Servicing a Quartz Movement

Having delved into case work and mechanical movements in previous lessons, it’s time to embark on servicing our first quartz watch. We’ve chosen a quartz analogue watch, the most prevalent type. This section will prove helpful even if you’re just contemplating a battery change — it encompasses fundamental testing of both the battery and the watch movement.

The torque in a quartz analogue watch is minuscule throughout the entire train. Unlike a mechanical watch with a mainspring driving a series of wheels and pinions, where motion is transmitted from the mainspring to the escapement, a quartz watches train is driven by a stepper motor at the higher speed end. Consequently, wear is exceedingly rare, and generally, there’s no need to service a quartz watch unless it malfunctions.

Failures usually stem from lubricant deterioration, or the entry of dirt and moisture. Occasionally, an electronic fault may occur on the circuit board, and the stepper motor coil might fail.

In this section, we’ll examine a watch with typical faults, understand how to diagnose these issues, and perform a service on the watch. Part three of this lesson will delve into general testing to identify a broader range of faults.

Some may argue that quartz watches have reached a point where movement exchange is the only cost-effective approach for servicing. In many instances, the low purchase price of a quartz watch suggests that even replacing the movement is not economical. Nevertheless, some watchmakers still routinely dismantle and service quartz movements. For higher-value pieces, movement servicing remains relevant. As of now with many vintage watches and in the future, there will be more quartz watches where replacement movements are no longer readily available, making servicing the only option.

Figure 113- servicing a quartz watch

For the student of Horology, servicing a quartz analogue watch offers a valuable introduction to watch maintenance. The movement’s affordability allows students to gain experience in handling small parts, serving as an excellent precursor to the skills required for servicing mechanical watches. The date work closely resembles its mechanical counterpart, and I’ve chosen a movement (ETA 955.112) with a keyless work that shares similarities with mechanical watches. These pages won’t delve into the theoretical and technical background of the many components in a quartz analogue watch but will focus on the task of servicing. Some explanations will be provided when necessary, but the emphasis is on “how to” rather than “why.” Reviewing the various components of the 955.112 movement covered earlier in this lesson will be beneficial for familiarity with the construction.

1 The Initial Inspection

To begin the exercise, you could start by purchasing just the movement, but the servicing process ideally begins with the entire watch. Firstly, observe the condition of the case, the strap or bracelet, the dial, and hands. Check if the hands seem to be touching, either against each other, the dial, or the glass. Although a watch received for servicing may not be working, there are certain features to check:

  1. The seconds hand may move erratically, indicating that the battery (technically a cell) requires replacement. The watch’s circuit has an EOL (end of life) feature programmed, informing the owner of the impending battery failure. In this watch, EOL is indicated by the seconds hand moving forward four seconds at four-second intervals.
  2. On close inspection, the seconds hand may move slightly backward and forward. This suggests that the various components are likely to be serviceable, but the battery lacks the power to drive the mechanism.

Check the operation of the keyless mechanism. The stem has three positions: fully pressed in, a central position, and fully pulled out. If the keyless mechanism is in good order:

  1. The stem’s location in each position should be positive.
  2. The central position enables adjusting the date when the crown is turned in one direction, while nothing happens when turned in the opposite direction.
  3. In the fully out position, the hands can be adjusted. An inbuilt switch stops the watch, allowing accurate setting to time and restarting.

Our watch is not working, and these checks do not reveal any other defects.

1.1 Electrical Testing

One of the significant differences between mechanical and quartz watches lies in the use of test equipment to analyze problems that might not be apparent through observation. To illustrate this point, consider diagnosing faults in your vehicle. In the past, mechanics relied on observation, knowledge, and experience gained over the years, with minimal test equipment. Nowadays, technicians use computer-based analyses that draw information from the car’s engine management system. Similarly, while the mechanical watch resembles the earlier vehicle in many ways, the quartz analogue watch features a built-in, technically advanced management system that necessitates the use of diagnostic test equipment. The name “Witschi” is synonymous with watch testing, and although the latest quartz watch testers from Witschi are expensive and reserved mostly for the professional watchmaker, this lesson will explain some testing principles using other professional equipment. Additionally, more economical alternatives with reduced test features will be covered in part 3 of this lesson.

For a functioning watch, the testing process could begin without even opening the case. For instance, the Horotec “Flash Tester” can detect pulses from the integrated circuit to the stepping motor (see Figure 114). These pulses help determine the watch’s rate.

Figure 114- Horotec Flash Tester

A simplified explanation of quartz watch technology reveals:

  1. The quartz resonator ensures timekeeping accuracy by producing a small electrical voltage in rapid, regular pulses.
  2. The integrated circuit “divides” these rapid pulses from the quartz resonator to provide slow, regular pulses to a stepping motor, which, in turn, drives a train of wheels and pinions to move the hands.
  3. In watches with a seconds hand, the stepping motor moves every second, while watches with just two hands receive less frequent pulses.
  4. The integrated circuit also maintains the oscillation of the quartz resonator.
  5. The battery supplies the necessary power for these ongoing processes to occur.

