Water Damaged Tag Heuer repair

Tag Heuer is a brand we regularly see in our workshop. Tag Heuer in its current form was established in 1985, though the Heuer company has existed since 1860. Watches are produced both with quartz and automatic movements in a variety of different models including the Aquaracer, Kirium, F1 and Carrera.

Our workshop holds a parts account with Tag Heuer so we are able to obtain genuine Tag Heuer parts and repair many different faults with these watches.

This particular Tag Heuer came into our workshop in poor condition. It was water damaged, as can clearly be seen by the white ring around the inside of the glass. The dial itself was also water damaged, as were the hands. On inspecting the movement, we found water had damaged this too.

Water damaged Tag HeuerWater damaged Tag Heuer

Other issues included scratching all over the case and bracelet, missing lume from the marker on the bezel, and the black infill missing from the number “1” of “10” on the bezel.

To get this watch working again we needed to completely replace the movement. This involves swapping out the entire movement in a like-for-like exchange. We were able to order the model specific dial, so this was changed as the existing dial was too badly damaged. After speaking to our client, we re-used the original hands, though cleaned these up as best we could.

Fully restored Tag Heuer WatchFully restored Tag Heuer Watch

The case and bracelet were given a thorough clean before then being refinished. This massively improved the appearance of the watch. We could then carefully reapply the black infill to the bezel, as well as the luminous marker.

Now we just needed to reassemble the watch – fitting a brand-new set of seals and making sure it passes as water resistant.

As a Tag Heuer parts account holder we are able to obtain any case parts which may be required. Besides the repairs needed to this watch, other common repairs include bezel replacement (most often necessary on F1 models where the numbers can fade easily), crown replacement and fitting new pushers to chronograph models. We are able to repair very water damaged watches like this one – obtaining anything which needs to be replaced including the dial, hands, seals and of course the movement.

 

Do you have a Tag Heuer watch in need of repair? Get in contact with us to see how we can help. We are able to repair almost any Tag Heuer watch and with our Tag Heuer parts access we offer a comprehensive service. We cater to clients all around the UK thanks to our fully insured freepost watch repairs service. As a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award accredited business, you can be confident when dealing with us.

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Types of Pivot

In watchmaking we use a number of different types of pivot, depending on the situation. The pivots are the end part of a wheel’s arbor – so the part which holds it in place in the bearing as it rotates. In this blog post we’ll briefly look at the different types of pivot commonly found in watch movements, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

The straight or square pivot is the most commonly found in the train – so the wheels used to convey power from the mainspring through to the escapement. These pivots have – as the name suggests – straight sides, with a squared off shoulder. Straight pivots provide good strength though the friction across both horizontal and vertical positions is fairly high, due to the larger surface area in contact with the jewelled bearing.

Watch pivot diagrams

Watch pivot diagrams

A Conical pivot is commonly found on a watch balance. These pivots are paired with an olive shaped jewel and a cap jewel. The conical pivot is indeed somewhat conical in shape and it has a domed end. Due to the shape of these pivots and the respective jewels they act in, friction is reduced to an absolute minimum across both vertical and horizontal positions. The trade-off is that the pivots are weaker, hence they are found operating in shock-resistant settings, such as Incabloc and Kif.

You can also find Cone shaped pivots. These tend to be found in lower grade pocket watches (and indeed small clocks). They are used instead of conical pivots as they are easier to make. The pivots turn in cups which are made into the end of a screw. Over a number of years this type of pivot wears out – and as it does so, the area of contact at the end of the pivot increases, which increases friction and causes even more wear. The timepiece will eventually stop in certain positions as a result.

Problems with pivots can occur in a variety of different ways – the watchmaker must always be aware of possible issues with pivots which need addressing. A pivot may become “necked” for example – this is where a section of the pivot is worn into a smaller diameter than the rest of the pivot. Reducing the diameter by only a small amount causes a significant reduction in strength.

Other issues found may include short pivots. bent pivots and, of course, worn pivots. In modern watches if we find a pivot problem, the correct repair is to replace the defective part. With older watches where parts are no longer available, we may need to burnish the existing pivot to resurface and toughen it, so it can be used once more.

Do you have a watch in need of repair? If so, get in touch and see how we can help. We are watch repair specialists with a fully insured freepost watch repairs service.  We offer repairs to clients all around the UK and we are experts in the repair of modern and vintage watches. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Shock protection in mechanical watches

Before the introduction of shock protection, one of the most common causes of a mechanical watch stopping was an impact or shock causing the balance to break. A watch balance generally has a large diameter and mass, but in order to keep friction to an absolute minimum it rotates on fine pivots. As such, were the watch to receive a knock, this combination of factors makes the balance prime for a broken pivot.

