Wristwatch restoration, servicing and repair

Posts Tagged ‘Cyma’

Cyma W.W.W. (Cyma Cal. 234)…

This time it’s a Cyma W.W.W., another of the watches produced for the British Military.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

The abbreviation “W.W.W” stands for “Watch Wristlet Waterproof” which is used specifically to identify this style of watch. In the early 1940’s the British Ministry Of Defence issued a new specification for wristwatches for use by military personnel and Cyma were one of twelve manufacturers who submitted watches that were accepted for military use, the others being; Vertex, IWC, JLC, Grana, Timor, Longines, Omega, Buren, Eterna, Lemania and Record.

Together these watches are known as the “Dirty Dozen” by military watch enthusiasts and collecting an example of all twelve is difficult as some were only made in small numbers. Here is one such set belonging to a military watch collector in the US.

Picture: Roger Glickman (Click to enlarge)

The Cyma, as you can see in the picture above, is the largest of the set at 38mm and is one of the models with a solid steel case. Most of the watches had plated cases which makes finding a full set all in good condition more difficult.

As you can see in the first picture, the watch arrived in a pretty scruffy state with the lume scattered all over the dial. The watch did tick, albeit weakly, and judging by the condition of the sub-second hand which had obviously been very clumsily removed in the past, I was curious about the condition of the movement.

As is common to many military watches, the movement is protected by an anti-magnetic dust cover and the military markings are engraved on both sides of the caseback.

Once inside, I was quite relieved to find that the movement, a 15 jewel Cyma cal. 234 was intact and in relatively good order. It obviously hadn’t been serviced for a long time but everything was present and correct.

Many of the calibres used in military watches are good quality and this one is no exception. The edges of the plates are bevelled, the train wheel and anchor jewels are all mounted in chatons and the movement plates are decorated with broad geneva stripes. (The dial side of the main plate is also decorated with perlage.)

As you can also see in the first picture, the case was very dirty and a lot of dirt had built up between the crystal and case. The crystal would need to be removed before the case could be cleaned in the ultrasonic tank.

Similar to the Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster which I wrote about a couple of years ago, the crystal in this watch is held in place by a securing ring screwed into the inside of the case. As these rings are rarely removed, typically only when the crystal gets damaged, the securing ring can be very difficult to remove – a bench mounted case opener is the best way to tackle the job.

The lume on the dial and hands was in particularly poor shape and there was no option but to remove it all and renew it, this time in a vintage beige/brown similar to the original.

With the case cleaned and crystal polished, the movement serviced and the re-luming work done, the final job was to repair the sub-second hand before the watch could be rebuilt. Here is it all back in one piece.

One final point to note about the calibre in this Cyma is that it has an unusual fine regulating mechanism mounted on the balance cock.

Rather than moving the regulator arm back and forth as in most micro-adjusters, this system moves the pinning point back and forth, effectively moving the hairspring between the curb pin and boot of the regulator, increasing or decreasing its effective length.

The mechanism pivots around the small screw in the centre with the hairspring pinning point on the left hand side. The large screw on the right (the screw next to the ‘F’) is eccentric and turning it moves the pinning point in and out. Once the timekeeping has been regulated successfully, the small screw of the side of the balance cock locks the eccentric screw in place.

It is certainly an unconventional mechanism and I believe it is unique to this calibre.

Rich.

** Many thanks to Kai Chew for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **


Cyma Watersport (Cyma Cal. 416Ka)…

Every so often a watch comes across the bench that isn’t complicated or particularly popular with collectors, but has something about it. One such watch was this Cyma Watersport.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

Cyma started producing timepieces in Le Locle, Switzerland in 1862, and during their first 40 years specialised in quality pocket watches, including both chronographs and minute repeater models. After the turn of the century, the company began to diversify into ultra-thin pocket watch calibres and inevitably into the production of  wristwatches. Popularity fuelled growth, and by 1929 they owned the largest watchmaking workshop in Europe, employing 2000 people, and producing 4000 timepieces per day.

Though wristwatches were a large part of their business they were also known for producing alarm clocks, the most famous being the “Sonomatic” fitted with a 16 jewel movement which had an 8 day power reserve.

Cyma are still in business today and you can see their current collection here (which includes some chronometer rated automatics… always a good sign!).

The watch in this post was made during the 1950’s and is fitted with a Cyma cal. 416 Ka., a straight forward time only calibre with a leisurely beat rate of 18,000 bph (in modern watches that has now increased to 28,800 bph or 6 bps for increased accuracy). Though not quite as finely finished as the Longines cal. 30L I wrote about recently, the Cyma still has chatons for the train wheels and an overall quality feel.

One thing to note is the shock system fitted to protect the balance staff in the event of a fall. Rather than use one of the proprietary systems such as Incabloc or KIF, Cyma chose to develop their own and called it the “Cymaflex”.

Protection is provided by a thin steel arm mounted on top of the balance cock which houses the cap jewel for the balance staff. In the event of a shock the arm flexes to absorb the force, cushioning the pivots on the balance staff. Inset is the more simple spring fitted to protect the balance staff pivot on the dial side of the movement.

The system works on the same principle as the first ever shock protection system, the “pare-chute”, developed by Abraham Louis Breguet in the late 18th century.

Needing nothing more than a service, this watch was quickly up and running again. As modern trends have moved away from this kind of watch they are easily overlooked, but with a dial and hands as fresh as they day they were made and a good quality movement inside, they are always worth looking out for.

Rich.

** Many thanks to Kevin van der Zouwen of the watch collectors trade and information site Some Time Ago for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **