Archive for category Watches

Omega Seamaster PRO 300 GMT

I am interested in watches. I like tinkering with them. I have a growing pile of parts that I hope to reuse at some distant time in the future. There is this fascination I have with Omega. At first I dismissed them out of hand. I thought they were ugly and pointless, especially the Seamasters. But then they grew on me. They are not particularly blingy (at least not the generation I am interested in) and they do not carry an insane price tag. Genuine Seamasters can be bought for about 2000 EUR, used, but not abused. That does not really break the bank in the world of horology. I have no idea how popular they are in replica form. I know that people are really interested in the bond versions (oh yes James Bond now wears an omega. I think he switched from Rolex in 1995 – Pierce Brosnan was the first Bond to wear exactly the watch we are discussing, in Golden eye). It is not that I am such a huge fan of Bond flicks, but I do like the Seamaster. It has to be blue, though. I have enough black watches.

 

Through time, I owned four Seamaster divers’ reps. They all broke at some time, or I destroyed them inadvertently. I started with the barebones, Seamaster PRO 300 with a blue wavy dial. It looked like this:

Omega Seamaster PRO 300 (SMP)

It was not horribly expensive and was reasonably like the genuine. The little cap (the Helium Evacuation Valve) on the upper left side is in the right position (above the 10th hour), the crown is long enough and the crown guards are ok. The dial is pretty crap, but you could buy a used genuine dial for not very much. The bezel is duller and the dot is not exactly right. The bezel ring is misaligned – the pointy bits should be aligned with the bezel triangle at 12 and with the crown. The red part on the seconds hand is too short, and for this model, the date wheel should actually be white. But I like it black, so there. Also, the crystal has one-sided anti-reflective coating and the genuine SMP does not have AR.

It was still a nice watch. It broke in three weeks. It would stop suddenly. And if I wound it, it would start again. The problem was not power retention. I changed movements, same shit. I later  realised it was the ring that holds the movement inside the case. It was too tight and it was bending the ebauchement. My initial reaction was to get rid of the ring, and put in a plastic one. That works if you don’t need to wind the watch. There is an ISA (1198) quartz movement that has the same hands dimensions as ETA 28xx / 29xx. So I bought it (it costs about $10) and put it in. IT was working just fine. At that time, I did not have the Water Resistance testing equipment, or the timegrapher. I assumed it was safe to swim with – I greased the seals and thought I was fine. I took it to the swimming pool and it was ok. I then went on a holiday on another continent and the first day wore it in a jacuzzi. The inside of the glass misted over, which means that some moisture came in. When I came back, I changed the quartz movement and sealed the HEV which was not sealed before.

After a year or so, I bought myself a WR tester. A that time I had two SMP’s, one with an ETA clone and one quartz. Both crowns broke. One would free spin unless held in a specific way (which was not too bad for the quartz and the other was eventually destroyed by me – I wanted to shorten the stem so I cut it to the correct length but when I screwed it back into the crown, it broke right where at the point where none of it was left. I read about it online and realised I could use a weak acid solution which would dissolve the stem (iron) but not the crown (steel). This takes about 12 days of constant immersion. What I didn’t realise was that the pusher into which the stem screws was also iron, so I dissolved that too :(. Wah wah. Then the other crown stopped working altogether. I first bought generic crowns that are shorter than the SMP ones. And they don’t have the spring needed to screw-in. They work on the quartz although it is clearly the wrong crown.

So, I figured, I’ll buy another SMP. And this time the GMT version, because I like GMT watches. I found a genuine Omega prototype GMT dial on eBay and won an auction. So, I had the dial. I then asked a dealer to source me a Seamaster GMT. They sent this photo for my approval:

There are issues with this too. The dial is crap (the 12 markers are misaligned, the shade of blue is wrong, and the logo has the so called happy feet) , but I had another, genuine, dial. The GMT hand is wrong, but I thought I could source another. The datewheel is white, which is actually correct, but I wanted to change it to black. The bezel ring is misaligned and the HeV seems to be sticking out a bit. But, generally, I could work with this. It has the correct crown, at least.

