Serial # 82,054
DOM: Circa 1955
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This Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos 526-5 arrived to us with a broken suspension wire, snapped regulator clamp, case and dial corrosion. The mainspring was previously replaced with a newer and less sturdy spring, so we decided to use the original spring with a higher tensile strength.
Upon request from our friend and client, we were able to restore the dial in white, leaving the readability of the time much higher. The case was not in a terrible position to start with, and this gave us a good foundation to perform our services and skills. Since we repair the entire case by hand, patience and steadiness of hand are born out in the finished product. We have resurrected Atmos Clocks in much worse shape than this Atmos 526-5 in previous editions of the Workshop Blog.
We started with the repair and service of the movement on this Atmos 526-5. Typically, I myself, would prefer to do the case first because then I will have clock put together when servicing the movement and the regulation and settings are completed just once. However, we empathize with our clients who wish to know how much money it will cost to get the clock running prior to beginning the case project. We replaced wire, clamp, and mainspring, then added our finished dial to the clock. The replacement of suspension wire always takes a long time, because the density and composition of such a fine wire is varying, the mass or weights on the balance wheel will need to be adjusted (a coarse adjustment) along with making adjustments to regulating lever (which lengthens and shortens wire and is a fine adjustment). In between each adjustment, the clock has to run to give us an idea which way it will need to be adjusted.
To begin the case restoration we strip any remaining lacquer coat from the case parts, dial rest, bellow drum and cover, as well as the balance wheel. After we have our bare metal to work with, we then buff the case with three levels of rouge or buffing compound. Beginning with a more coarse compound, working into a finer and higher shine application. Polishing or buffing is the process of turning large scratches in to small scratches and eventually removal of all scratches.
After the brass on this case was renewed and bare, we use a polish to remove left over buffing compound and brighten the metal surface. Once this is completed, it is important to work quickly to either Gold Plate the Atmos Clock, or in this case apply the clear coat lacquer protective finish (also applied by hand). The bare brass is highly reactive with oxygen and moisture, so it is important to move through this stage quickly. Brass left out will oxidize and take us back to the beginning steps. We apply several coats of clear lacquer to protect the Atmos 526-5 and preserve the finish.
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