Monthly Archives: February 2017

How the Angelus 240 is prepared for use in a watch

Fitting an Angelus 240cal into a 47mm Case
Author Ross McSherry

This tutorial covers some of the basics of fitting an Angelus cal.240 to a 47mm watch case.
Assuming you’ve found an Angelus clock, you’ll have something that looks a little like this. Some of the movements are different to this; in which case you’re job is probably easier and some of these steps can be skipped.

1. Remove the extra plates on the front and back. These are highlighted in green, and secured with 3 screws – you won’t be needing any of this anymore. On the back of the movement, a larger wheel may be over the hour wheel. This is for the alarm, you won’t be needing this either.

2. There may be a small winding pinion that extends through the train wheel bridge. This should pull out from the back and won’t be needed any more.

3. Now remove the levers shown in green on the movement above. This requires a small screwdriver; the alarm hammer shown on the left is sandwiched between the top and bottom plate. A small pair of wire snips will cut through its pinion, and it will simply drop out. Be careful not to create any unnecessary shocks on the movement, and collect clipped pieces of wire! If you’re feeling confident, taking the barrel bridge off from the front and removing this alarm mechanism is a better option.

4. The intermediate wheel shown above may sit higher than the rest of the back plate. If this is the case, carefully remove the set bridge (if you don’t know how to do this, you shouldn’t be attempting this project!) and the intermediate wheel will be free. It looks very similar to a clutch at the moment, and will essentially need to be cut in half to allow a dial to fit this movement.

This is the wheel cut in half. To do this, it is best to thread a wire through the centre to ensure you don’t lose any parts, carefully clamp the side of the wheel that was exposed on the back of the movement, and slowly work around it with a very fine dremel cutting disk. You will then need to carefully file and sand the wheel flat, and thoroughly clean the wheel and store for later.

5. The pinion that held the intermediate wheel will also be sitting proud of the movement. This needs to be shortened. To do this, carefully tape the movement to a desk top using low tack masking tape. Allow this pinion (and possibly the canon pinion) to protrude through the masking tape. Ensure there are no gaps in the tape, as you don’t want metal filings in your movement.

Slowly file this pinion down using a needle file. Ensure it is filed to just below the height of the backplate. Carefully bevel the edge of this pinion so that the intermediate wheel can be relocated onto it.

Dust off all filings and carefully remove the masking tape. Now use Rodico to clean up the keyless works and any other area of the movement. Note the brass pivot highlighted in green. This is a pivot for a calendar transfer gear, and is no longer required.

6. Once the movement is covered in low tack masking tape again (other than the pivot), slowly file with a flat needle file. Once it is flush with the plate, use 600 grit paper to tidy the movement up. Dust away any filings, and use rodico to clean the area before removing the tape.

7. Put the intermediate wheel back in place, and reassemble the keyless works. The back of the movement is nearly ready for a dial; the only part that sits proud is the small tab on the hour wheel and the extra tall minute wheel. If your movement has these features, they will also need to be filed down.

Remove the hour wheel. Using a needle file, slowly file down the brass tab. Be careful to to damage any teeth on the hour wheel or the brass tube. Once flush with the main gear, use 600 grit paper to leave a smooth and tidy finish.

File down the back of the minute wheel until it sits below the backplate. Do this in steps, and be sure keep checking how much filing is left to do. Keep the filing perfectly horizontal, and once it’s at the right height, use a small needle file / grit paper to clean up the teeth.

8. Now that the back of the movement is ready, reassemble everything, give one last clean with Rodico and check that everything is running as expected.

9. You will now need a dial. The subdial spacing is 8.9mm from the centre. If you would like to install a second hand, you will need a standard Panerai style second hand with an extra long tube.

You also need to find a case, custom made movement ring for an Angelus 240, plus a Crown and you’re ready to go. Here are the parts used for this project:

10. If you’ve gone to this much hassle, you may as well reshape the case to get a perfect finish. This tutorial will not cover that, but lots of filing, sanding and polishing are required!

