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Practical Watch Repairing

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With over 550 black-and-white illustrations and an approach that assumes no prior watch-repairing experience, Donald de Carle’s classic book is essential for any beginner or experienced horologist. It’s been called "the best illustrated book on practical horology ever written"—Horological Journal

The absorbing and everlasting subject of watch repairing has been dealt with in books in many languages throughout the years. But when Practical Watch Repairing was first published in the middle of the twentieth century, he intended to create a book "that a watchmaker can understand, even if he can't read." For the readers in his audience, de Carle has provided well-informed discourse on every topic a watchmaker, or aspiring watchmaker, needs to know. He covers:
  • Workshop and Workbench
  • Essential Tools
  • Case, Dial, and Hands
  • Barrel and Mainspring
  • Hand Cleaning and Oiling
  • Springing and Timing
  • Friction Jewelling
  • And much more!

With Practical Watch Repairing, even a layman can become a watch-repair specialist.

ISBN-13: 9781602393578

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Skyhorse

Publication Date: 09-17-2008

Pages: 336

Product Dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Donald de Carle was a Fellow and Medallist of the British Horological Institute. He contributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica and was the author of many other horological works.

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 Workshop and Work-Bench.

First essentials

Necessity for practice

Equipment for success

Working in comfort

Work-bench, seat

Lighting, natural and artificial 1

Chapter 2 Essential Tools

Screwdrivers, large and small

Using screwdrivers

General and special purpose tweezers

Using tweezers

Oilers, oil pots and stands

Eye-glasses, nippers, pliers, hammers, hand-removing levers, bluing pan, pegwood and pith 5

