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Grandfather's and Grandmother's watches

Discussion in 'Fine Watches, Jewelry, & Clothes' started by rdefabri, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    My father sent me a box of watches - many which were my Grandfather's and Grandmother's. They are in various conditions, but mostly seem to work if I wind them.

    I'm no horologist, but I was able to identify some of them. Any thoughts or advice on what I should do with them would be appreciated. They are more sentimental to me than anything else, and make up for my dad giving away his 2 Longines to my nephews. I'll post some pics when I get a chance.

    The first watch is a Gruen Precision Cal 510, which is similar to what Sean Connery wore in the movie Dr. No. I gather that implies this watch is from the '60s, but my father thinks it's older than that. I have the original band, and the watch uses a mechanical movement, it works when I wind it. The crystal has some minor scratches and the watch dial face has some crud on it, as does the band.

    The next watch is a Vulcain 17 jewels mechanical watch. It looks very similar to the Gruen in that it has a secondary dial that marks the seconds. The crystal is in really good shape as is the back plate of the watch, but I'm having a hard time keeping the crystal attached to the back. The dial has some crud and marks on it, but in pretty good shape considering. No idea of the age, but I'll hazard a guess this one is a little newer than the Gruen, maybe from early - mid 60's.

    The last of my Grandfather's watches is an Andre Bouchard 21 jewels "shock resistant" watch. Fairly non descript watch other than the "shock resistant" on the dial and "water resistant" on the back. Of the 3 watches, it's probably in the best shape - it works, it's ticking, and other than a small crack on the crystal, seems otherwise good to use. It also has all the numbers around the dial - I haven't been successful finding a similar one online.

    2 watches that must have been my Grandmother's, one is an old square Bulova, gold plated watch with little jewels at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 positions. it has a very thin, rounded band. The other is a Desta watch, really small, with a leather band. Haven't been able to find anything close to these online.

    Side note - my dad also gave me his 1970's era Seiko 5 watch, blue dial. This is a watch I would wear as a kid, pretending I was an adult at work.

    Here are pics of the Gruen and the Vulcain (not mine, but similar):

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  3. WPOZZZ

    WPOZZZ F1 Veteran

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    Those are nice family heirlooms. When you say the back crystal of the Vulcain, do you mean the stainless case back, or is it a display back? Back in the day, the case backs were of the friction fit/use a vise to seal type.
     
  4. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    No I think I typed something incorrect - the crystal on the Vulcain is free from the case / bezel. It appears that it's not a snap-in (I could be wrong), so it's either missing a gasket or some sort of ring to keep it in place.

    So right now I have 3 pieces - the case (which I called the back plate), the movement with dial / hands attached, and the crystal. It appears complete other than whatever holds the crystal to the case. The watch is also number 1155, which if incremental, I believe puts it around late 1950's vintage if I'm remotely correct (I think I found this on a Vulcain site, but can't remember).

    See pics below. I'd love to get this refreshed and wearable, I've traded some DMs with @walnut to see if he can take a look.
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  5. QtrItalian

    QtrItalian Karting

    Jan 22, 2021
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    You guys should get another restoration page up and running!
    If it is not too difficult pry the back of the Bulova open and take a pic and I could tell you something about that. I'm in the process of resurrecting a 5AT model, one of their top-of-the line ladies models from 1967: 23 jewels, fully shock protected to the 3rd wheel, adjusted to all positions, modern beat adjustment lever... quite a feat (and waste) on a ladies model with no seconds hand even. Nonetheless I'm looking forward to dialing this one in....
     
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  6. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Will do - I don’t know enough about it, I couldn’t find a similar Bulova online.

    I’m hoping once I ship my watch to @walnut , he does a thread! I’m also hoping he can get it working again, I’m really excited about it!
     
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  8. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    If it is all the same to you, I was simply planning to carry on by adding to this thread vs. starting a new one.

    From what I can see in your photos though, the wristwatch has a Vulcain Calibre 330 in it. I’ll have to start looking into the history and any known issues with this piece. Looking forward to getting it on my bench though!
     
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  9. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Same thread is fine with me - as mentioned, will defer to you, follow your lead!
     
  10. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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  11. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    After taking a quick look at the movement, there’s a couple of things that jumped out at me.

    1. First and foremost, the upper pivot of the balance staff is broken.
    2. Someone attempted to adjust the timing and pushed the arm so far around that the pins which change the effective length of the hairspring were jammed into the teeth of the center wheel. In “adjusting” the arms, it has linked the hairspring. Fortunately, the hairspring looks salvageable (I took the balance cock and balance assembly out to get a better look).
    3. The mainspring is completely wound. If it is an original spring and has been that way for a long time, it is probably not in the best condition. I’ve already suggested to Rich that we plan on replacing it.
    4. The discoloration on the dial is corrosion where the buckle plating of the “Butler Finish” dial face has been scratched off and exposed the base metal. There’s not much I can do about that unfortunately.
    I’ll get to work on disassembly, cleaning, and inspection soon and will be sure to post photos of my findings.
     