When I got the watch, I attempted to wind it and the whole dial started swimming. WTF. Something was rattling inside. Also, the crown did not screw in. DoH! I opened it up and one of the case washers was kicking around inside. The two that were supposed to hold the movement in, were still there. Three washers? it turns out that one was wedged between the ring and the case in order to keep it in place. Now, I had a problem. Regardless of what I would do, this one would not be Water Resistant, probably. I changed the movement and attempted to secure it. IT worked up to a point, but I figured I would rather shave the ring with a dremel and secure it with fasteners as it should be. I proceeded to just slightly distort the ring when I put it into a vise to shave bits of it off. Well ok, I thought, I’ll leave this for later and put in a regular movement, with another (non – GMT) genuine dial I had. I used this for a bit and it was working fine, however it was emphatically not water resistant (I have blown out crystals and broke one of them from the force of ejection). I felt this to be a total letdown – what good is a divers watch that will get destroyed if I took a shower?

So I had three cases, one working crown, two crystals, two destroyed case rings (oh yeah, I tried to modify another one), but I did have two genuine dials and six genuine seconds hands that I procured a year or two ago. I seriously contemplated buying a replica of the new ceramic SMP, which is very very good, but the new ceramic SMP does not have the wavy dial. And I think that that wave dial is actually pretty awesome. And I have a genuine one. Well, I could buy the ceramic one and swap the dial. I was about to do that, when a sale came up on a forum I visit often. It was for a high end SMP GMT rep and the price was reasonable. Because I got burned before, I contacted the seller and asked whether the crown screwed in (IT DID) and what kind of movement was in it (Asian ETA clone with the GMT module). I figured the movement will need replacing (but I have a mint one in my spare parts drawer) anyway. And the GMT hand looked right, so I could reuse that or buy another. I have the dial, already. I went and bought genuine hour and minute hands. The genuine seconds hand, I already have. I knew there would be some work to do, but I might actually end up with a water-resistant divers watch :).

The seller was in UK and delivered the watch in less than 48 hours. Very cool.

Here it is:

 

It has the correct display case-back.

I figured I would first put it onto a timegrapher, to see how bad it was. IF the amplitude was low and it was very slow or very fast, I would know that it was badly in need of a service. Boy, was I surprised.

Face up, +0 s/d, amplitude 284

crown right, +5 s/d, amplitude 274

 

Face down, +3 s/d, amplitude 273

crown left, -2 s/d, amplitude 261

 

WOW. This would pass official Swiss COSC certfication. It is almost as if it was not a clone. Wait. It is not a clone, almost certainly. It has the ETA stamp and the numbers would also support the claim that this is a genuine ETA movement. Cool. Excellent. I am not swapping it. The winding was slightly rough, I’ll clean and oil the winding bridge and the winding mechanism.

I need to work on two bigger things. The (1) the insides and (2) the case

Genuine seconds, minutes and hours hands + genuine dial next to the unsuspecting victim.

 

(1) The insides

out of the case.

 

I took the hands and dial off. I replaced the date wheel for the white text on black background. I so don’t care that this is not right for this model. I dislike the the white date wheels on dark dials.

Black DW already on.

 

 

Here is a comparison shot of the two dials:

Genuine on the right (on the movement), rep on the left.

 

The lume is uncomparable, the dots are different, even the GMT color is brighter on the gen. I then attempted to fit the hands and encountered a snag. The dial hole is not big enough for the rep GMT hand. And for some reason, I we are not allowed to buy the genuine hand. I mean this one looks identical to the genuine anyway. Well. Luckily I have a dremel and a dremel rig.

drilling…

 

After several incremental drillings, the GMT hand finally fit. Then I attempted to fit the genuine hands and was totally unable to get the minute hand on. I suppose it is possible that I inadvertently bought the wrong set (but it is very unlikely as the hour would not fit either then. The eta dimensions for quartz are 120/70/20 for mechanical 150/90/25). Well, whatever. I put the rep minutes hand in and the genuine seconds. If I can be bothered at some time, I’ll fix that. For now, it’s fine.

The movement has hands on.

I left the movement outside of the case overnight, to see whether everything is fine and started focusing on the case.

I mixed marine epoxy to epoxy the HeV shut.

 

 

 

I left the epoxy to dry overnight and proceeded next morning.

Next morning, I took the clasp off and prepared the case for WR testing (greased the seals and gaskets). The movement was working fine, by the way, so it is ready to be put into the case.

