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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I just purchased this watch from a good friend of mine who is an avid collector and I am certain this watch was fully functional before I took ownership. The Chronograph started/stopped properly and also reset as it should. I attempted using it yesterday, pressed start, and unfortunately upon pressing it again; will not stop. The Start/Stop button and reset buttons both depress smoothly without issue. The second hand for the Chronograph works fine and it keeps good time (as far as I can tell as it's only been running for a day or so). The complications (small second hand, and 30 minute) both work as well.

I am informed this uses a Poljot 3133 movement and has been talked about in these forums, including this specific issue so I am hoping it's something simple and common. I brought it to a local watch repairer who stated that they would not even look at it, nor did they know anyone who could. They also stated that removal of the caseback is doable, but would entail pressfitting it back on, and they do not have the capacity to do so. It was a very reuptable watchshop, so it just could be that they don't wish to mess with Russian timepieces.

How difficult is it to actually remove the caseback to access the mechanism to at least take a look? What risks are involved upon doing so? Is it true that it has to be pressfit back into place?

As for what could have happened to cause this issue, I'm really not certain; I wound it like any other watch, but according to the manual received it requires a 180 deg. Clockwise; followed by a 180 deg. Counter-Clockwise winding. I've never heard of this before, and I hope "fingers crossed" I didn't potentially damage anything by winding it Clockwise (half turn, let off, and repeat).

The watch is flawless, only worn once or twice according to the original owner and I believe it to be authentic, the only "flaw" I can see is that the E on the watchface is a bit lighter than the other letters, but can only be seen up close. (see pictures).

I fully intend on keeping this in my collection especially given it's Spaceflight history (see attached instructions which are super cool and I hope others will be happy to see).

Any help would be apprciated as I am new to horological pursuits and want to get this new journey started on good footing.

Thank you everyone in advance!
 

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Welcome to the forum!

1st I would test your watch for magnetism. I’ve seen many times that the magnetism greatly impacts the chrono work. Use a Compass or a free iPhone app Lepsi. If magnetized (during shipping) you need to demag it. Get a 25$ device or stop by a watch shop.

2nd, opening and closing these can cause issues if you do it for the 1st time. If the back is screw down then it is easy. But looks like it is a snap on.... Stopping by a watch shop (even if all they do is change batteries) maybe solve this. A good shop will charge 5$ to open or close. Once opened, you can take a look and try to regulate the crono. There are special cams (screws) for that. But 1st you need to read what to do and this is only an option if you open the watch up. Try another shop. Tell them all you want them to do is to open a watch and then in a few days to close it. The shop who refused to do that, maybe a very reputable but they are for the money: they cannot charge you a lot for this and hence do not want to bother.

Winding: you can find it in any way you want. What they recommend is twisting the crown back and forth with your fingers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to the forum!

1st I would test your watch for magnetism. I’ve seen many times that the magnetism greatly impacts the chrono work. Use a Compass or a free iPhone app Lepsi. If magnetized (during shipping) you need to demag it. Get a 25$ device or stop by a watch shop.

2nd, opening and closing these can cause issues if you do it for the 1st time. If the back is screw down then it is easy. But looks like it is a snap on.... Stopping by a watch shop (even if all they do is change batteries) maybe solve this. A good shop will charge 5$ to open or close. Once opened, you can take a look and try to regulate the crono. There are special cams (screws) for that. But 1st you need to read what to do and this is only an option if you open the watch up. Try another shop. Tell them all you want them to do is to open a watch and then in a few days to close it. The shop who refused to do that, maybe a very reputable but they are for the money: they cannot charge you a lot for this and hence do not want to bother.

Winding: you can find it in any way you want. What they recommend is twisting the crown back and forth with your fingers.
Thanks for the kind welcome, I am certainly glad to be a part of these forums as a recent lurker :)

I asked those questions at the local watch shop and they would not offer to remove the caseback.. this was a really good place and reputable and not sure I'd trust any old watch battery shop.

