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Bergeon Lathes (Bergeon & Cie)

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Bergeon Precision Drills     

A detailed Full-range & Accessories Catalogue is available

Founded in 1791, Bergeon & Cie are based in Le Locle, a Swiss town famous for its precision engineering skills. The Company's watchmakers' lathes were, for many years, built exclusively along lines of the original "D-bed" Geneva-pattern type - but were eventually joined by the heavier Model 50 WW, a Webster Whitcombe type plain-turning precision lathe with a conventional cast-iron bed. Unfortunately, the model 50 model not only looked rather prosaic but was finished in a "hammered" paint finish quite unsuitable for the size and quality of the machine. However, happily, the superb Bergeon quality remained unchanged and the lathe was every bit as good as it predecessors - if not as pleasing to behold. With production of the superb 8 mm "Geneva" lathes set to continue in the 21st century, today the Burgeon has few competitors in its specialised niche -  most other European manufacturers of the type (Boley, Lorch, Wolf, Jahn, Boley & Leinen and Favorite) having long ceased trading. The USA continues to offer competition in the form of the super machines made by Derbyshire and Levin - which are not only perfectly capable of being used for watchmaking work, but can also, thanks to their WW style beds, be adapted to a number of other specialist tasks and mount accessories suitable for production work. During the 1970s and 1980s two Polish firms ZM Skarzysko and ZDZ (Zaklad Doskonalenia Zawodowego) made was where, in effect, copies of the Bergeon Model C - though with the headstock bearing supports cantilevered to the left rather than to the right.
Available during its long production run with various combinations of features, the Bergeon "Geneva-type" watchmakers' lathe was offered in three main basic configurations:
Model C with a 275 mm long bed bar, a "right-hand" headstock, simple "push-barrel" tailstock and a compound slide rest.
Model D with a 275 mm long bed bar, a "right-hand" headstock, "push-barrel" tailstock and a hand T-rest.
Model E with two tailstocks - one fixed and acting as the headstock, the other loose - and a hand rest. This model replicated the function of a pair of watchmaker's turns, the simplest and one of the earliest forms of precision turning tool.
All three types were available as either uncased, basic units, or combined with various accessories and fitted into one of three different sizes of wooden case (a selection of these desireable outfits and their contents can be seen here). Because the lathes could be built up from a variety of components, in different combinations, the standard sets were named after their case, rather than the model of lathe they contained. Unfortunately, the potential for confusion was compounded by mistakes in catalog proofreading and probably translation, for the original sales brochures often have the contents listed under the wrong case - but who is to say that the headings and set names were not incorrect as well ? According to what can be deduced, the boxed set listed as the "Lathe F" (designed to be used by watchmakers specialising in pivoting work) was really a Model D lathe in the middle-sized "F" case; the "Lathe Standard A" was a Model C lathe in the small "A" case and the "Complete Lathe B" was a Model C Lathe with a very complete range of accessories fitted into a "B" case. However, current machines (early 21st century) are listed using a different system.
Regardless of the confusion surrounding the literature, the Burgeon has always had a particularly pleasing cosmetic finish with the main components painted in beige enamel and other surfaces nickel plated.
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Bergeon Precision Drills..

Bergeon Model C on a single foot with a flip-up T-rest

Bergeon Model C with the maker's compound slide rest assembly

Bergeon Model C with the optional gap-bed fitted and both headstock and tailstock bed feet

Bergeon compound slide rest

Bergeon Model C lathe with compound slide rest and single bed foot

Bergeon Model D lathe with sliding hand rest

Bergeon Model E lathe with "Fixed" and "Moveable" tailstocks and standard handrest

Special bed with gap section

Beautifully constructed, miniature compound slide assembly

Height-adjustable foot

Fixed foot

High-speed grinding attachment for use in the toolpost and driven by the Adjustable Driving Assembly which mounted on either the countershaft or electric-motor bracket

Vertical slide carrying the (8 mm collet) swivelling, high-speed milling/drilling head

4-way toolpost with a wing-nut retainer - a good way of limiting the user's tendency to over-tighten the fitting

Mandrel faceplate - or "faceplate and pump centre" - a most useful accessory, able to hold a wide variety of watch components

The very neat, standard 3-speed countershaft unit with plain bronze bearings

The Bergeon electric motor (with a two-step pulley) was cradled in a cast-iron frame and available with either a single or three-phase motor.
The 1-phase, 1/8th h.p. version was controlled through its 200 to 6000 rpm rev range by a resistance-controlled infinitely-variable speed unit, whilst the 3-phase model, which could not be controlled by a resistance, obtained  its 800 to 3000 rpm speed range by means of the separate countershaft, illustrated below

A fully adjustable "Driving Attachment" was available which mounted on an extension of the countershaft hinge rod. Designed to drive accessories - grinding and drilling spindles for example - clamped in the toolpost, the pulleys all ran on roller bearings. The same unit could also be plugged straight into the casting of the motor drive unit - see below

Listed by Bergeon as the "Hand Flywheel" this attachment both carried the lathe and drove it.
It allowed the lathe and its attachments to be used when an electricity supply was not available - and was designed to be clamped in a bench vice

The adjustable "Driving Attachment" could be carried directly by the motor mount when used with a variable-speed 1-phase motor

High-speed Grinding Attachment

Turning with a hand graver

The Mandril faceplate - or "faceplate and pump centre" - in use with the compound slide rest

The high-speed milling/drilling head and vertical slide being used horizontally

A Model C being used to manufacture a series of the same component by use of a revolving 4-position toolholder and a lever-action tailstock.

Using the large dividing plate, vertical slide and high-speed milling/drilling head to cut the teeth in a watch barrel

Re-setting a Pivot

Swinging a large diameter in the gap bed


Lever-action Drilling Tailstock

Bergeon Page 2   Bergeon Boxed Sets 

Bergeon Precision Drills    Bergeon Model 50 WW

A detailed Full-range & Accessories Catalogue is available

Bergeon Lathes (Bergeon & Cie)
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