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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No-one else bid for it, so I'm guessing no-one else would. it was 19UKP if you are interested.
There was a whole bunch of broken bells sold on ebay a couple of months ago, by the same seller. I needed some parts which would have cost me $50 individually, so I thought I might as well get one of these instead of individual parts. Then I thought I would get another two in the hope I could make two working ones out of the three. Here is the first one I've put together, see what you think. The first picture is a mix of the sellers original pictures. Hopefully you can tell the second picture is a mix of picture AFTER I have fixed it up.

I got interested in fixing up watches about 18months ago. I quickly learned that bulk lots of broken watches have usually been picked over and have broken or missing parts, so I was expecting a fight with this one. In fact the only parts missing was the winding stem, which surprised me considering it was partially disassembled. It had a lot of faults though.

Winding the barrel manually showed it would wind about 2 turns then slip and lose its charge. That was an easy fix, but it needed a new mainspring, which I had. What was in there was just half a spring in length


When cleaned and reassembled there was an intermittent fault which meant it would stop after a minute or five at the most. The balance wheel would slow down but kept rocking back and forwards. the escape wheel started rocking back and forwards instead of turning to the next position. It still kicked the balance for a long time though. After a bit of research I discovered this was due to the exit stone on the pallet fork not sitting right. I'm no watchmaker and its a bit beyond me to set this through any measurement but under high magnification I was able to set it by comparison with a good one.

yet another fault when it was back together, it stopped intermittently, anything from 5 mins to several hours. This turned out to be a minute spec of dust or corrosion on the minute wheel, which after cleaning, the problem has not reappeared. It had been through an ultrasonic cleaner but either it was new, or perhaps corrosion that didn't get removed. I only found this using a high magnification microscope but I'm certain it was the cause now. I never realised a bit of dirt could cause an intermittent fault that could take so long to come on. I thought it would stop it more regularly than a couple of hours.


There was a fault that stopped the hands turning when you tried to set them. This turned out to be a screw coming through from the other side which was stopping the gears engaging. They had used a screw that was too long on the other side. Sounds easier to find than it actually was, because it wasn't obvious to me at all. Its a problem when you are not the first person in there, you don't know what parts are wrong when you start. I had just put all parts where they had come from without knowing it was wrong.


The automatic winding mechanism was faulty as well. the pawl lever legs were splayed too far apart so it wouldn't wind. I thought this was surprising as it is a spring and likely to break before it bends. I believe a part like this will be made of high tech tool steel alloy, which is very hard and tough. I do a bit of metal work aside from playing with watches, and I think you should soften hardened parts before trying to bend them back (heat to red and cool slowly), then harden them again afterwards (Heat to red and cool quickly). You also need to temper them afterwards otherwise they are too brittle and will not spring, just break. It's not that easy to get the exact temper back because the exact temperatures you heat to can be quite critical. So after saying all that, I just bend it cold and hoped for the best! I felt I was on the point of breaking it and shouldn't really have got away with it. I'd be interested in how others deal with this, please let me know. Again, I had a good one to match it to, so I bent it to the correct dimension.

The dial was scratched in an obvious way which annoyed me. It was showing as a silver line against the blue so really stood out, halfway between the MATIC and the hands was the worst one. You can only really see it in the first of the original pictures, but it was worse than it looks. The crystal was very scratched so hid a lot. I mixed up some water based glass paint to a good colour match and covered the scratch using a pin to apply it with capillary action. That was ok, its definitely not so obvious as the metal showing through. However, I was not all that pleased so I didn't do a great job on the case, in fact it was polished completely with a polishing machine in just a few minutes. That definitely rounds the corners a bit.
When the watch was finished though, while under magnification I can definitely see the scratches on the dial, just using normal eyesight I can't see it at all, it looks perfect. I wish I had done the case better now. I haven't done the hands either yet, but I'll come back to that later.

The strap is off another beat up 6080 I have in the queue. I particularly like this combination of dial case and strap, but I don't know if it is a legit combination. I put a brushed finish on the strap but didn't take out the dents. It will never be perfect, so I'm happy as is.

By the way, the watch gains 5~7 seconds a day, which I think is pretty good.

I have another one I've almost finished now, its also worked out OK but almost as much work.
 

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wow...you got yourself a bargain...really like it..i know i would have bought...i have a soft spot for bellmatics and anything with a blue dial
 

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Some of my best Bell~Matics have been eBay bargain buys with poor pictures I bought as spares but are too nice to be off the rotation.
:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those are all very nice watches, it was well worth the effort to bring them back. I just noticed two broken bellmatics go on ebay for USD123 and USD86. Prices seem to have gone completely daft just now. There's a lot of things that can go wrong with a watch which will cost you in parts so I'm surprised at what people are paying.
 

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I have a soft spot for Bell's. They are not as widely loved as the divers and chrono's, so can often be a bargain.
 
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