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Is There Anything 'Special' About the ETA 2846?


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#1
JoeyB

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I bought my first ETA 2846 slow beat from Smith's Supply for $90 shipped. Good price, bad experience. Someone made an unauthorized charge on my credit card, all cleared now with no cost to me, but I won't trust them again. But I am so very impressed with the movement. It is NOS with a 'Bulova' rotor. I swapped that out, modified it to two position, removed all the day-date stuff, regulated it really easily, and the reserve is over 50 hours. In fact, the things runs with any slightest vibration. Maybe I'm used to the not quite so clean movements we get from China, and this is what a clean and serviced movement is supposed to do. I swear that the cat walking by is enough to make it run!

So, I got the bright idea to get another. Everyone else is $150 or more, so being on a 'bright idea' roll I decided to buy a used one off of Ebay and finally try a full service myself. Got one that is a 'Swiss Army' watch, then researched, asked the experts, almost quit because the lubes were far more money and quantity to be worth it, got a quote from a watchmaker of $250 for service, and figured the worst I could do was to wipe out a $16.00 movement. Talked to a friend, got the lube in a reasonable quantity and tore into it using the PDF ETA 2846 schematic. All cleaned and pressed, I put it back together except for the rotor.

It runs. Sitting in the movement holder, no rotor, and it runs. Like the Eveready battery, it keeps going, and going and going! Like my first one, a slight vibration and it was off and running.

Installed the dial, hands, stem and crown and left it in the movement holder without the rotor. I wound it 30 easy winds, noted the time, noted the second hand and the date set, covered it in glass. At a little more than 48 hours it was one second fast, and I hadn't tried to regulate it yet. It finally stopped at 58½ hours. Needless to say I am pleased!

But is that sort of reserve, and instant reaction to any vibration 'normal' for a fully cleaned and pressed movement? It wouldn't make sense if it was just the ETA2846 that works so well, basically it's a slow beat 2836. But it beats my ETA 2893-2 that was purchased new by 10 hours, but has less complications for sure. Could that be the reason? I plan on converting this movement to be GMT and put it in my 6542 because of the slow beat, but now too because it has that 'sentimental' value that I did it! Maybe someone can tell me what I did right so I can do it again!

#2
woof*

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I enjoyed reading your story, and I compliment your skills in servicing your movement.
Must feel great doing that and with a huge power reserve to boot.
My 2846 in my great white runs the longest and is my most accurate too..and it hasnt been serviced! :)

#3
stilty

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The reason you get a longer power reserve with the 2846 is because it is a slow beat. less beats means the mainspring will unwind that much slower. The 2846 is only beating 21600 ticks, while the 2893-2 has to beat 28800 ticks in the same time frame.

#4
JoeyB

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I hadn't thought of that. That makes sense! But don't tell anyone, I'm grabbing all the credit... :1a:

#5
Ronin

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....

Installed the dial, hands, stem and crown and left it in the movement holder without the rotor. I wound it 30 easy winds, noted the time, noted the second hand and the date set, covered it in glass. At a little more than 48 hours it was one second fast, and I hadn't tried to regulate it yet. It finally stopped at 58½ hours. Needless to say I am pleased!

But is that sort of reserve, and instant reaction to any vibration 'normal' for a fully cleaned and pressed movement? It wouldn't make sense if it was just the ETA2846 that works so well, basically it's a slow beat 2836. But it beats my ETA 2893-2 that was purchased new by 10 hours, but has less complications for sure. Could that be the reason? I plan on converting this movement to be GMT and put it in my 6542 because of the slow beat, but now too because it has that 'sentimental' value that I did it! Maybe someone can tell me what I did right so I can do it again!


After I completed the TZ Watch School, I went thru a phase of skill building where I bought a bunch of 2846 powered Octo's. Did the COMPLETE teardown, "Pro"Ultrasonic Clean, One-Dip Balance, and lube and rebuild.

Out of curiosity, is yours a 17 jewel or 21 jewel?

To your questions and observations:

1.) Don't be fooled by it "ran for 58 hours". Unless you had "eyes on it" for the final 10 hours after you observed it @ 48 -- chances are its timekeeping went out the window, slowing greatly over its final hours/minutes. They don't run for 58 hours of perfect timekeeping and just STOP. So if you were sleeping, then checked it the next morning and came up with the 58 hours, that is not an accurate measure of reserve. Also, slow beat tend to run a bit longer.