1.2 Testing the Watch

To understand what might be wrong with our watch, we need to use a testing machine equipped with a signal sensor for the “motor” at the very least. More advanced testers can also test for “LCD,” and “32 kHz” functions as well. (see Figure 107). Here’s how each function is utilized:

  1. Motor Function: Identifies the pulse period of the stepping motor.
  2. LCD Function: Used for watches with a liquid crystal display.
  3. 32 kHz Function: Determines the frequency of the quartz crystal oscillator.

While I’m not using the the most advanced tester available, the Flash Tester offers a comprehensive range of tests to identify faults in most quartz watches. I’ll use it to demonstrate the necessary diagnostic tests for our watch. The goal is not to teach the use of a specific testing machine but to explain the underlying principles.

To determine the issue with our watch, we must remove the case back. Before doing so, it’s crucial to clean the joint between the case and the back. Skin cells, dust, and dirt can accumulate in this joint, posing a risk of entering the movement. Thoroughly clean the joint with pegwood and use Rodico to remove any traces of dirt. If necessary, release the strap/bracelet by undoing the spring bars for better access.

In my case I have a case with a screw of back. but many quartz watches will have snap on back which requires extra care when opening.

Use a case knife or, preferably, a case opener to remove the case back. Check again for dislodged dirt, and insert the case knife firmly into the joint, twisting it in the direction indicated (see Figure 108).

Hold the back in place with the left hand’s thumb while twisting the knife in the specified direction. This ensures the knife’s edge remains against the flange in the lid.

The turning direction is critical, especially for water-resistant cases with a pronounced flange to retain the case seal. The case itself should be smooth without any step (see Figure 115).

Figure 115 — Opening the Case Back

If the case knife were turned in the opposite direction, the knife could slip across the movement, causing inevitable damage when the back separates from the case. The coil, in close proximity to the edge of the case, is particularly vulnerable.

Figure 116 — The Flange is on the Case Back

1.3 Static Electricity

Static electricity can pose a problem when servicing any item with an integrated circuit, and watches are no exception. The introduction of CMOS technology necessitated precautions to prevent the discharge of static electricity from the watchmaker, potentially causing damage to the integrated circuit.

In the past, an earthed conductive mat on the workbench was recommended, with the watchmaker grounded by wearing an antistatic wristband. This procedure is similar to that recommended when fitting new memory in a computer. Over the years, improvements in integrated circuit design have reduced the risk. Today, watchmakers in service departments confidently work on modern watches without these safeguards. However, it’s crucial to remain aware of the potential for damage from static electricity.

Wearing clothing made from natural fibers and avoiding carpets made from synthetic materials can reduce the risk of the watchmaker becoming charged with static electricity. Some follow the practice of touching earth before handling the electronic module as an additional safeguard.

Remember, older quartz movements pose a greater risk of damage, so it’s advisable not to take any chances, as replacement electronic modules may be unavailable.

When the watch is open, rest it on a case cushion to prevent damage to the glass; the battery and main components can be clearly seen — Figure 117.

Figure 117 — the back removed

The battery in this watch is a silver oxide low drain battery. The battery voltage can be tested while the battery is in the watch; select the test mode “battery” on the Flash Tester and apply the probes — Figure 118.

Figure 118 — testing the battery

When attaching the probes, the polarity is important. The black negative probe contacts the negative test point on the movement and the positive contacts part of the main plate of the watch; a screw is suitable as shown in #1 in the technical guide — Figure 119.

Figure 119 — the test points for checking the battery are #1

The purpose of testing the battery is to eliminate the most obvious cause for our watch not functioning. The test shows a low voltage, 0.67 volts; the battery clearly requires replacing — Figure 120.

Figure 120 —the battery voltage

A new low drain silver oxide battery will give the result 1.59 volts and would be serviceable within the range 1.45 to 1.59 volts. Even if the result was within the acceptable range, having opened the watch the battery should be replaced. A watch battery maintains a constant voltage until almost the end of its life; the voltage only falls when it is fully run down. The test will only show the voltage at the time and cannot give any indication of the length of time that it will be serviceable.

The battery should now be removed from the watch. In this movement, it is secured in position with a small clamp, the bridle, held in place by a screw — Figure 121.

Figure 121 — the battery clamp secures the battery

The screw should not be removed but just loosened sufficiently to allow the battery to be withdrawn — Figure 122. Take care to ensure that your screwdriver fits the slot in the screw. The screws in quartz movements often incorporate wider slots than their counterparts in a mechanical watch; the screwdriver should fit, both in width and thickness

Figure 122-loosening battery clamp screw

The Flash Tester also incorporates a battery testing device. The test mode “battery” is selected and the battery placed on the metal plate — Figure 116. The negative lead is applied to the cathode on the battery; the reading shows an ever lower value of .63 volts from the image in Figure 123.

