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Thread: A diver for the lady

  1. #1
    Member workahol's Avatar
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    A diver for the lady

    Introduction:

    My wife keeps stealing my watch.

    She's not really "into watches" per se, although she does have a very nice ladies' Hamilton quartz number - last year's Christmas gift from yours truly - which she quite likes and which looks dynamite on her. That's the only watch she owns, and it's rather a nice one, so when she goes to do things like dig in her garden or volunteer at the animal shelter, she has been snaffling my Casio GWM5610 so she can tell the time while getting dirty. Why the G-Shock over all the other watches in my box? I have asked this; she says she likes its rubber strap and indestructible nature. I suppose I should just be happy she hasn't been taking my Speedmaster when I'm not looking.

    Of course I don't mind if she borrows that particular watch to walk the doggies - after all it is a G-Shock, you can park your car on one and it will still show you the time in Calcutta. But she is a petite thing, five-foot-two on a good day, and on her tiny wrist the 44 mm square Casio looks like a paving stone. In fact the strap doesn't even really have enough holes for her to cinch it down properly. So it's not exactly what you'd call the right tool for the job.

    I decided I wanted to equip her with a proper "beater" watch for just this kind of activity, one more suited to her size. However, she is not of the mind that one really needs more than one watch, and since she already has a watch there's no point in buying another one is there? Leave aside the fact that we've already established she has definitely been taking one of mine when she pleases - I've been married far too long to insist on logic in all situations. Plus her name has "Doctor" at the front and mine doesn't, so it's possible I'm the one who's wrong, and one watch really is all you need. No, let's not even go there.

    However, I did manage to strike a compromise - I would be granted her blessing to restore a vintage watch for her to use as a beater. This will be an activity which is sufficiently different from outright purchasing a watch to satisfy the recipient, as well as hopefully being an enjoyable winter project for yours truly. We worked out the following requirements:

    1. Must be quartz. Whereas I enjoy the morning ritual of winding and setting the day's wrist companion, she can't stand picking up a watch that isn't already showing the correct time.

    2. Must be appropriately sized for her small stature - say around 34 mm as an absolute upper limit.

    3. Must have a useful degree of water resistance and be sufficiently robust to handle being knocked about.

    4. Must have some means of measuring elapsed time - useful when walking the puppies - and that feature must be easier to use than the G-Shock (even I can't remember what all the buttons on that thing are for).

    5. Rubber strap a plus.

    The project:

    I decided to look for a vintage Seiko ladies' quartz diver, and snagged this one from the famous auction site for a modest sum. Reference number 2625-0019 to be exact. 32 mm case diameter, so pretty much an ideal size for the intended wearer. It's a bit banged up cosmetically, but it runs and keeps time and all the parts are there.



    I rather like the look of this tiny thing. It has a lot of design DNA from the 6159 and other high-end models from the same era, I think. The crystal is cloudy and scraped, but underneath the dial and hands look like they are probably in good condition. I'd say there's something worth saving here.



    Worked the bezel loose without difficulty, and managed not to lose the click ball. Bezel inserts for this model are hard to come by, but evidence suggests that the insert for a 2205 might do the job. I've ordered one so we'll see how it looks. The original bezel isn't so banged up that it can't be reused, if required. A little wabi never hurt anyone.



    Not as much grunge under the bezel as I expected. And look at those gold hands and hour markers trying to peek out and say hello...



    No deep scratches in the caseback, so hopefully nobody totally ham-fisted has tried to get in. Two punch marks show battery service was performed in '82 and '89. I guess Seiko didn't think their watch would still be ticking away in 2014 or they'd have made the numbers go around another time or two. Decoding the serial number reveals that the watch was assembled in the month immediately prior to my wife's birth, which is an unanticipated and pleasant connection.



    Hooray, the movement is shiny and free of corrosion, so it hasn't gotten wet and the battery has never leaked.



    Just look at that perfect dial and handset. I'm very pleased. Suwa factory symbol in evidence.



    Unfortunately progress stopped in its tracks when I discovered that I don't have a die for my crystal press that's small enough to get the glass out of this miniscule case. Hmm...



    All parts are safely tucked away until I can continue on with the proper tools.



    I'll update this post as work continues. In the meantime, thanks for reading...
    Last edited by workahol; Dec 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM.

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  3. #2
    Seems like a fun project, I can't wait to see how it turns out!
    OWN
    Marathon JSAR G-Shock GW-530A, GA-100-1A1, G-9300-1 Mudman
    Seiko SKX007K2 Swatch High Wonder Maratac Large Pilot 2013 Russian AChS-1 panel clock
    Post first, edit for clarity later.

  4. #3
    Member workahol's Avatar
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    These older Seikos have the crystals affixed with a separate retaining ring, instead of just being pressed in like the SKX family. A case knife is used to carefully remove the ring without bending it. Now we can see the crystal gasket, as well as some more grunge.



    I was getting all set up to machine a new plastic die on my lathe so I could press the crystal out, but while I was fiddling with it to check the dimensions I managed to pop it out with just finger pressure. Honestly I was a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to spending a pleasant morning playing with the lathe.



    I put away the crystal, chapter ring, and old gasket, and spent some time cleaning the years of accumulated funk off the case surfaces. I'm considering giving it a light polish, but I'm not sure if I want to go there yet.

    Next challenge: Sourcing parts for a 35 year old quartz watch. Stay tuned...

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  6. #4
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    Sweet.

    Must be nice to be gifted like this.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

  7. #5
    Dive Watches & Japanese Moderator OTGabe's Avatar
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    +rep for letting us follow along!

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  9. #6
    Member workahol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    Must be nice to be gifted like this.
    Hah! Thanks for the compliment, but I'm just an ordinary bodger. All this stuff anybody could learn to do in a weekend with a cheap Seiko 5 and some affordable tools. Well, maybe not the lathe but that's mostly used for other projects!

  10. #7
    I've seen some fantastic old Seiko divers on the bay.

    I'm subscribed and watching. Good luck.

  11. #8
    Member workahol's Avatar
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    Finding parts for this old thing has turned out to be even more challenging than I thought. There are plenty of reproduction and even NOS parts available for the older Seiko men's divers like the 6105, 6309, and so forth, but parts for the ladies' models are scarce as the hen's proverbial teeth. The crystal for the 2625 quartz diver has stumped even Jules Borel - discontinued, none available. I have, however, seen some indications that the crystal for the 2205-caliber ladies' automatic divers will also fit. I managed to find one of these on the famous auction site - in Thailand, no less! It will likely take some time to arrive, and then we will see if it really fits. Stay tuned...

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  13. #9
    Member workahol's Avatar
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    Not a lot of progress on this project since the last update. Unfortunately the replacement gasket set and crystal I ordered from Bangkok ages ago still have yet to arrive. But in the meantime, I picked up a cheap ultrasonic cleaner and gave the case and related parts a good soak:



    Looking a bit better after a brief spa treatment:



    I haven't been able to find a perfectly-sized bezel insert that will fit properly, so I'm starting to think that the original insert will be reused after all.



    A lot of gunk came out of the nooks and crannies in the case. The original brushing is still evident, as are a number of gouges. I'll leave these be; they are evidence of a well-used tool.



    I'll post another update if and when I ever get my parts in the mail!

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  15. #10
    Member DM71's Avatar
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    Nice! I want to make sure I see this process going. Thanks for sharing, these are my favorite threads!
    ~Daniel~

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