Making the 16 Size, 17 Jewel Manistee Pocketwatch

This is a 16 size Manistee bare movement that start out in pretty rough shape. It definately needed some work as it had all the worst problems a watch can have in combination. It had been without a case for some time. There was some rust, and a lot of dirt. There where also broken parts including a broken tooth on the rachet wheel and a broken balance staff, among other issues. And it's a rare make - parts are unlikely to be found.

But there turned out to be a great deal of interest hidden in this piece...

These first images show the watch before any work. The screw that held the rachet wheel did not seem right. It was too large for the milled area in the middle. In that hollow a crudely made washer was found. There was a dial washer over that, and then the screw. Why?

This wheel has a broken tooth, but I quickly realized that the same exposed wheel from a common 16 size Elgin watch was an exact, drop-in fit. The rusty old wheel is not exactly the same in finish as I've ever seen on an Elgin, but the size and shape are identical.

No finish work to speak of on the wheels... And a lot of dirt. The rust doesn't look too bad though, it turns out.

Here it gets strange. There is no way to remove the minute wheel. Or is there? Note the three large screw heads here in dial side of the lower plate.

The lower plate is actually composed of two pieces. That's odd. I begin to think that perhaps this made milling the parts easier? Notice that it has almost no milled voids. Voids are created, mostly, by cutting complete spaces away from one half or the other of the plate.

At this time I noticed the stragest thing about this movement: there are no setting/winding level parts.

These images are taken after a basic cleaning. It was really mostly dirt. The rust isn't much of a problem.

Looking closely at the top and bottom of the lower plate we see that indeed not only is there no setting lever, but there is no place for one. No void. No pivot post. No spring. It does have a clutch, but it just floats!

There is significant play in the inside end of the winding parts, but no spring or cam of any sort.

The top of a pin is visible here to the right of the winding parts. This is a pin that serves to fit the two halves of the plates together in the right position.

The mainspring in this watch was found to be in good shape, however, although the barrel has a hook inside, it has had a crudely drilled hole added for the T-end spring. The top of the T-end is left in the gap at the edge of the barrel top. It may be barely visible in the next photo.

Further assembly... There's definitely no setting mechanism, in spite of having some of the parts of a stem-set, stem-wind watch.

At this point I posted something to a watchmaking forum on the internet and quickly got in contact with someone that owns a 16 size Manistee watch. The owner was able to confirm that the watch is indeed stem-set/wind. So what am I looking at here? This movement could never have functioned as a normal time piece, could it?

On to other problems. The watch has a badly broken jewel on the upper third wheel. Here's where watchmakers may gasp in horror because, yes, I replace these the old fashioned way with the tool set shown here.

And further assembly...

This watch is indeed a 17 jewel design, as marked on the movement. There is a cap jewel on the upper escape, but no jewel on the lower center wheel.

Also interestly, the lettering on the barrel bridge is bare, while the "Manistee" name on the other bridge is inked in black.

This shows the dial side of the mostly re-assembled movement. Again there is no level mechanism, and no space for one. Note however that the finish is actually pretty good. The large head screw near the winding parts is one of the screws holding the two part plate together.

The jewel on the pallet bridge is barely in place, and cracked. It's actually a simple jewel that looks like it's been wrapped in a strip of brass and pressed in the bridge, barely staying in place. Again, I'm thinking that this could never have worked! Is this a sloppy repair? But why would this watch have repairs when I can't see how it could have ever been functional i the first place.

At any rate, may goal is still to run the watch so I proceed in replacing the jewel. The old one, interesting as the old work is, will not stay in place in the cleaned part anyway.

Here is a jewel fitting mounted in the lathe to cut it down to fit.

And the finished part...

The watch has a broken balance staff, but again I notice that it is very simular to a 16 size Elgin staff - I can definitly modify an Elgin staff to work.

But there's a disaster. The double roller is extremely tight (I'm also surprised that it's a one-piece) and the staff snaps when I try to remove it. To deal with this I made a needle-like stake with a flat end, from very hard steel, that fits snugly in the nose of another hollow point stake.

The roller jewel itself is an unusually large oval shape - I'd hate to have to find a replacement for that. Strange...

Here's the set-up in an inverto type staking set. It's lucky I have this since the roller jewel would be easily knocked loose or damaged. Here I can support the piece with a flat/hollow stake small enough to miss the shelac area on the top of the roller.

The fit is amazingly tight. I'm surprised it didn't wasn't cracked, but it is also thicker and heavier than usual. Slowly it is driven out.

Here is the double roller being mounted on a new staff, after cutting down the diameter of the Elgin staff quite a bit. The height and pivot size of the staff is a perfect fit. Maybe they were looking at an Elgin when they built this thing.

Here we see everything assembled.

Two jewels, a staff, and an Elgin ratchet wheel... The arbor on this watch has a different thread size and the Elgin screw didn't fit. A suitable screw was not hard to find though.

It ran for a few minutes after giving a little power to the mainspring (while awkwardly holding the clutch to the winding end). After some examination, I'd like to move one of the banking pins - but I find they don't adjust, they are fixed in place to the plate!

Also we see here that the regulator has a micro-adjustment, but the spring and screw are broken on this movement. Other photos of the 16 size Manistee show the broken part.

Careful comparison of this watch to photos of another 16 size Manistee movement reveal very small differences in the shape of the plates, although the basic features are the same.

So what is this? This watch has some parts crudely made and other nicely finished, this odd two-part lower plate, some parts all but identical to more common makes, a nice double-sunk dial, but most significantly, the watch is simply not complete and could never have been fully functional.

Factory prototype?

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