEWS!

Good job chasing this one down so quickly...if only, say, 10% ( ! ) were this easy.

I have a 950 and 950B: if I were going to Antarctica for a Winter, this is the Grade of watch I'd take. Although there are other watches I like a bit more, there's zero doubt but that there is not a watch that runs any better for any longer, than a Hamilton 950.

Period!

Michael.
Yeah, the only thing that presented an issue beyond the foot jewel was the ratchet wheel for the main spring. I couldn't get it unscrewed from the arbor, so I cleaned it with it still attached to the plate. I didn't want to force it and potentially damage or break it. I was still able to remove the barrel, so I think things should be cleaned well enough. Guess I'll find out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So update: got it cleaned and lubed. I do need to get some proper synthetic grease as the clutch wheel is tight when reversing the crown, but other than that, I tested it on my machine and I think I have it at around 6+ seconds a day. Not bad. I think I could do better, but I just realized the regulator spring is missing half. I apparently never noticed this in all the years I've owned this movement.

15821216


You can see it right there. Ugh. Welp, I guess I need to find a new regulator spring.

Meanwhile, it's now completely clean and beautiful.

15821220


EDIT: I'm starting to suspect that the cannon pinion needs tightening. Machine says +6 seconds a day, but the hands don't seem to keep up. Always something.
 

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Yeah, the only thing that presented an issue beyond the foot jewel was the ratchet wheel for the main spring. I couldn't get it unscrewed from the arbor, so I cleaned it with it still attached to the plate. I didn't want to force it and potentially damage or break it. I was still able to remove the barrel, so I think things should be cleaned well enough. Guess I'll find out!
I always keep in mind that there are two ( 2 ) types of screws that may be used on these wheels: Left-handed, and Right-handed...

I've worked on many American as well as European watches where someone thought they were dealing with, say, a Left-handed screw, when in fact it was Right-handed...the poor screw!

Michael.

ps: be careful around cannon pinions: these things tend to be of pretty hard steel, and will actually break if treated too harshly. I forget what style Hamilton used on this 950 ( either solid, or with a 'finger' ), but there are tools specifically designed to help. In any case, be sure to use a rod of some sort in the pinion during tightening: the idea is that a rod will prevent the walls from going in too far.

A good technique to quickly check the pinion is to brush the hands with a fairly-soft brush: if the pinion is OK, the hands should resist moving .

If you decide to tighten, don't go too far: I have worked on USA watches that've had the pinion so tight, that the minute wheel had missing / damaged teeth from trying to move it...ouch!'

pps: a fine-tipped Artist's brush & just a dab or two of white paint 'might' be OK on your dial. There also used to be dial repair kits that used a material that was warmed over an alcohol lamp, then pressed into the dial. I've used this stuff, and it is possible to do OK, yet it's a bit iffy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I always keep in mind that there are two ( 2 ) types of screws that may be used on these wheels: Left-handed, and Right-handed...

I've worked on many American as well as European watches where someone thought they were dealing with, say, a Left-handed screw, when in fact it was Right-handed...the poor screw!

Michael.

ps: be careful around cannon pinions: these things tend to be of pretty hard steel, and will actually break if treated too harshly. I forget what style Hamilton used on this 950 ( either solid, or with a 'finger' ), but there are tools specifically designed to help. In any case, be sure to use a rod of some sort in the pinion during tightening: the idea is that a rod will prevent the walls from going in too far.

A good technique to quickly check the pinion is to brush the hands with a fairly-soft brush: if the pinion is OK, the hands should resist moving .

If you decide to tighten, don't go too far: I have worked on USA watches that've had the pinion so tight, that the minute wheel had missing / damaged teeth from trying to move it...ouch!'

pps: a fine-tipped Artist's brush & just a dab or two of white paint 'might' be OK on your dial. There also used to be dial repair kits that used a material that was warmed over an alcohol lamp, then pressed into the dial. I've used this stuff, and it is possible to do OK, yet it's a bit iffy.
I think I have a feeling that the "finger" in the cannon pinion might actually be missing... I have to double check since that would mean I'm now in for a cannon pinion as well as the regulator spring. I did just hit up Dave's Watch Parts and asked Dave if he might have those parts in stock as well as an alloy mainspring.

