How to assemble the ETA28xx-2 keyless works

This article is for all those unfortunates who have ever removed the crown and stem from an ETA movement and then found that re-assembly can be quite tricky.  Too, it is very easy to dislodge something when putting the crown back in.  I liken it to re-assembling a Rochester Quadrajet carburetor - the sequence is not obvious and it's easy to break something.

First, allow me to introduce the Victim.  A military watch, made for a single Contract in 1986 by the then Glycine&Altus Watch Co, hence the Glycine logo and the Altus name.  It sports a 2801-2 movement and has a stop seconds (hacking) lever, just to complicate matters!

dialhacking lever

Here's some big shots of the hacking lever (as I call it):

It stops the watch by pressing on the balance.

It runs in the clutch groove, and will get bent if it doesn't!
hacking lever

Almost down to business, but first the obligatory before and after shots:

Shown in the winding position.
winding view

Shown in the setting position.
setting view

OK, here we go!  First, install the stem, winding wheel and clutch making sure that the hacking lever end is in the clutch groove.  Then, find all the other bits and lay them out in order of assembly, as shown below.  I go from left to right, purely a personal preference.  The bits are (ETA terminology): connector lever, setting lever, yoke, combined setting lever jumper(!), setting wheel, minute wheel and minute train bridge.

parts laid out

Assemble the fiddly bits per the photographic sequence show below, most pics have comments below them:

connector lever
step 1
I like to keep the clutch over to the left (winding position).  Note that the hacking lever (arrowed) is still good.

setting lever
step 2
OOPS the tail of the setting lever should be further to the right - I have it almost in the setting position!  Mistakes like this can lead to problems in the next steps and yes, blush, I did have to reassemble but couldn't be bothered to redo the shots!

step 3
In this shot, the top of the yoke should be more to the left (arrowed).

combined setting lever jumper (stage 1)
step 4
I do this operation in two stages because trying to do it in one leads to fumbles and frustration.  The problem is that there are two springy bits to locate:  the top part must engage the setting lever detent pin;  and the U-spring end at the bottom must go to the left of the yoke return pin.  Therefore I just lay the combined setting lever jumper into position, insert the screw, then tighten it down to just less than finger-tight.  Then I use a cocktail stick to push the springy bits into place, see following pic.

combined setting lever jumper (stage 2)
step 5
If it looks like this, you are in good shape so far ;-)  Note that the top of the yoke has finally moved to left (through the action of the U-spring) and also that, fortunately, the yoke is still running properly in the groove of the clutch.  Don't forget to tighten that screw the rest of the way.

Now that that's done, install the setting wheel and the minute wheel, then the minute train bridge.  Check the winding and the settings positions, not forgetting to look at the hacking lever action.  If it doesn't feel or look right, don't force it!!  This design of keyless is very good at fooling you into thinking that it'll go with "just a little more pressure".  They never do.

Of course, to get the movement back in the watch, you have to take the crown and stem out.  There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when, on re-inserting the stem, it "does it again".  Can't help you much there, but one gentleman I know always removes and re-inserts the stem with the works in the setting position.  Your call, just be gentle.

Good Luck!