Shock protection was developed in the mid-1930s, but only started being widely used from the mid-1950s. Perhaps the most common and best known is the Incabloc system. This system is still used today and found in watches by many big names brands such as Omega. The Incabloc system is immediately recognisable, as it uses a lyre shaped spring which is clearly visible pressing down on the balance endstone.

Incabloc System
Incabloc System

The Incabloc system is highly effective – it provides protection against shocks from all directions. It does this by allowing the chaton – in which the jewels sit (and the balance pivot rotates in the jewel hole) – to move, rather than the shock to be absorbed directly by the pivots.

Pivot jewel

Pivot jewel

Instead, a longitudinal shock’s force is taken by the balance staff shoulder, which is much stronger than the pivot, and the lyre shaped spring absorbs energy from the shock, as well as ensuring the chaton moves back into its correct position after the shock has happened. During a lateral shock the balance staff may touch the block, though this again is on a robust section of the staff. The chaton will have shifted to the side, but the sloped surfaces of the block and the retaining spring combined will ensure the chaton returns to its correct position. It really is an ingenious design – there’s a reason it’s been widely used for such a long time.

There are a huge variety of different shock protection systems, though they tend to operate based on a similar principle. Other major systems include Kif, Novodiac, Paraflex and Duofix. From a watchmaker’s perspective these vary in terms of the ease with which they can be oiled – some are straightforward, others can prove a little fiddly!

Note there are numerous other ways watches are given a form of extra shock protection, besides these shockproof balance settings. Take the Certina DS models for example. The entire movement is surrounded by an elastic shock absorber ring, designed to absorb kinetic energy caused by vibrations and shocks. When launching these models in the late 50s/early 60s, Certina use elaborate advertising to highlight the effectiveness of the protection – fixing watches to a 27kg weight and dropping them onto a concrete slab!

 

Do you have a mechanical watch in need of repair? Here at WE Clark Watch Repairs we are experts in the repair of all makes and models of watch – from vintage pocket watches through to modern big-name brands like Tag Heuer, Omega and Rolex. We offer a fully insured freepost watch repairs service to clients all around the UK. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date servicing and refinishing

A recent job in the workshop involved servicing and refinishing the case and bracelet of a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date.

Rolex are arguably the biggest name in the world of watches, with numerous inventions, innovations and awards to their name. Their range of watches includes some truly iconic models including the Datejust, Submariner, Air King and Day-Date.

This particular Rolex is a Date model and uses a Rolex calibre 3135 automatic movement. These movements are excellent quality. They are certified chronometers, so fantastic timekeepers, and they are very reliable.

Rolex calibre 3135 movement

Rolex calibre 3135 movement

To service the movement, it is completely stripped apart, before going through a full cleaning cycle in a specialist watch movement cleaning machine. The movement is then carefully reassembled, with oils and greases used in certain places to ensure optimal performance of the watch for a full-service interval. A new mainspring was fitted during the reassembly process too.

On top of the work to the movement we refinished the case and bracelet.

The refinishing process involved stages of polishing each element of the case using a few different techniques. This is all done using our Durston double polishing motor and a variety of mops and compounds.

Once the refinishing of each part of the case is complete, they are given a final ultrasonic clean. Each part is then steam cleaned to ensure everything is spotless before reassembly.

Reassembling the case is a matter of initially refitting the case tube and glass, before then fitting the friction fit bezel. Once this is done the movement can be re-installed into the case, before the case back is fitted.

The finished fully restored Rolex watchThe finished fully restored Rolex watch

After all the work was completed, the watch undergoes rigorous testing for timekeeping. It is initially regulated by our watchmaker and checked in multiple positions to ensure it is performing as expected. It then is testing for automatic winding on our Elma Cyclomotion winding machine, as well as for power reserve and performance after 24 hours has elapsed.

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

 

Do you have a Rolex watch in need of repair? Get in contact with us to see how we can help. We are able to repair almost any Rolex watch and we offer a comprehensive watch repair service. We cater to clients all around the UK thanks to our fully insured freepost watch repairs service. You can also bring watches in to our showrooms based in Lewes and Uckfield, Sussex. As Business Partners of the British Horological Institute and a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award accredited business, you can be confident when dealing with us.

How a quartz watch works

Quartz watches – watches usually powered by batteries – are very popular and we regularly see a huge variety of quartz models in our workshop. But how does a quartz watch actually work? In this blog post we’ll do our best to describe just how a quartz watch is able to transfer power from a battery through to the hands to indicate the time.

