We have settled into our fabulous new workshop, and are very happy with the new environment…
Andrew sent us his Breguet XX, as the hour recorder wasn’t working. The second and minute recorders work fine, but the hour recorder just won’t budge…
The Breguet XX was developed after the war, and was issued to the French Air Force. The Vajoux 225 movement is based on the Valjoux 22, which doesn’t have an hour recorder, so that was added to the bottom plate for the 225.
The case back has seen some action.
A first look shows a fairly tidy movement, with the usual wear and tear for a watch this age.
The case back had a pretty bad crack, which was silver soldered. The repair holds and is part of the history of the watch, so it will stay as it is.
The movement could perform better, as it has a fairly low amplitude and a wavey beat rate.
The movement is taken out through the front of the watch, so the bezel ring with the crystal has to be removed.
The luminous compound has seen better days, and there is some paint on the minute recorder. If it were mine, I would re-lume the dial and hands, but that will of course make purists scream in agony 😉
The hands are off. My guess is that the minute and hour hand have been repainted and re-lumed at one point. As said before, whatever is on the minute recorder isn’t original, either.
Very nice dial in good condition.
A first look at the bottom plate with the hour recorder.
Upon closer inspection, I see that the hour recorder doesn’t engage at all with its driving wheel.
I take out all the bits for the hour recorder and have a closer look.
And here is the culprit. The clutch lever for the hour recorder has a bent pin, and somebody has done this on purpose. The reason for the previous “repair” is that the adjustment screw for the depthing of the hour recorder is very hard to move, so instead of sorting that out, somebody just bent the pin. I free the adjustment screw, re-shape the pin, and put everything back together for testing. There is no use in taking everything apart and putting it back together only to find out that there is a fundamental problem.
I adjust the depthing of the hour recorder, and it now engages as it should.
I test everything, and the hour recorder is working nicely. Now it’s time to take the movement apart for a service.
The chronograph layer is off, and I’m down to the base movement.
The gear train looks fine.
Back to the bottom plate.
Out of the cleaning machine and ready to be put back together.
The barrel gets a new mainspring.
I start off with the base movement.
Now that I have a ticking movement, I adjust, and make sure it works well, before putting anything else on the plate.
Fully wound to the hilt, we have 324 degrees amplitude, which goes down to around 300 once we are off the last click.
The top plate is ready.
Now the bottom plate with the hour recorder goes back together. When I put the dial and hands back on, I notice that the hour recorder jumps a bit when I reset the chronograph.
The culprit is the friction spring of the hour recorder, which keeps the hour recorder steady. I tighten it a bit, and all is well again.
Now I can case the movement.
And the watch is back together! I’m very envious, as this is an immensely wearable chronograph that looks great.
As the luminous compound of the minute recorder came off during transport back, the client decided to have our vintage luminous compound applied to all four hands – so much better!