Thursday, October 01, 2009

Assembling a movement

This is not meant to be a lesson in how to assemble a movement, but rather I hope to act as a reference for myself on how to put together a movement. Firstly I have to apologize for the white balance issues of the photographs. I am learning and have gotten a new table lamp with white light. So this problem should (a big should) be a problem of the past.

The movement in question is the second movement that I got recently. The movement was not working. I have not included the dis-assembly pictures, but I think it is just the opposite of what I am about to post (fingers crossed).

The first thing to do is to position the castle wheel and crown wheel to the winding stem. Ensure the ratchet teeth engages the crown wheel.

Next install the pull-out piece (setting lever) and screw. Ensure the tooth of the setting lever engages the the notch on the winding stem. This is the tooth that holds the winding stem in place.

The opposite view of the setting lever screw.

Next install the return bar.

Now install the return bar spring. Be careful not to lose the spring as it is installed under tension.

Install the intermediate wheels and the minute wheel.

Next we install the cover plate. Ensure the pull-out piece engages the cover plate spring foot. Pull the stem and check that the pull-out piece engages the 2 detent on the cover plate.

Install the barrel and center wheel.

Install the barrel bridge/ barrel bar. Ensure free play of the center wheel and barrel.

Now we install the click spring. Ensure one of the spring foot sits in the hole.

Now install the crown wheel. Don't forget to install the washer before you install the crown wheel. Additionally the thread on the crown wheel is in the opposite direction.

Now install the click. Ensure the spring engages the click.

Now install the ratchet wheel. Ensure the ratchet wheel is flat to the barrel bridge and that it engages the barrel. The ratchet wheel has a square cut-out that should match the square slot of the barrel.

Now install the third wheel, fourth wheel and the escape wheel. Ensure free-play when installing these wheels.

Another view. Ensure correct sequence and orientation of the wheels.

Install the train wheel bridge. Careful of the wheel pivots. Check for free play of the wheels.

The escape bar (train wheel bridge) is different in this movement. As such, the escape wheel has its own bar/ bridge. As with the above, careful of the wheel pivot. I found this one of the difficult part in the assembly of the movement as the escape wheel did not align with its pivot.

Install the pallet and pallet cock. Ensure the pallet is install in the correct orientation. Ensure free-play at all times. Install the balance-cock and balance.

And there you have it, how to assemble a basic movement. There are of course a few step missing and the photographs are not that great or detail, but like I said, this serves as a reference for me for future endeavors.

The movement has been running for about 24 hours, the first movement has been running for 48 hours now (and is still running). My next step is to disassemble the movement again and now try to clean the movements and its parts. Then it is to learn how to oil the movement and also the incabloc.


  1. Where is a good source for these Asia unitas movements, I have a few that need parts from me losing and breaking them. I just took apart one and now the hands don't move as they did before when the watch is ticking, I think I damaged the center wheel, Thanks

  2. Hi emaniez,

    Welcome to the blog. To tell you the truth, I don't really know if parts are available for these chinese movements. I know that the movement is not very expensive, so maybe it is 'cheaper' and easier to just buy a new movement as compared to buying parts or sourcing the parts. You can try google for chinese parts or try If you know the manufacturer, e.g. Seagull, perhaps you can try contacting them. If all fails, perhaps you can try asking those who sells the movement if they can help.

    I apologise that I can't provide more help.

    Best regards,


  3. Thanks, Ivan, for this series of steps with photos. I just took apart my first pocket watch - it is an old Ingersoll w/ broken main spring, and a bent center wheel or maybe hub. I see from de Carle's book that the movement should not be sneezed at - it was a break through to a simpler movement making cheap, but reliable watches available. Your tutorial gives me hope that I can re-assemble it - the main step that I dreaded was trying to get the back plate back on with 5 pivots in it. I think better watches break that plate up into fewer pivots at a time. Boyd

  4. Hi Boyd,

    Welcome to the blog. Thank you for the kind words. Wow, a pocket watch. I understand that it is more difficult to take apart a pocket watch.

    Best of luck.



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