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  13. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    It turns out that the Vulcain 330 is a rebranded Peseux P330 calibre. Peseux was a Swiss watch manufacturer which was bought by ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse in 1985. ETA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swatch Group. This version has a non-shock mounted balance and is a "slow beat" movement running at 18,000 A/h (2.5 Hz). It should have a 43hr power reserve or thereabouts if everything is running properly and is a 11.5''' (that's 11.5 ligne) or 25.6mm diameter. What is great is that this version has a mobile stud carrier on the hairspring which makes it very easy to adjust the beat error when it comes time to do that.
     
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  14. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I believe that Peseux 330 was a popular movement, probably explains why a lot of watches of that era look similar. I've seen a few different brands that use it, like this Breitling - looks very similar to the Vulcain I sent to you.
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  15. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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  16. QtrItalian

    QtrItalian Karting

    Jan 22, 2021
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    I agree, don't do anything you're not comfortable with. These ladies, and early mens watches would sort of be sandwiched between the back and front case pieces. Usually the back is more than a just a flat lid like on your Vulcain. The back will be more of a 3 dimensional box. The movement sits in it, and then the whole unit is pushed into the front piece which opening is a little larger and the front will slide into the back until they meet in the middle (if that makes sense). Usually there is a small lip at the 6:00 edge of the back. A small screwdriver can be wedged against the back of the bracelet lug and then the end under the lip and gently the lip can be pried away from the front half. Then however the movement needs to be pried out of the back piece without hitting the balance or the escape wheel. Anyhow, if sending to Walnut let him do it. It is hard to judge what's inside but probably a 5 or 6 series movement. It could be anything from a simple 15 or 17 jewel unadjusted movement to a 23 jewel full position-adjusted one. The latter is less likely as usually they advertised "23" on the dial. It still could be a better than average 21 jeweled movement. Is the case marked on back for gold content? It could be gold-filled or rolled gold and would say "GF" or "RGP". While white it is less likely platinum as I think they were usually just a touch more ornate. Those stretchy bracelets were popular in the day. NOS can be found on Ebay if needed.
    - Dan.
     
  17. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I’m take a stab at it, but will tread lightly!

    It’s rolled gold per the back, 10K I believe...
     
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  18. QtrItalian

    QtrItalian Karting

    Jan 22, 2021
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    I asked about gold content out of curiosity but interestingly it won't have much bearing on the sort of movement inside. The good news is that if it isn't running or needs parts there's a lot around. Too bad these are a bit out of style. I have 3...I would think at some point the ladies would again want to wear stackable, slim bracelet watches and bracelets instead of men's Yachtmasters or James Cameron SD43's banging around but what do I know? *laugh* At least I forced my wife to buy a mid-size....
     
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  19. QtrItalian

    QtrItalian Karting

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  20. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    The movement is just about ready to be cleaned. Pleasantly surprised to find a mainspring in there that still looks fresh (white alloy so it is probably not original, if I were to guess). The only thing I found, without the microscope yet, was the broken balance staff.

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  21. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    That's a really cool shot - love it!
     
  22. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    I needed to measure the lug spacing on the case in order to find a new strap for Rich. When I did so though I noticed something(s) was just a bit off.

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    Those poor lugs had taken a beating at some point. Out came the “persuaders” (aka pliers and vice)

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    Now that everything is parallel, this is clearly an 18mm spacing and I can get back to shopping.
     
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  23. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I had a feeling they were a little off, you can see it in the pics! Good stuff!
     
  24. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    Ok, good news. I was waiting on a few things to arrive and to be able to get some other projects finished and back to their owners and this week made all of that happen finally.

    I have thoroughly cleaned out my ultra-sonic machine and will be putting fresh fluids in today. Then I can begin putting the components of this movement through and inspecting under my microscope.

    Here we go!
     
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  25. dsd

    dsd F1 Rookie
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    That Vulcain is a nice piece.
     
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  26. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    I’ve begun the process of cleaning and inspecting. What I was most worried about was the jewel bearings for the balance staff. So far as I can tell though, they and the other jewels are in great shape.
     
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  27. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    All of the parts and cleaned and I’m very happy to say I have no photos of interest to share... because nothing else appears to be broken! It cleaned up REALLY nicely too.
     
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  28. walnut

    walnut F1 Rookie
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    Rich’s new strap arrived today! I’ve not yet packed up the dial to send out for refurb so here’s a little teaser of what the finished product will look like.

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    Pure class! I love it.
     
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