Russian Molnija Pocket Watch – Part 2: Reassembly

Time to reassemble our pocket watch after having taken it apart. I’ve cleaned the parts in cleaning fluid, and put them on tissue paper (not tissue, but the stuff that comes in shoe boxes where the shoes are wrapped in) and carefully dried them each. We are ready to roll!

I’m using a sharpened pegwood stick to clean all the jewels and holes

I will be using a clock oil for the slow moving parts, and a standard watch oil for the jewels and faster moving pinions

I start off with the setting mechanism on the bottom plate. Here, I used clock oil

The cover plate goes on, and we can turn the watch around

All the pinions are carefully cleaned with pegwood

The centre wheel goes in

From the other side, the cannon pinion goes over the centre wheel

I oil the jewel in the escapement wheel bridge as it’s not accessible from the top

The escapement wheel jewel in the plate is oiled, and all the wheels are placed in their jewels, then the escapement wheel bridge is put on. Before screwing down, make sure it turns freely

I put the wheel bridge on, make sure all the wheels sit properly in their jewels, and test with a pegwood stick before screwing down the wheel bridge

After the wheel bridge is screwed down, it’s oiling time

Holding the pallet fork with tissue paper, I clean the pallets and the shaft with pegwood. I did not put the pallet fork into the cleaning fluid as that will dissolve the glue that holds the pallets

The pallet bridge goes on – again, test if the pallets move freely before tightening the screws

Oiling the lower balance jewel

Now the balance wheel and balance cock go back into place. Again, I check that the balance is properly in place and moving freely before tightening the balance cock screw

I use some grease for the crown and castle wheels on the barrel bridge

I lightly oil the seat of the transmission wheel and the barrel wheel and put them back into place

Ready for the dial to go back on

I put the dial back on, tighten the two screws that hold it, and put the movement back in its case

The two case screws go back in

I carefully press down the second hand

Then the hour and minute hands

Glass and back are pushed on, the watch is wound, done!

Quite a nice movement – considering that this is an everyday USSR watch.

21 thoughts on “Russian Molnija Pocket Watch – Part 2: Reassembly

  1. I discovered your site a few weeks ago. It is an invaluable source of information. The best I have found so far. The pictures are clear, the comments always relevant.

    After doing the Timezone course 1 and 2, I continually search on eBay for old pocket watches in need of a second life. Your site comes as the perfect complement to my efforts. This one on the Molnija 3602 was particularly useful. Thank you and keep posting!

    • I have no idea why you are insulting me. How about I invite you to my workshop, and you can have a look around. If you feel the same way afterwards, fine, and if not, I will happily accept your apology. Have a look at my last post about the Omega 8500, and then come back to me. And, how about using your full name? Looks like you are a troll to me.
      Also, if you are a watchmaker as you claim, I would like to take the matter to the BHI or the BWCMG, so we can see if this is acceptable professional conduct.

  2. Hi Christian
    I have a molnija regulateur wrist watch that I can’t remove the crown and stem so I can uncase it to clean and service following your method. I got it off ebay put together somewhere in the Ukrane. Probably my first mistake.I turn the little screw but it is loose, it just turns forever in both directions but the winding and time setting work fine. I just cannot remove it.I am desperate for some idea of what I am doing wrong.
    Please help!!!!!!!

  3. Hi Christian,

    I have several Molnija watches, all with the 18 jewel 3602 movement. One of them keeps good time, another (no date, but has the ugly finish of the later movements) runs very fast (+5 to 10 minutes in a day) in spite of the regulator being moved all the way to the “slow” and another (dated 1965) runs too slow, (-5 to 10 minutes a day), in spite of the regulator being on the “fast” end of the scale. Each was the way it is when I got it. Before I spend a lot of money having them serviced, I’d like your opinion on whether this is this something that a good servicing might fix or if you think that there may be another problem? I’ve successfully adjusted the regulator in several other watches, so though I admit that I am a novice, I’m not completely helpless. I appreciate your blog, I’ve learned a lot from it since I discovered it. Thanks for your time, Andrew

      • Thanks for that. I’m in the middle of moving back overseas, once I get there I’ll dig into at least one of these and see what I can see. I can already see that things don’t appear to be too clean in there. Thankfully I’ve discovered a source of balance wheels (I think complete with hair springs) so in a worst case scenario I may be able to get away with just replacing that. What about the main spring? I see that you often replace the main spring as a matter of course, why is that? One of my Mollies seems a lot easier to wind up than the others and the older ones are all easier to wind than the newer ones.

  4. Any help on how to exactly install a balance wheel in to one of these that happens to be in a hunter style case? I am not too sure how to remove the mechanism from the case. It don’t match anything I can find on the net. The thing is I bought this as a gift and am trying to fix the disconnected balance wheel. It jumped out during transit. The watch is exquisite but that problem prevents it from working right. So, any help here? Should I take it to a jeweler?

    • Hi Martin,

      Sounds to me like the balance staff is broken. You won’t be able to see that, but one of the tiny pivots is probably broken off. Balances don’t “disconnect”, and they don’t jump out. But balance staffs break.

      Best to take your watch to a watchmaker and to have it fixed.

  5. christian i have been looking at Time to move over to the bottom plate – I take the cannon pinion off in that picture the winding wheel in your picture seems to be up over the plate a little the ones in my watches are about 2mm under the plate could they be the wrong wheels noel

  6. very good i have been looking for a site like this for a long time i have a lot of Russian watches some railway ones you site is the best site on the net well done happy xmass noel

  7. I’m really enjoying your website. Very clean design, and a good picture-to-text ratio… 🙂

    In case anybody is trying to follow your oiling procedure: I don’t think you mean that where it says “Now the pallet arm shaft jewels are oiled from both sides”. The picture actually shows the oiler on the balance jewel, and most people do not oil the pallet shaft jewels on watches. (Reason being it adds significant drag in a position of negligible friction.)

    • hi i have 4 of those watches all with the same problem when i put them back together they won’t wind,press in the winder it turns the hands pull the winder out it doesn’t do anything the winder springs in and out what is wrong

      • Noel,

        Sounds to me like you made the same mistake on all four watches, and didn’t put the keyless works back together in the right way. Take it apart again, and make sure you understand the role of each part, and test while you go along.


        • thanks for your reply i got the watches in that condition i bought them for repair to practice on i got the first one it had no winder i got the others and they had the problem i told you about, the clutch lever wasn’t in place i put it in the grove on the winding pinion but its the same as before, i have taken apart other watches no bother

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