So far every watch I've started to restore has turned into a lengthy and pricey project! I think these are worth it though. I have used the dial patch stuff you're talking about, but I've never been happy with the results. I might just live with that missing chunk until I source a new dial eventually, though these 4-footer dials are pretty rare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another question for the watchmasters:

Doing some research into a replacement regulator spring. It seems that these types of springs were pretty consistent across model grades that weren't a B model (950B, 992B etc). But looking at an old Hamilton parts catalog shows that the regulator spring for the 950 was only the same between the 950, 950E, and the 952. I found this part here on eBay:


I sent the dude a message asking if its compatible, but I don't want to drop like $30 on a part I can't use. Getting a cannon pinion is actually not as hard since they were the same across models, but this fershluggina spring...

If anyone has any leads or advice, I'm down to clown.
 

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Another question for the watchmasters:

Doing some research into a replacement regulator spring. It seems that these types of springs were pretty consistent across model grades that weren't a B model (950B, 992B etc). But looking at an old Hamilton parts catalog shows that the regulator spring for the 950 was only the same between the 950, 950E, and the 952. I found this part here on eBay:


I sent the dude a message asking if its compatible, but I don't want to drop like $30 on a part I can't use. Getting a cannon pinion is actually not as hard since they were the same across models, but this fershluggina spring...

If anyone has any leads or advice, I'm down to clown.
I suggest taking a good & close look at what was Original to your 950, and matching it up with anything you see online that might fit...I'll assume that there was only one style that was on the 950 the year it was made, and it should be pretty apparent if what you're looking at online is the same.

I'm sure you'll soon get what you need, but it does seem that you're having more than your fair share of Troubles...may they soon be over !

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Now I realized why I was hesitant to unscrew the barrel arbor from the ratchet wheel. Upon attempting to replace the main spring I found the new spring was too tight to easily slip the arbor in while still attached to the ratchet wheel. I recalled that it looked like there was a crack at the tip of the arbor where it screwed into the ratchet wheel. That made me leary originally to try and unscrew it. Well, I needed to unscrew it. Gripping the arbor with some padded pliers to prevent any damage, I carefully unscrewed the arbor. Success. It didn't take much pressure and it unscrewed. Then I gently examined the top of the threaded portion of the arbor wondering if I had imagined the crack. I slid my fingertip across the top and a nice piece of the threaded portion came away like a crumbled cookie.

15839973


Suffice to say, I'm sad that now need a replacement arbor. This is why we can't have nice things. :cry:
 

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Pretty weird failure...can't say as I've seen one like this. Hamilton's steel was Grade A, and whatever happened here, must have been quite an event. Of course, there's always a chance that something slipped through their Quality Control, but--Geez!--what a poor turn of luck.

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Pretty weird failure...can't say as I've seen one like this. Hamilton's steel was Grade A, and whatever happened here, must have been quite an event. Of course, there's always a chance that something slipped through their Quality Control, but--Geez!--what a poor turn of luck.

Michael.
I've done dumb things in the past. I don't know anyone that hasn't had a bozo moment while working on a watch and broken something. But I know I didn't break this. I think this crack could have been there a long time or was the result of someone doing something they shouldn't have.

At any rate, I think I saw Casker has an assortment of motor barrel arbors. One of the arbors in their pic looks exactly like mine. So maybe I'll grab assortment.
 

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I've done dumb things in the past. I don't know anyone that hasn't had a bozo moment while working on a watch and broken something. But I know I didn't break this. I think this crack could have been there a long time or was the result of someone doing something they shouldn't have.

At any rate, I think I saw Casker has an assortment of motor barrel arbors. One of the arbors in their pic looks exactly like mine. So maybe I'll grab assortment.
Well...if you find a 950 part in one of these assortments, your luck has just changed!

If I can summon a bit of extra energy, I'll do a bit of research and see what may have been known to happen to parts like yours...things CAN happen, and there may be something in the literature that pertains to this failure.

Stay tuned!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well...if you find a 950 part in one of these assortments, your luck has just changed!

If I can summon a bit of extra energy, I'll do a bit of research and see what may have been known to happen to parts like yours...things CAN happen, and there may be something in the literature that pertains to this failure.

Stay tuned!

Michael.

The arbor on the bottom left is like the mirror image of the pic I posted above. I'd call this insane luck if it matches. I reached out to Dave at Dave's Watch Parts to ask if he might have this in stock, so I've been holding off pulling the trigger, but what are the odds that its the right arbor?
 

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The arbor on the bottom left is like the mirror image of the pic I posted above. I'd call this insane luck if it matches. I reached out to Dave at Dave's Watch Parts to ask if he might have this in stock, so I've been holding off pulling the trigger, but what are the odds that its the right arbor?
Well...Hamilton was a pretty common watch, and there were quite a few 950's made. I'll suggest that there's a good chance that the Fates have ( at last ) smiled upon you, and that there's a replacement in your future.

( time to buy a Lottery ticket...?! ).

