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About Horlogerie

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  1. That being a bi-directional winding rotor, it should not make any noise, something is wrong.
  2. Be careful where you buy. I changed one along with a full service on a customers watch 8 months ago, at the 6 month mark the new capacitor failed and would not hold a charge. If you think an exchange at Cousins is a problem, go ahead and try warranty work. In the end I ate the cost for a replacement capacitor, which I bought from my Canadian supplier this time. Hopefully it will last a bit longer. Note that the one I ordered from Cousins and from Canada both came in original Omega packaging, so they were correct for the Cal 1400.
  3. Was this the individual who was referred to as "The Butcher of..."?
  4. Exactly.
  5. I see a lot of botched work, that being work being done by unqualified individuals, typically the price dictates the quality of the work, most of the time, there are exceptions. I also see a lot of 'swish-n-dip' where the complete movement is run through the washing machine and the final rinse contains some lubricant. Mostly I see this on high end watches. Heavy use or daily use will naturally cause more wear than intermittent or once in a while use. Regarding sealed vs non-sealed cases, I have not noticed any difference in the drying of the oils between either type, the big difference is that there will be more contaminants in the non-sealed case - dust - which is very abrasive and is attracted by the oil, forming a nice grinding paste as the oils dry out. As for the cost of servicing, for most of us (excluding those that have gone bald) the cost of servicing every 5 years is less than you spend on haircuts over that same 5 year period. I would think a watch is at least as valuable as your hair. I always send my customers pictures of their watches in pieces to prove that I am not performing a swish-n-dip... Doesn't a sealed case mean that no contaminants can get in? Well no, it doesn't... Here is a Rolex Submariner, which I think we can all agree is a good water proof sealed watch. Last service 5 years ago. If you think that a sealed watch doesn't get contaminated, my hands on experience indicates otherwise. Everyone uses the timekeeping as a way of determining if the movement needs service. There is a lot more to the movement than just the timekeeping. There are many parts that can wear out without the owner being aware, including the train and balance staff pivots. Here is an example, in this case this is the main automatic winder to mainspring gear, check out the worn out pivot. I made a new pivot, here is what it should look like. In the end no one can decide or tell anyone else what to do with their watches as far as serving is concerned. What I see when I remove the caseback is not what most customers expect the condition of their movement to be in.
  6. Thanks for the positive comments. I am a regular contributor to both the BHI Horological Journal and the British Watch and Clock Makers Guild TimePiece magazine. I have been thinking of writing a watchmaking book for quite a while now as I do see a need for one. There is a huge gap between what was written 60 years ago (mostly in old - too wordy english for my taste) and what is relevant today. I recently reviewed a new watchmaking book and it was without a doubt the worse book on watchmaking I have ever read, a complete piece of junk. In fact the review was so bad that my editor decided to not publish it. As far as entry level books there is a lot out there, one of the best being the BHI Technician Grade Distance Learning Course. Once you know the basics, there is little to help you to the next stage, and that is where I see a need that a book could fill.
  7. Even with modern synthetic lubricants, by the 5 year mark the oils have dried up and no longer provide lubrication, the consistancy of the oil is sticky tar. It's physics 101, no lubricant + rotating parts = wear. Unfortunately timekeeping is not a good indicator of movement condition, and a modern watch will happily tick away with no apparent issues all the while the the pivots and bearings are wearing out. By the time you the owner notice a timekeeping issue, damage is done, damage that almost certainly requires new parts. As has been mentioned, lots of heated arguments on this over the years, most people are on one side or the other and many people think that watchmakers such as myself have created this whole servicing 'myth' to make money from unsuspecting watch owners. There are many factors that have to be considered in this discussion, value of the watch, parts availability, cost of parts, cost of service, etc... When discussing high value watches, it is almost always less expensive to clean and lubricate than to have to replace parts, that is if you can even source the parts needed now that the Swiss Parts Embargo is in full swing. Having serviced thousands of movements I have seen first hand the damage lack of regular servicing causes, but 95% of the watches that arrive at my shop are here due to one problem or another, the other 5% are here because the owners believe in regular service as a way to maintain their investment. A competent watchmaker is quite capable of disassembling and re-assembling a movement and returning it to it's original specifications. Yes there are lots of intricate parts, but that doesn't mean that they are not designed to be disassembled and re-assembled so that it works properly. There are a lot of so called professional watchmakers who do botched work, so the owner has to choose carefully.
