Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 37 Apr. 4-10, 2011

Last week I worked on getting the rest of the power reserve and moon phase systems in working condition. I had to make the power reserve pivot and finger, along with the spring to hold it against the cam. This meant milling out a recess in the mainplate to fit the spring under the dial side barrel bridge. After some careful planning I had the recess milled out, and the locating pin and screw hole done. I was planning to make another identical screw to the ones for the moon phase/star wheel springs so I wouldn't have another different type of screw. For some reason I forgot I made the screws 0.60mm thread not 0.50 so I ended up tapping the hole twice, oops! But not a functional problem, just an extra 20 minutes. So here is a picture of the spring. It's a kinda funny shape, but it could only fit in that location so it is what it is.

And here is the spring on the mainplate under the bridge.

Then I had to make the pivot for the power reserve finger that carries the indicating hand. It is just a small shaft that has two burnished pivots on it, and then I friction fit it onto the finger. I also tried to polish the side of the finger to reduce the friction when it slides on the cam (even though it is a slow moving part, friction never helps). Here's what the piece looks like, finger and pivot.

There is a step on the pivot for the hand to help it sit parallel with the dial. 

While I was doing this I was also tweaking the springs for the star/moon phase wheels. The beaks of the springs had to be adjusted so that the wheels jump at the correct moment and with the right amount of tension. The beak also should be polished so there is little friction and won't stop the motion of the parts. So after a bunch of filing and polishing here are the springs against the wheels.

I also put in the new post for the pivot of the moon phase wheel. The original one I milled out from the mainplate, but after I did the decoration on the real moon phase wheel, the hole was too big for the post I milled out! Instead of making a new wheel I now have a post that I can adjust the height of the wheel to sit just under the dial, so I guess it worked out better in the end.

Next was to try the moon phase system out! Here's a video which is much better than pictures. It is working exactly like I designed it, nice when a plan comes together.

After that I had to work on my click spring. I had been having a bit of trouble with them breaking. It's a very small spring since it fits under the click, and it does a lot of work. I think I had just made it too thick before and it was too much stress. So I milled out a few, and now I will test how long it will last. It seems to work much smoother now that it is thinner. What a difference 5/100ths of a millimeter can make!

I wasn't going to make just one!

Hopefully it lasts!

Once I had the click spring back in action I was ready to test the power reserve. I first tested it without the PR and I had about 270° amplitude. And when I assembled the PR and got it running again I had the same 270°. That was a good sign that the PR didn't suck the amplitude from the balance. There is still some tweaking to make it function smoothly but it worked on the wind up and down so that is sweet! I'll have some more pics when I get it all running properly.

Another thing I started making was some hands. I have to make them since all of the dimensions are not common and I would like them to look a certain way anyways. I just drew them up on the CAD program and then used the M1 to mill them out. It worked pretty good, I was kinda surprised! I only made the hour and minute hands and only the rough milling so far but here's a pic of the basic design.

They will need a bevel and to be polished and blued...

Then the next thing was to try and make some finishings on the trial dial I have. The main part was to be sandblasted, and then circular graining for the hour/minute and seconds cut-outs. Then coat it in black rhodium for a matte grey look. I had a plan of attack in my mind and it worked awesome. It looks just how I had imagined it which is always a plus. Here's a pic:

So then I had to make some indexes for the different hour/minutes. I still have to try this again to get it the way I want but it's pretty close. I also plan to have the 3, 6, 9, & 12 engraved as well. And then maybe only marks for every 5 seconds not all. But that's just a design aspect. So here it is with the hands. Only the hour/minute are the right ones, but the other ones will be similar. All the hands will be blued I think. What do you think about it? If you have any thoughts feel free to share them, feedback is always nice.

The moon phase wheel is just held on with rodico from the back for the picture. There will be a + and - for the power reserve indication as well, just didn't do it there.