A battery (or strictly speaking, a cell), supplies the electricity needed to power a quartz watch. Electrical energy is produced by a chemical reaction between the two battery terminals and an electrolyte.

In order for a watch to work and accurately tell the time, it needs to use a ‘resonant oscillator’ – that is an oscillator which has a natural frequency of vibration. In mechanical watches or clocks this could be a pendulum (a weight acting against gravity), or a balance (a weight acting against a spring). Quartz watches use – as the name would suggest – a tiny piece of quartz. This piece of quartz is shaped like a tuning fork and when this is made to vibrate, it maintains a constant frequency.

Quartz watch movementQuartz watch movement

Thanks to the piezo-electric effect, applying a voltage to the quartz crystal will set it vibrating. This vibrating quartz crystal acts as the balance would in a mechanical watch and is responsible for the incredible accuracy of quartz watches. Indeed, a standard mechanical watch balance may vibrate at 2.5Hz, whereas a quartz crystal vibrates at a staggering 32,768Hz! This accounts, at least somewhat, for the incredible accuracy of the quartz watch.

In order for a quartz watch with a second hand to tell the time, we need an electrical pulse once per second. The watch integrated circuit is responsible for dividing down this figure to achieve the required single pulse per second.

This regular pulse per second is now used to drive a motor. The motor consists of a rotor, a stator and a coil. The motor is a permanent magnet and it is made to rotate through 180 degrees for each pulse received. Thanks to some clever design, this rotor will always turn in the same direction. That means if we attach a pinion to the top of the rotor we are able to drive a series of wheels from it.

From the rotor, the intermediate wheel is driven, the pinion of the intermediate wheel drives the second wheel (and on the pinion of this the second hand is attached). The second wheel pinion drives the third wheel. The third wheel arbor extends through to the dial side of the watch movement, and this is responsible for turning the driving wheel. The driving wheel leads to the rotation of the minute and hour hands.

 

As you can see from the brief description above, there’s actually quite a lot to a quartz watch. Do you have a quartz watch in need of repair? We are able to repair and restore almost any model and type of watch, including quartz. With our fully insured freepost watch repairs service we offer repairs to clients all around the UK. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Watch pressure testing

In order to check water resistance of a watch we use pressure testing equipment. In our workshop we use two different types – a “dry” tester and a “wet” tester. In this blog post we’ll discuss using the wet pressure tester and how this is used to help us check a watch case for any leaks.

As the name would suggest the “wet” tester involves immersing the watch in water. The steps involved in testing a watch are broadly outlined below.

‘Wet’ testing in progress‘Wet’ testing in progress

Firstly, it should be said we test the watch case without the movement. While in theory this precaution is not necessary (it will become clear why), we prefer to absolutely err on the side of caution. As such, the movement is removed from the case. We then re-assemble the case, so it is complete with crown and case back.

Now we have a case ready to put in the pressure tester, The case is loaded into the machine and suspended from a hook. We now need to seal the machine – tightening the retaining bolts and making sure the pressure release valve is closed.

Next, it’s time to pressurise the chamber. Our testing machine uses a manual pump, so we repeatedly pull the lever and pressurise the chamber until it reaches the level of pressure, we’re testing this specific watch to.

Once the chamber is pressurised it’s important to wait for a while. This allows the pressure in the chamber and inside the watch to equalise if there’s a leak. The case is then carefully lowered into the water. Once in the water we slowly release the pressure release value.

If there’s a leak in the case, the case will have pressurised to the same level as the air. This means as the pressure in the chamber begins to be lowered, a stream of bubbles begins to appear from the source of the leak. Here you can see why in theory a watch could be tested complete – if the pressure is higher inside the watch, air will be pushed out rather than water allowed in. If there is no leak, we do not see any streams of bubbles as the pressure inside the case remains at the level it was before going into the tester – 1 atmosphere.

Once confident in the result, the watch is lifted from the water before all the pressure in the chamber is released. When the pressure is fully released the watch case can be retrieved from the machine and dried off.

As you can see, use of this machine is very important. It helps with diagnosing the location of faulty seals, and also means we are able to say the case has been tested as properly water resistant, as opposed to if we solely used the air tester. Once the case is dry the movement is reinstalled and we then finish the job off by using our “dry” testing machine on the complete watch.

 

Do you have a watch in need of repair? Contact us and see how we can help. We are experts in the repair of watches both modern and vintage. We offer a fully insured freepost repairs service and as business partners of the British Horological Institute, as well as holders of a Feefo Platinum Service Award, you can be confident when dealing with us.

