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Watch Only Runs For ~12 Hours


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I recently took ownership of a Waltham pocket watch that appears to be in very good working order. However, I noticed that it only runs for 12-14 h when fully wound, and lost ~5 min during that period. My question: Are some watches designed to have such a short run time (~12 h), and if unlikely, is this an indication of a problem with the main spring or other component? I can't provide details on the model or age at this point as I don't have the tools/skill to remove the back cover. Need to take to someone who knows what they're doing. Thanks for any insight.

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I recently took ownership of a Waltham pocket watch that appears to be in very good working order. However, I noticed that it only runs for 12-14 h when fully wound, and lost ~5 min during that period. My question: Are some watches designed to have such a short run time (~12 h), and if unlikely, is this an indication of a problem with the main spring or other component? I can't provide details on the model or age at this point as I don't have the tools/skill to remove the back cover. Need to take to someone who knows what they're doing. Thanks for any insight.

Do you know when the watch was last (if ever) serviced? A proper clean, service and re-lube will usually fix 80% plus of problems with any Pocket Watch. Your main problem will be finding a proper watchmaker who will tackle this job correctly - not your local "Fix in Minutes" guy :nono:

Let us know where you are located, one of the contributors here may know of someone local to you who could undertake such work at not too dear a price. Specialist service on older watches is like vintage cars, can be quite expensive but even MORE expensive taken to the wrong service guy! HTH a bit :lol:

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Yes, I agree to the previous comments. This watch needs a watchmaker, who cleans it well, full programme.

And yes, there were watches, that ran only for a short time, like half a day, especially made by Waterbury. But Waltham ever made watches that ran longer than a day (32 hours to 8 days).

Regards,

Andreas

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Thanks Gents. Have no idea when last serviced, but I suspect a very, very, very long time past. Maybe even never. While the mainspring "feels" smooth when winding (no slipping, grinding, etc.), the spring will only accept about 10-half turns until resistance. In fact, the 10-half turns is probably consistent with the short run time. Don't most pockets take more than 10-half turn to load? So putting the watch into the hands of a proper watchsmith is probably best. No easy task in the piedmont of North Carolina. Anyone know of a reputable watchsmith that works via postal? Thanks.

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Hey there.

If it's any consolation, I've got two Waltham pocket watches. They both require at least a dozen turns to wind them up fully and they both run for a day and a half.

Yours should too.

If it isn't, it means it needs the attention of an EXPERT watchmaker ASAP. Not one of those guys who works out of a shoebox in the local shopping-mall, a proper, expert watchmaker who knows hot to fix and service antique and vintage mechanical timepieces.

My first watch, one of these two Walthams, had a problem similar to yours. It also was slipping and not running for its quoted duration (mine stopped at 19 hours). It turned out that the winding wheel was broken and had to be replaced. It was, and it now works flawlessly. Hopefully this isn't the case with yours, and that all yours needs is a good clean and a new mainspring. The very best of luck in finding a good watchmaker and having your watch serviced.

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In answer to your first post.

Yes it should run longer than 12hr. Most likely its dry and not unwinding fully nor running its full term. You mention mainspring, an improper mainspring could cause issues but unlikely its that. I have a 100% mint Elgin I have to take in where the mainspring either needs lubricating or replacing. They tend to stick to themselves but you would feel that when winding in that as it coils tighter once in a while you can feel the spring move all of a sudden or the winding would be tight and not smooth. Mainsprings can be found for virtually anything

In answer to your second post.

10 half turns is not a full winding or again is not unwinding fully. Get it serviced. While you cannot send messages in our forums system maybe post a temp e-mail address so I can e-mail you. I have someone in PA that can help you. He has sold maybe 5000 pocket pieces over his life and has the parts and knowledge on the American pieces. He just replaced an Illinois mainspring for me an original part too in that case. His rates are very fair

http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=49612&view=findpost&p=512081&hl=denn&fromsearch=1

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wasn't there an infamous pocket watch where the main spring was so long it took ages to wind and gave rise to the practice of holding the crown against a fence whilst walking down the street to wind the watch?

Not sure. The longest one I know of is actually those chinese skeleton pieces I enjoy. The mainspring is uncovered, bloody thing takes a couple minutes to get it fully wound if I remember over 50 turns and about 28 turns in 24 hours

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wasn't there an infamous pocket watch where the main spring was so long it took ages to wind and gave rise to the practice of holding the crown against a fence whilst walking down the street to wind the watch?

I'm sorry, but that mental image just made me laugh!!

The most I've had to wind one of my pocket-watches is about 18-20 turns. But that was from a totally slack start.

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10 hours ago, Dazz said:

I have a  Smith's pocket watch that was serviced recently by Timpsons but although they fixed the over winding which prevented it from working. When I got it back it works, looses a minute or so but on a full wind it only last 5 hours.

Timpsons are really good at mending shoes. You need to take it to a properly trained and qualified watchmaker.

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My smiths pinny runs just over 24hrs, so I don't think they did it justice. Poor pinnys - get such a bad rap and nobody loves them :-) Mine works well now - I had to replace the spring that operates the wind clutch as it didn't stand disassembly, but otherwise its all good - the watch is clearly meant to be disposable, as its not really designed to be taken apart fully. Loses a minute or so is pretty got for one of those - mine is variable by at least +/- 1 minute just due to average temperature etc. 

 

My Waltham Bond St. will run for 50.5Hrs and keeps good time within a minute a day, so a clean is what's needed for the OP's watch. Unfortunately I'm about 5000 miles away :-)

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I just bought my second Andre Rivalle 17 Jewel, the one with the dog and the hunting scene.  My first I had purchased for my dad around 1972, and he hardly used it.  The Seller on Ebay stated in the description he could not test it since it was battery, which I knew was totally incorrect.  He sent it in the original box of the watch.  What a person had done is wound it up as tight as it could go, and it was not running.  I opened it up, and put a drop of the right kind of oil in there, (it isn't worth the price of a good cleaning), and it has been running for 34 hours right now, and is still running.  See, even a cheap one, total $15.00 w shipping, can last a bit. 

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