Restoration: Pontiac Hydraulica with ETA 1280 Movement

This Pontiac Hydraulica is one of a batch that I received to take a look at and possibly repair and/or restore. The dial and the hands are in good condition but the case is rough. Unfortunately, this is a chrome plated case so there is nothing I can do about it. The movement is an ETA 1280, hand winder with a mobile stud and 17 jewels.


Pontiac Hydraulica
ETA 1280 hand winder.

The first thing to do is to remove the power from the mainspring. I move the click away from the ratchet wheel and hold it whilst letting the crown slip between my thumb and index finger. Then I remove the balance and pallets with the pallet cock.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Balance and pallets with pallet cock removed.

Then I flip the movement to look at the dial side. Usually, I dismantle the complete motion works and keyless works at this moment. You’ll have to remove the cannon pinion anyway to be able to lift the center wheel.

Pontiac Hydraulica
ETA 1280 dial side.

As you may notice, the setting-lever spring has snapped. They are difficult to obtain for the ETA 1280 but luckily I still have a few left.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Dial side completely stripped except for the setting-lever.

Flip to the other side again and remove the ratchet wheel, crown wheel and barrel bridge.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Removed the ratchet wheel, crown wheel, and barrel bridge.

Then I remove the train-wheel bridge to expose the train-wheel.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Removed the train-wheel bridge.

After that, I take out all the wheels and last the main barrel. Then I use a peg wood to peg out all the jewel holes. Finally, I clean all the parts in the watch cleaning machine.


After the cleaning in the watch cleaning machine, everything is put back together in reverse. I use Moebius 9010 for all bearing jewels except for the pallet bearing jewel and that for the center wheel. The jewel for the pallet fork is not lubricated at all and for the center wheel, I use hp1300. I also use hp 1300 for the main barrel arbor and for the crown wheel shim. For the pallet exit stone, I use 9415.

For the motion works and the keyless works, I use Moebius 9501, a synthetic grease.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Dial side with the brand new set-lever spring.

I refitted the hour wheel and the washer and then the dial and the hands. Cased it again and fitted the crown. Other than the damage on the case and lugs it’s as new again and fit to be worn for another decade or more.

Pontiac Hydraulica
Pontiac Hydraulica.

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