Service: Helvetia calibre 800C

IMG_9242I collect vintage Helvetia watches as they have some really interesting in-house movements and the calibre 800 is especially funky. This watch also has some interesting history as it was issued to the German army intelligence during WW2. 
IMG_9243The dial is in very good condition.IMG_9244Dial removed and you can see dial side of the movement, note the early shock protection.IMG_9245The movement is very dirty but in excellent condition. I do not think it has been serviced before.IMG_9694The early Helvetia’s have a pretty funky shock protection system, but it’s rather tricky to remove the cap jewel for cleaning.IMG_9695Here I have just removed the pallet and the central second pinion.IMG_9698No doubt Helvetia liked to do things differently and that’s what I enjoy about these movements; here the ratchet wheel screws are screwed in from the underside of the barrel bridge.IMG_9707Movement has been cleaned and is ready to be put back together. I have seen movements that have a separate cock for the escape wheel, but Helvetia has a separate cock for the third wheel and a bridge for the escape wheel and forth wheel.IMG_9709Balance back in place and swinging freely.IMG_9714I fitted a new mainspring, but the movement started to bank so here you can see my second attempt fitting the old mainspring after being cleaned and oiled.IMG_9710Another feature you don’t see every day is the yoke spring sitting opposite of the yoke on the plate.IMG_9711The setting lever spring had a hairline crack in it and broke when being fitted. You can actually see the crack on the before photo.IMG_9712Luckily I have a donor movement that provides a good replacement.IMG_9713The movement is back together and ticking like it should. I would say the finish on the bridges are good whereas the base plate is a bit more simple. IMG_9720Even with the old mainspring the performance is excellent.IMG_9721Here you can see the movement back in the case looking good.IMG_9726I decided to leave the old luminous compound as it was very solid and removing it could damage the dial. I would usually replace old compound if it’s frail and falls of easily.IMG_9730The case is a fairly chunky 33mm for an early 1940’s watch!IMG_9727And for the military enthusiasts I have added a photo of the case back markings.

15 thoughts on “Service: Helvetia calibre 800C

  1. Hi,I have a similar watch same movement but with rosieres watch co on it.
    If I send you some pic’s could you tell me a little about it?

  2. Hello Mitka, I was wondering if you could tell me something about the watch that I have recently found. Its written Helvetia 3111 M (m is in the circle) on its back. Thank you in advance.

  3. On old watches I notice the movements are held in place by the flexible metal tabs that bend over and hold it in place. Why is this method not used anymore? Are screws more secure?

    • It works okay when the cases are not made my the movement maker. I think today they would use a plastic ring in the same way. Screw look better as it does not hide parts of the movement:)

    • There where several DH markings for different groups of the army like D XXXX was for the airforce personnel and DH is for standard army issue. My source of information comes from: A Concise Guide to Military Timepieces-1880-1990 by Z.M. Wesolowski. Where it is states that D.I.H.- Deutches Heer property mark found on non-waterproof wristwatches with sweeping centre seconds used for surveillance purposes.

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