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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:01 pm 
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When I spoke to Jesse about fixing one of these he grunted/laughed.

Seems there is actually a part inside that is made
out of LEATHER!

He says he can fix em, but they are "Challenging!" ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:46 am 
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Location: near the mean streets of Detroit
You are right, it seems that mostly only the best watchmakers are willing to work on a Pierce chrono. (And by all accounts, that clearly describes Jesse.)

Pierce used an all in-house movement with a then-unusual clutch. Evidently today many other Chronos use a variation of the same clutch, supposedly starting with Seiko in 1968 or 69. I believe only the very earliest Pierce examples from the 1930s used a piece of round leather to act as a friction disk/washer of the clutch. I think before WWII they had replaced this with a plastic or rubber gasket/washer -- and in the long run that was likely even messier than the early leather ones. I own an early 1930's example but my others are from the 40s or 50s. The good news is that the leather on the early ones can be replaced with a rubber gasket also... as long as some tinker-er has not messed it up in the last 70 years.

After finding the following post on the internet a year or 2 ago, I stopped being afraid of them:

I disassembled a Pierce 134 recently because I simply was curious how it is
designed. No plastics with one exception: I found a (formerly) soft plastic
washer within the clutch. First I thought that someone tried to make the
chrono function by odd means, and left it out. The chrono worked without
the washer, but ran not synchronously with the sub second.

So this washer was likely applied to provide sufficient friction with low axial
pressure. And if it becomes hard, the clutch may slip (like without washer).
But it is no problem to cut a replacement from e.g. thin silicone-rubber
gasket material. As everything in this mechanism is adjustable by screws,
even the thickness of this washer is of minor importance.

Else everything is made for eternity, and I guess most not working samples
don't due to misadjustment or missing parts.

Regards, Roland Ranfft


When pushed a bit as to why most watch repair guys won't work on Pierce chronos, this was his response:

Simply because they are too lazy to analyze the function. The many
adustment devices for the travels of levers and springs make the movement
appear complicated, but it is actually simple, and it is kind of comfort that
everything is adjustable to get it running even with distorted or wrong parts.

Regards, Roland Ranfft


I have shared a few emails with Jesse about my examples, and my hope is that he will not mind the frustration. :) I owe him a phone call.

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Last edited by HamiltonIllinois on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:52 am 
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FJF wrote:
Hey Rick

I see that you have been holding out on us, giving us the old misdirection on Hamiltons and Illinois while you have been cornering the Pierce market. All I can say is WELL DONE. The Pierce look terrific. Would you trade one for a nice Andover ????

Thanks
FJF


I already have an extra Andover or 2. What I REALLY need is a Consul! ;)

"Problem, what problem!?"

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:49 am 
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My pierce chrono has been with my watchmaker for almost 2 years. I can't even find a photo of it.

I have my doubts I'm getting it back any time soon. :shock:

Maybe I should buy another 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:33 pm 
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trim wrote:
My pierce chrono has been with my watchmaker for almost 2 years. I can't even find a photo of it.

I have my doubts I'm getting it back any time soon. :shock:

Maybe I should buy another 8-)



Another Pierce or another watchmaker?

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:40 pm 
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HamiltonIllinois wrote:
trim wrote:
My pierce chrono has been with my watchmaker for almost 2 years. I can't even find a photo of it.

I have my doubts I'm getting it back any time soon. :shock:

Maybe I should buy another 8-)



Another Pierce or another watchmaker?


Another Pierce :lol: I really would have loved to wear it - it is frustrating.

I have been learning to service Chronographs, so I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to do a Pierce, of course 2 years ago I had no clue - so shipped them off.

Actually this thread has prompted action on my part, I'm going to call him tomorrow and if it isn't done - I'm asking for it back. It ran when it was sent to him, so I don't rightly know what the hold up is.

He's had a basic Landeron for even longer - I think they must just be beyond him.

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:35 pm 
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He hasn't started the Pierce, so I've asked for it back.

I'll be servicing it myself, live, here. Guess we'll find out if they really are so tricky.

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:11 am 
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trim wrote:
He hasn't started the Pierce, so I've asked for it back.

I'll be servicing it myself, live, here. Guess we'll find out if they really are so tricky.



