News,Press Release,Restoration

Watch Restoration

Oct 18, 2015

This beautiful pocket watch features an early chain/fusee cylinder escapement, central second, miniature enamel top case and bezel set with rubies and pearls. It also chimes every 1/4 hour on a bell.

1770 vintage pocket watch with chime and enamel
Pocket watch with outer enamel case Restoration

To perform adjustment and verification of the parts, the movement needed to be assembled numerous times, but working on an antique piece of art is much different to creating a new timepiece.

No spare parts were available and every part, even screws were made one by one and adjusted to fit their intended purpose.

For me, it is important not to make a new watch and remove every trace of time. I could have made the replacements “invisible”, but, for me, it is important that they can be recognized by a future specialist as replacement parts and not “fake” additions to an existing movement.

This exceptional watch came to me many years ago from a friend of my father who reported “there are some wheels missing” and that ” Andreas will be soon be starting his watchmakers apprenticeship and he will be able to make the wheels”.

Various tasks have taken place over the past few years, which includes, reverse engineering of the construction to calculate the cam and escapement, etc.

The escapement wheel was produced in the evenings and at weekends during my years at R&P in LeLocle, but this summer I finally decided to finish this beautiful watch. It took me over 1 month of work to complete the restoration.

The restoration process included the following:

Replacing missing and damaged parts for the base movement:
  • Making a new cylinder escapement wheel from brass
  • New cylinder staff
  • Counter pivot for cylinder staff
  • Pinion for the seconds wheel
  • New blue mainspring with a handmade hook
  • Ratchet wheel inside the fusee
  • Chain replacement (from old stock)
Replacing missing and damaged parts for the chime (sonnerie):
  • 4 pinions in the gear train
  • 3 wheels in the gear train
  • the mainspring wheel
  • 2 ratchet clicks in the above wheel
  • 2 ratchet springs in the above wheel
  • Quarter hammer isolation lever
  • Reengineered hour and quarter cam
  • Wheel for the cam
  • Connecting wheel from cam to hour wheel
  • Wheel stud
  • Quarter hammer
  • 2 hammer staff
  • Spring for the quarter hammer
  • Stop work finger
General parts:
  • 9 new screws
  • 1 thread cutting die and 1 thread cutting drill for some of the screws
General works:
  • Removing rust from the steel parts
  • Polishing and blueing of formerly blued screws

Restoring this vintage pocket watch was no different than building a new timepiece. New parts were manufactured and calculations had to made, but best of all was the detective work needed to rebuild the escapement etc. It is very easy for people to forget how good watchmakers of yesteryear really were and how little things have changed when it comes to the principals of watchmaking.

It has been a great pleasure to work on this fascinating watch and employ traditional watchmaking techniques to bring it back to life.

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