Figure 123 — testing the battery out of the watch movement

Even though the battery will be routinely replaced, we should consider the visual condition of the battery. When a battery has been exhausted for some time the Seal deteriorates and allows the electrolyte to escape. This is indicated by white crystals forming on the seal — Figure 124.

Figure 124- crystals forming on the battery seal

Note that the movement is should be placed in a movement holder and finger cots are worn to prevent fingerprints. When loose, the movement can be turned over to allow the battery to drop onto the bench or, alternatively, it can be removed with plastic tweezers. Plastic tweezers are advisable when handling watch batteries to prevent any possibility of creating a short circuit.

2 Removing the movement from the case

Now that the condition of the battery has been assessed, the movement can be removed from the case. There is a case ring and the movement is secured by two screws; the stem will have to be removed to withdraw the movement from the case. To take out the stem, pressure is applied to the end of the setting lever. This compresses the setting lever spring clip causing the setting lever to disengage the stem so that the stem can be removed. The screws and the end of the setting lever are shown by arrows — Figure 125.

Figure 125 —a case ring and two screws fasten the movement in the case

In this movement, the end of the setting lever projects slightly above the circuit board; to remove the stem, a small screwdriver is used to press it downwards while the stem is withdrawn — Figure 126.

Figure 126 — removing the stem

The case screws can now be unscrewed, select a screwdriver of the correct width and thickness to fit the slot and remove the Case screws. Note how the screwdriver iS ea provide the greatest control — Figure 127.

Figure 127 — removing the case screws

You will find that the movement is now loose but the case ring retains it in the case. There are three slots in the case ring; a screwdriver fitted in these slots can be used to gently prise the ring from the case. It will be necessary to lift the case ring a little using each of the slots in turn until it becomes loose.

With the case ring removed, the movement should be removed from the case; rest the watch on the bench and begin to turn it over until the movement falls gently onto the bench.

During servicing, there will be a need to lift and turn the movement from time to time; the crown and stem provide a useful handle, so they are now replaced. The replacement of the stem is the reverse of its removal, in fact it is simpler. The stem can be fitted into the movement and pushed into place; there is no need to press the end of the setting lever because the shoulder on the stem is sloping; the sloping face presses the setting lever out of the way when the stem is inserted — Figure 128. The setting lever spring clip moves the setting lever back to retain the stem in position.

Figure 128 — the sloping surface on the stem

2 Removing the dial and hands

The movement should now be placed in a movement holder taking great care to ensure that the circuit board and coil do not get damaged. There are a number of different types of hand removing tools specifically designed to remove the hands with the minimum risk of damage.

We shall use the hand remover with the plastic feet which press against the dial to lift the hands away. In use, the dial can be protected by using a thin piece of polythene placed on top of the dial and the hands. The claws of the hand removing tool are carefully placed under the hour hand and the tool squeezed together. The plastic feet press down on the dial and the hands are pulled upwards. The polythene ensures that the hands are retained in the fold in the plastic with little risk of being lost.

The dial has two dial feet which are held in position by spring clips at the edge of the movement. When the movement is turned over, the clips can be clearly seen. Each clip turns on a pivot; one end presses against the dial foot to secure the dial in place. On my watch the dial feet have broken off and the dial is turned out of position.

Once both of the dial clips have been turned, the dial can be removed. Dials are very fragile and easily damaged; you should take care when removing the dial and, once removed, it must be stored safely. If the movement is held by the stem and turned over, the dial may just fall onto the case cushion; if necessary, apply a little pressure on the ends of the dial feet. The dial will be easily loosened.

Now that the dial has been removed, you should remove the hour wheel otherwise it is likely to fall off and perhaps get lost. The dial washer is integral with the hour wheel and the two can just be lifted away from the movement.

This battery has only just begun to leak but, in time, the watch movement would become contaminated as a result of the leakage. The movement would then require urgent cleaning before corrosion necessitates the replacement of components.

It is clear that the battery in our watch is defective but there could also be additional faults. If you do not have a watch tester, then fitting a new battery would immediately show whether the watch will work.

lf the watch does not work with the power supply, alternative tests can help to identify the problem. Consult the troubleshooting workflow charts in section 3 of this lesson.

3 Troubleshooting this movement

3.1 Checking the Rate

The Horotec Flash tester receives magnetic signals from the motor of the watch. The device measures the stability of the rate of the watch and if the inhibition function is working properly

If the rate is really bad, it could mean that the housing that the crystal is contained in is cracked or the IC has been compromised.

Now we’ve got this consistent pulse of electricity coming out of the quartz crystal, it goes back into the integrated circuit, and it’s going to be used somehow in order to cause the motor to turn.

In the watch I’m working on the rate is just under 1/10 of a second or 2.63 seconds a month so we are in great shape so far -figure 129.