YEAHHH!!!!

Celebrity Deathmatch right here.... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:13 am 
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I have got it back untouched after its 18 month stay with the watchmaker. It is running, and the chronograph is working - but it occassionally does not return to zero properly, and its last service was long ago and included finger prints. Its a bit of a roughy, unlike the others in this thread. I can't even say it was a good deal, as I overpaid thinking the dial was perfect - but it has a small chip (that I guess I can live with).

Identical to Rick's middle one in the second photo I think.

Image

Waterproof back, 8 screws.

Image

The movement is quite nice - plus a bit different and rather interesting.

Image

And some adds I'd posted previously elsewhere when I first got it

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:53 pm 
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HamiltonIllinois wrote:
My plan was to just strip it and send the pushers off to someone, but I've never stripped a chrono and I've been chicken to learn.


Rick, I took some photos for you - maybe they will help. They're pretty simple screw retained friction fit pushers.

Image

Image

The top and bottom pushers have different screw head length (longer is bottom).

Image

Image

Image

Kris.

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Those do help. THANK YOU!!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:18 pm 
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Good evening from the UK.

I just stumbled across this forum while trying to do a little research on a watch in my collection.
I have an old Pierce Chronographe but can't seem to find any info on it.
It appears to be a Cal 134 but that's about all I can figure out. I think it dates between 1939 - to mid forties and may have an RAF issue connection?

I can find a few pics of similar models but mine has a few different bits and bobs;
The face has a cream inner with a black ring of hour markers (arabic) and a red telemeter KM ring.
On the outside it has a champagne ring with very dark blue tachometer markings.
The two pushers are oval shaped push buttons. (bottom button start/stop & top button reset)
The case has fixed bar lugs.

The watch is in great shape and all works ok and I'd love to know more about it or be pointed in the right direction.

Many thanks in advance.

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Welcome to the forum Dan.

I'm led to believe that the RAF issued Pierce to medical staff during the late 30's and during WWII.

I have a suspicion (gleaned from someone else's bar talk) that mine was standard nurse issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:29 pm 
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dan888 wrote:
Good evening from the UK.

I just stumbled across this forum while trying to do a little research on a watch in my collection.
I have an old Pierce Chronographe but can't seem to find any info on it.
It appears to be a Cal 134 but that's about all I can figure out. I think it dates between 1939 - to mid forties and may have an RAF issue connection?

I can find a few pics of similar models but mine has a few different bits and bobs;
The face has a cream inner with a black ring of hour markers (arabic) and a red telemeter KM ring.
On the outside it has a champagne ring with very dark blue tachometer markings.
The two pushers are oval shaped push buttons. (bottom button start/stop & top button reset)
The case has fixed bar lugs.

The watch is in great shape and all works ok and I'd love to know more about it or be pointed in the right direction.

Many thanks in advance.

Dan


NICE!! I've seen a few of the RAF-issued watches and they all seem to have the odd V engraving on the reverse. Does your example?

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Yes, if issued, it ought to have a crows foot, plus T.P. 1/5 if IRCC.

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:39 pm 
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Keeping this thread alive! ;)

Image

Recently picked up this Pierce one button chronograph with black dial. It was running but, the chrono function needed the normal repair. Due to Rick's and Mark's, (aka. Old Lyme), help and sharing their repair person, I was able to get this one put back to running. These are very cool watches to look at, operate and wear! This one has some case wear but, it all just adds to the vintage look. The dial is very crisp through the new crystal and the refinished chrono hand adds a nice contrast to the black dial and chrome plated case. It has been getting plenty of wear this week!

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:00 am 
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Nice thread, with extremely nice watches!

Pierce got me hooked the moment I read about them - their history gives a lot of insight into the Swiss watchmaking industry's history as a whole.

After the First World War, the Swiss watchmaking industry fell for a general crisis - overcapacities andthe resulting fierce competition drove down prices and, with them, quality. The high reputation the Swiss watchmaking industry had been striving so hard to achieve over the last thirty years was at stake. In this situation the government began to regulate the industry and supported the merge of many of the lesser manufacturers in "trusts", one of them being the Ebauches S.A.. Lévy & Frères, who had founded the company in 1888, decided not to accept this offering which they deemed a mixed blessing.

