Removing The Balance & Motion Work

This week I have made available two new lessons for the Watch Repair Course.

The first details how to safely remove the watch balance and Incabloc shock settings, and the second details how to remove the Motion Work.

These two lessons are a continuation of Level 2/1 Stripping A Movement Down, in the Watch Repair Course.

c2.1.4 Removing The Watch Balance

This is a very important lesson as the Watch Balance is arguably the most sensitive part of the watch and can be broken quite easily. The hairspring is incredibly fine and will only take a slight amount of manipulation to cause drastic changes to the accuracy of your timepiece.

The video lesson encourages you to take precautions whilst removing the watch balance and specifically teaches you to watch out for any obstructions that may prohibit the safe removal without damaging the hairspring or balance staff pivots.

In particular, you may find that the Centre Wheel may over-shadow the balance wheel or the hairspring and so it is highly advisable for you to take your time and fully inspect the surrounding area of the balance before you attempt to remove it.

The lesson also goes into some detail about removing an Incabloc shock setting so that it can be cleaned.

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c2.1.5 Removing The Motion Work

Continuing in the theme of safe removal of watch parts, this video explains how it is important to first remove the watch Motion Work before attempting to remove the Train Wheels.

This is because the Cannon Pinion is friction fitted to the Centre Wheel arbor. So if you attempt to remove the Train Wheels without first removing the Motion Work you will find it much more difficult to then remove the Cannon Pinion later.

The video also explains that you can safely leave the Minute Wheel in place even though it is part of the Motion Work, and this is because you would normally have to remove the Keyless Work in order to remove the Minute Wheel. As we do not wish to remove the Keyless Work at this stage, and it does not cause any complications to the removal of other parts, it is best to leave it in place.

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  • Hi Mark, perhaps it’s because I haven’t progressed far enough yet, but I am a bit confused as to the proper method after watching C2.1.4. Namely, when removing the balance yoke and balance wheel, you did it all at once, with the balance pressed against the yoke inbetween the tweezers. Normally I would be concerned about damaging the balance staff pivots, but was this the reason for removing the jewel settings prior to removing the balance complete? Otherwise, I’m wondering if my shock springs are stuck (old oil etc), could I use the lift/turn method instead, where I’m just holding the yoke, and the balance is suspended by the hairspring? I would of course attempt to make sure the lower pivot is out of it’s jewel hole prior to lifting in that instance. Just hoping for your thoughts. Thank you!

    • A

      Hi Ryan,
      The reason this method is taught to learners is to reduce the risk of damage caused by the hairspring snagging on the center wheel. With very heavy balance wheels, it can also prevent stress on the balance spring. The alternate method you described by lifting the balance cock and turning until the impulse jewel is released from the pallet fork is also a valid method but not recommended with larger pocket watch sized movements, as said, because of the risk of stressing the hairspring – either way, make sure you practice on non-important workpieces until you feel comfortable enough to work with a watch of meaning.
      I hope this helps.