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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Folks.

I decided to splurge, and get myself a Christmas present that ticks. It's the Hamilton 992, on the left, in these photos.






I paid a bit more than I probably should have, but it was serviced, regulated and so far, running really well and keeping great time.

How old is it? Serial # 2365597
 

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1925, according to the Pocket Watch Database:

https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/search/result/hamilton/2365597

A very nice watch, and any small price concern will fade into the background as time goes on, but the quality of the watch will remain just as good as it ever was :) Anyway, the inherent qualities of these American watches are significantly in excess of their market values, (just don't tell anyone!).
 

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Shangas...Good for you: well-chosen, & one of America's Best. A Pocket Chronometer, where it from Switzerland. The quality of Hamilton's hairsprings and mainsprings, especially, were outstanding.

Enjoy. Michael.
 

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I am sure they have....in a movie or on some TV show.

Congrats on the excellent watch. I notice the regulator is hard over. Did the seller have info to back up the service claim? I only ask because I just finished a 17j Waltham 16s for a gentleman and it is not in the same class as a 992 but I managed to set the regulator to center and only have to do tiny adjustments to get it to better than 30s/d.

Not trying to rain on your parade or anything. I love the old Hamilton pocket watches and applaud a great gift to yourself.
 

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I love that Hamilton railroad dial. My father gave me his Hamilton quartz and its got the same exact dial design. I replaced the old crystal with domed acrylic, and now I'm trying to install these new cathedral hands on it. Gonna try and take it to a jeweler cause I can't seem to remove the left over remnant of the broken hour hand on the center spindle.
View attachment 12724291
 

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But they use batteries right?
I love those ebay listings. Dial says 17 Jewels Antimagnetic......not running. Needs battery maybe.

I got an automatic, newer museum, that was a "needs battery" listing. It ran fine. I guess they just let it sit there and when they saw the seconds hand stop moving....oh...battery must be dead.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm a Millennial, more or less, and I've chased pocketwatches for 25 years. It's only now that I've had the funds to afford buying one...or two...lately. I used to have loads of pocketwatches - half a dozen or more. But I sold them all apart from my trusty Ball. Now I guess I'm getting back into buying them again. Granted this one was expensive, but in the condition it was, I feel justified in getting it.

The watch was one of about half a dozen in a watchmaker's cabinet in a local antiques shop, which had been recently serviced. The regulator doesn't concern me. But how exactly do you center the regulator when you service the watch? I assume it's an adjustment to the hairspring that needs to be made, yeah?
 
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The watch was one of about half a dozen in a watchmaker's cabinet in a local antiques shop, which had been recently serviced. The regulator doesn't concern me. But how exactly do you center the regulator when you service the watch? I assume it's an adjustment to the hairspring that needs to be made, yeah?
I am one of the few that has one foot in the Gen X and one in the Millennial. Sounds like you and I have been chasing watches for about the same time.

The regulator sitting in the middle is an indicator that the hairspring is good, the train is clean and pivots oiled. The mainspring is of the right strength, not old and lost its spring either. The only other main factors would be the meantime screws on on the balance. Lots of factors go into why the regulator would be in the middle indicating neither the need to speed it up or slow it down.

It is like seeing a watch with the regulator hard over to fast. Usually means the movement is dirty and slow because of it. The one I worked on was hard to fast when I got it back from the owner due to a slipping cannon pinion. He thought that it was just running slow. but in reality....when I first saw the watch the min hand had been rubbing the glass. I could hear it when I was setting it. I set the hands right when I put it back together and it was keeping ok time. I thought the setting felt a little light but it was keeping good time. I guess the years of rubbing the glass created wear between the center pinion and the cannon pinion. Luckily it was an adjustable cannon pinion.

There are all kinds of factors that make someone move it hard to fast or hard to slow. To be in the middle....that is the sweet spot for indicator maintenance and being all good. I can guarantee that no good quality watch would leave the factory if it had to be set far fast or far slow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
In my experience, watchmakers never regulate watches to keep pinpoint accurate time (they don't have the time to do it, with all their other orders). I usually do it myself. My Ball habitually runs about +1 minute. Eventually I'll dial back the speed a bit.
 

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Shangas...after the watch is Serviced, its' Rate is checked with the Regulator centered...if it's running fast or slow, weight is either added ( fast ) or removed (slow ) to the balance by 'attending to' the timing screws...there are washers that'll go under the screws to add weight=slow balance down, while there are several ways to reduce balance screw weight=speed up.

With High-Grade watches like your's, however, assuming that the original mainspring is used--and nothing else has been 'fooled with'--no work on the balance should be required.

Alas, many watches have suffered damage to the balance ( broken pivots being the most common ), so remedial work can be necessary

Finally: some times the Rate can be adjusted to be very good, indeed, if the Regulator is simply moved off-center a bit...in these instances ( not rare at all ), it seems 'best' to leave the poor old balance alone--not add or remove any weight--and accept a non-centered Regulator...best to not change that which really does not need to be changed!

Michael.
 

