A Few More Watch Repairs - Pic Heavy

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thor447

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I know it isn't for everyone here, being that this is a gun forum, but a few of you have said that you liked seeing some of the watch repair projects I've been working on. I had a pretty productive evening yesterday and got one big issue resolved and made some excellent progress on another. I figured I’d upload a few more pics and some details about one of the projects I've already previously posted about, and a new one I'm just starting on.

I'm pretty sure that I had previously documented on an earlier thread where I was working on a 1972 Seiko Lord Matic. I'm not sure if I uploaded a photo or not, but if I did, here's pic of it after I got it back up and running for reference. I have been trying to find a replacement faceted crystal before finishing the watch.

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An original faceted crystal was nearly impossible to find, and when I did finally locate the correct part number for sale, it was very expensive. While doing my research I came across another Seiko part number that by the numbers seemed like it should fit, although none of the documentation I found stated that it was for my particular watch. The 2nd part number was available for a very reasonable price from CousinsUK (an English watch parts website), but unfortunately they did not have a picture of it so I took a gamble and ordered it. It arrived yesterday, and when I pulled it out of the package I was very pleased to see that it was of the exact same shape and facet profile of the factory crystal in my watch. When I went to put it on the case I found that was too large to fit in. Not by much, but just enough that I knew if I tried to force it that it would likely break the new crystal. The case ID for the crystal measures to 29.8mm. The new crystal had an OD of 30.1mm. I knew when I bought it that I was taking a risk, but it was so close I decided to try to see if I could make it fit! I'm not sure if this is Seiko's 'Hardlex' material, or some other form of mineral crystal, but it certainly wasn't an acrylic plastic. It took a very good amount of time with diamond impregnated sanding sticks and polishing compound, but I began to work my way around the edges of the crystal, taking my time and being very careful that I kept the 90 degree edge on the crystal unchanged. It ended up taking 45-50 minutes of small sessions of sanding, test fitting, more sanding, more test fitting, etc. until I got the diameter of the crystal from 30.1mm down to 29.84mm. Once I reached this measurement on my 6th or 7th round of sanding it felt like it would go in. I got out the press and figured it was now or never! I'm happy to say that I felt the crystal seat into the bezel, and it went in just perfectly. It is held securely in place, and thankfully it didn't move around while seating . I was very nervous about the facets getting shifted and it not being centered after it was pressed in.

Here's a couple of photos showing the modified crystal newly installed in the Lord Matic. Please ignore the fingerprint covered case. I didn't take the time to clean it back up before taking the photos.



Those old Seiko faceted crystals were only put on select watches, and I didn't want to just put a plain old crystal back in it's place if I could avoid it. The facets may bother some, but it’s just so different, and I really wanted to preserve that unique look of the watch if I could.


Also...

Yesterday I had dinner with some friends of mine who knew that I had been trying my hand at watch repair. One of them asked me if I'd take a look at a watch he's had in a drawer for a few years that quit running. He isn't a watch nerd like I am and just asked me if I could get it running and just clean it up a little bit. When he gave me the watch it was a small Bulova quartz watch. It is a pretty interesting looking watch with an incredibly thin case - just barely over 5mm!. He's been a good friend of mine for several years and I knew that I could help him with it so I agreed to take it back with me. I'm assuming it's just a battery on the Miyota 9U13 quartz movement so I went ahead and ordered one last night. After I got my Lord Matic crystal installed yesterday evening I decided to get a little bit of the cleanup done on the watch while I wait for the battery to come in. I pulled it apart and removed the crystal (which will also be getting replaced as it had quite a large crack in it towards the top - not pictured). It had what looked to be an integrated bracelet, but they are really just designed to look that way. The pins to remove the bracelet were very stubborn, so I just decided to clean it as a unit.



Once cleaned I could really see how beat up it was. The picture doesn't really tell the full story, but it was just covered in scratches and dings. Since his original request was only to get it running and to clean it, I asked him if he'd be willing to let me attempt to get out a lot of the scratches and try to make this thing look a bit better, aside from just getting it running. He agreed. I began with some 800 grit sandpaper, then moved to 1000, 2000, and then some micron sanding papers. I didn't want to sand too much on a few of the biggest problem areas, but I'd say that I got 95% of the issues resolved.

I ran it on my buffing wheel with some blue and red polishing compound to bring it to enough of a high polish to use a starting point before brushing:



FYI - I did not bother with the back side of the case or bracelet. They had a brushed finish that was in really good shape and did not need any attention. All work was done to the edges and forward facing areas.

After about 5 minutes of applying the brushed finish using 3M Very Fine, then 3M Ultra Fine Scotch Brite pads, I'm really pleased with how it came out. I kept the edges of the case and bracelet polished, and brushed the rest.



I think this watch is going to be stunning when it gets it's new crystal and is reassembled. It turns out I really liked doing the case refinishing work. It was a learning experience that I really think turned out well.
 
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dennishoddy

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I'm amazed you have gotten so involved with this new hobby that could turn into something lucrative?
Some watches are so cheap that they are throw aways, but there is that market of upscale watches.
I'm waiting for you to get more time to learn chronographs.
 

thor447

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I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with things and fixing my own stuff whenever I could. I suppose it was a natural progression, but yes I’ve kind of fallen into the deep end of the pool I suppose. I think one of the things I like about it is that it takes a good amount of time to finish one of these. At least for me it does, to do it correctly. It’s challenging, faultfinding can be an adventure in patience, but ultimately when you completely reassemble a watch, you put that balance assembly in and it starts to come alive, it is honestly addicting.