Chapter 3 Case, Dial and Hands

The case and its components

Opening the case

Removing hands and dial

Removing movement

Correct handling of movement Correct handling of movement 12

Chapter 4 The Movement, Components and Dismantling

Every part of movement illustrated

Standard names for watch parts

Examination in detail

Adjustments to motion work

Dial fitting

Checking ends hake and sideshake of train and balance 19

Chapter 5 Lever Escapement, Examination and Correction

Layout and functioning

Examination and adjustment

Examination of lock

Adjusting pallets

Correcting run to the banking

Correcting the draw

Angle of pallets

Outside and inside shake

Angle of lever

Removing balance spring

Adjustments to lever

Fitting new guard pin

Fitting new ruby pin

The double roller and balance staff 29

Chapter 6 Pin Pallet Escapement

Correcting lock

Adjustments to lever

Repairing guard pin

Correcting impulse

Fitting new pallet pins

Correcting banking

Movements described and illustrated 34

Chapter 7 The Train: Gears and Tooth Forms

Arbors and pivots

Uprighting and bushing

Engaging and disengaging friction

Gear tooth forms: epicycloidal, cycloidal, circular arc, involute

Gear wheels and pinions

Use of sector, micrometer and vernier gauges

Testing and correcting depths

Using depthing tool, wheel stretching tool, wheel topping tool Wheel cutting 62

Chapter 8 The Barrel and Mainspring

Repairs and adjustments to barrel

Correct fitting of arbor

Proportions of mainspring

Mainspring winders

Cleaning, handling, and re-winding mainspring

Fitting new ends to mainspring

Fitting new hook to barrel

Mainspring slipping devices

Author's patent device

Re-coiling clicks 81

Chapter 9 Hand Cleaning and Oiling

Cleaning dial, pallet*, small parts, balance spring, train wheels

Correct oiling of jewels

Oiling escapement

Original watch oiling chart

Movement holders 94

Chapter 10 The Cleaning Machine

Preparation of parts

Using Machine Care of solutions 107

Chapter 11 Keyless Work

Faults and their remedies 110

Chapter 12 Springing and Timing

Conventional signs

Setting to exact time

The compensation balance

The function of timing screws

Testing in temperatures

Temperature screws

Reducing balance screws

Temperature adjustment chart


Plain balance

Advantages of Elinvar and beryllium

Balance spring charts

Fitting new balance spring


Pinning at centre

Position of centre pinning 117

Chapter 13 Breguet Overcoil

Designing the Lousier curve

Designing curve to apply overcoil to flat spring

Forming overcoil

Special tools for forming overcoil

Pinning at stud 138

Chapter 14 Timing in Positions

Measuring arc of vibration

Necessity for correct pinning of balance spring

Use of watch timing rack

Pinning point chart

Altering curve of overcoil

Altering end of staff pivot

Index pin adjustment

Poising for positional adjustment

Centrifugal force

Positional adjustment

Isochronism test

Accumulated daily error chart

Timing in positions and temperatures

Correction chart for gaining rate

Correction chart for losing rate 146

Chapter 15 Making New Parts

Polishing materials



Making balance cock

Making click spring

Chamfering took and cuttera

Overhand and underhand polishing

Using the bolt tool

Polishing and finishing steel 163

Chapter 16 Turning

Sharpening the graver

Preparing and using the polisher

Forming pivots

Making pivot runners

Fitting balance

Burnishing pivots 178

Chapter 17 The Lathe and Its Use

Care of the lathe

Driving by hand, foot or motor

Split chucks and their use

Polishing on the lathe

Turning a balance staff on the lathe

Parting off

The Jacot tool

Making cutters

Use and maintenance of burnishers

Use of wax chuck

Turning between centres- Use of safety pulley

Truing a balance

The step chuck

Callipers and guide

American style callipers

Fitting new centre-pinion

Turning round shoulder

Fitting to wheel

Fitting new cannon pinion

Using special tool

Polishing undercut

Turning new winding shaft

Filing square

Tapping in the lathe

Fitting a new pivot

Making a drill

Making, hardening and tempering drills

Pivoting tool

Straightening balance staff pivots

Straightening a pivot

Lathe work on the barrel

Special cutters- Use of slide rest

Using screw head tool

Universal chuck

Brass chuck

Lantern chuck

Self-centring drill

Drilling brass

Topping tool

Wheel cutting


Filing a square hole

Removing rust from steel work 193

Chapter 18 The English Lever

Examination of l-plate going barrel movement

English lever escapement

Ratchet tooth escapement

Club tooth escapement

Marking the jewels

Deep locking

Cleaning the train

English lever fusee movement

Making new fusee click

Fitting new fusee ratchet

Fitting new click

Checking maintaining power

Fitting square hook to mainspring

Cleaning and fitting fusee chain

Full plate English lever movement

Using adjusting rod 235

Chapter 19 Friction Jewelling

Friction jewel-setting equipment

Special tools and accessories

Replacing rubbed-in jewel by friction jewel

Fitting new friction jewel

Fitting balance jewel

Fitting end-stone

Fitting rubbed-in jewel

Setting a jewel by hand 252

Chapter 20 Shock-Resistant Jewelling

Theory of device

Methods of construction

"Incabloc," Parechoc " and " Shockreaist " systems detailed

Cleaning and oiling 263

Chapter 21 Magnetism and Demagnetising


How it affects the watch

Parts affected


Detecting magnetism

Machine from mains

Machine from battery

Machine using battery and vibrator coil

Demagnetising without mains or battery 266

Chapter 22 Water-Resistant Cases

Why not waterproof

Sub- mergence test

Testing under pressure

Vacuum test

Where water enters the case

Methods of sealing pendant and bezel

Special case-opening tools and how to use them

Universal opening tools

The "Waterproof" guarantee 273

Chapter 23 The Bulova Tuning Fork Watch

The movement

Tools required

Removing the movement

Diagnosis procedure

Procedure for regulation

Checking the electronics

Checking the mechanics 283

Chapter 24 Timing Machines

Use of the rate recorder

Vault diagnosis 300

Appendix I Some of the 101 reasons likely to cause a watch to stop 309

Appendix II A standard of workmanship. Fourteen points of horological service 312

Index 315