Service + Repair: Alpina calibre 490

I have a personal connection to this watch. It belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1945. He must have bought this watch around 1943, and it’s in a gold case.

My late mother passed it on to my oldest brother for his confirmation. The last service mark in the back is 22/6/1969, which was just shortly before my brother’s confirmation, so my mum must have had it serviced then. To my brother’s knowledge, the watch never worked.


My brother sent me the watch in February, and I took it apart to see what was wrong with it. The centre wheel and the cannon pinion had rotted together, and, when trying to get the cannon pinion off, the centre wheel arbor broke.

The cannon pinion with the broken off centre wheel arbor.

Only one thing to do – patience and eBay. I kept watching eBay France, Germany and UK for a used Alpina watch, and, finally, one came up in June.

My brother bought it at a good price, and it was delivered today from Greece.

The dial of the donor watch has some damage, but the movement looks good. It has a very feeble amplitude, but it will just need a clean.

Looks good – all screw heads are in great state, no rust, not too much dirt.

The balance and hairspring look very good, too.

I take the balance jewels apart for cleaning, and there is a dollop of congealed oil and dirt on the cap – that explains the poor amplitude.

The pallet fork has a very odd shape, as the escape wheel is at the end of the movement, and the power flow reverses and goes back to the balance – this the angle in the fork.

Everything cleaned, rinsed and dried and ready for reassembly.

I start with the barrel and the gear train.

Gorgeous looking movement. Lovely detail, great decoration, nice finishes.

I oil the cap jewel and put the balance cock back together. Look at those finishes!

On the timegrapher, I get an amplitude of 270 degrees straight away.

This movement is an absolute gem in incredible shape. I bet the donor watch wasn’t worn much – the case looked pretty good, too. It was probably cast aside after the dial suffered the damage. Great!

The bottom plate is nicely decorated as well.

Dial and hands go back on. The dial isn’t in great shape, but considering the watch is 69 years old, it’s not bad.

Back in its case, and my brother can now for the first time in 43 years wear his grandfather’s working watch!



1 thought on “Service + Repair: Alpina calibre 490

  1. Thanks a lot for all, Christian.

    For the diagnose, the exciting but in the end unsuccessful hunt for a spare part, the ebay search to find a replacement movement and your craftmanship to set it all together. The Alpina looks nice and the movement is a gem.

    I’m really looking forward, to hold grandfathers watch in my hands after dwelling in a drawer for half a century.


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