 

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Jewels In Watches

You may have seen the word “jewels” in relation to watches. Some watches say “17 jewel” on the dial, whereas other say “25 jewel”, but what does this really mean? Is a watch with more jewels better? In this blog post we’ll discuss what jewels actually are and how they’re used in a watch movement.

Generally speaking, in a watch movement keeping friction to a minimum is advantageous. The wheel train – a series of wheels through which the power from the mainspring is transferred – is moving, so over time the pivots of these wheels are likely to wear. To try and minimise this wear, jewels are used to act as the hole the pivots rotate in. Modern jewels are made from synthetic ruby and they are extremely hard wearing.

Orient-Grand-Prix-100An automatic watch movement

If you think of a steel pivot rotating in a brass hole, the steel is harder than the brass and there will be significant friction, so it stands to reason that the brass will wear over time. This is problematic. A steel pivot rotating in a jewelled hole however, there is much less friction.

There are numerous different types of jewelled bearings – from cylindrical (a straight sided hole commonly found acting as the bearing for wheels in the train) and olive (a curved shape hole which provides lower friction but is less resistant to wear), through to the balance jewel and endstone (a two-piece arrangement of a convex jewel with a flat jewel acting as a cap, with oil retained in-between).

Watch Jewel, Bearing and CapstoneWatch Jewel, Bearing and Capstone

As you may have guessed by now, the quoted number of jewels quite literally refers to how many of these jewels are present in the movement. Just because a watch has a higher number of jewels does not necessarily mean it’s a better movement though. A mechanical watch will have less need for additional jewels than an automatic watch, as there are fewer moving parts. There was also a historic trend whereby watch manufacturers attempted to out-do each other by adding more and more jewels to their movements, purely as a sales technique. This relied on the ignorance of the consumer and their belief that “more must be better”. As a result, we ended up with jewels in all sorts of places where they have absolutely no purpose. The 100 jewel Orient Grand Prix is a good example of this – it has jewels fitted almost everywhere!

 

Do you have a mechanical watch in need of repair? Here at WE Clark Watch Repairs we are experts in the repair of all makes and models of watch – from vintage pocket watches through to modern big name brands like Tag Heuer, Omega and Rolex. We offer a fully insured freepost watch repairs service to clients all around the UK. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

 

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

IWC Mark XV servicing

A recent restoration project for one of our clients involved fully servicing an IWC Mark XV automatic watch. These models are very desirable – great looking military style watches, with excellent quality movements.

IWC was founded in 1868 – so over 150 years ago. The company is well known for producing military/aviation style watches, just like the Mark XV.

On arrival in the workshop this watch was not working properly and failing to keep time. Inspection of the movement revealed a lot of dried-up oil and debris in the movement, so a full service and a new mainspring was required.

IWC Automatic Watch

During a full service we completely disassemble the movement, carefully inspecting each component and pre-cleaning in sections as we go. We then run the disassembled movement through our specialist watch movement cleaning machine. We also run the case through a separate ultrasonic cleaner. After cleaning, the movement is carefully reassembled and oiled, before being adjusted and tested.

The movement powering this IWC Mark XV is an IWC calibre 30110, which is based on the ETA 2892-A2 but enhanced by IWC in-house. The 2892-A2 is a good quality automatic movement, which runs at 28,800 beats per hour and has 21 jewels. These movements as standard come in various levels of finish – this IWC version is very nicely decorated and after a full service it is working very nicely indeed.

Watch Mechanical Parts

After work is complete our testing procedure involves testing the watch on an automatic watch winding machine as well as testing under manual winding only. We ensure the watch is tested across a range of positions to confirm it is working as expected and within tolerances.

As you may have guessed by now, the quoted number of jewels quite literally refers to how many of these jewels are present in the movement. Just because a watch has a higher number of jewels does not necessarily mean it’s a better movement though. A mechanical watch will have less need for additional jewels than an automatic watch, as there are fewer moving parts. There was also a historic trend whereby watch manufacturers attempted to out-do each other by adding more and more jewels to their movements, purely as a sales technique. This relied on the ignorance of the consumer and their belief that “more must be better”. As a result, we ended up with jewels in all sorts of places where they have absolutely no purpose. The 100 jewel Orient Grand Prix is a good example of this – it has jewels fitted almost everywhere!

 

Do you have a mechanical watch in need of repair? Here at WE Clark Watch Repairs we are experts in the repair of all makes and models of watch – from vintage pocket watches through to modern big name brands like Tag Heuer, Omega and Rolex. We offer a fully insured freepost watch repairs service to clients all around the UK. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

 

Please Contact Us for further information regarding any requirement you may have.

Yours sincerely

David Clark DGA PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited