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What can cause the pivot of a third wheel to break twice??


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I had a bit of an odd situation with servicing a 2824 to fit my replica Bond Omega.  Movement was working fine and in hindsight somehow regret touching it!  Have successfully serviced 20 of these without a problem, so am I learning something new?

 

followed  the exact recipe of making sure that the gear train was spinning freely and recoiling  upon stopping,  checked that the pallet fork flicked from side to side upon a couple of turns of wind. Placed in the balance, fully hand wound it  and a after a few swings it stopped!

 

after careful examination and sequential disassembly, noticed that the third wheel bottom pivot had broken!  Bummer!! These are hard to replace,but was lucky to have other dud movements to find a couple of spares!   Carefully assembled it with great caution and the same happens with balance wheel  stopping after a minute!  Can lightening strike twice?   In my case if did!  Bottoms pivot of third  wheel broke again!  

 

Cannot  suspect any bent  pivots or cracked jewels as it was working fine before I awoke sleeping dogs!  Could the mainspring have put too much pressure on the gear train while I was gently had winding before putting on automatic assembly?  Can anyone solve this riddle?  I am baffled? 😮 

 

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Assuming the part was within spec when installed & the movement did not suffer an impact, a bridge may have been overstressed (overtightened) or installed incorrectly. No offense intended, but having it occur multiple times to the same component sounds like pilot (watchmaker) error. Make sure all parts installed adjacent to or after the part in question are both in good condition & installed correctly.

If you are able to post good, clear macros of the assembled movement with the part in question in clear view, that might be helpful in spotting the problem.

Another thought - can you remove the cap jewels above & below the third wheel to see if the complete wheel train still moves freely with a VERY light push?

Also, watch the third wheel while spinning the train to see if its pinions or teeth are binding with anything around it. If the third wheel's bottom pinion keeps breaking, it must be either under too much pressure or installed in a way that is causing uneven lateral pressure on it.

I am also assuming all parts are CLEAN before reassembly. If not, perhaps there is a shard of metal on 1 of the jewels that is acting like a saw & cutting into the side of the pinion, causing it to eventually break.

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Agree with Freddy-

However only other thought  I can offer is Whenever this has happened to me a jewel has been slightly [censored] eye in mainplate/ plate, causing extra pressure on the tip of the wheel, double check the end shake and jewel placement . Cheers

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Gentlemen thanks!

 

Very interesting and perfectly valid comments!   It is not the first I have serviced these and never experienced this problem! As I mentioned, the gear train was spinning freely and beautifully!  Maybe I tightened the screws too tight or one tight and the other less tight?   Makes sense!  The other could be that upon replacing the wheel coming from another spare movement  may have not been a genuine spec wheel or a faulty one with bent pivot!  I will never know, but I will wait and see when the new part arrives!  Hopefully the same won’t happen again or will lightening strike the third time? 

 

I have stripped the movement apart again soaking in naphtha to re- clean it to make sure all Jewel  holes are free from any metal shards!  
 

I am waiting for a new third wheel to arrive from eBay so I have no answer yet and have to see what happens!  Will keep you posted and thanks heaps for your suggestions ! I am sure you guys may have hit the nail on the head 
 

 

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After lining up the pivots on a plate and bridge, I use an oversize plastic or pegwood 'toothpick' to put a little pressure on the bridge to hold it in place and while holding slight pressure on the bridge, see if everything spins Ok.  If it is Ok, start the screws and tighten them evenly a little at a time and check every half turn or so to see if everything still spins.  If something binds up, it is usually easy to find the trouble. 

Usually. 

 

I am extra careful with pallet fork pivots and usually try the PF bridge a few times before setting the fork in place to make sure the bridge does not hang up on an alignment pin or something.  I broke a PF pivot on an old rlx 1210 a while back because the bridge did not seat evenly and I did not notice it until it was too late.  I had another PF that someone gave me but have been holding off on finishing it up because I need to run a smoothing broach through the alignment holes so the bridge will not bind up next time.  Smoothing broaches do not have any cutter flutes on them and will smooth the ID of a hole in a plate without enlarging the hole.

A friend gave me a new 1210 PF pivot so I'll replace the broken pivot and be even on parts...one broken, one free replacement, and the broken one fixed free.  It does not usually work out this way, especially with rlx parts nowdays.

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18 hours ago, automatico said:

 

I am extra careful with pallet fork pivots and usually try the PF bridge a few times before setting the fork in place to make sure the bridge does not hang up on an alignment pin or something.  I broke a PF pivot on an old rlx 1210 a while back because the bridge did not seat evenly and I did not notice it until it was too late. 


 

Even when removing the pallet bridge, it is easy to break the pallet fork pivots!  
 

