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Has it come to this, then?

  1. Canuck May 30, 2017

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    A friend asked me to replace the scratched crystal in his Swatch automatic. I told him that replacement was not an option, but since the crystal is acrylic, I might be able to buff the scratches out. I did, successfully. But upon close examination, I discover this thing has a plastic escape wheel and anchor? The movement is a 2841-1 ETA. This movement appears to share some of the trend to plastic escapements as found in the Tissot system 51 movements. Has ETA started using plastic in the escapement of other ETA movements as well? Does every ETA 2841 movement use plastic?

    P5306340.JPG
     
  2. Rman May 30, 2017

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    I'm more worried about the fact that I can't tell if this is the face or the ass.::confused2::
     
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  3. Vitezi May 30, 2017

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    A photo of a Tissot Astrolon (Idea 2001) with the cal 2250 plastic movement from 1971:
    [​IMG]
    (thanks)
     
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  4. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. May 30, 2017

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    Reading too much into a cheap but cool plastic automatic watch??????
     
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  5. michael22 May 30, 2017

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    I see a hand, must be the ass.

    Don't ETA make different standards of the same design?
     
  6. Canuck May 30, 2017

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    If you aren't interested in the emergence of plastic components such as those in the subject watch, I am!
     
  7. dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member May 30, 2017

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    Just googling around there are reports of plastic anchors on that movement 6-7 years ago, not the escape wheel though.
     
  8. Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. May 30, 2017

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    Not surprised or alarmed at this price point. They'd have major stones to try it on higher priced watches.
     
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  9. tyrantlizardrex May 30, 2017

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    The Swatch Irony Body and Soul has been in production for nearly 10 years now - the ETA 2841 is (or certainly was) a Swatch internal specific variant of the 2824-2 - Heavily modified and made at very low cost.
     
  10. Fritz genuflects before the mighty quartzophobe May 30, 2017

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    I was in QA in "engineering grade" plastics most of my professional life, manufacturing bearing components and small machine parts out of plastics worth as much as $140 kg. often replacing metal in the process because the plastic just plain outperformed the metal. Anyway, I've kept this box in the back of my desk for years, watching the plastics degrade has turned into a science experiment over time and I liked to wave it unders the DuPont engineer's nose when he visited... its an early 50s Sunbeam shaver that the plastics have "disappeared" from... the polymers have broken down with time and the material simply crumbled away....

    So, while I appreciate what the best plastics can do, they just aren't as stable long term as a nice piece of steel or brass.

    P1010346.JPG

    In 50 years when someone want to restore an old Honda sportbike, Chevrolet sedan or plastic filled high end watch they won't be able to source decent original plastic parts because they'll have the structural strength of soda crackers. Mind you.... we're regularly 3D printing prototype parts in plastic and metal now, so that will be an option.
     
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  11. Canuck May 30, 2017

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    Plastic components in an otherwise unrepairable watch such as the subject Swatch, or a Tissot System 51 model, are only one of many reasons such watches are not repairable. It seems manufacturers of these kinds of products are only concerned that the item last for the period of the warranty, but such items seemingly are designed to self-destruct any time thereafter. And I suspect that any of such watches as might go back with a warranty problem, would be replaced rather than repaired. When I think of it, this is not a recent phenomenon. It pre-dates plastic escapements. Progress!
     
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  12. JimInOz іди нахуй May 30, 2017

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    Coincidence!
    My neighbour Sean bought one of them across to me the other day as it had stopped working. He'd taken it to a local jeweller and was told it's a non-serviceable watch as the case is sealed at the factory and trying to open it would damage the watch. He also did some internet investigation and concluded the same thing so he gave it to me and said I could have it if it was any use.

    On inspecting the clear caseback, I could see that there was an edge above the case where a crystal remover could get a purchase but I couldn't get my Omega 105 or a claw lift to grip properly so it was off to the bench vice and a wood chisel with a polished blade. Using gentle pressure and working around the edge I was able to remove the rear crystal, exposing a nice looking movement.

    The story of these being "throw-away" doesn't make sense to me based on the movement. For a start it has a detent point to allow stem removal, the plastic movement ring has an OPEN arrow showing where to move the ring for movement removal, and the movement isn't cheap crap. A five ball rotor bearing? all pivots jewelled? This movement was meant to be repairable!

    Anyway, after I lifted off the auto mechanism I tickled the balance with a puff of air, it would only move a few degrees CW and then back to a stop point. I've seen this behaviour before when installing balances where the roller has got on the wrong side of the horns so it was off with the balance assembly. All perfectly normal and no indication of disposable parts.

