Restoration: Jardur Chronograph Valjoux 71

IMG_4178Celeste from Hong Kong sent in her grandfather’s Jardur chronograph. On first sight, this doesn’t look too promising…

Even without opening the watch, it looks like the poor thing has seen some rough treatment over the years.IMG_4183

The movement is marked “Pilgrim Electric Corporation”, but it’s a Valjoux 71.

I expected worse, but let’s have a look with the microscope.519-01

Look under the teeth at the top of the minute recorder – that’s all solidified rust.519-02

Lots of rust here, too.519-03

The movement has got quite a lot of water damage.519-04Rust everywhere.IMG_4186

The bottom plate doesn’t look any better.IMG_4187

Before I take anything apart, I submerge the movement for a couple of hours in Horolene. This is extreme stuff, and you normally only use that on clocks. But for a movement in this condition, it’s perfect.IMG_4188

Some of the corrosion has already gone, and I can now safely take the movement apart, without too much risk of breaking anything. If you ever work on a rusty movement, make sure to soak it in acid or Horolene before taking it apart – it greatly lowers the chances of breaking off pivots.IMG_4192

The minute recorder jumper spring didn’t survive the Horolene and broke in two. Just a sign that is was already corroded and held together by rust. I find one for sale for USD 100, and I kindly decline. I will attempt to solder the spring later.IMG_4196

Not something you want to see!IMG_4210

The wheel bridge doesn’t look any better from the underside.IMG_4215

This is borderline. On a lesser watch, I would probably give up at this moment.IMG_4231

The bottom plate doesn’t look much better.IMG_4261

After a couple of runs in the cleaning machine, this does look a lot better.IMG_4262

The plates and bridges look pretty good, too.IMG_4467

The base movement is back together with a new mainspring and a new barrel arbor, and looking so much better!IMG_4469

Well, this is a lot better than I would have expected!IMG_4897

Hours and hours of cleaning have paid off.IMG_4901

The bottom plate with the hour recorder is looking pretty good, too.

Case, bezel, crown and the pushers are sent off to Peter at minute recorder jumper needs soldering, and I save $100.IMG_4904The minute recorder jumper is back in place, and working nicely.IMG_4181

Now the hands need some attention.IMG_4913

They brush up quite nicely, but the bottom bit of the chronograph second hand is so rusty that it just disintegrates when I clean it.IMG_5843

The dial shows its age, but it would be a crime to restore it.IMG_5847

Peter at has performed his usual magic, and the case looks stunning.IMG_5848

Did I mention that the case looks stunning? 🙂IMG_5849 IMG_5850From the brink of death, pulled back from the abyss, what a watch!





26 thoughts on “Restoration: Jardur Chronograph Valjoux 71

  1. Hello,

    I have Vintage Aristo chronograph watch with a 71 Valjoux movement. It has some water damage, but surprisingly still ticks. I have tinkered with a few watches, but this one is very much out of my knowledge. Would there be a way I could send you a few pictures and see if this is something maybe you could take on? Also, let me know what you would charge. Its a family watch and would love to bring it back to life.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. Hi,
    Please help me
    I have a val 71 movement but i need a case
    Could you please let me know the inside height of the case ?

  3. Absolutely astonishing! I don’t know what to praise more here: Christian’s watchmaker know-how and skills or his more general attitude of respect towards products of true craftsmanship…

  4. Wow, that is some outstanding work! I’ve got one in a bit better starting condition than that one that I keep meaning to send off, any recommendations of dial cleaning that won’t take off any of the applied paint? Mine sat in my grandfather’s then my father’s junk drawers for decades with no crystal and while it runs it definitely needs a major cleaning and I would rather not have the dial redone. Mine’s a pilgrim Electric badged movement as well.

  5. Hi Christian are you have any fear working with a Radium hands ? can you tell something about a tritium and how dangerous is that for watchmaker ????

      • You generally wouldn’t inhale\contact enough of the stuff to cause issues. Even Christian probably wouldn’t…. as long as he doesn’t drink the fluid 😉 It’s the watchmakers that need to worry as the painter would be using the stuff every single day. Plus with the Radium in the 1920’s, the painters used to lick the brushes to keep a finer point…. which caused a lot of issues.

        Tritium has a half life of 12.3 years, which means after 12.3 years, it has half the radiation than it did when new. Also Tritium emits beta radiation, which is easily blocked by the skin.

        The body does have a mechanism to counter-act radiation, as radiation is something we encounter on a daily basis and there is nothing to stop it… i.e Cosmic Radiation!

        As a general rule – if the watch keeps glowing when you haven’t exposed it to light, it is radium / tritium. If it doesn’t, it is phosphorescent which does not emit radiation!

  6. I am about to cry just now thinking of the care you took in restoring my Father’s watch. Thank you for documenting the whole process. My Father may have been wearing it when he went down and was captured in Germany or when he flew in the Berlin Airlift. I know it saw him through countless adventures in his 26 year Air Force career.
    I am grateful for Celeste’s vision to have it restored and your skill and perseverence to do it. Betsy Kemper

    • Dear Betsy,

      Thank you very much for posting here and adding your bit of personal history. It was my pleasure entirely to restore your father’s watch, and I hope that it will stay in the family for generations.


  7. Incredible… I honestly would not have thought it possible to salvage that movement. It’s amazing how far a movement can deteriorate like that and be bought back into working condition. The end result must be at least a little to do with the fact that it was a high quality movement to begin with, though I doubt many watchmakers could do as good a job.

  8. What a credit to your skills and tenacity – and I love the dial.

    We’re obviously going to have to find something more serious to challenge you ….

    • I second that!

      Out of interest, is there any part of watchmaking that you still fear? Broken balance staffs? Tangled hairsprings? ;-P

      • I have gotten the hang of hairsprings, but I admit that at the beginning, I was quite phased by them. Same is true for replacing balance staffs. With more practice, you get more comfortable with these jobs…

  9. Hi Christian, just asking if you had any experience with using tea or Bergeon rustremoving solution to remove rust from watch parts?

    Cheers, Min Kai (from Malaysia)

  10. A fantastic job! Can not believe it was possible to salvage it based on the amount of corrosion, and that amplitude at the end? Astonishing!

    • I wonder if phosphoric acid would have been a bit less harsh and even more effective… I think it only works on ferric rust, but that’s what the majority looked like in the photos.

      I feel an experiment coming on 😉

  11. Wow – that looked like truly heroic measures! Worth it though 😉

    The “Pilgrim Electric Corporation” is a new one on me, but they seem to have been general makers and re-branders of things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.