It happened to me with an omega caliber 1020!  Nice design, but a real let downer!   That movement is a real head f#@#!   I had disassembled the whole  movement quite carefully and easily!  When it came to removing the pallets, I noticed that the bridge just wouldn’t come off!  It seemed like as if it waswelded on it!  I tried to pry it with the thinnest screw driver and blade possible and still no go! When I managed to break free, the pallet was stuck to the upper bridge with no pivot on the bottom side!  Luckily this happened in the days prior to omega placing sanctions.on spare parts and was able to easily re place it!
 

With today’s parts policy, I would not touch that movement with your worst enemy’s hands!

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6 hours ago, Timelord said:

With today’s parts policy, I would not touch that movement with your worst enemy’s hands!

 

Between that & the recent inflation of demand for Rolex-anything (in great part) due to the sudden/huge ingress of millennials (smartly) converting their (increasingly worth-less) currencies into (increasingly valuable) collectible watches -- having finally begun to see how goofy computer watches look -- have made me increasingly gun-shy to perform the types of routine servicing of vintage Rolex movements I did just a few years ago. Not sure what we are going to do when (not if) the already sparse pool of vintage Rolex components dries up. :shock:

That is also why I have recently become more acceptable of some quartz watches, especially those that display the time in an analog format. If I can frame my thinking into a more quartz-accepting view, once the cut-off occurs, the loss will feel (a bit) less painful & the transition more normal. Life in the air age.

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19 hours ago, freddy333 said:

That is also why I have recently become more acceptable of some quartz watches, especially those that display the time in an analog format. If I can frame my thinking into a more quartz-accepting view, once the cut-off occurs, the loss will feel (a bit) less painful & the transition more normal. Life in the air age.


Most of us here most likely do wear a quartz watch for practical reasons and are in these mechanical timepieces purely because of the esoteric appreciation we have for the traditional timepieces and for the nostalgia very much like those that own classic cars but still use their Toyota Camry for every day driving!  Sure enough I cannot get someone to work on the carburettor of my triumph stag, but those that collect them will always have a network to have them attended, even though difficult! 
 

The movement parts drought will eventually open up a new supply of aftermarket parts as already is seen!  A similar analogy occurred in the early 1980’s when the quartz fad stormed everywhere and mechanical timepieces were unavailable at an retail store apart from the Rolex lines!  They became scarcer than hens teeth, until they slowly made a  comeback! 

Many vintage cameras that used 820 films are still highly collectible even though the films for them are no longer made!  So too are LP records!  Nobody would look at them in a practical sense apart  from the anachronisms  of what they are and there will always be a social network that will keep these interests alive!  Time will tell how it will evolve! 

 

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I think LPs and classic cars (I was trained by British Leyland on Triumphs (and Jags), but I digress) are a different story because LPs still outperform digital in many ways and classic (points-based) cars can be repaired without computers & may be the only game in town after an EMP/CME. Mechanical watches, in contrast, are really only superior to their quartz counterparts in being able to run without batteries & being more aesthetically pleasing to aficionados of the genre. Also, although aftermarket parts may appear for many mechanical brands, Rolex is not likely to make it any less difficult for the aftermarkeers in the future than they have done for the past several decades. I am not at all hopeful that vintage Rolex watches will be maintainable for those of us who are not uber wealthy, powerful & well connected (to Rolex).

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Hear, hear.  Decades ago I opened a brand new shrink-wrapped "Master" edition of Dark Side of the Moon, de-static'd everything and made a copy from my high end turntable and cartridge onto a (at the time) cutting edge Denon cassette deck with a Maxell "Metal" tape.

 

That recording is still, after all these years, head and shoulders better than any digital copy I've heard.  It's aethereal  ...  something they have yet to capture in bits and bytes.

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1 hour ago, Nanuq said:

Decades ago I opened a brand new shrink-wrapped "Master" edition of Dark Side of the Moon, de-static'd everything and made a copy from my high end turntable and cartridge onto a (at the time) cutting edge Denon cassette deck with a Maxell "Metal" tape.

That recording is still, after all these years, head and shoulders better than any digital copy I've heard.  It's aethereal  ...  something they have yet to capture in bits and bytes.

 

Not quite a Dark Side of the Moon "Master", but there is just something about a good, unopened tape (at left) --

apex abbey road 001.jpg

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Ck your cannon piñon. The third wheel turns it too. The third wheel is the most sensitive of all. Sometimes it looks like it’s in the train bridge but it’s not. If you can’t see the post in the bridge, it’s not in place, and will break every time. Good luck. 

It will turn freely when you spin it and then break when you add pressure from the mainspring. 

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11 hours ago, mymanmatt said:

Ck your cannon piñon. The third wheel turns it too. The third wheel is the most sensitive of all. Sometimes it looks like it’s in the train bridge but it’s not. If you can’t see the post in the bridge, it’s not in place, and will break every time. Good luck. 