Figure 129 – Checking the Rate

Checking the Pulse

The Flash Tester can be used to check if there is electricity getting to the motor and whether or not the rotor is turning as it should . When our watch is connected, a re-assuring “beep” indicates that a signal has been detected and the signal indicator light will be illuminated at one second intervals as the stepping motor receives its electrical impulses — Figure 119. Definitely good news, the electronic components are clearly working and the train is functional

If we were not receiving the pulse from the stepper motor I would check the status of the coil.

If the pulses are being received but the watch does not work check and/or clean the mechanical parts of the watch (blocked hands, dust, etc.).

Definitely good news so far on this movement, the electronic components are clearly working, the train is functional and the seconds hand is moving – figure 130.

Figure 130 — the signal indicator shows the watch is working

Checking the Coil

I am now going to check the coil resistance to make sure it is within the manufacture specifications. The coil resistance for the ETA 955.112 should fall between 1.3 and 1.8 kilohms if it is in acceptable condition.

In my test movement, I have a reading of 1.537 kilohms so it is right in the middle- figure 131.

Figure 131- Coil resistance

Checking Consumption

There is a need, however, to find out how much battery consumption the movement is using . The test will be conducted over the test period of two minutes and for this movement the specifications are anywhere under 1.3 kiloamps. After two minutes, the movement is showing a consumption rate of 3.85 kiloamps which is 3 times the normal so I we have found the issue. Since our other test show the the coil to be with in specifications, it is safe to assume that there is addition friction in the train of wheels that’s causing this high consumption rate- figure 132.

Figure 132 — consumption rate

4 Dismantling the movement

Twist back the dial retaining clips and we are ready to start dismantling the movement itself. Non magnetic tweezers should be used, particularly when handling the rotor; if tweezers become magnetised, it will become difficult to handle the components. The components on the back of the movement will be removed first and then the date work, motion work and the keyless mechanism. The movement should be held firmly in a movement holder — Figure 133. The date indicator is slightly recessed; nevertheless, take care to ensure that it is not damaged.

Figure 133 — hold the movement in a movement holder

We will begin by dismantling these components in the following order — Figure 135:

1) upper magnetic screen,

2) electronic module,

3) electronic module distance piece,

4) battery bridle,

5) battery insulator,

6) train bridge.

Figure 135 — the components to be removed first

At first sight, the upper magnetic screen appears to be secured by three screws; in fact, just one screw holds it in place — the screw shown by the red arrow — Figure 135. The other two screws, together with two further screws, secure the electronic module in position — Figure 135. You should remove the two screws near the coil which secure the electronic module before actually loosening the upper magnetic screen. These screws are very close to the coil and a slip of the screwdriver could easily result in the purchase of a new electronic module. The upper magnetic screen provides some protection for the coil. Now remove the screw for the upper magnetic screen and, taking care not to touch the coil, lift the upper magnetic screen away — Figure 136.

Figure 136 — remove the screw and lift the upper magnetic screen away

If this is the first movement that you are dismantling, it is especially important to lay out the components in a logical manner to help with the re-assembly. A plastic storage box is ideal with different compartments to separate the various components — Figure 137.

Figure 137- store the parts carefully

The various parts, particularly screws, often look similar and to avoid confusion develop the habit of placing associated parts together. They can then be transferred to the cleaning machine in batches of components instead of trying to sort out where any particular component belongs- figure 138. The coil is very fragile; keep the electronic module in a separate compartment.

Figure 138 — keep associated components together

You will find that one of the screws securing the electronic module is shorter than the others — Figure 139. It is important to note the position of the various screws; some are interchangeable but many are not. When it comes to re-assembling the movement, we will remind you about this particular screw but you should always be observant during the dismantling process and remember such points.

Figure 139 — the screws securing the electronic module

The electronic module can be lifted away from the movement; the coil and negative battery terminal are integral parts of the electronic module. Use plastic tweezers in preference to metal tweezers — Figure 140

Figure 140 — use non-magnetic tweezers to remove the electronic module

A fault with any part of the electronic module will require complete replacement. Once the electronic module has been removed, the electronic module distance piece can be clearly seen- figure 141.

Figure 141 — the electronic module distance piece

It is located by two steady pins and rests in position. The electronic module distance piece, the battery bridle and the battery insulator should be removed. We must now give our attention to the train bridge — Figure 142.

Figure 142 — the train bridge

The train bridge is secured by one screw and located with steady pins. Once the screw has been removed, the bridge should be lifted upwards away from the plate to prevent damage to the delicate pivots. You can now see the train — Figure 143.

