POUVILLON RESTORATION PROJECT - June 2012
Restore dials. Begin final finishing, lacquering,
crystalline waxing and reassembly of the movement
Now Buchanan begins the
restoration of some of the silvered dials. Originally the dials were
silvered in what is called ‘French Silvering’ style. This method involves
having a very fine powder of pure silver added to the silvering process to
give the dial a frosted surface. Conventional silvering gives a smooth silver finish. Apparently this process is nearly a lost art. Buchanan
had asked a well known custom clockmaker here in the US, and who has
successfully made this type of silvered dial finish for advice. The first
five photos show areas of concern on the planisphere and leap year dial. The
sixth dial is a clean brass mockup that has had the French silvering
These close up shots make the dials still look too flawed, however, I do not
want a complete strip, clean and re-silver as this will make the dials look
over-restored. I asked Buchanan to give me examples of dials he felt were
restored to the proper level within the context of the clock.
These shots show the
lower restored planisphere dial next to the upper un-restored moon phase,
age dial. I think this is the
appropriate level and approved this to be applied to the remaining dials
that need restoration.
We see here the components to be silvered. The second
photo shows the finished parts.
Not all parts had to be re-silvered. The small dial sets shown in the second
photo, as well as the main dial and a few other parts responded will to a
cream of tartar and detergent cleaning. I asked that Buchanan make whatever
parts that were re-silvered have a bit of an aged look to match those that
were not refurbished. I wanted to avoid the ‘brand new’ look.
The last photo shows the new year date
annular ring silvered.
Next we see the moveable zodiac as well as
the upper fixed degree tellurian annular rings which cleaned up with only a
cream of tartar solution to bring back their original finish. In areas where
the original black wax was missing within the the engraved lines, the
material was replaced.
Before we went any
further I had Buchanan remount all of the components before the addition of
the dial work. These two photos show the clock denuded of all dials.
We now begin the last
phase of the project. This is the final clean and in appropriate locations a
coating of lacquer, or in others crystalline museum wax and then the final
lubrication and assembly. Buchanan uses Moebius 9010 for the appropriate lubrication
points and Moebius 9020 for the main barrel pivots and those areas where
there is a heavier than normal loading.
The first photo shows
all of the parts comprising the planisphere complication. Originally most of
these were silvered to reflect the ‘silver’ color of the stars and we
restored this. Similarly the sunrise, set complication is in gilded yellow
gold in a bow to the yellow color of the sun. One thing that stands out is
the shape of the movement plates. These are clearly in the form of a letter
‘P’. One cannot help but assume that these were meant to playfully refer to
the initials of Paul Pouvillon! The third photo highlights a differential
gear set within this subassembly. Notice the beautifully turned plate
Next the completed planisphere assembly with 52 parts.