2.) Zigmeister might be able to clarify my next speculation. From my 'subjective' experience, watches with less jewels, or too little lube tend to have less friction and start up easy, and may even have an extended reserve.

3.) Why convert the 2846 to a GMT, when the DG3804 is already a slow beat GMT movement with correct hand stack and good DW alignment? IF only for the reason it is "Swiss" it seems like a lot of extra work.

Overall sounds like you have a good movement.

#6
JoeyB

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This one is the 21 jewel, the first one was 17 jewels.
Well, 'kinda'. Last night at about 1 A.M. it was still running and accurate. At 4:30 A.M. (60 year old pee time...you'll get there) it was stopped.
I can't say if I lubed it with the correct amount. I 'guessed' at it, using the red oiler. I just made certain to see something go on, a 'glimmer or shine' change.

Actually I love the DG3804B, and have two in my drawer new from Frei. That might be a good subject for another thread, or here if this has become boring. I came to these message boards 5+ years ago likely for the same reason as many do, I had 'cheap' knockoffs and wanted a good one with a genuine Swiss movement. I saw the sites that had them for $1200, and almost bought one. Then I found RWG1.1. Learned about the other sites and did a lot of scouting before I bought. Got my first watch from Joshua, a GMT 'Retro' with a 'Swiss' ETA2836-2. Since then I got hooked, line and sinker, have modded the 16710 a bit, added a GMT ceramic that will pass through TSA metal detector just as a gen does, bought and sold a few others, and grew with the hobby.
RolexAddict got my attention with the 1675 when he was doing his first one and hadn't yet sourced all the parts. I love the 'hunt', came here and saw freddy333's 6542 and fell in love. Nope, not with freddy - he's a good guy, but - the watch hooked me. I didn't know about vintage watches. My first build was my 6542 and I posted it here and on 1.1. This site has the best vintage knowledge and work, so I'm settled here now, and persona non gratis at 1.1. My 6542 started with freddy's 1st insert, then on to the ones I've made, and now with the ones I make and sell. RolexAddict uses and recommends the DG3804b, so I tried a few. I have had no failures yet with one, but they all came from Frei new, not from dealers in China. I don't know if that makes any difference.

Most of us 'feel' better with a known 'Swiss' movement. 'Smart' says the DG3804b is a GMT from birth while the Asian or 'Swiss' ETA2836-2 is modded to be GMT, and that makes the DG the better choice. All things being equal, in 3 - 5 years when a service should be done, it's $150 and up for the 2836-2, and a hammer for the DG, then get a new one for $25. In this instance the ETA 2846 is a genuine Swiss and was $16, so I did good! And yes, it is nice for me to know I have a real swiss movement in my fake-err-replica 6542. But in reality it only matters to the guy who wears it, not in the function or form. It's a head game. If I were to build 6542's to sell I would offer all the movements anyone wants priced accordingly, but would strongly recommend the DG3804b and with the same warranty that Frei gives me. You are right, it is that good.

#7
RWG Technical

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I can't say if I lubed it with the correct amount. I 'guessed' at it, using the red oiler. I just made certain to see something go on, a 'glimmer or shine' change.


Congradulations on getting it back together and running.

Most points have been covered, run time is exactly as already described, slower beat = runs longer.

If you don't have a watch analyzer and can't see the beat and rate, it's anyone's guess what the timekeeping is and how much it varies over the run time. After 24 hours of running the timing will be totally different to what it is at full wind.

As for oiling, I can guarantee that on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a perfect oiling of all the jewels, the escapment, the reversing wheels, and the cap jewels, without a doubt a detailed examination of the movement would be graded at 1 or less. This isn't an insult to your skill or talent, it's reality.

Oiling is the most difficult part of any servicing, and requires a detailed understanding of the oiling requirements, what to oil, quantity, what type of oil, and above all a lot of practice, years in fact. If not done correctly, mis-oiling will cause problems, running problems, or wear problems. A red oiler is way oversized for almost all of the pivots on this size movement, so it's probably over oiled, excessivly. Without a timer, you have no way of seeing your results, and without knowing what the requirement of proper oiling is, no way of knowing if you did the right thing or not.

