Service: Breitling Top Time – Venus 188

Right up my street – this Breitling chronograph is quite slim (for a chronograph), and has a simple dial layout. It’s not too big, and has the Venus 188 movement. What more would you want?

Phil sent it over because it sometimes stops when the chronograph is engaged…

The case is solid, so the movement comes out through the front. The crown is split, and you can simply pull it out.

The hands come off.

Someone has replaced the chronograph minute hand with a non-original one that is way too thick – I will have to do something about that.

Pretty straightforward movement for a chronograph.

I start taking the chronograph apart.

Now I’m down to movement level.

Down to the wheel train.

I remove the balance jewels for cleaning.

The old mainspring, which will of course be replaced.

And here is the new one.

Reassembly starts with the great train. You can see the fourth wheel arbor sticking out through the jewel – this arbor drives the chronograph.

The movement is back together – without the chronograph layer which I will put together next.

This takes a while …

Now it’s time for the depthing of the chronograph wheels.

When adjusting the watch, I notice that I have problems in the dial up position. Checking the movement, I find out my problem is two-fold – the hairspring is slightly bent and touches the balance cock, and the balance staff pivots are worn out. On top of that, the balance is a bit wobbly.

I won’t attack the hairspring myself, but send it off to Howard Vyse to sort it out.

In the meantime, I change the balance staff.

I gently push in the new staff with the staking set.

Now I have to get rid of the wobble.

With a new crystal, I case the watch. Have a look at the small hands – can you tell the difference? πŸ™‚

With abrasive paper and patience, I’ve shaped the wrong hand to the right shape…

16 thoughts on “Service: Breitling Top Time – Venus 188

      • Thanks for the quick reply. This is the part I’m most anxious about breaking or bending. In Mark Lovick’s video for Venus 175, he uses a staking tool to refit it because he says there’s a big risk of bending the fourth wheel arbor. But I will try your method, as I’m practicing on a Chinese clone.

        I’d also like to ask, how did you remove it? The videos I watched either use a presto tool or a pair of hand levers.

    • Just wanted to tell you where they are πŸ˜‰

      I’m only wondering if you should work on a chronograph movement if you aren’t familiar with this type of dial screw…

      On the other hand, I have a complete and serviced Venus 188 for sale in case things go wrong!

  1. Hi

    Thanks for this amazing workshop.
    I hope you don`t mind me asking a question. I am having trouble removing the dial on my venus 188 Chrono. (its not a Breitling). Any pointers on what i need to do? I removed the movement from the casing. Hands are off too. On a venus 175 there are srews that one needs to loosen to get the dial off. I cant find any srews on the side of the movement. Do I need to remove the balance first? Thanks a bunch in advance. Chris

  2. I have one just like that all black and it use to be gold plated in need of some restauration can someone tell me how much is it worth.

    • Depends largely on what you can get someone to pay for it; see if you can find any the same and in a similar state of repair that sold recently on ebay as a guide, but don’t rely on the prices you see on dealers’ websites – they are always over the top πŸ˜‰

  3. Wow a beautiful job. I’ve been looking at this model, invariably the ones I see need a decent restoration like this, with a new glass and probably some dial work too… Can you give me an idea of the sort of sum I should allow for that level of work?

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