Figure 143 — the watch train

The intermediate, second, rotor and third arbors can be lifted from the plate. The pivot holes are jewelled and the lower pivot for the second arbor extends to carry the seconds hand. Remember to use non magnetic or plastic tweezers for handling the rotor; steel tweezers will quickly become magnetised.

lf you are dismantling this calibre (955.112) you will find that although the stator will move slightly it cannot be removed from the plate. The stator is quite fragile; do not attempt to prise it away from the plate. The pin that projects through the Stator retains the stator in position; there is no need to remove it for cleaning. It can only be dismantled if the retaining pin is pressed out from the other side of the plate — Figure 144.

Figure 144 — a retaining pin secures the stator

In some calibres the stator is not fixed in place. If that is the case, the simplest way to remove it from the plate is to turn the plate over and gently tap it. The stator will fall onto the bench.

The movement is nearly completely dismantled from this side; there are just two components left to remove — the stop lever and switch and the setting lever spring clip — Figure 145. The stop lever and switch can just be lifted away but the setting lever spring clip has to be unfastened.

Figure 145 — the stop lever and switch and the setting lever spring clip

The setting lever spring clip is made with a hole which will fit over the end of the setting lever; there is a small slot leading from the hole. The setting lever spring clip is compressed to enable the slot to slide into a turned recess at the end of the setting lever — Figure 146. It is held in position by the electronic module distance piece — Figure 141.

Figure 146- the spring clip fits over the setting lever

To remove the spring clip, it is necessary to compress the clip slightly with the tweezers and then slide it sideways so that the slot moves out of the recess in the setting lever — Figure 147. The tweezers are not gripping the end of the setting lever but pressing downwards. The friction between the tweezers and the spring clip is sufficient to disengage the clip. The spring clip is tensioned; a piece of Rodico can be used if you are cautious to prevent the spring becoming lost.

Figure 147 — removing the setting lever spring clip

It is now time to remove the date indicator, keyless mechanism, motion work and calendar work. Use the crown to turn the movement over and secure it in the movement holder — Figure 148.

Figure 148 — under the dial

The date indicator is retained in place by the minute train bridge and the maintaining plate. Underneath the maintaining plate you can see the date jumper; the jumper holds the date indicator in position for most of the day by pressing between two teeth. When the date indicator is moved, the jumper is pushed away from the date indicator thus tensioning the spring on the date jumper. The jumper then rides over a tooth on the date indicator and the spring snaps it back into place to finish advancing the date indicator. It remains in this position until around midnight the next day.

The date indicator can be removed by loosening the screw securing the minute train bridge and the screw holding the maintaining plate. There is no need to actually remove the minute train bridge to release the date indicator but you may find it easier. It is advisable to leave the maintaining plate in position so that the jumper cannot be lost. Use plastic tweezers to slide the date indicator away from the maintaining plate so that it can be lifted away from the movement. Steel tweezers could damage the painted surface; all damage should be avoided.

The next step is to dismantle the minute wheel and the mechanism under the minute train bridge — Figure 149.

Figure 149 — under the minute train bridge

First remove the minute wheel, the date corrector, the setting wheel, and the yoke. The remaining components can then be dismantled — Figure 150. The setting lever jumper will have been tensioned so that it acts on the setting lever; take care that it does not spring out when the setting lever is removed.

Figure 150 — remove the keyless work

Before we turn our attention to the maintaining plate and date jumper, hold the sliding pinion in your tweezers while you remove the stem — Figure 151.

Figure 151 — take out the stem to remove the sliding pinion

After removing the date jumper maintaining plate, the date jumper, intermediate date wheel, date indicator driving wheel, and cannon pinion with driving wheel can all be dismantled — Figure 152.

Figure 152 — the date mechanism

If you look at Figure 152 and consider how the date indicator driving wheel is driven, you may find the mechanism rather puzzling; the wheels are not actually meshing together. The answer is the hour wheel which was removed at after the dial was taken off. The cannon pinion drives the minute wheel and the minute wheel pinion turns the hour wheel. It is the hour wheel which is engaged with the intermediate date wheel; a pinion under the intermediate date wheel turns the date indicator driving wheel. A word of caution when removing the date jumper; when it is in position, the date jumper is slightly tensioned. Once the maintaining plate has been removed, it is no longer secured in place. Use your tweezers to lift the date jumper away from the steady pin and then remove the intermediate date wheel, the date indicator driving wheel and the cannon pinion with driving wheel.

The movement is now completely dismantled and ready for cleaning.

17.2 Cleaning

Having dismantled the movement, we must now consider how the parts will be cleaned. The decision will depend on the number of watches you intend to service. lf you are just beginning, you can clean a watch by hand.

If you have decided that you will be working commercially then you should consider purchasing a cleaning machine, there are many different designs of cleaning machine for watches. They work on three basic operating principles:

  1. rapid rotation in the cleaning fluid, causing turbulent flow,

2. rapid vibration or shaking,

3. ultrasonics.

All three types are in use, and modern machines combine two or three of these principles.

me of the tiny components will not be safe in the cleaning machine but even the smallest screws for this watch will not fall between the wire mesh.