I am still unclear of the exact winding procedure, what do you mean "back and forth"? I spun the crown knob a half turn, let go, then repeated till wound. It subtlely moves back on it's own counter-clockwise, when you let go.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Did you not see the photos posted above? Is there something else more specific I should post? (Sorry in advance for all the questions, here to learn :) )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is there any harm being done just letting the chronograph seconds hand continue to run? Should I continue winding it or just let it "run out"?
 

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The most likely cause is the operating lever of the chronograph function is slightly stuck and is not moving between positions on the fly back hammer.

The operating lever pushes the hammer up to start the chrono running and on the second press pulls the hammer down to stop it.

A simple fix, getting the case back off is the fun part!

Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The most likely cause is the operating lever of the chronograph function is slightly stuck and is not moving between positions on the fly back hammer.

The operating lever pushes the hammer up to start the chrono running and on the second press pulls the hammer down to stop it.

A simple fix, getting the case back off is the fun part!

Cheers...
Could this have resulted during transit, or just lack of use? It was tested to work before being sent, and clearly engaged when I clicked start.
 

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If the watch has sat for a number of years unused, then a lack of lubrication is a good place to start. Transit damage is unlikely.

Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, well it's clear if I want to try and fix this that I need to determine the difficulty level of removing the caseback and the means by which to reinstall it.
 

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OK, well it's clear if I want to try and fix this that I need to determine the difficulty level of removing the caseback and the means by which to reinstall it.
Removing will probably be achievable with minimal tools, getting it back on may require a press, Classic case Sturmanskie's are notorious for case fitting problems.

Best of luck.
Cheers...
 

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Sorry I had missed the photos. My bad. Agree with Matt on the case: I had worked with these. Opening is Ok. No way to close by hand. No way! And I am quite strong. Press is needed. Press can be purchased quite cheaply.

As far as the repair: Matt is for sure right and knows these quite well. But I would check for magnetism. These levers get stuck to each other. This is what I had observed .... of the parts are magnetized (and they frequently get magnetized during shipping), no matter how well oiled, the chrono will not work as expected. If you can check for magnetism, stop by your watch shop. If they are any good they will demagnetize for free in 1 min.

Winding: what you do is fine but this is not how the manual recommends. Grab the crown, roll it between your fingers in a typical whining movement, w/o releasing the crown roll back, then forward. Got it?
 

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I wish you good luck in getting the caseback opened - I really do not like the press fit type.

Last year I purchased a chronograph that was damaged by the previous owner or watchmaker trying to pry it open.
There was minimal effort on my part to open it but I ended up just selling the watch because I didn't like the gold :-!

This is what you want to avoid:

1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Will it cause the watch any damage by allowing the Chronograph seconds hand to continue moving continually, or should I shelve this until I can determine whether or not its magnetized or can safely remove the caseback?
 

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Will it cause the watch any damage by allowing the Chronograph seconds hand to continue moving continually
I can think of two things.
The power reserve will drain faster, and with the chronograph always engaged there will be excess wear on the movement.
I don't think the additional wear is that significant...it's "healthier" than constantly pressing start/stop/reset. Might be nothing to worry about.

I remember testing the power reserve on two 3133s a while ago with the chronograph engaged vs. not engaged. They both ran approximately 10% longer when I never started the chrono.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Where do I start attempting to remove this case? And what do I need to re-install properly after I do?
 

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You need some tools. The basic (and I mean really basic) set is something like this. There is a small notch in the case where you can insert a tool (a watchmaster knife, or a screwdriver) to pry it open. Given the soft material of the case (this is NOT steel) you better add some padding to minimize the dents as shown above. To close it, you can use a press like shown on this picture. You select a socket of the right size that allows a crystal to stay clear and press the cover back on. It is quite scary when you start using the press. Cracking the crystal is always a possibility of the socket is not deep enough or wide enough.
P.s. I would not be using the watch with constantly running Crono. Not because of the damage or power reserve but because ot would drive me nuts.
also, try smacking the watch gently against your open palm. I know it sounds crazy but many issues were solved by a gentle smacking.... :)

15324997
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Luckily, by sheer luck the chrono second hand ticks at the same time in unison with the time keeping second hand.. still drives me nuts though as its such an awesome watch!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Anyone reputable that I may send this to, to have it looked at. Local watch shop and others I called would not even bother to take a look at it for me.

Thanks!
 
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