Now that the majority of the components are playing nicely together, it’s time to get this machine to tick! The most difficult part of this operation is removing the balance from the old bridge, and transferring it to a new bridge without damaging the hairspring or the small parts on the bridge itself.
Part of the reason for this is that ETA now use their own method of holding the balance to the rest of the watch, this is done with a specially shaped stud, held in tension between a “fork” of metal, this in comparison to the traditional method of a cylindrical or semi-cylndrical stud, held in place with a small screw. The ETA method is more efficient in that the height of the stud is set permanently, and is non-adjustable, but usually requires the purchase of specialised (expensive) tools to do otherwise straightforward operations. While my method is definitely not the recommended method, it works most of the time.. With a quick flick of a screwdriver the balance assembly is free from the old bridge.
The components needed are removed from the old bridge and placed on to the new, and not too surprisingly I can already see some issues.. the first being that the seating for the regulator assembly is a little high, which some quick filing fixes. The balance is fitted to the stud holder, (noting that the hairspring will have to be rotated at some point).
I place the complete assembly into the movement, and try and wiggle the balance wheel into position. No amount of cajoling, tapping or swearing works, as the balance wheel is trying to occupy the same space as one of the train wheels.. Not happy..
The options I have at this point are to adjust the position of the train wheels, re-machine all the plates and hope the next iteration has everything in the right place, make a new balance wheel, or fit the rest of the components to the watch (remainder of the winding mechanism), decorate a base 6498 and case that.
The first option was removed from my choices by simply not having the metal needed to complete another full set of plates, combined with the possibility of something still not working and my deadline rushing up..
The second option while briefly attractive, would require some items for my lathe that I don’t own, and some stock material suitable.
The third option it is! So the things I need to do while reduced is still fairly significant.