How to replace a broken balance staff on a Pocket Watch

Replacing a broken balance staff on a pocket watch, is not a very complicated repair. However it is made it easier if you have the correct tools and enough patience to get through the complete repair. The balance is important, obviously, and the staff is important to allow the wheel to oscillate back and forth without friction.

a balance that can break in several different ways. Most common, is the fact that the Watches bank to get something really hard or dropped on something that did not give. If a balance staff brakes on a pocket watch, we also have to look at the upper and lower balance jewels to see if either of those have cracked or broken. If this is the case, then those Jules will also have to be replaced along with the balance staff.

tools you’ll need to do this job

To change the balance to have a pocket watch, you’ll need a whole Lotta different tools to perform this. Some of these tools can be complicated to use and if you have no experience I don’t recommend doing this repair on your own. At least here, the tools that you’ll need to do this job.

Check out the Watch Tools Page

  1. Screwdrivers
  2. Tweezers
  3. Collet Remover
  4. Hairspring removal tools
  5. Roller Table Remover
  6. Staking Set with appropriate stakes
  7. Cleaning solutions and watch parts rinsing solutions
  8. Ultrasonic cleaner
  9. Small brass hammer
  10. Of course, a parts tray would also be recommended

Steps to remove the balance staff

Here I’m going to outline each of the steps to begin the removal of the balanced out from the balance wheel.

Of course the first thing you’ll have to do is remove the movement from the case. This involves the dictating process usually moving the stem to the second click, and removing the key screws that hold the movement into the case then gently removing the case from the watch and placing the watch movement aside. You’ll also have to remove the hands from the watch is not to damage those.

The next step would be to remove the balance completely from the watch movement very gently so as not to cause any other problems. There should be a most pocket watches, one screw that holds the balance onto the movement. Remove that screw, and gently pry off the balance with the balance bridge instead of the side, placing the movement in a secure place as not to cause any issues with it.

Examine the balance bridge defined the connection where the hairspring contacts and makes a permanent connection to the balance itself. Normally this is held in place with a small screw. Loosen that screw but do not remove it, and you should be able to remove the balance wheel with the hairspring attached to it from the balance bridge.

The next step we have to accomplish is to remove the hairspring color and all, from the balance staff that it is pressure fit too. Typically we would use small pry tools to gently loosen the hair sprinkle it from the balance staff lifting it up and removing the hairspring completely with Scarlet and placing it aside. At this point we should be left with the balance wheel attached to a balance staff and have a roller table attached to the bottom of the balance wheel.

The next step is to use a roller removal tool and remove the the roller table from the balance staff. The use of a roller table removal tool accomplishes this as you can see in the video above. This is a specialized tool used specifically for this purpose. These tools can be purchased for most supply houses that offer watch tools and parts or on

Once the roller table has been gently removed from the balance staff, placed the roller table along with some of the other parts in your parts tray to keep them organized and safe.

the next step is to remove the staff from the balance wheel, and this is accomplished with the use of a staking set. Staking sets are custom tools used in both the watch and jewelry industry to do a variety of repairs and tasks. Stake Sets can be expensive, however you can get used staking sets on eBay or online for purchase new ones rather exorbitant costs from suppliers.

The balance wheel and balance staff have to be placed on a flat surface of the staking set. The next thing we use is a small stake, which is used to remove the staff gently from the balance wheel. These stakes usually have a small hole allowing you to place it on the staking kit itself and just over the edge of the ballot staff. A small brass hammer will then be used to tap the stake and allow the balance to have to be removed from the balance wheel. At this point, place the balance wheel in your parts tray to keep it safe from further damage.

The process of removing the staff from the balance wheel, as shown in the video above, and I suggest that you review that step so that you can see the actual procedure that’s done to remove the staff.

now if the staff has been removed we can proceed to the next step which is to install the new balance DEF onto your existing balance wheel.

Installing the new staff

installing the new balance staffing onto the balance wheel, is also a process that you want to take your time and be very patient with. If you’re not careful, you can cause great damage to the balance wheel itself. You can also damage the new balance staff, and if you don’t have spares you’ll have to order another.

the process to install the new staff is as follows….

The first thing you need to do is take your new balance staff and place it gently onto the plate of the staking base. Make sure that it is in the correct size hole and supported with the rim of the staff above the base of the staking kit.

place the balance wheel on top of the new staff it should fit loose, and make sure that is flat and seated well.

you’ll need to grab a new punch from your staking kit, that has the appropriate size hole or insert that fits around the new balance staff. It should fit snuggly but not quite tightly over the staff and it should have a tapered end on it in a convex form. As in the video you’ll place the open hole stake onto and surrounding the upper part of the staff. Once you’ve made sure that the stake is seated correctly, and that the balance and staff are perfectly aligned, gently tap the stake with a small hammer and compress the staff and balance together. This will create a tight fit and bond the two pieces together.

Adding the Hairspring and Roller table.

If you have followed along, and the staff and balance are affixed, it is time to put the hairspring and roller table onto the upper and lower sections of the balance staff.

First, start by positioning the roller table onto the staff. line it up to a point that you are comfortable with, and place it on the staking base. Again, we are going to use a stake with the appropriate size hole and notch to allow you to tap down the roller table onto the staff. In the video, I cover this, and if needed, watch it a couple of times to get comfortable with the process.

Once the roller table is on, then we need to grab a punch plate with a hole and notch in it to hold our balance with the roller table down. As shown in the video. This will position the balance in the upward position, and allow you to ten place the hairspring onto the upper part of the staff.

NOTE: The hairspring is probably the most delicate part of a watch. Please use caution, take your time, and don’t force the parts together. We’ll be using another hole stake that allows us to push the collet of the hairspring tightly onto the upper side of the balance staff.

Aligning the hairspring correctly

I’m going to do my best to explain the alignment procedure to you, but I think it is covered well in the video…

First, as I did in the video, I like to use a marker, to put a spot onto the balance wheel at the angle of the roller jewel protruding outward. This helps me, as the roller jewel will not be visible when holding the complete balance for alignment.

Place the balance bridge, (sometimes called the balance cock, I have no reason to explain for that), onto the watch. You do not have to screw it down, just make sure that it is placed correctly.

Next, get your hands on the smallest screwdriver you have, and hold the balance wheel above the balance bridge, aligning the staff to the upper balance jewel, and find the path from that point out using the dot placed on the rim of the balance wheel. Align it with the three jewels or pinions, Balance, Pallet and Escapement.

Now, you can use the screwdriver to insert into the opening of the collet, and gently turn it in either directly, so that the hairspring stud, lines up with the hole for the stud on the balance bridge. Again, this is show well in the video.

Keep in mind, this is how we align the roller and pallet for, and the closer you get to a perfect alignment, the better the results of the Beat Error will be. Closer Alignment means lower beat error rates and gives our watch a better operating beat.

Once aligned, put the balance aside, and remove the bridge, now you can attach the hairspring stud to the balance bridge, and in most cases, a small screw is used to lock the stud in place.

From here, we’re done with the balance, and you can move on to more fun things, such as getting the watch running like a champ.