Another watch needed cleaning... this one is a Waltham pocket watch. Again, I am heedless of the advice to avoid antiques. This watch appears to have been completed in 1891, roughly 129 years ago.
This post shows my usual process for cleaning. I'm not a professional, so I probably do things in a weird way, so don't copy my steps if you don't know what you're doing... Of course, I am not really sure I know what I'm doing, but here is someone who does...
After popping off the bezel (holding a glass face), the first step is to remove the hands.
Removing the two case screws lets the movement drop through the front of the case. Immediately secure it in the movement holder so that you don't damage it.
The dial is held in by three small screws on the side, which can be withdrawn just a little bit to release the dial. Removing the screws all the way is unnecessary and increases the risk you'll lose them. (They are also a bit of a pain to reinstall if they fall out!)
Once the dial is off, be very careful not to crush the seconds hand arbor. I did that once on a wristwatch. Fortunately, I was able to obtain a replacement part. Always pay attention to where the seconds hand arbor is! I often have to be changing the grip of the movement holder to access different parts, so I have to remind myself to check for the seconds hand arbor every single time before I choose a new placement.
I like to remove the motion work so that I don't lose anything once the movement is flipped over. Most motion works aren't held in by anything but the dial, and since the dial is now removed, they're not held in at all!
Like many old American-made watches, the winding works are rather weird.
Here are some parts of the winding work that are notable. This part is particularly crazy. It retracts (counterclockwise movement) during winding, and then springs back to the way the photo shows when the winding ceases. Check out the long-neck spring on the left!
The crown wheel for the winding stem is a two piece assembly with a pin that runs through the center. The retaining spring is really interesting-looking, and holds the pin head in place.
Every American watch I've opened has a different winding mechanism. I have a funny feeling that the diversity of winding works on American watches has to do with patent laws, but I am not really sure. Swiss watches all basically use the same (Breguet) winding works. Although the Swiss works have their problems, I am pretty comfortable with their fail mechanisms. American movements are harder to figure out! Fortunately, this watch's winding works were in perfect working order, so I didn't have to investigate them too closely. However, it took me a while to find the click (buried under the barrel, oddly) so that I could take the power down before proceeding.
Once the power is removed, the next step is to carefully remove the balance.
I recently learned from Nicholas Hacko's really awesome website that a good way to manage the balance is to hold the complete balance by the cock, letting the balance dangle. That makes sense (since this is how you vibrate the hairspring if you need to change anything about it), and is super easy to get the balance engaged properly with the fork. However, it is also a bit unnerving to have the balance "sproinging about" as you remove/install it.
Here is the balance (placed safely upside down).
In order to clean the balance cock jewel, there is a small grub screw holding the hairspring attachment point.
A zoom in on the jewel shows it to be in good condition.
There is a small chip in the jewel (just to the right of the hole in the picture below), but I think it's out of the way enough that it won't damage the balance pivot.
That's good, so I just put the balance cock (wholesale) into the ultrasonic cleaner. By rights, I should remove the cap jewel, but since I didn't see any grime in it, I didn't want to go through that hassle. The other balance jewel is in similarly good condition.
Here's the other side of the lower balance jewel.
My next step is to remove the lever fork, which goes into the ultrasonic on its own so that none of the "bigger" parts move around to squash it. The fork cock has no jewel, but is not too worn either, even thought its hole is slightly oblong. Not bad for being 129 years old!
Here's the movement after the fork and its cock are removed for cleaning.
This watch has a single plate for the train, so that comes off next and goes in the ultrasonic cleaner.
I usually have to clean the plate holes, too. The official material is "peg wood", which (being a carpenter) seems a bit mysterious to me. What is a "peg tree" anyway? Toothpicks work just fine if you're gentle.
Here are the train wheels, removed and ready to be cleaned.
After getting the train wheels in the cleaner, I took out the winding barrel. There was a surprise waiting there! Something is very weird about that click spring... (The click arbor is in the right of the image. I have already removed the click.)
Let's change the lighting for a better look...
What?! The spring evidently broke at some point in the past. Rather than fixing it "properly", the watchmaker soldered a piece of wire onto the end in a rather awkward way, leaving both ends raw. I thought about replacing this altogether, but decided to leave that for later. It does work, so I guess it can stay..
Once I got over that fright, I disassembled the barrel and cleaned it completely. Usually, I leave the of a watch barrel alone, but this one was particularly grimy. The click is the part all the way on the right below.
Here's the main spring removed from the barrel. Based on its curvature it is definitely not new, but it ought to still have enough power to run the watch.
I just wiped the spring clean and then regreased it with mechanic's Slip-It. That seems to be a mild but effective grease. It's also not very messy, which is a major plus.
I had a little trouble keeping the spring end hook attached to the barrel. Unlike most movements that have the spring hook in-plane, and the hook engages with the inner wall of the barrel, this one had a pin that fits a hole in the lid of the barrel. The pin kept popping out of its hole. After a bit of wrestling, I got it back in place.
At this point, the watch is completely apart. It's merely a matter of waiting for everything to take time in the cleaner. I had to use isopropyl alcohol to loosen some of the grime, clean off fingerprints, and carefully scrub some parts. But all in all, this watch was much cleaner than some clocks I've fixed!
The process from there on out is the slow, careful reassembly, basically the reverse of everything just shown. Reassembly is also the time when things have a habit of breaking, but fortunately that did not happen! Everything just fit together as it ought, aside from a few minor missteps that were quickly resolved.
The only new step is the oiling... I use a very fine oiler, which looks like a small spoon under the microscope, but basically is a very fine needle.
It pays to be sparing with the oil or else it will run out of the oil sinks. I usually add a bit less than a full "drop" of oil; just enough to about 1/3 fill a sink.
Once back together, the watch started right up with just shy of a quarter of a turn on the winding stem. Great news!