Service: Helvetia with Helvetia 830 Movement

This is a charming Helvetia watch, coming from the UK for a service.

It has an in-house movement as most of them do. In this case, it’s the Helvetia 830 with an unusual design.

The ratchet wheel, the crown wheel, and the click are “hidden” underneath an extra cover.  This movement also has an intermediate wheel between the 4th wheel and the sweep second pinion.

It’s always fascinating to see something that isn’t like most movements and it keeps it interesting.

The watch is from the mid 1950s.

Disassembly

Remove all the power from the mainspring before you start working on the movement. If you don’t, you could damage one of the pinions of the wheel train or the escapement.

Because the ratchet wheel and crown wheel are underneath a cover, the click isn’t immediately visible. It’s bottom left of the crown wheel, near the 3rd wheel. I’ve added a red arrow pointing at it.

Move the click away from the crown wheel while slowly letting the crown slip between your thumb and index finger.

Lift the balance and the pallets and store them somewhere safe.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 novement

The balance and pallets removed. The red arrow shows where the click is located

Remove the cover over the ratchet wheel, the crown wheel, and the click. Very often, the crown wheel screw is reverse-fretted but in this case, it’s a regular screw.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

The cover is removed and the ratchet wheel, crown wheel with the core, and the click are clearly visible

Lift the ratchet wheel, the crown wheel with its core, the click, and the click spring. Then, lift the barrel bridge.

Remove the main barrel and the bridge over the 4th wheel and escape wheel.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

The wheel train. Please note the intermediate wheel between the 4th wheel and the sweep second pinion

Lift the sweep second pinion, the intermediate wheel, the 3rd wheel, the 4th wheel, and the escape wheel.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

The wheel train (except for the center wheel) removed

Remove the cannon pinion on the other side of the movement and come back to this side to lift the center wheel cock and the center wheel.

Flip the movement around and continue work on the bottom plate.

Remove the cover over the minute wheel and the setting wheel and lift those. Remove the set lever spring and then the rest of the keyless works.

I decided to clean the return bar spring in situ because it was stuck firmly in place and I didn’t want to risk any damage by forcing it.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

The bottom plate empty, except for the return bar spring. Note that the Incabloc shock protection system doesn’t look like the Incabloc on the top plate. It’s similar to Duro-Swing or Duro-Bloc but because those systems are German, that can’t be it

Pre-clean the pivot holes and bearing jewels with a sharp peg wood. I always sharpen the peg wood with a pencil sharpener and then finish it with a scalpel.

Clean all the parts in the watch cleaning machine.

Assembly

Fit the center wheel and the center-wheel cock. Lubricate the center wheel post with a tiny bit of HP1300.

Place the escape wheel, 4th wheel, 3rd wheel, intermediate wheel, and the sweep second pinion in position. Use a little bit of HP1300 on the sweep second pinion.

Install the barrel bridge first.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

The wheel train and the barrel bridge reinstalled

With the barrel bridge in place, you can reinstall the cover for the 4th wheel and escape wheel.

Place the main barrel, ratchet wheel, crown wheel with the core, click, and click spring in position. Don’t forget to lubricate the outside of the crown wheel core before you place the crown wheel.

Reinstall the extra cover.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

Main barrel, ratchet wheel, crown wheel with the core, click with the spring, and the cover reinstalled

Turn the movement around and fit the motion works and the keyless works.

Helvetia with Helvetia 830 movement

Flip the movement to the top plate and reinstall the pallets. Lubricate the exit pallet stone with some 9415.

Fit the balance and enjoy the watch coming back to life.

Remove the Incabloc chatons and capstones. Clean any hardened oil from the capstone with a peg wood before you clean it with One Dip or something similar.

Lubricate the capstones with 9010 and reassemble the shock protection system on both sides of the movement.

Reinstall the hour wheel and washer, fit the dial, and case the movement with the dial. 

When the parts were being cleaned in the watch cleaning machine, I used hot water, a bit of dish soap, and an old toothbrush to clean the watch case. After casing the movement and dial, I used some KT-22 grease on the tube before I fitted the stem and crown.

Fit the hands and replace the watch crystal.

Helvetie with Helvetia 830 movement

What do you think of this Helvetia? Would you add one to your collection? Let me know in the comments below.

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

2 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I’m going through some articles I missed as I’m enjoying your writing and blog. I’m a collector but I’m planing to trow myself into watchmaking.

    When you mention Duro-Swing or Duro-Bloc I don’t find it to be impossible if it is actually that. Helvetia had a tight relation with German Dugena which used Helvetia movements. So I think this configuration is quite possible. 😀

    Regards

    • Hi,

      I suppose it’s possible. The evidence never lies (thank you CSI).
      This may be a rare combination of a Swiss and German shock protection system, It’s certainly the only one I’ve seen.

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