When the parts have been cleaned, place each in the component tray for safe storage. Look carefully in each compartment of the cleaning baskets to ensure that every part has been removed. It is easy to miss a tiny screw hiding in a corner. To be absolutely sure, when you believe the basket is empty, turn the basket over onto the bench. It is surprising how often a screw has been missed!

Remember, it is essential that the plastic components and the rotor are not cleaned in a cleaning machine. If necessary, the electronic module can be gently wiped with 99% IPA or one of the specialised cleaners for electronic circuits.. The rotor will be cleaned with Rodico, excellent for removing any small steel particles which have adhered to the magnet — Figure 153

Figure 153 — steel particles adhere to the rotor

Before cleaning, the jewel holes in the plate and the train bridge should be cleaned with pegwood to remove any remaining oil or residue from the rinsing solution. The pegwood should be cut to a fine taper, inserted in the jewel hole and twisted. Remember, the components are clean and finger cots should be worn to prevent fingerprints. Every hole should be cleaned with pegwood from both sides — Figure 154.

Figure 154 — clean each of the jewel holes with pegwood

Finally, use an eyeglass check each of the jewel holes for cleanliness. Hold the plate so that the surface around the actual hole reflects the light; any smear should be removed so that the surface is absolutely clean — Figure 155.

Figure 155 — check every jewel hole to make sure it is clean

17.3 Re-assembling the components

Now that all the parts are clean, we are ready to begin re-assembling the components. The manufacturer’s Technical Information provides a number of exploded views which show the various parts. There is also guidance for the lubrication of the various components. It is not a case of assembling the movement and then lubricating but a process of lubricating during each step as the movement is being assembled.

Three lubricants are recommended:

  1. fine oil for the train pivots (Moebius 9014 or Moebius 9034),

2. thick oil or grease for other components such as the keyless work (Moebius HP-1300 or Moebius DS),

3. grease for the friction device between the driving wheel and the cannon pinion (Moebius 9501).

You will also require:

1. oil cups for each of the two grades of oil

2. pith for cleaning the oiler,

3. Rodico to remove any extraneous oil.

Oilers are available in various sizes; black is the smallest. In use, the tip of the oiler, shaped like a small spade, is dipped into the oil in the oil cup — Figure 156. Assuming the tip is placed in the oil to the same depth, the tip is designed to reliably retain the same quantity of oil each time it is used. The oil is retained as a small globule on the tip until it is discharged into, for example, the oilsink.

Figure 156 — the tip of the oiler holds the same amount of oil each time

The Technical Information uses symbols to distinguish between the different types of lubricant and the quantity required for the various applications — Figure 157. In the video I will not be showing every lubrication point so please refer to the technical documents.

Figure 157 — the lubrication for each component is clearly specified

Where a very small amount of oil is required, this is achieved by charging the oiler near the edge of the oil in the oil cup. The oil is shallower and therefore the tip of the oiler is not fully covered and retains less oil.

During assembly, some components are oiled before they are replaced in the movement but generally, a number of parts can be fitted and then lubricated before proceeding to the next group of components.

As well as lubrication, the Technical Information provides an order for assembly. This sequence will be followed throughout with just a few exceptions. If you are studying the Technical Information, there are some anomalies; for example, the setting wheel is fitted twice. As an overview, part of the keyless work is assembled and the movement turned over to fit the clip for the setting lever, the train and train bridge. The movement is then turned over again to replace the remaining keyless work components and the calendar work. Finally, the movement is turned over for the electronic module and associated components to be fitted.

Assembly: Step 1 — replacing the stem and sliding pinion

When the stem has been lubricated, Figure 145, the sliding pinion is held using tweezers so that the stem can be inserted — Figure 158.

Figure 158 — insert the stem to retain the sliding pinion

Assembly: Step 2 — starting to fit the keyless work

The next three components form part of the keyless mechanism — Figure 159. The setting lever is shown upside down to show the small “nib” which engages the setting lever jumper to hold the stem positively in each of the three positions. Oil the stem on which the setting lever turns in the hole in the. plate; the other parts will be lubricated later.

Figure 159 — these three components are fitted next

The double corrector operating lever is fitted first, then the setting lever jumper and finally the setting lever. The small pin on the double corrector operating lever locates in the slot in the setting lever; for the next step, the setting lever is best positioned with the stem in the fully out position — Figure 160.

Figure 160 — fit the components with the stem in the handsetting position

A close examination of Figure 148 shows that the setting lever is not fully inserted into the plate. The nib on the setting lever is resting on top of the setting lever jumper and preventing it from fitting into the correct position. The jumper requires tensioning so that the nib locates in one of the three steps in the jumper. Use a piece of pegwood to press the setting lever gently down while pushing the jumper to fit behind the nib on the setting lever — Figure 170.

Figure 170 — tensioning the jumper

You will be able to feel the setting lever settle into position and the pin on the double corrector lever fits fully into the slot in the setting lever. The setting lever should be in the groove in the stem — Figure 171.

