This 100-year-old Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch Witnessed the Time and Emotions of Two Generations


The Minute Repeater watch is actually divided into two sets of systems, one for walking time and one for reporting time, and the two are completely independent. The watch does not go, just dial the slider, the Minute Repeater pocket watch can still report time. However, for the Minute Repeater watch, the travel time system is still the basis, because the time is not allowed, the time of reporting is also wrong. So the first step in the specific repair work is to make the time recover accurate.

The Movement of This Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch (After Repairing)

First of all, this Zenith watch has been in operation for more than 100 years. The three-wheel axle wear is more serious and can not be repaired. Therefore, the technicians stamped the old axle and replaced the new piece. Secondly, because the pocket watch has been violent bump, the ruby bearing inside the movement has cracked, so this time also replaced the new ruby. Then, the Zenith watch did not install a shock absorber at that time. Considering that Mr. Leng used it as a daily timepiece for a long time, the technician added a balance wheel shock absorber for safety. However, in order to maintain the original appearance of the pocket watch, they deliberately adopted the invisible design, taking into account the practical and appearance. Moreover, the low-carbon steel material is used in the pocket watch spring. After more than a hundred years of operation, the metal has been fatigued, not only the total energy stored, the torque decay is fast, and the power is still insufficient. So the time of the Zenith changed the clockwork again, and the Minute Repeater pocket watch was restored to the original factory state of the power reserve for about 40 hours.

Poising Tool

The handling of the movement balance is the most complicated part of this time-lapse system repair. The balance wheel is the core component of mechanical machinery. The slight offset and vibration will directly affect the accuracy of the timepiece. After the technician detected it, the balance wheel of the Minute Repeater pocket watch had been slightly offset. In order to restore it to the best travel time, they use five different tools to adjust the balance part.

First, the technician removes the balance shaft and places it on the “rotary lathe” and uses the “polish” to contact the continuously rotating balance shaft until the surface of it is smooth. This kind of operation is not only for the sake of beauty, but more importantly, it avoids unevenness, reduces the contact area and friction.

Then, the technician combines the balance shaft with the balance wheel and places it on the “Truing Calipers” to make sure that the two are perpendicular to each other without any slight tilt.

After that, place it on the two ruby edges of the “Poising Tool” for “static balance” processing to determine if the center of gravity of the entire balance is above the axis. Gently rock the balance wheel. If there is eccentricity, the balance wheel will swing from side to side after a few turns until it stops. At this time, its focus is at the bottom of the still position. After correcting the key points, you can use a small drill to cut a little metal on the back side of the key edge and then perform a balance check, so that it is repeated several times until the balance is balanced.

Finally, the entire balance wheel is mounted on the movement, placed on the “calibration meter”, and the eccentric direction is determined according to the error of the different orientations of the movement, and the eccentricity is eliminated.

After the time system is repaired, it is necessary to enter the timekeeping system.

Mr. Leng and His Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch

After more than two months, Zenith has not only repaired the faulty travel time and Minute Repeater function, but also thoroughly cleaned and maintained the entire timepiece with more than one and a half century of professional watchmaking technology, making this pocket watch which has witnessed the two generations of time and emotional reborn.

Mr. Leng and His Zenith Watches

The goods are valuable, and the true sentiments is really priceless. When Mr. Leng found Zenith and commissioned the restoration of this antique timepiece, not only to restore the Minute Repeater pocket watch restore glory, but also to continue to retain and inherit the family affection memory carried on it. Zenith will use the “movement” to compare the heart, passing on this two-century family memory carrier for generations through its own professional skills.

I want to share a story with you today. One day in January 2018, the Zenith store International Finance Center (IFC) in Chengdu ushered in an old gentleman. The old gentleman named “Leng Yumin” is 79 years old. This time, he wants the clerk to help him hand over a letter to the headquarters of Zenith and entrust the official to repair a pocket watch. And this 100-year-old Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch have witnessed the time and emotions of two generations.

Song Xilian born in 1907. In January 1924, he was admitted to the the Huangpu Military Academy, became the youngest graduate of the first phase of Huangpu. At the age of 27, he was the youngest lieutenant general of the National Army.

In December 1948, a French military regiment came to visit his station, during which a Zenith Minute Repeater pocket watch was presented as a gift to Song Xilian.

The Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch (Before Repairing)

This Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch 34587 was produced in the early 20th century, which is made of 14K gold, three-hunted watch case, and the front and back are experienced carved craft. The ceramic dial with Savonette design is matched with Breguet digital scale and peach-shaped gold hands.

The Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch (Before Repairing)

The pocket watch is equipped with a manual winding Minute Repeater movement, a bimetal cut-off balance, a blue steel Breguet hairspring, a wolf-toothed steel wheel, and a rotating centrifugal reducer. Built-in double-spring, the mainspring is responsible for the travel time system while the secondary clock provides energy for the Minute Repeater time. When someone dials the time-sliding slider, the movement will use the two hammers to strike the gong to emit three different sounds representing “hours”, “quarter” and “minutes”, and broadcast the current specific time.

It is no exaggeration to say that such a configuration and function of the pocket watch was extremely valuable at that time. Even so, Song Xilian passed the pocket watch to others in less than a year.

On November 25, 1949, Song Xilian was preparing to take the troops to the west. When he left the station, he gave this pocket watch to his subordinate “Leng Peiyuan”. “Song Xilian” is the uncle of the old watchman of the pocket watch, and “Leng Peiyuan” is the father of Mr. Leng Yumin. The reason why such a valuable gift will be given is that the 10th day of the lunar calendar is the birthday of “Leng Peiyuan”, on the other hand, the future of Song move to the west is uncertain, and it is very likely that he will never return.

Leng Peiyuan has been collecting this watch until died in 1952, that year, Leng Yumin was only 12 years old. This pocket watch bearing the friendship of the father was first reserved for his mother, and then passed to the hands of Mr. Leng Yumin.

Mr. Leng Yumin insisted on retaining this Zenith pocket watch even during the most difficult and most embarrassing period. For him, this is not a costly timepiece, but the legacy of his father, and more full of friendship between the ancestors.

The Zenith Minute Repeater Pocket Watch (Before Repairing)

Whenever reminiscing about his father and ancestors, Mr. Leng will take it out and listen. With excellent quality, this Zenith Pocket Watch, which was produced in the early 20th century, has been running normally for decades in the hands of Mr. Leng, until the scene mentioned at the beginning of this article.

When technician looked this pocket watch in the original factory Leroc, Switzerland, he found that it is not easy.

First, this Minute Repeater pocket watch has been modified in the early days, slightly different from the original file; second, it not only has problems with the system, but also the components is faulty; third, it was dismantled by others in the later period, leaving some problems; fourth, after a hundred years, the pocket watch itself has natural aging and damage.

In the face of such a difficult situation, the official force did not hesitate to undertake the commission of Mr. Leng Lao.

First of all, the technician carefully looked through the precious drawings of the watch factory for more than 100 years, found the original manuscript of the antique timepiece, and began the specific repair work.