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That's why it's a hobby. I like being able to take my time to do things right as opposed to right now. The pain with this roller table has me wondering if I should just be on the hunt for a complete roller table with jewel instead of trying to monkey the roller jewel into this pig.
I would look for another complete balance assembly, then find jewels to match. I have done this on several American PW's, and it usually turns out just fine. Your approach here seems like an awful lot of work, and would make me want to set this job aside, and move on to something far less fussy.

A number of American PW's used parts that were ( and are ) amazingly interchangeable...you might be surprised! That was their 'claim to fame' back in the late 1800's, and they got very good at it.

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I am totally down for that, except I can't find a suitable replacement balance assembly that has the bronze roller table. I have been scouring the ebays and forums to no avail.

I actually do have a selection of replacement jewels for both the cock and foot, but I think the cap jewels are actual diamond since they appear faceted. Also every other jewel I've tried on the foot won't let that original cap jewel sit flush.

Dave at Dave's watch parts is sending me an assortment of roller jewels to try, so I'm hoping one of those will work. But yeah, this has been an enormous amount of work and I still haven't even cleaned it yet.

My less fussy project is my hamilton 950. It just needs a case which I have coming. And a cleaning. I did want to replace the dial since its missing a chunk, but getting a replacement hamilton 4 post 16s dial has been as elusive as getting an intact bronze roller table for my vanguard, so I'll probably just live with it for now.

I really need to get cleaning solution for my machine so I can start cleaning these things.

I hope at the end of things my vanguard works and looks awesome with the correct parts (as close as I can get it). More importantly, I hope it keeps good time. :)
 

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I am totally down for that, except I can't find a suitable replacement balance assembly that has the bronze roller table. I have been scouring the ebays and forums to no avail.

I actually do have a selection of replacement jewels for both the cock and foot, but I think the cap jewels are actual diamond since they appear faceted. Also every other jewel I've tried on the foot won't let that original cap jewel sit flush.

Dave at Dave's watch parts is sending me an assortment of roller jewels to try, so I'm hoping one of those will work. But yeah, this has been an enormous amount of work and I still haven't even cleaned it yet.

My less fussy project is my hamilton 950. It just needs a case which I have coming. And a cleaning. I did want to replace the dial since its missing a chunk, but getting a replacement hamilton 4 post 16s dial has been as elusive as getting an intact bronze roller table for my vanguard, so I'll probably just live with it for now.

I really need to get cleaning solution for my machine so I can start cleaning these things.

I hope at the end of things my vanguard works and looks awesome with the correct parts (as close as I can get it). More importantly, I hope it keeps good time. :)
These things are quite a Labor of Love...even with all kinds of old jewels from which to choose. Your Vanguard does have Diamond Endstones, yet ( in an Emergency...) you can 'easily' replace them with a regular, Sapphire or Ruby item(s). Waltham did the Diamonds pretty-much just for 'Show', and the other materials look really good & work 100%, too.

I continue to be a bit surprised to read of your challenges @ getting this staff squared-away...too much stuff! It sure does sound, though, like you just ran-into one of those unusual, swapped-out-pieces situations, wherein you're compelled to undo another's 'efforts'. I've had several of these little exercises, myself, and it can take hours to make things right...right?!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
These things are quite a Labor of Love...even with all kinds of old jewels from which to choose. Your Vanguard does have Diamond Endstones, yet ( in an Emergency...) you can 'easily' replace them with a regular, Sapphire or Ruby item(s). Waltham did the Diamonds pretty-much just for 'Show', and the other materials look really good & work 100%, too.

I continue to be a bit surprised to read of your challenges @ getting this staff squared-away...too much stuff! It sure does sound, though, like you just ran-into one of those unusual, swapped-out-pieces situations, wherein you're compelled to undo another's 'efforts'. I've had several of these little exercises, myself, and it can take hours to make things right...right?!

