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Checking the balance

Checking the balance

    To check the balance for truth in the flat mount the balance in truing calipers.  To check flat swing blade over the rim of the balance and while slowly turning the balance observe the line of light between the balance rim and the blade, if there is any deviation in the thickness of the light line you will need to adjust the balance.  Adjust the balance by bending it with your fingers and a balance truing tool which is a lever with notches cut in it’s ends that you can slide over the balance rim or arm giving you leverage and an accurate way to manipulate the balance.

    To check the balance for truth in the round follow the instructions above but slide the blade to the side of the balance rim instead of over the top.  Adjust the balance in the same manner as described above.

See the illustrations below


 see an animation of checking the balance for truth in the flat using the calipers


 see an animation of checking the balance for truth in the round using the calipers


Poising the balance

    To check the balance for poise means you check to see if it is heavier on one side than the other.  The poise of the balance is very important,  you will not be able to time the movement to positions other than dial up or dial down if the balance is out of poise.  To poise the balance you must first make sure the balance pivots are straight, polished and clean, Now make sure the poising tool is clean and level then set the balance on the poising tool so that only the pivots are resting in the blades of the tool, next take you hand away and let the balance roll freely, when it stops take note of the place on the balance that is farthest down and rotate the balance so that point is on top, then let go of the balance again and if it stops with the place you noted in the same spot as before the balance is probably heavier at that point and needs to be adjusted however it is always a good idea to check this several times until you are absolutely sure before you proceed.  To poise the balance you need to take weight away from the heavy point on the balance, you can do this in several different ways but the method I use and find quite satisfactory is to remove weight from the back of the screw where it can’t be seen.  I you a screw undercutting tool which only removes material from the inner portion of the back of the screw and leaves the rest of the screw intact, this leaves no marks to be seen from the outside and the balance is left looking untouched.  There are other tools that can be used that take material away from the head of the screw, I know of two tools that do this, one of which takes the material away from the outer edge by chamfering it and the other bores a small hole in the center of the head of the screw.  One method I do not recommend is filling the heads of the screws down, this method leaves the balance looking hacked and is in my opinion the sign of poor workmanship.  Solid balances without screws can be poised by drilling them, usually on the underside of the rim.

    When poising the balance remove only very small amounts of material at a time or you will be chasing it around the balance for ever.  And remember every bit of weight you remove from the balance will directly affect the rate.  Before you start removing weight check to see if any of the screws are loose or missing, check the balance arms to be sure they are not bent, make sure the balance is absolutely clean, check the pivots to be sure they are not bent and also check to see if someone has put a timing washer on only one side of the wheel, any of these things are easy to repair by themselves but if you don’t see them in the beginning you will just be compounding the problem.  You can also add weight by using timing washers but as with taking weight away adding weight also affects the rate.  If you suspect that one of the screws is not right for the balance, try finding the proper one, even the lightest timing washer will add a surprising amount of weight.  Poising a balance is a fairly simple operation when the proper care is taken.





About the Author:

About Carignan Watch Repair Company Carignan Watch Company was officially started in January 1996. However, long before that, owner Denis Carignan was repairing watches as a hobby. It all began when he found an old pocket watch while antiquing. He was amazed by the craftsmanship and became captivated by what is known as horology. Over the years, we have repaired and restored thousands of timepieces. We specialize in repairing the timepieces that others give up on. Carignan Watch Company has a large inventory of parts and materials, and we also manufacture parts that cannot be purchased due to age or rarity. We service a variety of timepieces. We are an independent repair shop; we are in no way authorized by, affiliated with, or endorsed by ANY watch manufacturer, company or re-seller, and we like it that way. About Denis Carignan, Owner, Carignan Watch Company Many years ago I fell in love with watches and, like many others, I tried having a few serviced by so-called watchmakers and was very disappointed . The “factory authorized service centers” were even worse to deal with unfortunately. When I say I fell in love with watches, I mean it. They fascinate me on many levels and I think it is an absolute shame that it is difficult to get them serviced properly. I began repairing my own watches and before long I jumped in with both feet. From that point on, watches and the repair of them has been my passion, or perhaps obsession. I have devoted nearly all of my adult life to learning the craft and have been providing people and their watches the best possible services available for may years. When someone says “it cannot be done” or “you can’t fix this,” it sparks something in my mind that is hard for me to stop. At times I have spent hundreds of hours on a project that many other watchmakers had abandoned, determined to see it through no matter what. This is usually not profitable, but it sure is nice to see the look on the customer’s face when I hand them their running watch that is for all intensive purposes “back from the dead.” If I don’t know something, I ask someone. If I do not have something I need, I find it. If I cannot find something I need, I make it. If something is truly beyond my ability, I admit it and try to find someone who can help. If help cannot be found, I will do everything possible to learn how to do it myself. I take pride in my work, which I enjoy, and I am grateful to God for the abilities he has given me and plan to use those gifts for as long as I can. I came from a long line of engineers, machinists, and inventors, on both sides of my family, so it’s no wonder, I guess, that I am so interested in mechanical things. Every thing I have I worked very hard for. I hope someday my daughter will get into the business, but only time will tell; she is still young. I am self-employed and independent from any watch manufacturer at this time, for a reason. I do not like being dictated to and refuse to do things that I do not agree with. I am always working on honing the skills I have and learning new ones. I am very well connected and do not shy away from the tough jobs. I take the training I want to take. I work on whatever watch I want to work on, and I use the tools and equipment that I want and deem appropriate to use. I use both antique tools and modern tools that I have purchased over the course of many years. My shop is extremely well equipped and exactly the way I need it and want it. Very few shops have the capabilities that mine does. In my opinion, you should be able to bring your watch to whomever you want to have it repaired; it is your watch and your money. The person you bring it to should be able to get the training, parts, and equipment to service your watch easily and cost effectively, without jumping through constantly-changing hoops and hemorrhaging money. Pomp and circumstance is not something you will find here.
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