It will turn freely when you spin it and then break when you add pressure from the mainspring. 


Wow!  Now that is interesting as I did not know all of that!  Having no formal training as a watch smith one lives and learns and sometimes at a dear cost!   At times when I have replaced a part in the gear train such as a seconds wheel where the top part that holds the seconds hand has broken, I have only removed the dial but not the canon pinion!  I then replace everything together making sure all the gears spin freely (and recoil) and I then proceed!   Even doing it this way I don’t recall having had a problem!  Maybe I got lucky that time!
 

now that you mention it, I am trying to remember which order is assembled it??  😳 Anyway, I am waiting for the third wheel to arrive from overseas, so I have to wait and see what happens as I have everything ina pieces for now!  It’s a waiting game now! Thank you so much for your input as i have learnt something new👍!

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"Not sure what we are going to do when (not if) the already sparse pool of vintage Rolex components dries up."

 

ST has a good selection of high grade generic rlx 15xx movement parts.  They are not cheap but they are available and they have reversers, something that used to be oem only.  Plates, rotors. balances etc will always have to be oem though.  

 

Caliber 1520/1525/1530/1565/1570/1575: Star Time Supply

 

"Most of us here most likely do wear a quartz watch for practical reasons and are in these mechanical timepieces purely because of the esoteric appreciation we have for the traditional timepieces and for the nostalgia very much like those that own classic cars but still use their Toyota Camry for every day driving!"

 

True.  I've worn various quartz Bulova Accutron II watches for the past few years but one of them developed a stripped hour wheel and would not keep time.  The hour wheel is plastic (!) and the Geniuses at Bulova USA decided to stop selling hour wheels and/or complete movements a while back so that ended the love affair with the Accutron II.

 

Mechanical Bulovas...to my surprise, the 'Devil Divers' of the past have made a comeback.  I have a few originals but they need to be c/o, crystals etc and besides that, they are selling for 5 or 6 times what I paid for them so if I went to the trouble to 'restore' one it would probably go up for sale.  Since I always liked them and wore one in the past, I've been keeping a lookout on eBay and snagged a new one for a little over $200USD last week.  A brand new 'old' watch for $200 with a warranty.  Hard to beat a deal like that.  The watch was advertised as 'factory refurbished' but it was brand new and still had plastic wrap on the clasp and case back.

Btw, the DD has a Miyota 821D and they are rugged and cheap.

 

The Bulova Oceanographer Devil Diver watches hands-on (horbiter.com)+- 

 

 Hell of a Comeback: Reviewing the Bulova Oceanographer Special Edition “Devil Diver” | WatchTime - USA's No.1 Watch Magazine

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On 4/16/2022 at 4:46 AM, Nanuq said:

 

That recording is still, after all these years, head and shoulders better than any digital copy I've heard.  It's aethereal  ...  something they have yet to capture in bits and bytes.


don’t want to hijack my own thread, but this made me pull out my old reel to reel tape recorder by Phillips!   I played one of my old tapes which also featured a recording of a family get together and an old dear family friend that passed away in 1975! It felt like magic as if he was present in the flesh! 

 

bits and bytes are digital and work on a discrete spectrum - that being binary; 0 and 1, whereas analogue systems are sinusoidal using the Fourier representation or as mathematical physicists would refer to the square wave function capturing a continuum spectrum of frequencies!  That you feel even if you don’t know which is which!  Now I will go back to replica watches and to the special world of the analogy of all this discussion  - the noble mechanical watch!  Quartz watches are just a substitute like a cheap wine imitating a precious old red vintage! 

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  • 1 month later...

This is a good post and a great question bringing me unpleasant Deja vu  😱😒!!!!

 

As Freddy and others have already mentioned, all I can add is recall having this problem myself.  I tried a process of elimination starting first by replacing the third wheel.  

 

My third wheel just sheared just dislodged from the main axle or post of the wheel.  I ordered a couple of third wheels from ebay and upon arrival, I fitted it under the train bridge but somehow my escape wheel did not engage with the top teeth with the seconds wheel.  I then removed the third wheel and just placed in the other wheels without it and it was spinning fine -no end shake nor side shake!!  Replaced the third wheel again and NO GO!!! 

My first thought was that I had sheared the top pivot of the escape wheel but upon inspecting all the wheels the pivots were all ok.   I thought that was strange and before I knew it I had been playing with the damn thing for almost 2 hours with no go!!!  Have done dozens of these without a problem!!! 