  8. Thanks for the positive feedback. Due to the design of the stem bearing where the bearing surface is divided between the mainplate and the barrel bridge, and the fact it's not a completely round bearing, but has a number of cutouts, it's not possible to machine out the existing stem bearing surface and fabricate and install a new bearing. The only solution is to live with the worn bearing and make a stem to compensate for the wear. In a case where its' really worn out, only fix is a new mainplate, an expensive option. If you had a mainplate where the stem bearing was only in the mainplate and a complete circle, you could enlarge the worn bearing and press home a new bearing, but in the case of most watches, the bearing is divided between the mainplate and barrel bridge, a custom stem is the only fix.
  9. Omega Calibre 552 repairs and restoration This vintage Omega arrived with a few defects. It was last worked on by an Omega Certified Watchmaker, who's botched repair caused a lot of damage. The owner was complaining that the stem was pulling out, here's what the keyless works and set lever looks like, a lot of swarf and brass fillings, why are there filllings? Here is the reason for the brass fillings, check out the stem 'repair' that the Omega Watchmaker attempted to correct a worn mainplate stem bearing hole. The reason this particular Omega watchmaker did this was because the mainplate and barrel bridge are both slightly worn and this was causing the stem to unlock from the set lever, in an attempt to prevent this from happening, he decided to add a stem extender to the existing stem, to give it a larger bearing surface and help keep it in place. Problem is that his finishing leaves a lot to be desired and instead of fixing the problem, he made it worse, the mainplate is now very worn and in much worse condition than before. The correct fix should have been the custom fabrication of a new stem that correctly fills the worn bearing surface on the mainplate and barrel bridge. Of course the first fix it to install a new factory Omega stem but that is not a solution, the factory stem has a very short bearing hub and if there is any wear in the mainplate this short hub allows the stem to flex resulting in the stem falling out with the set lever fully tightened, a custom stem is the only solution. This is what the OEM stem looks like when installed, compare this to my new stem later on. Custom stem fabrication First task is to thread a piece of high carbon steel rod, I thread it in the annealed state, then I harden and temper it to blue for the remainder of the machining. Then the rod is flipped end for end and the hub which is the part that fits in the movement bearing, is machined so that it fills our worn out mainplate bearing Then I make the inner tip - pilot pin - that fits into a small bearing in the mainplate, it's purpose is to keep the stem aligned when you pull the crown to the time setting position. Next with the hand graver, I machine down the winding pinion shoulder and test fit the winding pinion Next task is to make the square section that the clutch wheel, my filling rest is attached to the lathe. Test fitting the pinion and wheel Here is a good view of why a complete new stem was required, note how I made the stem a snug fit and that there is no longer any play or possibility of disengagement from the set lever. Compare this to the OEM stem from earlier and you can see how this stem fills the bearing while the OEM one doesn't. A comparison, on the TOP - my custom made stem, MIDDLE - the Omega Watchmakers attempt, BOTTOM - an OEM Omega stem, not how short the bearing hub is and why it's not usable Sometimes a factory part is not an option, due to wear on other parts of the movement, if you can custom make a replacement part, the watch can be put back in use. Thanks for reading. Rob
  10. Very nice, congrats.
  11. Horlogerie = Horology in French Why? Because I am a trained horologist, living and working in France.
  12. I don't remember Rolex being mentioned, but I do remember it was a cross section of other brands that were suffering from quality control parts issues, certainly some of the brands under the Swatch umbrella were a problem.
  13. It doesn't, which is why I moved to France. I figured that was what it meant and thought it as a compliment. Indeed, looking at your avatar I pegged you at 39 and holding.
  14. Thank you for the positive feedback. Indeed it does take quite a bit of equipment: lathes, vertical mills, cross slides, taps and dies, etc, but it's all tooling I use in the workshop so it's not wasted. The blueing is done the correct way, that being heat treatment vs paint or ink. I place the part in a small metal container that I fill with brass fillings, then it's put on the stove top and slowly heat it and monitor the colour change, from light straw, to dark straw, to violet and finally to blue. You have to be careful to not go past the blue or it will be ruined and you have to start over again. The part needs to be perfectly clean with no lint or dust or finger prints or oil etc.
  15. Good genetics I guess and clean living, although my hair is thinning out in the past few years. Not sure the meaning of "...never had a big paper round" guessing it's a British saying?