First attempt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAMN. The crsytal blows. But not the front. The back. The front is fine.

 

I add silicone grease, and try again. No luck, it blows again. I glue the crystal into place. Wait for an hour, and re-do. I know that I could have used the sapphire crystal glue (which I have), but gorilla glue dries more slowly and gives you some time to adjust everything before it sets.

Third attempt at WR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep! Passed this time. 6ATM. I then spent about an hour removing the excess glue from the back crystal. I used pegwood.

I dried off the case, and put the movement back in. Now, only the last bit remains. Cleaning the winding mechanism and oiling the winding parts. I won’t do the whole service, because there is so much I could screw up and I don’t have the cleaning machinery, so I would need to clean by hand and while I’ve done it before, it is long and painful and the watch does not seem to need it yet.

Movement cased.

About to clean and oil

 

And the last few shots of the watch.

 

 

 

Restoring the Rolex DeepSea Sea Dweller [Updated! 05.jan.2017]


img_3570_zpscnertoegRolex DeepSea Sea Dweller is an iconic watch. Until it was superseeded by Deepsea Challenge it was the most water-resistant mechanical watch in the world.  It is certified to 3.9km depth! One of the DeepSea Sea Dwellers has actually been on the bottom of the Marianna’s trench, on the outside of the submersible and lived to tell the tale.The construction is amazing. There is a back bowl of the watch made out of Titanium and the front crystal is 4mm thick. They both attach to an inner ring and when the pressure increases the seal between the crystal, the ring and the back-plate pushes them together to make an ever tighter fit.

Here is an exploded diagram of the DSSD (image downloaded from http://watchesbysjx.com/):

Even the bezel is looser than usually on the diver’s watches since the water pressure pushes it into the case and makes it operational at deeper depths.

It is a thick and heavy watch, but an iconic one. Rolex has since also made a DeepSea Challenge, certified to 12km depths, but that, arguably, is just overkill (as if the DSSD is not, I know 🙂 ).

A few weeks ago, I came across a listing of a replica Rolex DSSD on a forum. The seller specified that the watch was dead – it did not wind, but they said that probably the keyless works need seeing to. This was a 2014 Noob factory version. There are essentially two replica factories making diver’s Rolexes plus a handful of people (BK, TC and others) who make what is already a very good replica even better. The factories are called Noob and BP.

The name Noob comes from the abbreviation for Noobmariner (an entry level or “newbie” submariner with a 21j Chinese movement) and it was initially just a handful of people from China and Taiwan who started making boutique versions of Rolex replicas. They have since disbanded but a few of the people involved in the initial Noob production runs have started a mass operation, keeping the name. The operational characteristics of these replica makers are fascinating, but they are outside of the scope of this post. The interested parties can always check replica forums and find the in-depth “insights from the industry” there.

Noob Rolexes are pretty darn accurate and their characteristic is that they are pretty close to the genuine as far as the dimensions are concerned, meaning that those who are fanatical enough can swap replica parts for genuine without much (or any) machining to do. That carries its own problems with it – genuine parts are expensive. For example, the ceramic insert on the bezel (just a disc with numbers and pip at 12 o’clock is currently being sold on eBay for 500 pounds! Admittedly, the paint contains platinum, but still… The genuine crown just went for a little less than 100 pounds).

So, anyway, I came across this listing and after a brief exchange with the seller, I bought the watch for a very small amount of money. Ridiculously small. I haggled a bit too, just for the hell of it, as I was not planning on buying it in the first place and would do so only if the price was so low that it was a steal. So I had nothing to lose and thus haggled accordingly.

There were two disclosed issues with the watch:

  • It did not wind.
  • The insert pip fell out of the bezel and was lost (see photo at the top of this post).

There were also two undisclosed issues with the watch (which I did not complain about afterwards, because of the ludicrously low price):

  • The lettering on the back was almost completely faded.
  • The watch was insanely dirty. It looked like someone washed the watch in machine oil and then rolled it around in earwax.

I figured that this was what I had to do:

  • Replace the pip on the bezel insert.
  • Repair the movement or replace it, if it was beyond saving.
  • Clean it up.
  • Grease the seals.
  • (Optionally) paint the back case with enamel paint.

Then once this was done:

  • Regulate the movement.
  • Check for water resistance.