Michael.
Yeah! Given I can only devote a few hours a week to this stuff, it's taking extra long. But I want to get this thing working and as close to original as possible and I feel it's worth it. These movements are works of art in my eyes and they deserve the TLC.

I just cased my hamilton 950 with a fairly mint hamilton RR gold filled case that I probably spent way too much money on eBay for, but finally seeing it in a proper case made it worth it. I can't wait to start properly cleaning these movements in my cleaning machine.

As for the vanguard, I'm taking it slow, but just really need to square away the roller table with a new jewel. The staff seems to be good for now after polishing the pivot, though I'm mildly concerned about getting the stupid glue off the hair spring collet. I've done that tightening trick before that you mentioned, though it was many years ago. I might get hard core and adjust the balance on my poising table. I do have timing washers for walthams and under cutting bits if I need to lighten a screw.

My wife asked me what I'm going to do with these pocket watches once they are all restored. Lacking a serious answer I said something to the effect of placing them around the bedroom so we are serenaded with a cacophony of ticking watches when we go to bed. She assured me that that would be a bad idea if I valued these watches at all and didn't want them leaving the house via the window.
 

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Yeah! Given I can only devote a few hours a week to this stuff, it's taking extra long. But I want to get this thing working and as close to original as possible and I feel it's worth it. These movements are works of art in my eyes and they deserve the TLC.

I just cased my hamilton 950 with a fairly mint hamilton RR gold filled case that I probably spent way too much money on eBay for, but finally seeing it in a proper case made it worth it. I can't wait to start properly cleaning these movements in my cleaning machine.

As for the vanguard, I'm taking it slow, but just really need to square away the roller table with a new jewel. The staff seems to be good for now after polishing the pivot, though I'm mildly concerned about getting the stupid glue off the hair spring collet. I've done that tightening trick before that you mentioned, though it was many years ago. I might get hard core and adjust the balance on my poising table. I do have timing washers for walthams and under cutting bits if I need to lighten a screw.

My wife asked me what I'm going to do with these pocket watches once they are all restored. Lacking a serious answer I said something to the effect of placing them around the bedroom so we are serenaded with a cacophony of ticking watches when we go to bed. She assured me that that would be a bad idea if I valued these watches at all and didn't want them leaving the house via the window.
I predict you'll enjoy working on the 950. There are very few watches that go back together like one of these, and they've usually been serviced by folks who knew what they were doing. I forget when Hamilton went to alloy mainsprings, but if this one still has the steel item, I'll suggest swapping it for an alloy replacement. Hamilton's white metal springs were absolutely World Class, and these older watches take to the newer springs just fine.

Oh: take a close look at the Vanguard's collet and make certain there are no cracks...if one of these has been fooled with, it's not uncommon to discover some damage.

I have a fair number of watches around my place, and tend to look upon them as being simultaneously for me / and the Times to come. This notion seems especially applicable to all those small, ornate , beautifully-made Women's watches: for at least the past several decades, these have had little value on the resale market...VERY little! My guess, though, is that the day will come when that'll not be the case; there are hundreds of millions of folks who are just the right size for one of these, and it's a real shame that so many of these early-to-mid 20th Century pieces have and continue to perish so that their cases may be melted, or simply cast aside as worthless, and lost.

If ( perhaps a big if... ) the World survives the next, several decades and manages to emerge from all the crazy stuff that's beset it for Millennia, I find it easy to imagine that there may emerge a tremendous Market for all these little creations that so many currently ignore: think of a woman on her own and Succeeding in, say, 2121; finding a snazzy, 1940's 14KYG wristwatch might be as much a Grail for her, as a 1940's Steel Patek is for us...!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I guess if your view is that you are protecting these pieces for the future as well as your own enjoyment, that makes a lot of sense. My wife and I are trying to become parents soon and I kind of see this watch collection as something to pass on to this child and his or her descendants. That's my hope.

