Semi-identifyable watch; has broken balance staff

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Semi-identifyable watch; has broken balance staff

#1 Post by ToshibaAbhorsen » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:29 am

Hello! I'm new to this forum, so I hope I'm posting this thread in the proper place and way.
I have a watch, handed down to my mother from her mother, who was a nurse. From the text on the watch, I can tell that it's a railway regulator, made by Levinsons', in Perth, Australia. Beyond that, I can't find out much about it. I've googled "Levinsons' pocket watch", "Railway regulator Australia", and many other permutations of what's printed on the watch.
The watch doesn't work, and I believe I have tracked the problem down to a broken balance staff. I'm fairly confident that's what's wrong, as the balance wheel has far too much freedom and the tips of the staff look like they've broken off, but please correct me otherwise!
A while ago, the watch was sent to a repair place in Wolverhampton. The watch came straight back, and they said that they couldn't find a replacement part. Before trying elsewhere, I thought I'd poke around on the internet to see if I could find a replacement part myself. I've looked on ebay, and a few other places, both for replacement parts and for a similar broken watch. I haven't been able to find a watch similar enough that I'd risk incompatibility, and since the tips of the balance staff appear to have broken off, I can't measure its height to look for another part with any accuracy.
If anyone has more info on this watch, or can point me in the right direction in terms of repair, that would be greatly appreciated!
Here are some photos, sorry if they're not very good. I had to use a magnifying glass for two of them because the camera wouldn't focus otherwise.
In case the photo of the inside isn't clear enough, the various bits of text read:
The number next to the balance wheel is 49.

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Re: Semi-identifyable watch; has broken balance staff

#2 Post by unreformed66 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:16 pm

I'm pretty sure that's a Montilier movement. They're not easy to find information on, good luck!

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Re: Semi-identifyable watch; has broken balance staff

#3 Post by 441victor » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:20 am

It looks like there's a serial number on the pillar plate under the edge on the balance. The 49 on the balance cock should match the last 2 numbers if it is original to the movement. The other bridges will be stamped with the last 2-4 numbers also. This was done so they could be matched back up even when disassembled and cleaned in a batch. There are watchmakers that are able to duplicate a balance staff by taking measurements from the original if a factory replacement can't be located. It's all a matter of cost of course. At one time I found a company on the internet that could drill the end of a broken staff and insert a piece of hardened wire to act as a pivot. Not as good a fix but maybe cheaper. The other solution is to put in the time to learn your way around a watchmaker's lathe and eventually make a replacement yourself. Are you mechanically inclined and what is your time worth? I suggest starting with doing research here and other forums, specifically the NAWCC Message Board. Ask questions and see if the answers get you interested in a new hobby. Joel

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