The quarter ended, time has literally flown by. I heard about how time passes quickly at watchmaking school from students in the past, but now that I'm experiencing it, I understand.
The hours are long and the work isn't necessarily easy, but it's a lot of fun, every time you put your head down to work on something and look up-hours have passed.
Assembly goes relatively quickly, granted everything fits properly and you know where it goes. Slowdowns occur when you discover an issue, create an issue, or go to oiling. Above is the gear train of the watch, each of those pivots on the end rest in tiny holes inside a ruby. When you oil the jewels it's ensuring these interacting parts run with little friction.
Remember in the earlier blog post when I had to burnish a pivot? This is when I get to see if I failed or succeeded. If I did a poor job, it wont fit or run properly and I'd need to order a new wheel.
Many components in watches have what is called a bridge. Above is the gear train bridge. The bridges cover and seat your pivoting parts in many cases. When your gear train is installed, you ensure each pivot is properly seated in its jewel, then when you install the bridge you again ensure that the pivots on the other end are seated properly in the bridge jewels.
Failure to align these parts will obviously stop your watch from running, you can also damage or break the pivots/wheels if you tighten down a bridge with misaligned pivots.
I install the bridge, but something isn't right. The gear train doesn't quite spin freely. Had I not aligned the pivots? I was certain I had. I began to get nervous that maybe my burnishing job earlier had destroyed the pivot of the wheel....
So I did it again...And again. Same thing, the wheels just wouldn't spin right. I solicited the help of a second year student to help troubleshoot the situation. Confounded for a second, he defaulted to "well I guess you bent a pivot..." but the pivots were all fine, we inspected them each multiple times. Then, recalling an earlier exam, he looked at all the jewels, one of the jewels in the bridge wasn't properly seated.
After quickly straightening it out, I was back on my way with assembly. The movement in question is the ETA 2784, which is a pretty old movement which in all analogous models has been replaced by the well known ETA 2824. The 2784 is kind of like the evolutionary ancestor of the 2824, which is what the second year students have been working on (I can just ask them for help!). Armed with an ETA 2824 tech sheet, I was on my way. I soon discovered that an assortment of parts in the 2784 were a bit different than the 2824. The latter, having combined some parts to create more robust pieces and a slightly simpler assembly.
When aligning the hands it's essential to make sure they're perfectly straight (I use 12:00 as a reference), if they aren't they wont advance properly and will be slightly off, most noticeably when it hits the hour evenly.
Four the hour hand the goal is to get it to align perfectly with the date change, so that as soon as the hand hits midnight, you get that satisfying click over to the next day. For the minute hand, it's important that it's evenly aligned with the hour hand so that they advance properly.
The seconds hand, at least on this movement, you can just throw on there willy nilly.
Once hand alignment is determined, you press the hands on. For me, this is really enjoyable, perhaps hearkening back to a task I did a lot while modifying Seiko's. When setting the hands you have to make sure they're properly seated on the corresponding pinion or post, perpendicular to the case, and parallel to the other hands. Sometimes this isn't noticeable until you advance the hands. It's good to take your time here and make sure the hands are done properly; nothing is more deflating than getting your watch cased up and on your wrist to see the hands catch on each other.
The next step is refinishing the case. I need a couple parts like new (proper) gaskets, a new crown tube, and crystal. After becoming proficient at refinishing cases, I'll give it a shot on the Tudor, at that time I'll replace the case parts that need replacing. As for now, it's been keeping amazing time!