Figure 171 — the setting lever fitted in position

Before proceeding further, make absolutely sure that the jumper is pressed down fully into the recess in the plate and the nib on the setting lever fits into the jumper correctly — Figure 172.

Figure 172 — ensure the nib fits into the jumper correctly

You must resist the temptation to push the stem in “just to check that the mechanism works correctly”. If you do, it is likely that the setting lever will spring up over the jumper and it will be necessary to repeat the last step again.

Assembly: Step 3 — fitting the setting lever spring clip

The movement should now be turned over to secure the setting lever in position with the setting lever spring clip. The groove in the end of the setting lever will be protruding through the plate. The clip should be placed in position over the end of the setting lever. Remember not to apply any downwards pressure on the setting lever; it is easily pushed out because there is only the pressure from the setting lever jumper to retain it in position. The clip will require compressing in order to Slide it into position, the reversal of removal — Figure 173.

Figure 173 — Fitting the setting lever clip

You must make sure that the groove in the end of the setting lever is located at the end of the slot in the spring clip — Figure 174. It may be necessary to adjust the position of the spring clip slightly to ensure full engagement otherwise you will later find that the electronic module distance piece cannot be positioned correctly.

Figure 174 — the correct position for the setting lever spring clip

Assembly: Step 4 — fitting the train and the train bridge

The components for the train and the train bridge will now be fitted to the plate and secured in place — Figure 175.

Figure 175 — the train components

The wheels and pinions are at different levels so that the pinion on the rotor will drive the next wheel and so on through the train. The arbors should therefore be placed in position in the following order:

1) third wheel,

2) rotor,

3) second wheel,

4) intermediate wheel.

The pivots for each arbor should be cleaned by pressing into pith and a “blower” used to ensure there is no residue. The rotor must be thoroughly cleaned using Rodico to remove any metallic particles. Over time, oil is absorbed into the Rodico and, for final cleaning, fresh Rodico should be used. Any residue will contaminate the fresh lubricant.

The pivots are very fine and care is required; the biggest difficulty will be locating the pivot for the rotor in its hole. Being strongly magnetic, the rotor is constantly attracted to the stator but with a little perseverance it will fit in place. With some movements, it is a greater problem to fit the rotor in position; it can be made simpler by using an old rotor which is clean placed directly below the rotor on the underside of the plate. The two magnets attract each other so that the rotor stands upright and enables the pivot to be easily located in the train bridge. The old rotor can then be removed.

The second arbor has a long extended pivot which carries the seconds hand. The Technical Information shows that it should be “pre-oiled” (oiled before it is placed in position) with a very small quantity of the “light” oil. Moebius 2014 — Figure 176. Once this has been done, the pivot of each arbor can be carefully placed into the pivot holes and the stop lever and switch fitted in position — Figure 177.

Figure 176 — pre-oiling the second arbor front pivot

Figure 177 — the train and stop lever and switch in position

There are two stages to fitting the train bridge; firstly, the bridge is placed carefully in position and, secondly, the arbors are manoeuvred into position so that the pivots fit into the jewel holes in the bridge.

Try to align the train bridge before lowering it onto the plate; the steady pins should be located into their holes. Press the train bridge gently downwards using pegwood; it is likely that some of the pivots will have already fitted into the pivot holes and can be clearly seen by looking in the oilsinks.

You can then use a clean oiler or fine tweezers to move the remaining arbors so that their pivots fit into the pivot holes — Figure 178.

Figure 178 — gently press the train bridge down and use a clean oiler or fine tweezers to move the arbors into position

Finally, while still holding the bridge in position with the pegwood, fit the screw and tighten gently. Check that the train is free before fully tightening the bridge.

Before turning the movement over to replace the remaining components on the dial side of the movement, oil the pivots using Moebius 9000 or 9014 — Figure 179.

Figure 179 — oiling the train

Assembly: Step 5 — completing the assembly of the keyless mechanism

The movement should be turned over and held in the movement holder ready to finish the assembly on the dial side. Before fitting more components, the train pivots on this side should now be oiled together with the posts, ready for the assembly of the remaining components — Figure 180.

Figure 180 — under the dial, oiling the train and posts

The keyless work that was assembled previously and the post ready for the yoke should also be lubricated — Figure 181.

Figure 181 — lubricating the keyless work

We can now continue with the assembly; first, the motion work and keyless components shown in Figure 182 will be fitted, a slight variation to the sequence in the Technical Information.

Figure 182 — motion work and keyless components

The cannon pinion and driving wheel is a small assembly; the driving wheel is turned by a pinion projecting through the plate — Figure 159. There is a friction arrangement between the driving wheel and the cannon pinion. This ensures that the cannon pinion, with the minute hand attached, rotates as the watch runs but can be moved as required for handsetting. The friction points are lubricated with grease, Moebius 9501 or 9504 — Figure 183.