My grandfather had a stunning collection of pocket watches that wound up being stolen from my father sometime in the late 90s. Apparently someone just walked in and stole them from the unlocked safe. I had one watch from that collection, a really beautiful Elgin 16s in a perfect 14k hunter case. My ex wife stole that from me and it was scrapped somewhere. I was pretty infuriated with that. So now I'm slowly rebuilding the collection.

My father has a set of mainspring winders that I gotta grab from him, but yeah, I was thinking if I should pick up some decent alloy mainsprings to replace any of the tired blue steel I usually come across. Plenty of places stock hamilton white mainsprings, so no rarity there. I'm sure Dave has them. :)

I do need to properly examine the collet, but my optivisor only does 3.5x magnification which is the highest available for an optivisor. They used to be all I needed. I'd just use my father's microscope if I needed to do anything hard core like straighten a bent hair spring. I really don't know how I was ever able to turn a staff back then using this bootleg magnification, but somehow I did it.

I've tried using loops, but they hurt my face. I can't figure out how my grandfather did it. Squinting through one eye for hours would give me a headache. What do you use?
 

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I guess if your view is that you are protecting these pieces for the future as well as your own enjoyment, that makes a lot of sense. My wife and I are trying to become parents soon and I kind of see this watch collection as something to pass on to this child and his or her descendants. That's my hope.

My grandfather had a stunning collection of pocket watches that wound up being stolen from my father sometime in the late 90s. Apparently someone just walked in and stole them from the unlocked safe. I had one watch from that collection, a really beautiful Elgin 16s in a perfect 14k hunter case. My ex wife stole that from me and it was scrapped somewhere. I was pretty infuriated with that. So now I'm slowly rebuilding the collection.

My father has a set of mainspring winders that I gotta grab from him, but yeah, I was thinking if I should pick up some decent alloy mainsprings to replace any of the tired blue steel I usually come across. Plenty of places stock hamilton white mainsprings, so no rarity there. I'm sure Dave has them. :)

I do need to properly examine the collet, but my optivisor only does 3.5x magnification which is the highest available for an optivisor. They used to be all I needed. I'd just use my father's microscope if I needed to do anything hard core like straighten a bent hair spring. I really don't know how I was ever able to turn a staff back then using this bootleg magnification, but somehow I did it.

I've tried using loops, but they hurt my face. I can't figure out how my grandfather did it. Squinting through one eye for hours would give me a headache. What do you use?
I use a Bausch + Lomb that clips to eyeglasses, and has a 4x and 7x lens. I use 4x all the time, and seem to reserve the 28x for hairspring escapades. You might try a pair of drugstore 'reading glasses', with very weak lenses, and a clip-on loupe...the loupes are available with 1 or 2 lenses, and come in at pretty affordable prices.

You surely might want to consider buying some watches for Investments. I could tell quite a few stories about buying something 25 years ago for "X" Dollars, that's worth a bit more than that, now. Does not need to cost much per piece...just do as those who've made a name for themselves as collectors in the art world did when they began: buy what you like, coupled with some sense of what others might appreciate.

I'd take a look at 19th C. American Key Wind watches. These things seem to show up at Great Prices, and I'll predict that the day will arrive, when an 1870's Waltham in a coin silver case will easily top $1,000. Not too soon...a Generation or two, perhaps. Grab a few now / make sure they're well-preserved / forget about them / leave a message for someone in 2121... they will be very happy!

Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
So putting a nail into this one as well:

After much trial and tribulation, several balance wheels, a staff that had the wrong pivot size, etc, I finally just purchased balance complete off of ebay. This was a monometallic version with an alloy hairspring that was NOS from a later model vanguard, probably circa 1940. It's not as pretty as the bi-metallic split balance, but after some tweaks this vanguard is dead nut on timekeeping. It's been running at least a week with this new balance in it and has been keeping perfect time.

I think eventually I'll get back to restoring one of the several bi-metallic balance assemblies I have, but for now I'll take this guy running with excellent timekeeping.

Now to get a nice case for it.
 
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