Hello and thank you for reading my blog post on this watch.
This is a lovely Longines 284 possibly from the 60s. I am not that familiar with this brand to be able to date it accurately. It is an absolute stunner of a watch and will sit very elegantly next to my Omega Seamaster Cosmic. Together they are a touch of class in a sea of brightly coloured retro watches (mainly Seiko) in my collection. This one as with nearly all my watches needed allot of work to get it running again.
It was kindly given to me by a friend and a fellow member of my Facebook group. He mainly collects Seiko and had acquired this along the way but he had put it in a draw for years as it was not something he could fix himself. The dial looked bad but I could not wait to open it up and asses the damage. I have not worked on many Swiss watches and definitely not a Longines but I was very excited to see how this one was constructed.
With it being a basic hand wind watch with no day date this would be a fairly straightforward movement, well that was my logic anyway.
With the caseback off the first thing I notice was the hairspring and balance were all mangled. Oh dear not my forte at all. So I unscrew the cock and remove the part.
With the balance out I decide to strip the rest of the movement down. First I need to take the tension off the mainspring. As it was not running and typically with a manual wind watch this one was fully wound with not one click left to try to tighten by one click to then disengage the click in order to safely release the tension in the spring. Drastic action would be required and that is to remove the ratchet wheel and let it wind down in an uncontrolled way. This is where I found my first problem. I engaged my screwdriver into the slot to unscrew (left handed thread) a slight bit of pressure to the screw and the screw head snapped! leaving all the thread in the barrel arbour…. More parts needed….
Never mind on with the stripdown. Soon it came vary apparent the problems in this watch, Its not the first time I have seen this either. The watch is FULL of oil, quite literally every part is drowning in what looks like 3in1 oil! no wonder it stopped.
Even the rear of the dial had wet oil on and the black marks on the dial itself were died oil!
What brings people to do this I don’t know. Okay the owner does not know anything about watchmaking but to open the back and pour in oil and thus ruining the whole thing is just terrible.
What a mess. Not only the watch parts but my bench mat and parts tray! What I did find was a nice well made and simple construction of a movement. No scary springs to worry about.
Once it was all in pieces I started the cleaning process. I did not have the watch cleaning machine when I did this one so it was just a hot ultrasonic bath for all the parts. I used water and a strong degreaser on a hot watch 50C for 20 minutes, then changed the water before doing it again.
Once the parts were all dried I then washed them all in Essence of Renata (see tool page) followed by an IPA Alcohol wash (excluding balance and pallet fork as we don’t want to soften the shellac)
So with the cleaning done it was then time to find some parts and a solution to the hairspring issue. I posted a thread about it in my Facebook group (link in footer of page) and one of my good friends who is now a retired professional Mr Simon Coope contacted me to say he thought he would be able to remedy the spring! great stuff. Again it shows the passion we all have in the Facebook group with a good mix of pro’s , tinkerers and watch lovers alike. Everyone scratches each others backs when they can. The deal was done with Simon but first I would need to rebuild the watch in order for him to test the spring on.
I hit the internet looking for a new barrel arbour. I eventually found on eBay someone breaking down a 280 Longines movement that my research suggested was the same movement with a few additions. With the arbour it was £20.00 and another £4 for the screw! pricey screw… however it was needed. As the watch cost me nothing other than my time £24 is a small price to pay , plus Simons fee for the hair spring.
Once they arrived it was on with the build. Honestly took probably 40 minutes to rebuild. very straightforward only one plate on dial side needed to be in place first as it housed some pivot jewels for the train wheels. This seemed a bit odd for me as I always build motion side before dial / calendar side.
Anyway here is some photos of the build.
Everything looked allot cleaner and healthy, if nothing else the parts drowned in oil for years had at least preserved them!
Now what about that dial…..
Well simple and perhaps a bit lucky. I generally don’t touch a dial. They are everything to a watch so damage is my worst nightmare! I got some rodico and started work on it. Slowly but surely the dirt came off. I was under my microscope allot to make sure I had got it as perfect as I could.
Here is the result.
So what a transformation. The dial came out perfect in the end. Very fortunate that the oil did not get under the lacquer on the dial otherwise it would be a different story.
A few weeks later sending the movement and hairspring to Simon I get the message that he has managed to repair the spring and that it needed a new staff too which he managed to source and sit for me.
On the day of me receiving the movement back I fitted the dial and hands. I then sanded down and polished the acrylic crystal to bring that back to an as new condition in order to showcase that dial magnificently.
The case got a light polish to make it shine and I fitted a lizard print strap to complete the watch.
The finished watch is amazingly elegant. Much more refined and classy compared to my bright coloured Seikos.
This will hold a special place in the collection due to the work that went into saving it for the many years to come.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed this then please leave a comment .
Here is the finished watch!
Waltham WatchSeptember 16, 2020