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With the rising cost of alloy mainsprings over the last ~10 years(from ~$5USD to $20 or $30 in some cases), many watchmakers no longer routinely replace mainsprings as part of service. For watches in my collection that I want to keep time, I often install NOS carbon steel springs instead(not only have alloy prices gone up, but I've had quality issues with them). IF old steel springs have been properly stored and they survive the first wind, they generally will last a long time and in my experience often work better(in terms of timekeeping, isochronism, and run time) than alloy springs.

In any case, a weak spring in an otherwise good condition watch will typically cause it to run fast.

Additionally, a fast running watch needs a lot of scrutiny on the entire train. Whale oil that has crystallized(a not uncommon situation) can be very pesky to remove. I find that it often takes a lot of manual work with pegwood in addition to the cleaning machine to clean it up. I will often run the plates/jewels through the cleaning machine to soften it up and get rid of the worst of it, then remove them, peg, and run through the cleaning machine again. A bur on a pivot or a damaged jewel will often seemingly allow the watch to run fine if you are not too picky, but will affect the rate. The closer to the balance you move, the more important this becomes. Even a tiny amount of damage to a balance pivot can be hard to spot but can cause all kinds of headaches. Similarly, anything that damages a pivot will often case a small amount of damage to the jewel. Small pivot defects can generally be fixed by polishing and burnishing, but there comes a point where it makes more sense to just replace the staff(I go straight to staff replacement on a 992E or 992B, as staffs are easy and cheap enough to change that it's not worth trying to salvage one). Jewels with defects must be replaced. As a side note, one interesting one I've seen is a small divot in the balance cap jewel. The current practice is to avoid using Diamantine or other abrasives that can imbed in the steel, and it has been postulated that these divots are the result of imbedded abrasive effectively turning the pivot into a drill on the cap jewel.

If a watch truly has been properly serviced and it is off with the regulator not centered but is set to the slowest setting, the most frequent cause in my experience is rust on the hairspring. This reduces the hairspring "stiffness" and thus will GENERALLY cause the watch to run slow. In that case, once I've made sure that there are no other issues, I will use the meantime screws to bring it to time. This is a last resort, and the balance should always be poised afterwards.

BTW, at 29, I'm on the very edge of what's considered a millenial :)
 
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Way to make me feel old at 40 lol

He is correct though in that some, or many, watchmakers will not go through much of that. They are content with doing a clean and oil and calling it done. To me this is just a step above changing a battery. A clean and oil just takes longer but the overall health of the watch is rather ignored. You change a battery in a modern watch, you don't worry about anything other than if it ticks.

Much of the art of true watchmaking has been not been taken up by many who call themselves watchmakers. The one local to me....he does a "Quickie-clean". You could pay to have a watch fully taken apart, cleaned, assembled, and oiled. But for half that he will take the balance out and just spray the whole thing with quartz watch cleaner. dry it off and then put it back together. He suggests this if you are just going to sell the watch. His saying is "I can do a quickie clean but you should list it and sell it as soon as you can."

Such is the state of the watchmaking industry in some places. Not all are bad, some are good, and some are excellent. If they can make their own parts and are skilled with lathe work to the point of repivioting a staff of a 16s watch properly....that is in the excellent and above level.
 

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If they can make their own parts and are skilled with lathe work to the point of repivioting a staff of a 16s watch properly....that is in the excellent and above level.
There comes a point where you have to throw in the towel, and in general I'd rather make a new staff than repivot one. That's such a crucial pivot that I'd only consider attempting it if there was something about the staff that made it very difficult to turn from scratch. Of course, verges, cylinders, and duplexes to clearly fall into the exception category. Most are crude enough, though, that using a pre-made pivot cap is usually an acceptable repair. Many cylinders are also made in such a way that the lower pivot can be knocked out and replaced(you need a special stake to do this-the "lazy Susan" type sets usually have a couple of them).

With all of that said, I have repivoted 1857 model Walthams. I have oversprung staffs, but not undersprung ones, and the replacements I have take enough fitting that it's almost easier to make them from scatch(fortunately it's a simple staff). On the common 57s(Barletts, Ellerys, and below) the pivots are large and do take to repivoting. On the other hand, there was an old watchmaker in the next town over who made several 1860 and 62 model staffs for me. He charged $90 and rather enjoyed working on what he considered quirky movements that were unlike anything he'd seen before. Since he's passed, I have a couple that have been waiting for me to sit down and make a staff for.
 
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You sir are what we need more of. The only staff I had a new pivot done on was the large Paul Buhre deck watch in the collection. My father in law was the one who did the work. He had no staffs that would fit it and did not want to make a staff. It worked and it runs well. If I could find a correct replacement staff for it I would go for it but...luck has not been on my side. I am still at the lowly simple work and have yet to do a staff.

If you are ever looking for a particular part PM me. We usually buy out any local watchmaker estates and I tend not to sell off any of the pocket watch material as that is far more valuable and I am picky who gets it. My father in law has a good amount of material as well, but he is a picky as me. You would be one well worth helping out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The watch with a suitable chain. In this case, a Victorian silver Albert...

 
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If you are ever looking for a particular part PM me. We usually buy out any local watchmaker estates and I tend not to sell off any of the pocket watch material as that is far more valuable and I am picky who gets it. My father in law has a good amount of material as well, but he is a picky as me. You would be one well worth helping out.
Bloody nice thing to say.
 
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