Slow beat movements tend to be much more forgiving than today's fast beat movements, they will run under most conditions, for a while, evey when completely dry.

The most critical part of servicing is full teardown and ultrasonic cleaning in watch cleaning solutions, rinses (3 of them) and complete drying. You didn't mention what you used for cleaning, correct oiling can only be done in a clean jewel and pivot.

Watchmakers charge what they do because of the huge outlay in tooling and shop supplies and training. Cleaning solutions run $50 a gallon alone, servicing is very complex and isn't as simple as dabbing some oil on the jewels. You had success, but that in itself doesn't mean that it's done correctly. The question remains, how well is the movement lubricated and in 5 years will there be any wear, wear to parts that are becoming more scarce by the day...I see worn irreplaceable parts all the time, simply due to incorrect or lack of servicing.

#8
redwatch

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Cleaning solutions run $50 a gallon alone.....


Not to mention the cost of the Ultrasonic Watch cleaner. They can get quite costly. No idea what the current model's sell for, but the L&R Tempo 400 are over $3k in cost (and that's if you can find one). A properly running Bulova Watchmaster Cleaner can be over $700. I don't think the $35.00 eBay special ultrasonic cleaners will quite do the job ;)

@JoeyB - congrats on your first tear down though!!! Very very cool! I haven't braved it myself yet. I have oilers and all of the right oils & lubes for a 6497 servicing, but haven't tried it out yet. It's the oiling part that holds me back. Very precise job that one, and not for the faint of heart (as Ziggy quite properly pointed out above).

#9
Ronin

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Well said Zigmeister. :notworthy:

Last time I checked, and I am just a "Hobbyist", I had $800 tied up in tooling/cleaning solutions/and oils.

#10
Jkay

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Congrats on having the nerve to take the first step, and actually having a running watch when you were done.

#11
automatico

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If you want to save $$ when starting out, you can go the 'Seiko route' with 4 basic lubricants...heavier train oil (such as Moebius 9020), a thinner oil for escapements etc (like Moebius 9010), grease (KT 22 etc), and maybe Mobieus 8210 for mainsprings. You might also need pallet fork/escape wheel lube such as Moebius 9415.

You can change brands and save a whole lot. Zenith oil for instance is highly respected and the cost is a fraction of Moebius. You can buy a bottle of synthetic Zenith oil big enough to get drunk on for a few bucks. Zenith Vacu-Seal is one of the best silicon gasket lubes too.

You do not need a whole lot of 'watchmaker stuff' to do a good job. Imho, you need a steady hand, a good eye, good optics, a few good tools, good light, good instruction, a LOT of practice...and a HUGE sense of humor about mechanical watches.
...and I mean HUGE!

I have an L&R Ultramatic/Ultrasonic cleaning machine but good used examples cost too much now that mechanical watches are popular again and they are hard to keep up (vacuum tubes, hydraulic pump, relays etc). Something smaller and simpler is better for cleaning jobs now and then. Even an old L&R 'milkshake maker' is pretty good if you can find one for a good price.

#12
JoeyB

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Congradulations on getting it back together and running.


The Zigmeister, I don't doubt what you say at all.


redwatch Posted Today, 07:21 PM:
@JoeyB - congrats on your first tear down though!!! Very very cool! I...


Thank you!


Jkay Posted Today, 08:22 PM:
Congrats on having the nerve to take the first step, and actually having a running watch when you were done.


I appreciate it!



Five years ago I didn't know what an ETA movement was. Five years from now who knows what movements will be available with Swatch changing their policies. Right now I'm building my watches to last until December 21 just in case the Mayans were on to something... :red_indian:

#13
RWG Technical

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Last time I checked, and I am just a "Hobbyist", I had $800 tied up in tooling/cleaning solutions/and oils.


You don't want to know how much I have tied up in tooling... :)

You do not need a whole lot of 'watchmaker stuff' to do a good job. Imho, you need a steady hand, a good eye, good optics, a few good tools, good light, good instruction, a LOT of practice...and a HUGE sense of humor about mechanical watches.
...and I mean HUGE!