Quality tools are expensive, but just like in firearms, if you’re willing to spend the money upfront, you only have to buy them once. Generally speaking, parts are not terribly expensive but can be challenging to find sometimes.

Ultimately I think I just find it rewarding. It’s a satisfying way to spend an evening if I just want to turn off all of the outside noise and just focus on some thing unrelated from my day to day. I think a lot of it is the same with reloading. The time investment though is much higher in watchmaking. I can buy an old beat up watch for $30, and it would take me a couple of hours to disassemble it, find whatever faults I can, and log everything. Then there’s several hours worth of on and off work doing any needed research, sourcing any needed parts, cleaning everything, reassembling, lubricating, and regulating the watch. Reloading is pretty routine at this point, and with component costs being what they are, I think the watchmaking hobby may be a less expensive in the long run! I still shoot a lot, but only wear one watch a time. 😄
 
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thor447

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I'm amazed you have gotten so involved with this new hobby that could turn into something lucrative?
Some watches are so cheap that they are throw aways, but there is that market of upscale watches.
I'm waiting for you to get more time to learn chronographs.
And yes, chronographs will be coming eventually. The place I’m taking my classes from released their chronograph courses. I haven’t signed up for them yet, as I’m still trying to get more regular watches under my belt. I actually have two older mechanical chronographs that I will use as my test subjects when I go through those courses. It really is only the addition of an extra complication on top of a standard watch movement, but I’m trying to just take it slowly and get better with what I’m currently doing before taking that leap. I’m still adjusting the way I do certain things, and learning what works best for me as I continue with these watches I’m currently working on. Maybe in a couple months, closer to the end of the year I’ll be in a position where I think I can start repairing chronographs. I’m sure it’ll end up being like everything else I’ve done up to this point. It’s intimidating at first but really once I get into it I’m realizing that none of it is terribly complicated, it’s just more parts!
 

V98

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Very inspiring! I too love watches. I currently own 30 (or more)! I own a few “luxury” brands but that’s not my thing.

I just love mechanical objects. Guns, watches, old cars, etc. I think some of us just have a thing for tinkering and that’s not a bad thing!

My wife says “pick one and stick with it” I always tell her I picked one soulmate but as for the rest, I’m playing the field!

Keep the posts coming!
 
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thor447

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Nice!

Please show us your work bench.
Here it is. Nothing very special, but it suits my needs. I have a taller workbench to the left that has most of my reloading rig on it. I put in some Wal-Mart plastic storage drawers underneath it to hold some of the larger stuff. I use this same bench for other reloading tasks, and have my Dillon Swage and a single stage press on mounting plates now that I can still use on this bench when necessary.

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@thor447

Don’t forget my little pocket watch is waiting, and I’m in Newcastle at least a couple times per week!!

The polish job on your friend’s watch is something.
Thank you for the compliment. I haven't forgotten about your pocket watch. I've got one of my own I've looked at, but like most older pocket watches that aren't running, mine has broken pivots on the balance staff. In order to fix it I need to acquire a staking set, which good ones aren't cheap. I'd really like to get a few additional tools before stepping into those pocket watches. If the pivots aren't broken, the service is pretty straight forward, but only an inspection can determine that. I'll be in touch with you once I've gotten a few additional items, but give me a little time. Used staking sets go for a few hundred dollars, and a good quality new Swiss staking set can be $1200-$2000 depending on how it is configured, which I am not going to pay. I'm constantly searching eBay for good deals on a used kit, but they go fast. I had one taken out from underneath me 30 seconds before the auction closed a 2 weeks ago. I've located another, but I am waiting on it's current owner to get back with me about a possible selling price.
 

JEVapa

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Here it is. Nothing very special, but it suits my needs. I have a taller workbench to the left that has most of my reloading rig on it. I put in some Wal-Mart plastic storage drawers underneath it to hold some of the larger stuff. I use this same bench for other reloading tasks, and have my Dillon Swage and a single stage press on mounting plates now that I can still use on this bench when necessary.

View attachment 301765

Thank you for the compliment. I haven't forgotten about your pocket watch. I've got one of my own I've looked at, but like most older pocket watches that aren't running, mine has broken pivots on the balance staff. In order to fix it I need to acquire a staking set, which good ones aren't cheap. I'd really like to get a few additional tools before stepping into those pocket watches. If the pivots aren't broken, the service is pretty straight forward, but only an inspection can determine that. I'll be in touch with you once I've gotten a few additional items, but give me a little time. Used staking sets go for a few hundred dollars, and a good quality new Swiss staking set can be $1200-$2000 depending on how it is configured, which I am not going to pay. I'm constantly searching eBay for good deals on a used kit, but they go fast. I had one taken out from underneath me 30 seconds before the auction closed a 2 weeks ago. I've located another, but I am waiting on it's current owner to get back with me about a possible selling price.
Looks good. Have you thought about getting a laminar flow bench at some point? Or something to set yours up like one?
 

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