Figure 183- lubricating the friction drive

The first five components shown in Figure 161 should now be fitted in the order given and further oiling completed — Figure 184.

Figure 184 — the motion work and keyless mechanism in place

The minute train bridge can now be refitted. The minute train bridge is designed to fulfil a variety of functions — Figure 185. The functions are:

1. retains the keyless mechanism in position,

2. provides the spring for the yoke,

3. gives downwards pressure on the date corrector,

4. prevents the minute wheel from lifting out of engagement with the cannon pinion,

5. provides a bearing for the date indicator and retains the date indicator in position.

Figure 185 — the minute train bridge

We removed the date indicator by loosening the screws for both the maintaining plate and the minute train bridge. There are different approaches for assembling these components but first we will fit the minute train bridge and check the position of the yoke spring. It should press against the edge of the yoke — Figure 186. The minute train bridge is then secured with its screw.

Before proceeding further, test the operation of the keyless mechanism — stem fully in, central position, stem fully out. The mechanism should move freely and be positively located in each position.

Figure 186 — check the position of the yoke spring

Assembly: Step 6 — replacing the date indicator

The date indicator should now be replaced by sliding the teeth under the edge of he minute train bridge and allowing the date indicator to fit into the recess in the plate.

Slide the date indicator driving wheel under the date indicator until it fits onto its post. The date indicator will locate between the flange and the wheel of the date indicator driving wheel — Figure 187.

Figure 187 — slide the date indicator driving wheel under the date indicator

Replace the intermediate date wheel and fit the fit the date jumper — Figure 188.

Figure 188 — fit the intermediate date wheel and the date jumper

The maintaining plate and screw can then be replaced to secure the date jumper and retain the intermediate date wheel and the date indicator- figure 189

Figure 189- replace the maintaining plate and lubricate the jumper

Check that the date jumper is correctly engaged between the teeth on the date indicator. You should now lubricate the date jumper. The Technical Information shows that a greater quantity of oil is required . Use the oiler once, advance the date indicator a half turn and then apply more oil and advance a further half turn: the oil will be distributed to all of the teeth.

Before continuing with the next stage check the stem in each of the three positions. In the central position, the date corrector should move the date indicator when the crown is turned in one direction; the date corrector should disengage from the date indicator when the crown is turned in the opposite direction. When the stem is fully out, the cannon pinion should turn and, with the stem fully in, the crown should turn freely.

Assembly: Step 7 — Assembling the “electronic” components

The final stage is to fit the electronic module and the remaining components on the back of the movement.

Before you begin by fitting the electronic module distance piece, check that the stop lever and switch is still in the correct position. It may have moved or even fallen off when the movement was turned over to fit the motion work and date mechanism. The purpose of the stop lever and switch is to switch off the pulses to the stepping motor when the stem is pulled fully out and hold the second arbor which carries the seconds hand. The user can then adjust the watch precisely and cause it to start again by pushing in the stem. The stop lever and switch has been coloured so that its position can be seen clearly — Figure 190. This is the position with the stem pressed fully in. One end is fitted into the groove in the sliding pinion and the two “arms” span a hole in the plate.

Figure 190 — the stop lever in the correct position

The electronic module distance piece has two steady pins which are located in the plate. When it is in position, the setting lever spring clip should fit into the recess in the electronic module distance piece — Figure 191.

Figure 191 — the electronic module distance piece in position

A pin on the back of the electronic module will fit between the two “arms” of the Stop lever and project into the hole — Figure 192. To ensure the switch is on the correct side of the pin, fit the electronic module with the stem pressed fully in.

Figure 192 the pin on the electronic module

The battery insulator should be placed in position and then the electronic module and the upper magnetic screen fitted and fastened with the screws. It is advisable to fit the upper magnetic screen before securing the electronic module with screws; the screen offers some protection for the coil from a slipping screwdriver. Do not forget the short screw — Figure 193.

Figure 193 the electronic module and the upper magnetic screen fitted

Finally the battery bridle can be replaced. The battery will be fitted after testing.

Testing the movement

Having dismantled, cleaned and assembled the movement, the next step is to use the Flash Test to determine whether the current consumption has improved. Even though the dial and hands are not fitted, the consumption can be checked; the movement, still in the movement holder, is connected to the power supply set to provide 1.55 volts — Figure 194.

Figure 194 — The results show that the consumption is lower

Before cleaning, the current consumption was 3.85 uA and it is now 0.86 uA. Clearly the train moves more freely; the result is well below the manufacturer’s figure 1.3 uA.

Figure 195- test for stop lever and switch

The stop lever and switch are checked by pulling out the stem; the watch stops and the current consumption falls to 0.12 uA-figure 95, which is well under the manufacturer’s specification of 0.5 uA.

The tests we have undertaken indicate the watch movement is working to the correct standard and the service is complete.