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Old 30 July 2019, 12:08 AM   #1
bondtoys
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ALS Sax-o-Mat movement wear marks

Hello all,

I've just picked up my second ALS with the gorgeous Sax-o-Mat movement.

On a close inspection, I have discovered these scratches kind on the black-polished surface of the mainspring barrel cap.



So, I went back to my other ALS and have discovered less deep but still obvious marks on that one, too.



Now before you tell me "This happens when an unqualified watchmaker services a precious ALS watch (that was my first line of thought), check this out:

https://www.watchprosite.com/a.-lang...63858.6704798/

That watch (brand new back then) quite obviously has been lent to various watch magazines (all of the reviews from that time show the watch with the serial 217721) and check the 4th pic from that article:



The watch was also reviewed by Hodinkee and others, but most of them used a stock pic of the same movement which is photoshopped/enhanced.


So quite obviously, at least one new watch from the manufacture had this kind of mark as well.

I've been spending some time today to check every available pic that I could find and I can say, that ALL watches that exposed the critical section on real pics had this mark.

Anyone knows what that is?
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Old 30 July 2019, 12:27 AM   #2
PJ S
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If I had to guess, I’d say it seems like something under the automatic winding bridge is making contact with the ratchet wheel.
Might be worth contact ALS to get their view on it, and have the problem corrected so that it doesn’t re-occur.

After a fair bit of image checking, you’re not alone. Looks like it’s a design flaw that they’re oblivious to or don’t care about.
Worst one seen so far…



Notice how the markings aren’t entirely homogenous, there appears to be a bit of wandering?
That would lead me to conclude that the automatic bridge isn’t as rigid as it should, and there’s some form of flexing which is allowing a part underneath to touch the surface. I suspect it’s the teeth of one of the wheels, which will be sitting in a jewel, hence where the slight lateral movement creates a contact point that isn’t in the same horizontal position each time it touches the wheel.

However, this image (too big to link normally) gives the impression that the bridge hasn’t been properly machined flat, but I think it’s just an optical resolution.

https://www.watchclub.com/upload/wat...ear-2007-7.jpg

How it does look when new and fresh from the factory… https://loupiosity.com/wp-content/ga...e__dsc0176.jpg
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Old 30 July 2019, 01:33 AM   #3
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Watch serial 217721 came new from the factory and had these marks, evidently from my previous pics.

And on watchbox and chrono24 there are several 1-2 year old watches that show the damage on real pics.
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Old 30 July 2019, 01:50 AM   #4
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However, this image (too big to link normally) gives the impression that the bridge hasn’t been properly machined flat, but I think it’s just an optical resolution.

Wow!!
Seems that we know where the marks come from.

Where did you find that image and have they discussed the issue there?
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Old 30 July 2019, 01:54 AM   #5
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I can't imagine they don't know about this issue. Doesn't seem to be an easy fix, but at this price point, they need to stand behind their product and replace the mainspring barrel cover and re-machine the bridge (assuming that's the issue).
I know an insignificant amount of metal has been shaved off, but the movement should be cleaned as well.
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Old 30 July 2019, 01:59 AM   #6
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Crappy iphone pic from my watch.
You can see the wheel touching the bridge!

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Old 30 July 2019, 02:00 AM   #7
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I have contacted the factory now, will keep you updated.
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Old 30 July 2019, 02:11 AM   #8
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Too little end-shake for the barrel between the main plate and the bridge, sloppy.
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Old 30 July 2019, 02:14 AM   #9
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Thanks Bas. That confirms my gut feeling.
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Old 30 July 2019, 02:50 AM   #10
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Crappy iphone pic from my watch.
You can see the wheel touching the bridge!
In two places too, by the looks of it.
Suggests they’re using that to keep the wheel stabilised, preventing it from rocking to and fro as it pivots in the jewel above.
Not a great design in that respect.

Photo belongs to WatchClub.
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Old 30 July 2019, 03:15 AM   #11
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Any compounding issues with the metal being shaved off you think?
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Old 30 July 2019, 03:32 AM   #12
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^
Accelerated and additional wear, but to what extent is hard to quantify.
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Old 30 July 2019, 03:54 AM   #13
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Interesting, thought that would not have happened with a Lange
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Old 30 July 2019, 04:00 AM   #14
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To be honest, after I have discovered the marks on my just-purchased ALS yesterday, I‘ve blamed his watchmaker for being incompetent and having ruined the watch.

Good that it was sunday and I could not confront the guy directly.
That‘s when I‘ve started researching.
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Old 1 August 2019, 12:01 AM   #15
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Any word back from ALS?
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Old 1 August 2019, 04:55 PM   #16
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Not yet. Will keep you all informed
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Old 2 August 2019, 05:03 PM   #17
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That is really disappointing. Hopefully Lange fixes the problem, but I can't believe they were unaware of the issue.
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Old 3 August 2019, 01:48 AM   #18
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It looks intentional, if anything...."German silver exhibits exceptional wear characteristics when utilized as a rudimentary bushing"
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Old 3 August 2019, 04:58 AM   #19
bondtoys
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Black-polishing the corresponding wheel and exposing it scratched would not make much sense then.
I‘d expect Lange to do better than that.

Found another real pic from a Hodinkee review

Scratched wheel again on a brand new watch
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Old 3 August 2019, 08:03 PM   #20
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I take it still no word from Lange. Very disappointing.
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Old 3 August 2019, 10:15 PM   #21
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I take it still no word from Lange. Very disappointing.
I can tell you from my personal experience that Lange is extremely responsive and always make things right- currently it’s the summer holidays and just like most of Europe a big chunk of the staff are off- the manufacture used to shut down for a full month so naturally things are very slow.

Here are two of my experiences with Lange:

https://www.watchprosite.com/a.-lang...251.9356771/0/

https://www.watchprosite.com/a.-lang...741.9000986/0/
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Old 10 August 2019, 02:32 AM   #22
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Ok, here is the promised update as I have received a message from Lange & Söhne today:

The polished wheel is a ratchetwheel that sits on the main spring barrel.
The vertical play of this ratchetwheel is limited by 2 rounded notches on the underside of the 3/4 plate, so called Filets.

These Filets must have contact with the ratchetwheel.
To minimize friction and wear, they are oiled and are leaving oil marks on the polished ratchetwheel.

Not sure what to think of that.
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Old 10 August 2019, 03:29 AM   #23
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This is a WIS test if I've ever seen one.

And I would pass that test with flying colors.
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Old 10 August 2019, 03:30 AM   #24
bondtoys
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Sorry, don‘t understand this.
What do you mean?
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Old 10 August 2019, 05:09 AM   #25
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If someone cares about this issue, then they are definitely a WIS.

I care about this issue, so I am definitely a WIS.

Basically I was referring to the fact that ALS most likely has a perfectly sound design here, but because it isn't the absolute most elegant solution to limit vertical play...we are a little annoyed.
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Old 10 August 2019, 09:51 AM   #26
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If this is purposely designed to make contact, then why polish ratchetwheel? Seems like a brushed concentric circle finish would've atleast masked the marks they knew would be made.
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