Diadem Jewelers’ Watch Service #5

the final mechanical methodology for powering a wristwatch is “Kenetic” or “Self Winding”

This technology is relatively simple,. compared to atomic timekeeping,.. 😉 . Think of the traditional Self Winding watch takes advantage of the God given blessing of Gravity.

The affect of gravity on a freely swinging “rotor” encapsulated in (usually) the inside back of a timepiece can power a fully mechanical watch. The rotation is translated by a series of gears to the mainspring. Most every movement along the plane of the rotor is transmitted as power to wind your mechanical watch. This power source can feed both mechanical and electronic timepieces!

This technology has been in use for as long as Jimmy Campbell has been alive. ,…

Blacksmith
Jimmy Campbell & Brian Michael Wilson

Who is Jimmy Campbell you may ask? Jimmy is a fine Christian man that we at Diadem Jewelers have known for YEARS… Since his hobby is American History Recreation and Metalsmithing, Jimmy applies his interests in two extremes: Watchmaking and Blacksmithing. (I guess his passion takes quite a bit of motivation to extremes 😉 Anyway,.. when Jimmy was an adult, pocket watches and Fusee chain drives yielded to mainsprings and winding via the crown, the rotor:

From: TheWatchGuy.com :

The earliest credible evidence for a successful design is the watch made by the Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet, who lived in Le Locle. In late 1776 or early 1777, he invented a self-winding mechanism for pocket watches using an oscillating weight inside the watch that moved up and down.[8]

In 1777 Abraham-Louis Breguet also became interested in the idea, and his first attempts led him to make a self-winding mechanism with a barrel remontoire.[9] Although a successful design, it was too complex and expensive for it to be manufactured and sold.

Although a few self-winding watches and patents for them were made from 1780 on, for more than one hundred years these watches were rare, until the advent of the wrist watch.


1780 drawing of an automatic watch with side weight. From English patent No. 1249 “Recordon’s Specification”.

Rotor in a Circa 1778 automatic watch with rotor weight. Signed on the dial “Mazzi à Locarno”.

During the years 1776 to 1810 four different types of weight were used: Side-weight:The weight pivots at the edge of the movement and can oscillate up and down. The movement of the weight is limited to about 40°. This is the most common design produced by many makers including Breguet.[12]These watches were called jerking watches because, even with buffers, when the weight hit the case the whole watch would jerk.
Center-weight: The weight pivots in the center of the movement and rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise. The weight is supported by a bridge that blocks the rotation and it is limited to about 180°.[13]
Rotor-weight : Again the weight pivots in the center of the movement and rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise. However, there is no bridge and it can rotate 360°.[14] Very few of these movements were made.
Movement-weight: Here the whole movement is pivoted in the case and acts as the weight. Only one example is known, made in 1806.[15]

These watches need regular care and the watchmaker has a complicated task to complete: Disassemble, Clean, Lubricate, Reassemble, Caibrate. Here is a brief narrative of just one part of the process:

Ultrasonic automated watch movement cleaner

Place the “Pillar Plate” in a small plastic cup with some parts cleaner. Let it soak for a few minutes. Then take your brush and thoroughly brush both sides of the plate paying special attention to the jewel holes. If the watch is very dirty, you may want to replace
the solution and clean twice. Once you are satisfied that it is clean, remove it from the solution and place it on a piece of “watch paper”. Use your blower to dry it off. Later on you will be able to clean all of your parts at once, because even jumbled you will know where they go. For now however, go one section of the parts tray at a time cleaning and drying in this manner. Make sure to clean between the gears and in the jewel holes of all of the moving parts. Once they are dry, replace them to the tray. Clean the balance VERY VERY carefully. Also, Do NOT submerge the MAINSPRING as it will take on solution and it will rust. If there is a Jewel hole on the Mainspring Bridge, you should remove the screw that holds the Mainspring barrel in place and set it (the mainspring barrel) aside and then clean the plate. Or you can simply brush the hole with a wet brush a few times until you are satisfied that it is clean and then let it dry.

Then the real fun begins; put together a watch that works! This is where training, determination, tools, materials and TIME all work together to make your self winding watch work! We have an excellent watchmaker that has well over thirty five years of training and experience in all facets (pun) of watchmaking. While this process takes time (pun-again) in most cases we can put your wristwatch and pocket watch back to working order. Estimates are available, as we check in your watch and move it to the watchmaker we communicate regularly and encourage patience while the watchmaker works magic.

Unfortunately… the process is long, laborious and and frustrating (see our prior post for the content of an up-front apology for the state of watch repair we find ourselves in 🙁

Nevertheless we work hard to care for your timepieces! We promise to earn your trust and provide an excellent value for your investment in our service.

Thank you for your trust! Sterling VanDerwerker CGA(AGS) GG(GIA)

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