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Author Topic: Question about automatic wind rotor wear  (Read 3470 times)

Offline 440_Magnum

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Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« on: January 06, 2015, 12:17:42 PM »
Wow, I don't check this forum for a while and come back to a new forum with an honest-to-God watchmaker! How cool is that (and thanks for doing this!) So I'll dive in with several questions related to the automatic winding mechanism on vintage movements.

I have a small collection of 1950s-present automatic watches, including my sentimental favorite- a circa 1974 Zodiac Triple-date Moonphase that my grandmother bought new for a birthday present way back then. Back then it looked like quartz was going to banish the automatic to the history books, and while it cost "a lot" for a gift for a young kid, but really they were just about giving them away. Its stayed with me (many years in a drawer) ever since. About 3-4 years ago I had it fully serviced and started using it again. Picture here:

This set of questions also applies to my circa 1957 Autographic and the Bulova 23's I have. All these watches appear (I'm not certain of this, and I will not even BEGIN to try to dismantle one- my hands are too unsteady even though I'm an engineer and understand the basics) to have a simple shaft-and-bushing  (journal bearing) that carries the auto-wind rotor, rather than a ball-bearing race of a more modern movement like my ETA 7750 and 2893-2 . Is that true? Is wear on that shaft/bushing a problem, and does that mean that (for instance) these watches should never be put in a watch winder?

In fact, the rotors on my Bulova 23s tend to rattle and scrape against the casebacks. The Autographic does not, but I think I'm beginning to feel a little rotor play in my Triple-date. My general practice with that watch is to store it (wound and hacked) for about 10 months a year and wear it for about 2 months in the fall when the weather starts to cool and I won't sweat all over it. I wear it 3-5 days a week and keeping it in a winder the other 2-4 days when I wear a different watch during that 1-2 month stretch. Should I keep it out of the winder altogether? And can wear on the auto-wind rotor shaft bearing be repaired? (including the Bulova 23s- I know most people don't really bother with them but I have a soft spot for the "working-man's watches" of the 1950s).

Thanks!

Offline Ultra-Vintage

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Re: Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2015, 01:34:52 PM »
Keeping these on a winder should not be a problem.  Each model will have parts that keep the rotor in the automatic assembly and these can become worn or broken over time due to jarring of the heavy rotor itself (from daily wear and beating the watch around, not the smooth movement of a winder).  The Zodiac 70-72 has only a tab and screw to keep the rotor in the assembly.  These parts can generally be replaced but if the damage is too extensive the whole assembly may need replaced.  If the rotor is hitting the caseback there is an issue, with either the automatic or in some instances the caseback itself, that needs to be addressed because this should not happen.

Offline 440_Magnum

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Re: Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2015, 04:14:12 PM »
Thanks for the quick response. It does seem that the modern movements have a much more robust way of retaining the rotor with ball bearings. I always found it funny that the ETA 7750 has that nice bearing, but then only winds one direction whereas even something as "everyday" as a Bulova 23 winds both ways. Even worse, I have a cheap modern watch with a Miyota movement that winds one way and its the opposite of a 7750 so they don't share the watch winder very well. Also makes for an odd feeling when you move your arm just right and the rotor spins like a top and the watch sits there shaking on your arm for a few seconds.

  I will contact you through your website to see about getting one of the Bulovas repaired for starters. If the TripleDate gets worse, it'll move to the head of the line, of course!


Offline phottomatt

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Re: Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 02:14:36 PM »
Since there have not been any post in this thread for a while I would like to graciously hijack it with my question so that I don't have to start a new thread of the same subject. I just purchased a 1975 Sea Wolf and the previous owner said this watch runs then stops and that his watch guy said it needs a rotor arbor to solve this. I am curious as to the availability/likelihood of getting this fixed? Thanks,

John

Offline Ultra-Vintage

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Re: Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 04:58:15 PM »
Since there have not been any post in this thread for a while I would like to graciously hijack it with my question so that I don't have to start a new thread of the same subject. I just purchased a 1975 Sea Wolf and the previous owner said this watch runs then stops and that his watch guy said it needs a rotor arbor to solve this. I am curious as to the availability/likelihood of getting this fixed? Thanks,

John

It is a part that is available (scavenging one from another movement, it would not be as easy to find a NOS one), however, if that is actually the problem then you would likely hear scraping or banging noises as the rotor swung since it would not be kept in alignment in relation to the movement.  A watch with the problem of "runs then stops" can be caused by a whole laundry list of things......

Offline phottomatt

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Re: Question about automatic wind rotor wear
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 05:27:37 PM »
OK, thank you.

 

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