As a consequence, they were stricken from the Ebauche's customer list and were left, over night, literally, without a movement supplier. Instead of giving in, they decided to make movements on their own. In order to avoid patent infringements, they settled for often unusual solutions - for instance, they came up with an automatic calibre that was wound by a linear moving weight rather than a pendulum or a rotor. It works surprisingly nice...

They also went for a different way to operate a chronograph. In order to steer clear from any patent in possession of Ebauches S.A., they brought in fresh thinking to the chronograph clutch. Rather than using a horizontal clutch (introduced by Breitling, improved upon bei Heuer), they invented a vertical clutch, utilizing a disc made of rubber or plastic, pretty much like the disc in a car clutch.

They made two calibers. The first one, named 130, was introduced around 1936. It features not even the minute register wheel, as the 60-minute-register was driven straight from the barrel:

Image

(The adjustment of this mechanism is a nightmare - my watchmaker needed three attempts to make it work as it should.)

The watches with a 130 are extremely rare, probably due to their bad serviceability, and possibly because not many of them were built. Here is mine:

Image

Image

It is in outstanding condition, as if it was never worn. Even the strap is original.

Image

(By the way, Pierce were master-marketers as well - they equipped the Italian biking team and indviduals from other nations and thus created "brand ambassadors" at a time when this concept wasn't even thought of.)

The caliber 130 was duly superseded by the cal. 134, which drives the minute register from the clutch. It was available in mono-pusher ...

Image

... and dual-pusher variants:

Image

Here are the watches they belong into:

First an "RAF"-dialled mono-pusher 134:

Image

Image

(Note that this is not the "real" RAF dial, but one made for customers in countries with metric measurement systems - check out the telemeter-scale which reads in kilometers rather than miles)

Second a dual-pusher 134:

Image

Image

(Note: there are people on the www who keep telling you that 'the 130 was the mono-pusher and the 134 the dual-pusher variant'. This is not true - the only thing you can say for sure without seeing the movement is, that if it has two pushers, it certainly has a 134. Only a look into the watch will tell you what movement it really has. (Note, though, that the 130s have registers of identical size - on most (but not all!) 134s the minute register is larger than the indicator second subdial.))

(Note to myself: it was here that I saw the "copper" dial for the first time. I need to have one of those. ;-))

Most Pierces come in their standard cases with a pressed lid on the back, but Pierce made some of them also in watertight cases with screws around a lead gasket which, by all accounts, held the watch interior free from dust and moisture. So it would be very plausible if Indiana Jones wore one of these ;-)

By the way, the notion that Pierce's chronographs didn't sell well is controversial at best. Pierce sold their chronographs at the cheap end of the market and the Venus 170 and Valjoux 77 movements were introduced to mimic the Pierces' typical layout with subdials on '6' and '12'. In fact, the Pierces were deemed "Volks-Chronographs" at a time, when the really cheap chronograph carrying Landeron's cam-operated movements was still some ten years off.

If you look into the market today you'll see lots of them, at least with 134 calibers. They are fairly underrated despite them being so interesting from both a technical and a historical point of view. Grab them while they last!

Best regards
Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:07 am 
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Thanks for the great information Andreas along with the terrific images. BTW, I think the copper dialed one you saw was mine. I noticed that another copper dial example sole recently (for cheap) on eBay. I hope you got it. I will be getting 2 of mine back from service in the next few days. (I still need to send in my copper dial example for a COA.) Maybe I'll see if I can get a proper family shot before sending one off to camp. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:11 am 
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You're welcome, Rick!

No, I missed out on the copper one - little wonder given that I wasn't even aware that such dials exist. Only when I saw them here it came back to me that I'd seen one of these in an older post on some obscure website (not even watch-related, if I remember correctly - I think it was a militaria site where they discussed pilot watches...) Anyhow, I'm going to hold out for them now ;)

Best regards, and looking forward to your family shot!

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Pierce Chronograph
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:30 am 
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Sorry to revive this very old thread, but I'm curious if Kris ever finished his Pierce. Interestingly, I have seen a bit of rebirth in Pierce chronos on eBay the last 1-2 years.

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