Restoration: Pierce Vitaflex
This time a Pierce Vitaflex on the bench. A service wasn’t immediately necessary but the amplitude was a bit on the low side and the movement appeared to be dirty. A service never hurts so I decided to go ahead with it. The most obvious thing is, of course, the fact that the hands had no lume left at all. They needed to be filled anew.
I’ve seen some Pierce watches with ETA movements but this one has an in-house movement, the Pierce 105. It’s a hand winder with 17 jewels and this particular one has an Incabloc shock protection. I’d date this Pierce Vitaflex to be from the late 1950s.
As always, I remove the power from the mainspring to protect the train wheel from damage. Then I lift the balance and the pallets.
After that, I lift the crown wheel and the ratchet wheel. A lot of old lubrication and dirt has built up underneath the crown wheel and around the barrel arbor. This causes problems with winding the watch and also in releasing the power from the mainspring.
I continue with removing the barrel bridge and the train wheel bridge. Make sure to remove the escape wheel endstone to clean it separately in the watch cleaning machine.
Then I lift the escape wheel, the sweep second 4th wheel, and the 3rd wheel.
I lift the main barrel and the center wheel bridge. The center wheel is the last part that’s removed from this side of the base plate.
Flip the movement to remove the motion works and the keyless works.
I pre-clean the bearing jewel holes and the pallets with a peg wood. I use an Elma watch cleaning machine with 3 separate baths and a heater basket.
Start with the center wheel and the center wheel cock. Then the main barrel can be refitted.
After that, I fit the 3rd wheel, escape wheel, and the sweep second wheel. Then I refit the train wheel bridge.
Make sure to keep very gentle pressure on the train wheel bridge with a peg wood and keep checking if the wheels spin correctly at all times.
Then it’s time to refit the barrel bridge, the crown wheel, and the ratchet wheel. Remember that the crown wheel screw is a reverse fretted screw. That means that you need to wind it anti-clockwise to tighten.
This is the time to flip the movement to the dial side to reassemble the motion works and the keyless works. Normally, I would take a picture of the completed dial side but the camera decided not to cooperate.
Turn the movement back around to fit the pallets and the balance. The Incabloc jewel holes and the capstones are cleaned separately.
The hands are relumed using an old oiler. I mix the color to match the hands with the dial as much as possible. I’ll write a separate article on reluming soon.
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