 

I then dismantled another working 2836 to see if it was me or the parts assembled.,  I then noticed that the third wheel replacement was NOT a genuine as ebay seller had advertised because it was slightly shorter  in height.  I then took out the third wheel from the other movement and it was spinning better but again the top of the escape wheel was not meshing with the seconds wheel.  I changed the seconds wheel and had a similar problem.  I then changed the escape wheel from the other movement and again same result.  Now I had changed ALL the gear train completely and I thought the thing was jinxed!!!  

 

This left me with the only option to also change the train bridge and all I had done is replaced all the wheels and the top bridge.  The top bridge must have had a fault with it either the jewels were out of whack or the bridge itself must have got distorted from some shock or overtightening.  Who knows??? Like many others,  I am not professionally trained  and anything I do know is through the school of hard knocks and here I had two movements being put to the slaughter.   

 

Anyone more clever than me PLEASE ALSO CHIME in as I may have just  fluked the solution.  It still haunts me!!!!

 

I guess this is where some watchmakers rule the line and say we need to replace more than what the movement is worth and it would be more practical to replace the whole movement unless it is a 1575 or newer!! 

 

I have also had problems when removing the automatic works and the mainspring keeps slipping and does not hold power in 3 consecutive replacements!!   HOW IS that for LUCK!!

 

Hope you have better luck than me!!!!🙂

 

 

 

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I have found that (with the train of wheels, at least), gen parts will work in a clone 2824, but don't try to put clone parts in a gen mvmnt...that way leads to madness.

 

A while back, I had a gold gen Bulova branded 2824-2, and after cleaning and rebuilding, could not get it to wind, no matter what I did with or replaced in the keyless works. Teeth were slipping, and it wasn't the mn sprng brl. After letting it stew for a few months, I finally realized I had been using a clone stem, which somehow got swapped.

 

...even though it looks IDENTICAL to a gen ETA stem. Minisclue tolerances exist for reasons.

 

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On 6/1/2022 at 2:17 AM, Chuck19 said:

I have found that (with the train of wheels, at least), gen parts will work in a clone 2824, but don't try to put clone parts in a gen mvmnt...that way leads to madness.

 

A while back, I had a gold gen Bulova branded 2824-2, and after cleaning and rebuilding, could not get it to wind, no matter what I did with or replaced in the keyless works. Teeth were slipping, and it wasn't the mn sprng brl. After letting it stew for a few months, I finally realized I had been using a clone stem, which somehow got swapped.

 

...even though it looks IDENTICAL to a gen ETA stem. Minisclue tolerances exist for reasons.

 


thank you for your input!  I am still waiting for my part to arrive and still cannot say if it will work or not!

 

As much as the 28xx series are simpler than their predecessors, the downside is that for anyone who is using this movement as their first  attempt to service as a learning experience, these trivial anomalies can really break one’s confidence in further  watchmaking!  My worst experience  was with a 2452 as it is way a more complicated than the 2836 especially regarding the calendar works which is such a headache!  I still don t touch them ! Don’t see any clear tutorials on YouTube with this one!

 

As Horologist has also brilliantly explained of his issue, true- it can lead to madness!   As he said, “ is it me or is it the parts?”  I kind of suspect that I may also need to have changed the seconds wheel  as I a not sure if this is genuine or clone! 
 

The other thing I have noticed is that if you drop a part on the floor and up you try to find it using a magnet, this can also cause problems with assembly! Why?  A few years ago I dropped a pallet fork whilst I was assembling a freshly serviced movement and found it with my magnet after having searched for days!  The gear train was gliding flawlessly  and it I also recoiled  giving me confidence that it would run! Upon installing the pallet forks it did not flick from side to side as expected after a few winds of the mainspring!  It was driving me bonkers!  I then gave up and took it into a watchmaker fully assembled in non running order!  He right away demagnetised it and it began to run!  When not  formally trained, it is so easy to overlook the simplest trivialities that one does not pick up on and can either make or break continuing with tinkering!  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally the third wheel arrived and it was assessment time to check what was happening!  

mounted each gear separately first to make sure they were all ok and that bridge was sitting properly!  Then I removed bridge and reassembled all the gears together! 

 

took extra precaution to make sure train bridge was placed properly over all pivots!  Not my first movement I worked on successfully!  Yep all spun freely until I noticed that there was some side shake in top pivot of great wheel (intermediate wheel) - what seemed a slight wear and I then knew this was not going to work!  Out of curiosity, after fully assembling it and a few gentle of winds, pallet did not flick!  So before damaging this new third wheel, I knew that the culprit was the gear near mainspring!  I noticed with the two previous third wheels that it felt slipping near mainspring before those pivots went to their demise!  Who knows what else would crop up, so it is time to retire it and keep it for spares, before the whole thing ends up costing me the price of 2 new movements!  This movement looks very tired and will move on ! Thought I owed all an update!    Thanks to all for all your input as it was a great learning experience!!

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