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well...Hamilton was a pretty common watch, and there were quite a few 950's made. I'll suggest that there's a good chance that the Fates have ( at last ) smiled upon you, and that there's a replacement in your future.

( time to buy a Lottery ticket...?! ).

Michael.
Yeah, the joke might be on me. That arbor hub is likely for the 12 size. That was a different part number in the hamilton parts catalogue. I ordered it anyway since I'm not throwing enough money out the window on this stuff. 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Well...Hamilton was a pretty common watch, and there were quite a few 950's made. I'll suggest that there's a good chance that the Fates have ( at last ) smiled upon you, and that there's a replacement in your future.

( time to buy a Lottery ticket...?! ).

Michael.
You know what Michael, I wanna buy you a beer. I wanna buy you a case of beer.

My assortment of hubs came in from Casker. At a cost of $33.

15847665


$33 dollars. I am currently over the moon.

15847678


I believe a bunch of these others are for 18 size motor barrels and a bunch of them for the 12 size, but I think at least a few are for the newer 952 or 950B with the split barrel plate maybe.

In any case, I'm going to put these away for now and install the new hub later when I've calmed down. Considering I saw a guy selling the metal washer top from a 950 barrel on eBay for like $75, I believe I managed to land a once in a lifetime deal here. And now I have these other barrels to sell to anyone who might need them, but this single 950/952 hub that came in the assortment is mine.

For the record, I reached out to lot of places trying to find this hub. I never would have expected to find one in this assortment. Never in a million years. I think you sent me some good luck, Michael!

On a different note, my own theory about why the original hub cracked might be because the large amount of pressure put on this thing over a hundred years. I'm sure Hamilton never considered wear and tear after a century. It's not like they could run a simulation of millions of windings through the computer to see where the highest stress points are. Which is probably why the conventional wisdom is to not unscrew it from the ratchet wheel. This replacement hub looks like NOS. Once I screw it in to the ratchet wheel it is never going to be removed by me ever again and repeated windings will just make it tighter. I just need to open up the new mainsprings inner coil so I can slip this in. For that I'm definitely looking for recommendations. I don't want to break the new mainspring.
 

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You know what Michael, I wanna buy you a beer. I wanna buy you a case of beer.

My assortment of hubs came in from Casker. At a cost of $33.

View attachment 15847665

$33 dollars. I am currently over the moon.

View attachment 15847678

I believe a bunch of these others are for 18 size motor barrels and a bunch of them for the 12 size, but I think at least a few are for the newer 952 or 950B with the split barrel plate maybe.

In any case, I'm going to put these away for now and install the new hub later when I've calmed down. Considering I saw a guy selling the metal washer top from a 950 barrel on eBay for like $75, I believe I managed to land a once in a lifetime deal here. And now I have these other barrels to sell to anyone who might need them, but this single 950/952 hub that came in the assortment is mine.

For the record, I reached out to lot of places trying to find this hub. I never would have expected to find one in this assortment. Never in a million years. I think you sent me some good luck, Michael!

On a different note, my own theory about why the original hub cracked might be because the large amount of pressure put on this thing over a hundred years. I'm sure Hamilton never considered wear and tear after a century. It's not like they could run a simulation of millions of windings through the computer to see where the highest stress points are. Which is probably why the conventional wisdom is to not unscrew it from the ratchet wheel. This replacement hub looks like NOS. Once I screw it in to the ratchet wheel it is never going to be removed by me ever again and repeated windings will just make it tighter. I just need to open up the new mainsprings inner coil so I can slip this in. For that I'm definitely looking for recommendations. I don't want to break the new mainspring.
As you may have heard, there's a rather wild notion in Quantum Mechanics that alludes to the ( actual ) Nature of a System, and it goes by the nifty name of the "collapse of the wave front". In a nutshell, all they're talking about is the way in which a thing may actually be known...not at all by guessing, or by standing in front of a blackboard covered with Greek letters and strange lines and shapes.

Not at all. The way a thing is known, is to actually experience it, and the way to experience it is to cause it to appear. Put another way, the Particle in question may be anywhere...until it is looked for, and it's this looking for that compels it to appear: the probability of its identity is rather like a cloud...until it drops out, at the moment of being looked for; the Wave Front has collapsed into what's there, and the Particle--seen at last!--is there for all to see...

...sort of like what just happened with your Hamilton 950 hub. Hey: there could have been ( about ) anything in that little package from Casker. Until you actually / physically OPENED it: in that instant, what could have been there--in theory--went away, and what WAS there, is: A Present from the Fates.

Enjoy!

Michael.
 
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