    I suspect the watch may have been dropped or jarred at some time and the lever flipped back just as the roller was at full rotation.

    Now I could get a close look at the lever, the little blue plastic thing. No horns, just a slot in the end for the roller to ride in. No pallet jewels, just an extension of the plastic arms.

    With nothing obviously amiss I moved the lever to the right bank and dropped in the balance assy and got that first feeling of satisfaction every watchmaker gets when the balance just starts spinning away.

    So now I have a Swatch Irony ticking away on the bench.
    Time to de-gunk and clean up the case, polish the crystal, US the bracelet, put it all back together and give it back to Sean to enjoy for another ten years.
     
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  13. Canuck May 30, 2017

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    You serviced it where few would. Do I gather that the watch was given to you? Had the watch belonged to someone else, would you have tried the chisel trick? I suppose that if one used air pressure to open cases, that might work with Swatch. I would need the job awful bad to go to the trouble you did.
     
  14. JimInOz іди нахуй May 30, 2017

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    He gave me the watch as he thought it was dead for him. I thought of compressed air but without being able to remove the crown/stem it would have been difficult. The chisel was no more damaging than using a case knife but I had better control on pressure etc.

    I just removed the bezel ready to do the crystal polish, eeeeeww, I hate gunk!

    IronyBezel.JPG
     
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  15. JimInOz іди нахуй May 31, 2017

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    In answer to a couple of @Canuck's questions I missed.

    Do I gather that the watch was given to you? Yes, he thought it was dead and unrepairable.

    Had the watch belonged to someone else, would you have tried the chisel trick? Prior to today, no. But I may reserve it for future use if I come across obstinate snap backs etc. A clean, sharp polished chisel blade is not all that much different to a case knife, and as I said, felt more controllable.

    I suppose that if one used air pressure to open cases, that might work with Swatch. Mentioned earlier.

    I would need the job awful bad to go to the trouble you did. Wasn't a job for me, it was curiosity that resulted in success and satisfaction, I don't get paid to work on watches, it's just a hobby.



    It was interesting to see the plastic lever assembly. Maybe one reason was to extend service life on the escape/lever assembly and eliminate the need for oiling those parts.

    And now it's all finished and ticking away nicely. I'll give it to him when he gets home from work tonight, can't wait to see his big Irish grin :D.

    IronyFinished.JPG
     
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  16. tyrantlizardrex May 31, 2017

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    I think you're spot on.

    If you think about the Swatch business model of selling cheap watches (£30-50 in plastic for quartz), through distributors, or in your own stores, once you remove all the marketing costs, the cost of the watch must be nominal.

    It is likely 100% cheaper to replace than repair... especially if you take into account the cost of building the infrastructure to offer repairs.

    And the fact that if your watch dies out of warranty then it's dead for good... well Swatch do offer good customer service... free battery changes for life! So hey, your watch is dead, but how well did they look after you with all those free battery changes? Maybe time to just buy another... and so on.

    Their business feels much closer to that of a consumer electronics company than a watch brand.
     
    Edited May 31, 2017
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  17. JimInOz іди нахуй May 31, 2017

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    So that went well, I just went across the road and gave Sean the watch.

    Have you ever been bear hugged by a huge burly happy grinning Irishman?

    I may be able to breathe pain free in a few days :D.

    Turns out it was a birthday gift from his wife and he was pretty disappointed when he thought it was just a disposable consumer item.

    Both of them were over the moon at the result.

    And that folks, just made my day.

    Not one dollar earned but a million dollars worth of satisfaction.
     
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  18. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker May 31, 2017

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    Clearly the approach Jim took is not one professional repairer's would - completely different situation with regards to liability and expectations so an apples v oranges comparison.

    Plastic escapements have been around for a very long time, used with varying degrees of success. Some are considered not repairable (Swatch System 51 for example) but others are certainly repairable, and not all are considered disposable. For example the Tissot Powermatic 80 is a modified ETA 2824, has 23 jewels, 80 hour power reserve, uses a free sprung adjustable mass balance, can be COSC certified...and it uses a synthetic escapement. Escape wheel and pallet fork shown below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The idea that plastic = cheap and disposable is not necessarily true...

    Cheers, Al
     
  19. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector May 31, 2017

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    Not the first time you have made a big guy happy Jim, still owe you a bear hug ;)
     
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  20. JimInOz іди нахуй Jun 1, 2017

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    Darn, I thought you said "beer mug" not "bear hug"!

    Never mind, just wait 'til my ribs heal Andy.

    :D
     
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