11. You may want to lume the hands if required. I have developed a technique to create coloured, cracked hands to match the vintage style. To achieve this lightly cracked finish, mix white lume powder with a small amount of water colour (your choice of colour!) and a small amount of acrylic varnish / water to get a thicker consistency. When the hands are lumed, the thicker liquid will hold the lume together whilst the pigment tries to contract and dry – this cracks the hands and looks identical to a 1950’s watch!

12. The final step is to case the watch. You must find a combination of a case / dial that allows the stem to align correctly with the crown tube.

Building the Modern Vintage (MV) #1

  • 372cases-001
  • 372caseshaping-001
  • 372caseshaping-002
  • movement-001
  • 372bezel-002
  • aIAMV-001
  • aIAMV-002
  • GMV372-002
  • gordon372abc
  • gmv-007a
  • gmv-007b
  • MVrear-003

Adding an Angelus 240 cal with a 2mm thick 3 Piece Dial will not fit inside the watch case without modifications. There are two problems, a) the 8 day Angelus 240 cal movements is fairly thick and the dial be watch standards is very thick indeed. In short the dial and movement are far too thick for the watch case.

Why use such a thick dial if its going to be difficult to fit? This is one of the main differences between a Modern build using Modern Type Parts and a Modern Build using Vintage Type Parts. The 3 Piece (2mm thick) dial is very similar to what Panerai used 50 years ago. Whilst it is problematic to fit it is however, special as it has so many of the old characteristics that can old be found in a Vintage Panerai Dial.

Above: The start of the very first MV watch. Above you can see a few 372 Type case, one was to be a prototype case to see how to solve the problem of fitting an Angelus with thick dial into a small space. The first case was not a success and was destroyed when it was machined too much on the inside. The second was an improvement, the third a success and the four had the final modifications.

Above: Trying to solve the problem with fitting the 240 cal with thick dial into the Case. Three areas have to be very accurate, the overall depth, the alignment of the stem and stem tube and the total high so that the Case Back screws into place and holds everything together. Get one of these wrong and the project will fail.

Above: The solution was to make a new bezel, outer spacer ring, inner spacer ring and also machine the inside of the case.

Above: This was the case that was selected to have the engraving removed. Its not easy as the depth of engraving is quite deep. In removing the engraving its easy to lose the shape of the case. One case was destroyed when the shaping failed. Above is the second and successfully shaped case.

Above: unfortunately there are two sides to do and its a slow process, all hand work.

Above: The Angelus Movement before and after the Plate Conversion.

Above: The movement is a little low inside the holder, the holder was modified so that the top surface is flush with the movement. This movement was fully stripped deep cleaned and polished and rebuilt by a master watchsmith. Its amazingly accurate for its age, + or - a few seconds a day (good for this type of movement).

 

Above: Everything is in place, a sapphire crystal has been added, so there just one last thing to do and thats to upgrade the strap above to an authentic Panerai calf skin strap.

Above: Two types of Bridge Plates were used on the three watches. Two watches didn't have CDG (cotes de geneve) and one had full CDG. The watch in the image above is without CDG (similar to the 203 which didn't have CDG)

Above: Its time to enjoy.

 

Deciding which movement to add to your project?

What movement should I use? Once you have decided on which Case you plan to use you then need to consider what movement you would like to add. Its a good idea to select a movement that is going to be compatible with the Case and Parts you will use in your project. For example you make decide to use an usual movement only to find that none of the upgrade parts are compatible. Here are a list of compatible movements.

  1. Unitas 6497
  2. Molinja 3601/2
  3. Cortebert 616
  4. Angelus 240 cal
  5. Rolex 618

The next step is to decide how much you want to pay.

