many times have you wondered how in the world railroads ran if
all watches kept a rate as poorly as your favorite Bunn
Special? Don't blame the watch!
When in service, these watches were
sent only to the best watchmakers who knew (and understood) the
procedures for "bringing the watch to time". For
Precision Watches, this means: a) altering the dimensions and shape of
the balance pivots; and, b) the position and form of the balance
spring. These adjustments compensate for age and wear so
that the watch will maintain the same rate (plus or minus a few
seconds or less) across the five of six positions in which a pocket
watch is likely to be held.
The goal is
not to produce a perfect timekeeper. Every mechanical measurement device
has measurement (calibration) error. The object is to ensure that
measurement error is small and consistent (see Rating
Marine Chronometers and Precision Watches).
any precision watch can be restored to its original function. It
simply takes a willingness to spend the time (and learn) to apply
the techniques needed to restore the watch's original stability of
rate. While obtaining replacements for parts worn past
"renewal" may not be as easy as writing to the factory,
there are fine quality "after market" replacements for
the most commonly needed parts.
Timekeeper's Precision Watch Service involves:
- Complete Disassembly
- New Mainspring
- All Pivots Renewed
- All Hole Jewels Inspected at 50X
- Simple Cosmetic Work (Screws polished and
- Balance Poised
- Escapement "matched"
- Balance Spring Adjusted
- Case Completely Cleaned
- Timing Adjusted Across Five Positions
- Report of Timing Results
The cost of this service for a typical American Railroad
Watch is $275. Watches with Up/Down indicators (Deck Watches and
some Elgin and Waltham railroad watches) are charged at $325.
qualified to make virtually any part needed to restore your precision
In addition to the examples I have on line (making a balance
staff and making a bimetallic balance),
I cut wheels and pinions, replace bezel set jewelling, repair
fusee chains, etc.
For the Model 22 collectors, I can make all of
the parts of the "safety setting" mechanism that get broken by
not pushing in the safety pin when pulling out the crown. Of
course, none of this matters if the work looks like it was all done with
a grinder and hacksaw. This is one reason why I take the time to
show real examples of me making the part. You can decide for
yourself if you want to entrust me with your timepiece.
inset shows the broken safety setting spring of a WWII vintage
Hamilton M22 chronometer watch. These parts are no longer
available and have to be made. Just above the inset you can see
a steel part marked with an "X" which is installed in the
watch. That is the replacement part I made. By double
clicking on the image you can view an enlargement of the photo.
For a well cared for watch, these should be the
total charges. However, it may be necessary to replace parts in
order to ensure the rating of the watch. For these charges, see
the Additional Watch Services Page.