Very well said and great suggestions. Although I use Zenith cleaning fluids, I have been told that their oils etc are not up to the same standards as Mobius.

Five years ago I didn't know what an ETA movement was. Five years from now who knows what movements will be available with Swatch changing their policies. Right now I'm building my watches to last until December 21 just in case the Mayans were on to something... :red_indian:


It is truely an art and science when it comes to servicing. If you haven't already, take the TZ course, my understanding is that there is now a Part 3, that goes into further detail. And if you have time, read and read more about watchmaking and servicing.

Above all keep in mind that these older movements tend to be neglected for many years, and parts are getting very difficult to find, all the more reason to make sure the movements you have, won't wear out, and with proper servicing, at 5 or so year intervals, they will outlast you.

#14
preacher62

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If you want to save $$ when starting out, you can go the 'Seiko route' with 4 basic lubricants...heavier train oil (such as Moebius 9020), a thinner oil for escapements etc (like Moebius 9010), grease (KT 22 etc), and maybe Mobieus 8210 for mainsprings. You might also need pallet fork/escape wheel lube such as Moebius 9415.

You can change brands and save a whole lot. Zenith oil for instance is highly respected and the cost is a fraction of Moebius. You can buy a bottle of synthetic Zenith oil big enough to get drunk on for a few bucks. Zenith Vacu-Seal is one of the best silicon gasket lubes too.

You do not need a whole lot of 'watchmaker stuff' to do a good job. Imho, you need a steady hand, a good eye, good optics, a few good tools, good light, good instruction, a LOT of practice...and a HUGE sense of humor about mechanical watches.
...and I mean HUGE!

I have an L&R Ultramatic/Ultrasonic cleaning machine but good used examples cost too much now that mechanical watches are popular again and they are hard to keep up (vacuum tubes, hydraulic pump, relays etc). Something smaller and simpler is better for cleaning jobs now and then. Even an old L&R 'milkshake maker' is pretty good if you can find one for a good price.


I have been servicing my own movements for several years and it is the movements that lead me to this rep forum. But...it is the sense of humor in which I am sorely lacking. I would recommend that anyone who wants to service ETA movements, for instance, check your click spring and shock springs and make sure that you have some extras. I, quite often, will launch one into the ionosphere. I am running almost 99 % recovery now with a new vacuum cleaner.

#15
JoeyB

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I have been servicing my own movements for several years and it is the movements that lead me to this rep forum. But...it is the sense of humor in which I am sorely lacking. I would recommend that anyone who wants to service ETA movements, for instance, check your click spring and shock springs and make sure that you have some extras. I, quite often, will launch one into the ionosphere. I am running almost 99 % recovery now with a new vacuum cleaner.


I've had complaints about the sonic boom made by parts exceeding the speed of sound in unknown directions through the house. Fortunately, my Lady is a surgical Nurse and can find a 7-0 prolene suture needle on an OR floor all day long, so teeny-tiny watch parts are no sweat for her. She's found `em all. And there is no truth to the rumor that I've dropped a few on purpose just to watch her do it... :whistling:

#16
preacher62

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I've had complaints about the sonic boom made by parts exceeding the speed of sound in unknown directions through the house. Fortunately, my Lady is a surgical Nurse and can find a 7-0 prolene suture needle on an OR floor all day long, so teeny-tiny watch parts are no sweat for her. She's found `em all. And there is no truth to the rumor that I've dropped a few on purpose just to watch her do it... :whistling:


Yeah...that was me. LOL

#17
Jkay

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Pro tip: placing a strong light source on the floor will cause even small parts to cast a long shadow, making them easier to find.

#18
JoeyB

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I'm 60, and my Lady is at least 40. We don't care for 'strong lighting'. :idea:
You'll get there...Posted Image

#19
Curt941

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I JUST discovered this movement. Holy crap, drop in replacement for the 2836 but doesn't beat 8 per second, only 6!

But damn, it's like half the price!

I don't do reps, I am building Homages, but I love the rep scene because unlike the gen crowd, most people here actually KNOW about watches!

#20
Ronin

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Yes, but they are out of production. Everything you find is old stock or out of an old watch. The oil is dried out, and it needs a full service when you get them...


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