Asian 6497: The lowest price is likely to be an Asian 6497. A good Asian Movement from a good supplier is likely to be a very reliable movement. Prices vary from $40 to $60

What to watch for: Some 6497 are being sold without oil. These are probably from a large consignment that were supposed to be used in a factory and the factory was planning to oil then check the QC. Most Asian movements are very good ask the supplier whether the movement has been oiled and passed QC

Molnija 3601/3601: Prices vary widely. In 2010 the 3602 could be easily bought for $28. Because so many people are using this movement for projects the the price can be as high as $100 and more. The Cannon Pinions on the 3601 and 3602 are quite short however the 3602 does have a slightly taller Cannon Pinion and has a jewel center wheel bearing (visible in the center of the movement on the backside).  Many people prefer a brass center wheel bearing on the 3601 as its similar to the Vintage Panerai movement).

What to Watch For: excess old poured into the keyless system. Its very common to see some of these movements almost flooded with standard oil thats been poured into the keyless system. Also look for excessive wear and "wobble" on the balance wheel. Unfortunately many have not been properly serviced over the years, always ask the seller how accurate it is for example Plus or Minus (+ or-) how many minutes/seconds per day. If the seller wont say then be careful (its easy to check just wind it up and see how it runs over 24 hours).

Cortbert 616: Cortebert sold the machine tooling to Molinja Russia when they closed the Coretbert Swiss Factory. There is no doubt when compared to the Russian Molnija that the Coretbert is a better movement. Not all Cortebert are perfect but most seem to run well, I have seen fewer problems with the Cortebert than I have with the Molinja. Maybe this is because people serviced the Cortebert more often. Prices for the Cortebert have been fairly stable over the years expect to pay around $350 to $400

Angelus 240 cal: This is an 8 day travel clock movement that was once used by Panerai around 1961, this movement came without and alarm and is stamped Juni 61. Most Angelus 240 that are for sale will not be quite the same as the Panerai version. They will either have an alarm system or will have the alarm function removed and sometimes the Bridges converted to look like the authentic Vintage Panerai,s often many look very good.

There are many points to look for on the 240 cal but you need to be aware whether the movements is Incablo or Non-Incablo. Incabloc is shock protection and suitable to use as a watch. Do not be put off buying Non-Incabloc, they are fine, just don't wear the watch if you plan to chop wood with an axe (if you know what I mean).

Things to check on the Angelus 240:

  1. Is the movement keyless or do you need a key to wind it (not suitable)
  2. Is it Incabloc or Non-Incabloc (look at the balance wheel adjuster)
  3. Is the Hour Wheel over 3.25 tall (spare wheels are available)
  4. When was it last serviced
  5. Is it accurate to + or - 2 to 3 minutes a day
  6. Has it been converted to fit inside a watch (see how to convert on this website)
  7. Are conversion plates fitted (some will have the bridge pillars turned down).

Price for the Angelus vary widely from $800 for a on Incabloc unserviced to $2300/$2400 for something thats had a lot of conversion work, servicing etc. If you can find a 240 cal with the original plates then prices can be even higher. The most expensive would be the genuine Juni61 (June 1961) movements, these are rare and will be the most expensive.

Rolex 618: As this movement was used by Panerai then often the movements will not need any conversion parts. The true 618s as used in the Panerai are very rare and batch numbered. However, you may find a nice Rolex pocket watch with a 618 inside that would make an ideal movement for your project. For the pocket watch type movement expect to pay $2800 to $3000

Basic Rule: Ask when the movement was last serviced, if the seller doesn't know then assume it hasn't been serviced. A good clean and service will cost around $100. However a skilled watchsmith can often take a movement with say + or -  2mins lost or gain a day and tune it to a few seconds a day. Not many watchsmiths can do this so its worth asking around and expect to pay around $200 for his time (its often worth it if you plan to keep it). Always ask how accurate the watch is and dont assume because its cheap it will be a bargain.

Building the 6152

Lets start building the 6152. You are going to need a movement and a 6152 Case. Decide carefully which movement to use as not all movements will fit the case or be compatible with the upgrade parts.

