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.

Pierce Vitaflex

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.

Disassembly

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.

The balance, pallets, crownwheel, and the ratchet wheel removed. The dirt is clearly visible that was on the barrel bridge

The balance, pallets, crown wheel and the ratchet wheel removed. The dirt is clearly visible that was on the barrel bridge

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.

Pierce Vitaflex

The barrel bridge, train wheel bridge, sweep second 4th wheel and the 3rd wheel removed

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.

Pierce Vitaflex

This side of the base plate completely empty

Flip the movement to remove the motion works and the keyless works.

Pierce Vitaflex

The dial side completely empty. Make sure to lift the escape wheel capstone to clean separately inside the watch cleaning machine

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.

Assembly

Start with the center wheel and the center wheel cock. Then the main barrel can be refitted.

Pierce Vitaflex

The center wheel, center wheel cock. and the mainbarrel 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.

Pierce Vitaflex

The train wheel and the train wheel bridge refitted. The endstone hasn’t been replaced yet

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.

Pierce Vitaflex

The barrel bridge, crown wheel, and ratchet wheel installed. The escape wheel endstone is back where it belongs

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.

Pierce Vitaflex

The Pierce 105 in full working order again

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.

Pierce Vitaflex

The Pierce Vitaflex after a complete overhaul

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Founder & editor of WahaWatches. I’ve been collecting watches for years. My favorite part is to pull them to bits.

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