Service + Case Replating: Breitling Top Time / Venus 188

IMG_2544Stephanos sent this Breitling Top Time in. It doesn’t run properly, so it needs a service, and the gold plating has come off the case and pushers.IMG_2547

This doesn’t look too good – the amplitude is barely there, the beat error is huge, and I can see that the balance hardly swings. Don’t be fooled by the two straight lines on the timegrapher. Unfortunately, the Witschi shows those when the performance is so bad that you would otherwise just have random dots on the screen. I prefer how my Chinese timegrapher displays this sort of thing.IMG_2546The movement is dirty, and on closer inspection, I notice that the hairpsring is deformed, and that it touches the balance in places.IMG_2549

The case, pushers, crown and bezel are sent over to Canada to

I start taking apart the movement. I’m not quite sure if the yellow paint to mark the engraved text is original…IMG_2571

The wheel train is now visible.IMG_2573

The usual dirt around the clutch wheel, but nothing serious.IMG_2575

The bottom plate is fairly simple.IMG_2579

Out of the cleaning machine and ready for reassembly.IMG_2613

I start off with a new mainspring.IMG_2616

I start off with the base movement.IMG_2617If you click on the photo and zoom in, you can see that he outermost winding of the hairspring touches the next one. Somebody bent the hairspring to put a Breguet-style overcoil on it, which is wrong. The hairspring has to be completely flat!

Half an hour later, I have a flat hairspring again, and all is well.IMG_2623

And I am rewarded for that half hour. A great graph, great amplitude, great beat error.IMG_2627

Now I can put the chronograph back together.IMG_3402

The dial and hands go back on.IMG_3407

The case has come back from Canada, and looks great.IMG_3408

Absolutely stunning!IMG_3411

Back on its strap, and looking good.


10 thoughts on “Service + Case Replating: Breitling Top Time / Venus 188

  1. Hi

    I have found one of these chrome in my dads old garage. None working.

    Crystal is pretty well scratched and one of the pushers is missing.

    I wondered what sort of cost it would be for a restore/services and re plate new crystal etc ?

    Nice looking watch. Top time 2006 square as this one panda eye.

  2. iv seen so many gold plate toptimes looking so worn and tired at watch fares and in the odd second hand shop.but seeing what you did with this one,makes me think twice about walking past,they can be picked up much cheaper than s / steel type. great restoration, thanks for a great blog.

    • Somebody created a “mini” overcoil, bending the hairspring up, so that the second winding could fit under it. They probably tried to avoid contact of the hairspring with the centre wheel, but if properly seated, the hairspring goes under the wheel and can be perfectly centred …

  3. Great education. Thanks a mils, i have been followeing your blogs for 2 years, keeping pretty quiet so far, well work takes most of my time. I have been waiting for one of these to be serviced, nice to see the inside. I have a similar one, older I think, built for doctor with the dials top and bottom, a Venus 178, I think, with the markings showing pulsations around the dial, still works, though haven’t worn it, lest I broke it, a little too fragile. It was passed on to me to keep from a watch collector, who by the way, know that I am a physician.
    I collected vintage and interesting watches and pocket watches (over 300’s), and I have learned to take them apart to service them only if they exhibit some symptoms of failure, otherwise I leave them alone. Course I don’t have all the equipments that you have, only surgical tweezers, oils, surgical gloves, ultrasound cleaner and good amount of patience, a few of hard tools in my toolbox if I need to bang on them (just joking). I did over time learned a lot from you expert work. I have to admit it is a loss art, keep it up. Well, at least watches stay still when you repaired them, some quiet momens for met as some of my patients scream when I stitch them.
    Thanks, I hope to stay more visible by communicating, and send you some precious watches (mostly G Perregaux, Omegas, and a few Valjouxs) for service one of these days, as I don’t intend to damage them due to my clumsiness.

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