Here is a list of popular movements

  1. Unitas 6497
  2. Molinja 3601/2
  3. Cortebert 616
  4. Angelus 240 cal
  5. Rolex 618

6152 Case: You can buy a 6152 case ready completed (upgraded as a Vintage) or you can buy a basic case from a supplier which is usually a modern case that will need converting into a vintage. Again be careful which case manufacturer you use because not all cases manufacturers use the same sizes and threads. Many people have bought a case only to find that none of the parts available for upgrade will fit.

Below: You will see a 6152 Case that has been partially upgraded ready to be used in a project. Factory 6152 Cases do not come engraved between the lugs, this is an important detail. The correct way to engrave is to engrave by hand on a Pantograph Machine, this is how the Vintage Panerai 6152 cases was engraved.  This is a traditional way of engraving, unlike CNC it relies on the skills of the operator. The 6152 is not an easy case to engrave as the area between the lugs curves in all directions. What this means is that the engraver is constantly controlling and adjusting the height of the cutting tool as it passes over the curved surface of the case. Its not easy, it takes a skilled engraver to cut the text you see below.

All serial numbers start with "124" and serial numbers are six numbers long, the opposite side of the case says the words "Brev Ital"

Lets look at the Crown Guard. Again this is an important feature, it will need to be filed and shaped on the outside (shown below) and also on the lever. Its important to file the lever to the exact size, so that when it closes it isn't too loose or too tight. Also note how the lever almost touches the side of the case when closed.

Below: shows how the top of the Crown Guard has been filed and shaped by hand. The authentic Vintage Panerai Crown Guards were hand finished the same way.

Below: This Crown Guard will be fitted to the 6152 Case with 2mm screws. Factory cases are usually around 1.4mm, the problem with screws as small as this is that the threads can easy break especially if the Crown Guard Lever applies too much pressure on the Crown. Genuine Vintage Panerai screws were 2mm.

Below shows the most common Vintage 6152 Crown Guard note that is isn't engraved with "Brev Ital". The number 10 is shown below but other numbers were used like "7" "5" "3" etc. The number "10" is usually found at the Top Rear of the case (as shown in th image below). Numbers "7" "3" etc are usually found stamped on the Bottom Rear of the case. Which way round? Numbers were mainly stamped so that the font faces towards the Crown (as shown in the image below).

Below shows an engraved Crown Guard with the text "Brev Ital" this was only added to later Panerai 6152 Crown Guards and is less common.

The next stage is to decide what type of dial to use. You can either use a thin dial around 1.2mm thick or a more accurate dial of around 2mm thick. The true size (thickness of the authentic dial is shown in another article on this website, not all Vintage Panerai dials were 2mm thick).

 

Thick Dial: If you plan to use a thicker 2mm dial then you may need to change the bezel to a 2 Piece Bezel. The alternative to this is to use one of the New 6152 Cases that is shown on this website, the New Case is available mid to late summer 2017.  The accurate Dial Diameter should be 37mm.

Alternatively you could also use a thinner dial of around 1.2mm thick. They are not quite as accurate and you will not need to upgrade the bezel as they should fit inside most 6152 cases. The diameter of the thinner dials are usually 39mm.

Below shows a 37mm / 2mm (thick) dial being fitted into a 6152 Case. The Case is shown without the Outer Bezel so that you can see the Inner Bezel which has been special made for this case.

At some stage you will need to decide what Movement you plan to use. Below shows an Angelus 240 cal with Stainless Steel movement holder.

Before the movement can be inserted into the case and checked for alignment we need to fit the Stem Tube. Below a new Bronze Stem Tube is shown (authentic Panerai 6152's used bronze not brass). The Stem Tube will be aged before fitted, if you dont know how to make this part look old then ask the supplier on this website as they will offer to age it for free.

Below: The Stem Tube, Crown, Crown Guard and Plexi have all been fitted. Its now time to fit the movement.

Below: If you look at the movement inside the case you will see that the Movement Holder hasn't been fitted yet. At this stage its a good idea to check to make sure that the stem aligns perfect in the stem tube.

If everything aligns and works well then its time to finish off the project and screw the Case Back on.