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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

Let me start by saying that I have a soft spot for kittens, puppies, and the occasional seriously abused watch. So maybe I was the "sucker" just made for this one. As the story goes I was browsing a local venue where I from time-to-time come up with a good watch at a good price. Today I spot this...

WreckedOview.jpg

Now - clearly this thing is beat-up. Really beat-up. But some of you are seeing what I see (right?) - an 18s lever-set Illinois with a double-sunk dial in what was left of a swing-out case and with pretty plain font numbers. Now I don't know a lot about pocket watches, but that was enough to get me to pick it up off the table. I'm thinking there is a chance this is a Bunn Special. The stem won't pull back - at least prior to making the seller pretty nervous - so no chance to get a look at the movement.

The price? Less than the cost of a good cocktail...OK you got me.

At home I was able to get the stem to move, and hinge out the swing-ring. The head of one of the case screws fell out on the bench at this point. (I have never seen one of these snapped off before). This is what I find...

WreckedMovement.jpg

A nice movement - but a bit of a let down. Looking up the serial number it looks to be: A Grade 61, Model 6 made c. 1897. A middle of the road movement for Illinois (with the 11j and 15j below it, and the Bunn and Bunn Special above). Still not bad I guess. Predictably - the staff is bad.

My plan - To put the movement into running condition. I had wanted to try my hand at a full-plate movement and this seems as good as any. Provided I can get it rolling and rating well - I may source a replacement dial, hands and case.

Which brings me to my question.

Which balance staff am I looking for? The Marshall book shows several but doesn't have much detail to help with the selection (large collet, small collet, etc.).

Thanks sticking with the read. Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Wow...tough crowd.

I guess I hid my question in a long story...

Does anybody know which of the Illinois balance staff numbers is correct for this s/n, model, and grade? Thanks.
 

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Sorry, I saw this post and had it in the back of my mind to reply but it slipped off the radar.

I'm away from my references, but will check when I can(probably Friday). If you intend to do much with Illinois watches, I HIGHLY recommend picking up an original factory material catalog. The 1923 version is a beautiful hard-bound volume that looks great on your shelf and has lots of information. Aside from that, Sweigart's book of American watch material is great.

For staffs, though, it's sometimes not possible to find a part number just based on the SN and grade. The only way you can be sure you're getting the correct staff is to measure the old one. Usually there is some published dimension that will distinguish different p/ns. The collet seat is often one of those, and the roller table seat is the other(if tapered, be sure you measure the top and bottom, and if stepped measure both steps). This is also where Townsend's balance staff book can be a life saver.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply. I will keep an eye out for the references. I certainly like the Illinois products in my collection, but have never pursued them as a focus. I guess I may have to pull the balance and go from there. I generally like to keep everything together until I am ready to start the project but it isn't always possible.
 

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Paleotime...Hello. This Illinois should not be too tough to get running...there were many of them, & parts remain available.

So: If I were looking for a good source of pieces for this Illinois, I would scoot-over to "Dave's Watch Parts" . He frequently has complete balance assembly's / parts movements / original & replacement dials / hands / etc., etc. I have done business with him, & consider him 100% OK.

If you need further assistance, please feel free to PM me. Michael.
 

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So: If I were looking for a good source of pieces for this Illinois, I would scoot-over to "Dave's Watch Parts" . He frequently has complete balance assembly's
I would frown on replacing a balance, complete if the watch already has a good balance wheel that just needs to be staffed. BTW, I've done business with Dave and consider him an excellent source. With that said, Dashto usually does better on pricing for balance staffs and parts like that.

As an aside, why the constant offer for help through PM? We all benefit when knowledge is shared publicly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone, I will investigate a little more this weekend and see what I can discover.

Dashto was always my go-to. I was sad to hear about his loss, and sad to see him leave the business.
 

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Ben_hutcherson...I suggest PM's in situations where I am concerned that making an offer to assist someone with a Service-related issue ( cleaning / repair / used parts / etc ), could be construed as a violation of Watchuseek policy. I have learned from experience ( alas! ), that one person's offer of help, may be construed by another person, as an offer to make money.

So: when it seems to me that I'll be able to assist another Watchuseek user, I am very careful not to appear to offer to bring in paying, professional work.

Ben: I Retired several years ago. I make no money from watchmaking...it is my hobby. It feels good to help folks get their watches up and running again, and I wish to follow our Regulations.

Thanks for asking. Michael.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To those following along:

Today I had an opportunity to sit down at the bench for a bit - and I decided to get a little deeper into this...As expected the pivot on the staff was gone.
18sBrokenStaff.jpg

However the good news is...The jewel seems to have survived the failure of the staff, and the hairspring and balance otherwise looks OK. Also, the s/n on the balance wheel matches the rest of the movement - so definitely a staffing job and not a replacement with another good balance (except maybe in the short term to sort out other issues).
18sBalanceJewel.jpg
18sHairspringBalance.jpg

Judging by the burrs raised under the balance bridge - the movement has had a new staff before...
18sEndshakeAdj.jpg

I also took a look under the dial - this side looks good, no bad rust or other real ugliness.
18sDialsideBefore.jpg

I did realize that I have to "tool up" for this kind of project in a serious way....As I expand into pocket watches I will need: bench keys, larger mainspring winders, larger screwdrivers, larger movement holders...What am I forgetting?

Question: Would the next step would be to remove the hairspring and the roller table and measure those areas to determine the correct staff?

Thanks for the help and for following along.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have been thinking about the condition of the hairspring collet and especially the split in the collet. It is very wide compared to other watches I have experience with, also the sides are not parallel.

Am I right in thinking this collet has probably been expanded to a larger inside diameter? If so, it is probably pretty risky to try to move it back without either spliting it or distorting the hairspring?

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay - I have been back at it with the intent of getting measurements to ID the staff I need...

Again - I think that this hairspring collet has been spread - the sides of the split are too far apart and not parallel. Am I correct in thinking this? Too risky to repair?
Balance with HS.jpg
Removing the hairspring shows some marks which seem to indicate that the hairspring outer coils were touching the balance arms...
Balance No HS.jpg
I also removed the roller table...For those interested in how that is done...You set it up with a roller remover stump and the proper stake.
Remove Roller2.jpg
A couple (or three) light taps of the hammer - and you end up here.
Remove Roller3.jpg

Measuring the hairspring collet seat as best I could = 0.0295" (0.7493 mm); Measuring the roller table seat the best I could = 0.0235" (0.5969 mm). So the question is are these dimensions for the large collet (47632) or the small collet (47605) staff?

Thanks for the help.
 

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I forgot to look this up to get the dimensions.

Regarding the marks on top of the balance wheel-it looks more to me like someone slipped when they were cutting the rivet. BTW, I VERY rarely cut the rivet-it's usually work hardened and needs a small, sharp carbide graver, plus damage from slipping is very visible. It usually takes me about as much time to cut the hub, and can usually do it with two gravers instead of 4 or 5 like I'll often need on the rivet.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks everyone - I will get a staff (or two) headed this way.

Bamadadof3 - that is a great document - thanks for the link.

Time to collect up some larger tools - and see about getting this thing running.
 
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