The bent shaft can bind in the bearing and it will definitely prevent the seconds hand from tracking in the same plane as the dial.  

This is such a challenging little job.  It can be over in five minutes or it can eat my morning.  In the image below you can gather, by looking at the penny in the background, that this shaft is a fairly small diameter.  Given that this comes out of a good quality Swiss manufacture watch, the shaft will be hardened and tempered to a very high degree.  Generally these things, once bent, don't bend back without breaking.  The sound of the break is sickening to me.  I've had to reclaim a couple of breaks in my time.

The method to repair a break, is to face off the shoulder in the lathe, drill a hole in the shaft end and plug it with material that will allow you to cut a new shaft to replace the missing one.  It's a fussy little job.  If the watch is particularly small I sometimes get stuck making a drill to do the job.  It's a tremendously time consuming repair.  Or at least it can be.  

Of course the best repairs are the ones that are avoided.  Any fourth wheel shaft is vulnerable in at least a couple of ways.  For the watchmaker, it's a delicate shaft and prone to breaking if put into a cleaning machine basket casually.  On the client side, it's the shaft that protrudes through the dial to carry the seconds hand.  People can be curious and case crystals sometimes break or fall out.  Accidents happen.  

On a good day, the shaft comes to me with the bend unbroken.  The repair has a bit of science in action that changes the grain structure of the metal.  One uses heavy, fine tweezers that can retain a lot of heat in their mass.  By heating, these tools allow one to draw a tiny bit of the temper from the bent piece of the shaft without softening anything else.  If one is patient, one can usually straighten the shaft this way.  The "tink" sound of one breaking in a failed attempt, is nauseating to this veteran.  The joy of having work with the bend straightened is almost equal to the pain of not having it work. 

The older I get, the more pleasure I reap from simple easy repairs that only require patience and luck.  I still love to throw the dice.



LeRoy 4th pocket watch 4th pinion