Pocket Watch Hinge Repair

This is a beautiful old 14k yellow gold pocket watch. The outside view of the hinge shows bowing at the ends and small tears.

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 Step by Step Pocket Watch Hinge Repair

image_2 This picture shows considerable discoloration from rust and a hinge that is almost completely torn off on the middle lug.
image_3 It only took a gentle twist to finish tearing the lug off. I then match up the hinge size with yellow gold tubing.
image_4 I use a stainless steel rotary brush to clean off the rust and clean up the joint.
image_5 I use a separating disk to grind off the remnants of the old lug.
image_6 I measure carefully with calipers to cut off just the rite size piece of gold tubing. I square up the ends and lay it in place to check fit.
image_7 I reshape the other ends of the tubes and reinforce them with the laser welder until they are straight.
image_8 I grind bevels to be filled with laser wire when I install the hinge to the lid.
image_9 I lay the tube in place to make sure I have removed enough gold to make a strong weld.
image_10 I position the tube and check it front and back for alignment then tack it in place.
image_11 I fill the inside joint with 4 courses of weld until it is slightly above the old level then it will be ground smooth.
image_12 Then I do the same to the outside joint.
image_13 Now the joints have been smoothed with a pumice wheel and polished. It’s time to reassemble the hinge. I gently push the new hug in against the hinge spring. After checking the fit the new hinge wire is inserted in the top hinge lug, the center lug is repositioned and the pin is pushed through all 3 lugs of the hinge.
image_14 I check the fit from the outside, and try the hinge.
image_15 I check from the inside and add a little oil to keep it moving freely.
image_16 Front of finished watch.
image_17 Back of finished watch.

By Steve Satow - © Bench Magazine
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BENCH Magazine is devoted to the Bench Jeweler in retail jewelry stores and small trade shops.
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