Service: Pontiac Dress Watch with ETA 1260 Movement
Another Pontiac on the bench. A lovely 1950s gold-plated dress watch with a two-tone or bullseye dial.
It has an ETA 1260 movement that I encountered in a Pontiac before. In a gold-plated Pontiac Nageur to be exact. Most ETA 1260 movements have 17 jewels but this is an earlier version with 15 jewels.
The watch didn’t run at all (not that strange if you see which parts I had to replace). It’s worth the repairs though because apart from the chipped bezel, it’s in great condition.
Remove all power from the mainspring before you start working on a movement to prevent damage to the wheel train. Some say you can also remove the power from the wheel train after you’ve removed the balance but I like to do it first. It’s just the sequence that I’m used to and I believe it’s safer that way.
Move the click away from the ratchet wheel while slowly letting the crown slip between your thumb and index finger. Never let the mainspring unwind with a snap because that can easily damage it. If you feel like the crown starts to slip, just let go of the click so it’ll block the ratchet wheel again.
Remove the balance and the pallet fork with the pallet cock and store them somewhere safe. I store all parts in a tray with a cover, even when they’ve not been cleaned yet.
The horn of the pallet fork was badly bent so it needed to be replaced. I pulled the pallet fork from the donor movement but that one had a pallet stone missing.
I ordered a new one but it didn’t fit…aaargh. Luckily, I was able to find another donor movement in the spares box. It had a pallet fork in good condition, so I used that one.
Remove the ratchet wheel and the crown wheel (reverse-fretted screw). Remove the click and the click spring and lift the barrel bridge.
I inspected the mainspring and you can see the the eye is bent. This causes the arbor to slip so it needed to be replaced.
Move on to the wheel-train bridge and the train. The center wheel looked like it was chewed by a dog and it missed a tooth. I was able to pull a center wheel in good condition from the donor movement.
Lift the wheel-train bridge and remove the escape wheel, the fourth wheel, the third wheel, and the center wheel.
The escape wheel had a bent top pivot. Unfortunately, the escape wheel in the donor movement was quite rusty so I had to order a new one.
Flip the movement around and start with the bottom plate.
Remove the motion works and the keyless works.
Pre-clean the pivot holes and bearing jewels with a peg wood. This makes sure that the hardened grease and other lubrication is removed as much as possible or loosened so it can be cleaned more efficiently.
It also lengthens the period of time you can use the cleaning fluids because you remove as much dirt and grease as possible before you use the watch cleaning machine.
Clean all the parts in the watch cleaning machine. Six minutes per bath and also for the heating/drying chamber.
Fit the barrel, the escape wheel, the fourth wheel, the third wheel, and the center wheel.
Install the wheel train bridge.
Install the barrel bridge and fit the click spring and the click. Fit the crown wheel with the crown wheel ring, and the ratchet wheel.
Turn the movement around and fit the motion works and the keyless works.
Flip the movement to the top plate and reinstall the pallets. Wind the watch a couple times to check the train. If the pallet fork snaps to the other position with the lightest touch, it means that power is cleanly transferred from the mainspring to the escapement.
The movement should come alive the moment you install the balance.
Clean and lubricate the shock protection system. Use a peg wood to pre-clean the capstone before you clean it with One Dip or something similar. Lubricate the capstones and reassemble the shock protection system on both sides of the movement.
Place the hour wheel and washer in position, fit the dial and continue with casing the movement.
What do you think of this Pontiac? Have you worked on an ETA 1260 as well? Let me know in the comments below.