balance springs

Breguet hairspring

Breguet overcoil hairspring

I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m scared of Hairsprings. That’s right, I said it openly and I don’t care who knows it. I had a nightmare about them once and it was the kind of dream where you breath a sigh of relief when you realize it wasn’t really happening. If a friend came over and said, “My balance spring is bent and my pet Black Widow spider has a broken leg” My next thought would be, I bet I can make a suitable cast out of rodico for the poor little thing.

And I’m not even talking about the math involved in the fabrication and vibrating. I have a scientific calculator somewhere but I’ve replaced three bottles of Tabasco in my fridge since I checked the batteries.

As my abilities grow and the jobs that were once too risky to attempt are now common, I think to myself I should take a look at that hairspring on the old Gruen. Then I`ll see a post on one of the forums asking,? “Does anyone know a watchmaker who will vibrate a hairspring?” and I put away my tweezers. Even some watchmakers don’t want to work with them.

On a side note: Other than slight rusting on certain metals, Holy Water has absolutely no effect on them. Now that alone should tell you something.

For a simple explanation of the escapement, Walt Odets has written an excellent article for Timezone Here