Antique watch repair, Sales, and restoration for over 41 years.

The Antique Watch Company specializes in the restoration of the “can’t be fixed” and complicated antique pocket watches and vintage wrist watches including Hamilton, Elgin, Illinois, Omega, Longines, Patek Phillipe, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin, just to name a few. All work is guaranteed, and estimates are given free of charge.


The purpose of these pages is to help the watchmaker explain to the owner of a watch, which is not running satisfactorily, what has gone wrong.  Few watch owners fully understand the intricate, delicate construction of a watch movement.  The following illustrations of those flaws usually found when a watch is brought in to be fixed should simplify the task of explaining what repairs are needed.

When a watch has been jarred or dropped, the Balance Staff and Balance Jewel are likely to have been damaged.  Illustration No. 2 shows a perfect Balance Staff.  A Balance Staff which has been running in a cracked Jewel is shown in illustration No. 3.  No. 3 and No. 4 depict bent and broken Balance Staffs.  No. 7 and No. 8 show what may happen to a perfect Balance Jewel, No. 6 Defective Balance Staffs cause a watch to run too rapidly or too slowly.




Oily or broken Hairsprings, No. 9 and No. 10, make it impossible for a watch to keep time.  A perfect hairspring vibrates at the rate of 300 beats per minute.

A common cause of a watch stopping is a Roller Table from which the Roller Jewel has broken away – No. 11.  This Jewel is the base of a lever which goes back and forth 18,000 times per hour.

The Balance Wheel, No.12, controls the Hairspring.  It must be absolutely perfect or the watch will not keep good time.  Its screws must be delicately adjusted, the wheel itself must be level.

Escape Jewels and Teeth on Pallet, No. 13 and No. 14, must be perfect to keep a watch running on time.  Pallet Jewels may chip or crack and cause trouble.  The Pallet Arbor, No. 14A, may become bent or broken, stopping the movement of the watch.



No. 15 and No. 15A show a perfect Escape Wheel and one with damaged teeth.  All fifteen teeth must be exactly alike for a watch to run correctly.  No. 15B and 15C show a perfect Escape Wheel Pinion and one which has broken, thus stopping the watch.

No. 16, No. 16A, No. 17, No. 17A depict Fourth and Third Wheels, and their respective Pivots.  A bent or broken tooth, bent, broken, or dirty pivot, in either case will stop a watch.

Center Wheel in perfect condition, No. 18, may have damaged Pinion, No.18B.  A damaged Center Wheel, 18A, may be the result of rust.  Defective parts must be replaced.




The Minute Hand is attached to the Cannon Pinion, No. 19, which is fitted onto the Center Post.  This part may rust, or its may break.

No. 20 and No. 20A show set and unset Center Jewels which have been cracked by a bump, usually one which also breaks the crystal.

The Click, No.21, prevents the Mainspring from completely releasing and leaving the watch without power.  Under constant pressure it gradually wears away and must be replaced.  The Click Spring, No. 22, which holds the Click, is very sensitive to atmospheric changes and breaks very easily.

No. 23 depicts the complete Winding mechanism of a watch.  Also shown are the component parts: No. 23A – Stem; No. 23B – Winding Pinion; No. 23C – Clutch.  Any of these parts breaking make winding the watch impossible.  A broken Stem is shown by No. 23D.



When a Mainspring breaks, it may do so with sufficient force to break the Barrel, No. 24, the housing for the Mainspring.  The teeth may be jammed by the impact of the recoil, or the hooks which hold the ends of the Mainspring may give.  One of these hooks is on the Barrel Arbor, No. 24A.  AN Arbor with a worn hook, stripped thread or defective square must be replaced.

The Crown Wheel, No. 25, is engaged by the winding mechanism.  Worn teeth on it may do considerable damage to winding parts.

The Ratchet Wheel, No. 26, has a double function.  It winds the Mainspring and also regulates the release of power to the amount required by the escapement.  The consequent wear frequently rounds the square hole; or the teeth may break, making winding of the watch impossible.  The Ratchet Screw, No. 26A, holds the Ratchet Wheel to the Barrel Arbor.  When broken, both must be replaced.



No. 27, the Hour Wheel has a tube to which the Hour Hand is fastened.  The same shock which breaks a crystal may also jam this tube.  The Minute Wheel and Pinion, No. 28, gear the Cannon Pinion down so that the Hour Wheel will make one revolution to twelve made by the Cannon Pinion.  Both this and the Intermediate Wheel, No. 29, often break when rusted.

 The pin indicated on the Detent or Setting Lever, No. 30, wears off through the constant pull it exerts, causing possible loss of the Stem and Crown.  The Setting Bridge, No.31, holds both the Detent and Minute Wheel in place.  It is shown with a spring broken because of constant pulling of the Stem.

 The Regulator, No.33, controls the rate of the Hairspring, causing the watch to run faster or slower as desired.  Should the pins which hold it become damaged, they must be repaired. 

 A defective Clutch Lever, No. 32, caused the winding mechanism to lose control of the setting and winding of a watch.

 The Hands indicate the time (No. 34).  Obviously, they must remain firm and tight, and must be so adjusted that they will not rub against the crystal, and lose time.



The Mainspring, No.35, is the engine of a watch.  Only a perfect Mainspring will enable a watch to keep perfect time.  A cheap Mainspring may not break; it is too soft.  But it will not enable the watch to run properly.  Inferior steel, as used in the manufacture of poor Mainsprings, is not properly tempered causing the spring to “set”, as shown by No. 37.  In the condition, no power is left to drive the escape train.

A broken Mainspring, No. 36, one with a damaged outer end, No.37, or inner end, No. 38, will cause a watch to stop at once.  A new Mainspring must be installed.