After I realized I will most likely be able to finish the inside parts of the watch, I had to think about a case. I just want a stainless steel one (much cheaper) and we found (thanks to Hanne from Gravalance) a guy who hopefully can make one for me. The main reason for needing to have a case made is because I added a lot of height to the dial side of the movement which puts the winding stem way out of alignment for regular 6498 cases. So I had to work on designing the whole case and all the dimensions to make it work. It's not so easy! There are a lot of things to think about. Plus I needed to design a corrector for the moon phase wheel. Anyways it took about 2 days to think of all the parts (like glass, gaskets, screws, crown and tube, pusher for corrector) needed and dimensions. We submitted the drawings to the company and now we are waiting to hear back if it the design is ok. They said it takes about 4 weeks to make it so it should be done in time if all goes well.

Sorry for the glare in these pics, but just trying to show the designing of the case and all the dimensions/measurements.

So I hope that fixes any cravings for info on the blog, really exciting to see it all coming together. I also have to work out a strap for it as well, but I'll get to it later. One last thing I wanted to show is my bench. Watchmakers are known for being clean and organized. I get laughed at all the time because there is so much shit on my bench. But like I say "that's just how I roll". Plus I always seem to know where anything is so I find it easier this way. Of course I wouldn't have all this stuff when servicing watch, but it's too bad for the people who visit the school and see my clusterf!&# of a workbench haha!

Not sure what those drawers are for.....

If you have twitter I just started an account here if you are interested. Personally twitter is not my thing, but I'll give it a go...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 36 Mar. 28-Apr. 2, 2011

Last week I worked a bunch on the W-01. I was at the point where all I needed to do is the timing and finishing. But to do the timing I needed to have the balance bridge 100% finished and all the decoration complete. This is because the spring can't be removed after it is timed or everything will have to be done again. This also means that I will have to be extra careful with this part as it can't be refinished again. All the bevels are polished and the sides are straight grained.

So I flat polished the top of the clamp first. I had some troubles and wasn't getting a perfect polish but it was because I was using a bit too much paste. Less is more I guess in the polishing department. After that I polished the two screws that hold the mechanism to the bridge. Then I blued them just right. They didn't have to be blued but I thought it was kinda nice. Unfortunately you can only see the end of the screw and not the head, but I think it's just one of those details that make hand finished watches more special. Here's a pic of those screws.

Then I also polished and blued the clamp screw. You can see it in the following photo. The side of the clamp is a bit dirty so I'll have to clean it up before the final assembly.

In this next pic you can see the flawless straight graining on the top of the bridge. Also, I tried to take a picture where you can see the mirror polish on the top of the clamp. You can see the two screw ends are polished as well. I tried to set the Incabloc jewel perpendicular to the screws.

After that I started working on the case. The school will be getting new cases for these movements in the future but this project wasn't really planned very far ahead so we have to use some old stuff and make it work. The case we have is one the previous course used for their school watch. But that was for a different smaller movement so I had to do some modification to make the W-01 fit. Just a bit of expansion really, nothing too complicated. I also had to make casing screws (to hold the movement in the case). Here are the casing screws:

The way they hold is by a small cut out on the case, and a slight overhang of the screw from the movement. This pic kinda shows that...

I also had to re-plate the case. This is because the original finish is a rhodium color, and the material of the case is brass. So the places where I made the case larger are visible in some areas like the side where the balance is (next pic).

After I expanded the case to fit the W-01, there was another problem. Since the older movement was smaller, the caseback glass was also smaller and therefore the case was blocking a lot of the movement. Here in this picture you can see the case is covering up almost 2mm from the edge. It's covering almost all of the click spring.

 So we had to order new glass and I had to modify the bezel to fit the new glass. The material in that part of the case was quite small so we decided to just glue the glass in. It was good to get some experience glueing a crystal in.  I also had to re-plate the bezel after modifying it for the new crystal.

After modification and new crystal. I also cut the stem to the correct length and glued it on.

Only the balance bridge is finished to completion, don't worry...

I also started making some adjustments for the power reserve on the AMS1. I had to make a new wheel because the one I made had a little too much backlash for my liking. And next week I will hopefully get the power reserve and moon phase in working order! One last thing, just wanted to show the smallest part I had to make for the watch. It's not the most complicated, just a pin with a top, but still the smallest and not easy to find if it jumps out of your tweezers. It's the pin that holds the satellite wheel on the intermediate wheel.