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Thread: Watch service stories? What they find inside!

  1. #1
    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    Watch service stories? What they find inside!

    Being fond of vintage watches, I get the "pleasure" of spending more money than I should with watchmakers. It's money well spent, if the watch is special, but it's also a frightening future cost looming up ahead for those of us whose collections got a bit out of hand.

    In July I showed you folks the lovely 1968 Longines Ultra-Chron hi-beat I found at an estate sale. My common sense told me to have a good watchmaker look at it before I started wearing it a lot. I have a usual guy I go to, who is quite affordable but not always at the top of his game, especially when it comes to more esoteric watches. So I went to an expert watchmaker I have known about for 35 years, a bit farther away, who is a lot more expensive. I'm glad I did!

    He found that some previous watchmaker years ago had made quite a kluge on a repair, and while the watch did keep good time still, it may very well have worn itself down to oblivion. The previous repair involved some lead solder, and a shaved area on the plate under the date wheel for unknown reasons (perhaps for better clearance.) Amazingly, he had the correct replacement parts NOS in his drawer. Who keeps 50 year old movement parts to a rare high-beat movement? He's been in business for 60 years, and he opened his little shop in 1968, same year as this watch. Awesome.

    So, over $300 later (ouch), I have a watch like brand new. It's a jewel in my humble collection.

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    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

  2. #2
    That seems rather reasonable to me. Certainly cheaper than a standard Rolex service...

    Glad it worked out well. Lovely watch!
    G-Shock: GW-7900-1ER & GW3000B-1A
    Rolex: Submariner 14060M
    Accurist: 1961 Shockmaster (Gold) & 1965 Shockmaster (Steel)
    Omega: Speedmaster Professional 3570.50.00
    Meistersinger: Perigraph AM1002
    Ben Sherman: S489.OOBS
    Rotary: 1990 Quartz (Gold)
    Steinhart: GMT Ocean One 39mm
    Vostok: Komandirskie 650547

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  4. #3
    Ace mate.

    The previous 'bodge' job a little odd though.

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  6. #4
    So he had the plate in stock!?!
    Is it just those two parts he replaced?

    who keeps 50 year old movement parts to a rare high-beat movement?
    Obviously a canny businessman , putting investment into parts along the way. Maybe he got them at subsidised cost, or no cost at all ....

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    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    Hah, yes, better than a Rolex service (or almost any mechanical Chronometer for that matter.) Huge surprise to find this junk-repair in the watch, but even more surprised that he had a replacement part! Yes, he's one of those old watchmakers that have walls full of little parts drawers. Another part of me has a bit of respect for whoever hacked together the old fix, finding a way to keep the customer's watch going even without the correct parts. That's maybe a bit more like my usual (cheaper) watch guy.
    Last edited by skywatch; Aug 23, 2015 at 12:09 AM.
    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

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    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    I'm of a similar mind to others - $300 sounds very fair.

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    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seriously View Post
    So he had the plate in stock!?!
    Is it just those two parts he replaced?
    He also replaced the original crystal, which seemed in decent condition but did show some crazing around the curved edges. He pointed that out to me, I never even saw it until he did. Since it's a front-loading case, the crystal is a weak point anyway, so it made sense to include that. He did the work for a flat fee, and these parts were just folded into his time. New plastic crystal only costs a few dollars anyway. More important is the full breakdown, ultrasonic cleaning and lubrication. Modern synthetic oils also last a lot longer than the old whale-derived oils, so it's probably good for another 10 years or so.

    Interestingly, he suggested that I don't hand-wind this watch very often. He pointed out that many of the automatic movements of that time use high gear ratios for the crown-winding, and that can wear out the movement faster than just letting it live on your wrist for a few minutes until it gets going. He spoke respectfully of Seiko's decision to remove hand-winding entirely from its 7s series, as he feels a good rotor wind is easier on an auto mechanism. In fact he thinks the Seiko low-end mechanical movements are about as good as the higher-end Swiss. Interesting. (He also speaks very disparagingly of the Russian movements he has seen, but when I mentioned I like the 2209, he acknowledged that's an exception!) I like to collect these opinions from watchmakers. I suspect they know a bit more than I do about the inner workings.
    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

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  13. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by skywatch View Post
    He spoke respectfully of Seiko's decision to remove hand-winding entirely from its 7s series, as he feels a good rotor wind is easier on an auto mechanism. In fact he thinks the Seiko low-end mechanical movements are about as good as the higher-end Swiss.
    I love this quote!

    some people look down on 7s26/7s36 just because they are cheap low-end mechanical movement... but in design and engineering perspective, it is quite stunningly effective and robust. (i'm not saying they are pretty... they are not. =)
    i've also read that seiko use nickle for the gears instead of brass.. which add to the durability.

    in where i life, seiko/alba are very common watches... so if i need movement service, they would be very affordable, infact, automatic movement replacement may be somewhere around $25-50 depend on where/who handle it... so i can wear these affordable to my heart content.

    but if i need movement service or replacement for my ETA2824-2 on my Airboss VSA... i will be screwed...

    i never hand wind my ETA anyway in fear for ruining the movement.. and hacking sometime is great for adjusting to the second, but there a 'back hacking' work around to do that on 7s26..


    but what do i know... automatic are just fun hobby for me.. whenever i need precise and dependable watch, i always grab my quartz anyway hahaha.


    Robert!

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    Porous Membrane skywatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iyonk View Post
    in where i life, seiko/alba are very common watches... so if i need movement service, they would be very affordable, infact, automatic movement replacement may be somewhere around $25-50 depend on where/who handle it... so i can wear these affordable to my heart content.

    but if i need movement service or replacement for my ETA2824-2 on my Airboss VSA... i will be screwed...

    i never hand wind my ETA anyway in fear for ruining the movement.. and hacking sometime is great for adjusting to the second, but there a 'back hacking' work around to do that on 7s26..but what do i know... automatic are just fun hobby for me.. whenever i need precise and dependable watch, i always grab my quartz anyway hahaha.


    Robert!

    Thanks, Iyonk! Something else the watchmaker said to me today "Most of the time, the movements are just fine, it's the user that's the problem." In other words, he's saying that the difference between high and low level movements are far less than the difference of how people treat their watches. He joked about customers who come in with watches that they sleep with every night (not gasket sealed divers, that is) which he finds filled with lint and gunk. He pointed out that an Omega looks just as ugly as any cheap watch when he sees that. He credits Seiko 7s series as being one of the most solid affordable movements, and the price difference with the Swiss is mostly prestige and fancy finishing. He is a bit if a curmudgeon, I admit, but I also like the way he thinks.
    Too many watches, not enough wrists.

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  17. #10
    Thats it... i'm gonna wear mine today...

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