All my divers and dress watches are swimming friendly as I want to be able to swim with them without a second thought. What is the point of a watch that is supposedly resistant to 4000m but dies if I splash water over it?

Anyway. Three days later the watch arrives. Until two years ago, I had one watch, that I wore at all times much to the changrin of my wife. I slept with it, showered with it, swam in the sea and in the pool with it. It has now been in my possession for about 25 years. It died last year and I restored it (the post is here). So, the watch was on my wrist 24/7 for 23 years. And it is not even close when it comes to shabbiness compared to the DSSD.

I first took off the bracelet and dunked it in 99% proof alcohol for 24 hours. There was black gunk oozing from it afterwards. At first I couldn’t even access the bars attaching the bracelet to the movement because there was so much gunk covering them.

I also opened up the case and checked the keyless works. The keyless works are the little cogs that go around the stem and allow the different positions of the crown to fulfil its designated functions (usually: 1st position – winding, 2nd position date set, 3rd position – time setting).

Here is a screenshot of the ETA 2836 / 2824 keyless works:

original: http://i749.photobucket.com/albums/xx136/jumpope/Misc/2836_KLW-006.jpg

original: http://i749.photobucket.com/albums/xx136/jumpope/Misc/2836_KLW-006.jpg

The keyless works are very fiddly. I have now rebuilt them several dozen times and it is always frustrating to do so. The cogs jump out of alignment and you either have to almost completely disassemble the back (which in watchmakers terms is called the top), or remove the hands, the dial, the calendar wheel and a plate that holds everything in place to get to them at the front. Not fun and every time you do it it is a lottery whether you will be able to reassemble the calendar side without scratching the dial or bending the hands. And then you need to reinsert the movement back into the case which means that the stem needs to be removed and re-inserted and the reinsertion and removal is usually the cause for problems in the first place. So, you reassemble everything, put the movement in the case and when you reinsert the stem, the keyless breaks again and you can spend another two hours redoing what you just did. It happens to me a lot. Too much, in fact. I just don’t get it how people manage to remove the stem and slide the movement into the case without dropping the movement. You need three hands for this. One to hold the movement with the dials pointing downwards, one to pull the stem out and one to push the button. I usually use my mouth to pull the stem out, but since I do not see the keyless works button, I tend to press it too hard. And I am screwed again.

UPDATE: I have now come up with a pretty good method. I screw the movement into the movement holder really tightly, turn it around and place it over the watch case. I then press the stem release gently (the black coded bergeon screwdriver is perfect fit for ETA 28xx movements) and tug the stem out, gently. If the movement is dislodged from the holder it slides into place in the watch anyway, so no harm done. If it doesn’t dislodge, I just do it the proper way – remove the movement, place it on a cushion and put the case over it, then turn. 

The movement was fairly dirty and there was fine ruby dust on one of the bridges. That does not bode well. I also attempted to wind the watch and realised that it would actually wind but that the crown was slipping. Still, I replaced the barrel and the winding bridge, checked the keyless works which were fine, re-tightened the crown and wound the watch (which did work if I gripped the crown in a certain way). I then put it on a regulator and it was just horrific. It showed the accuracy at -489s per day and the amplitude could not even be detected when it was fully wound. The balance was stopping and starting. It was lethargic. This movement needs to be completely re-hauled. The dirt is interfering with the balance wheel and other wheels. I decided to just replace it, because the balance wheel is very hard to accurately re-seat without a microscope, which I do not have handily available.

I realised I would also probably need a new crown, preferably for a Noob 2014 edition, because I did not want to remove the crown tube if at all possible. So I corresponded with a boutique replica watchmaker and bought a new Noob DSSD crown from them. It is generally very hard to get branded parts for replica watches, as even in China these are illegal to produce.

So, I removed the movement and the hands, the dial, and the date wheel; and ordered a new movement – a clone of ETA 2836 – a Seagull ST2100. These Seagulls are brilliant. They are fairly inexpensive but come well oiled and regulated and the performance is on par with new ETA at a fraction of the cost. They are clones of ETA 2836, to the point where almost all parts are interchangeable. The ETA’s are now even more problematic because the factory is a part of the SWATCH group and in early 2016 the whole group stopped selling their movements to anyone but their authorised dealers (screwing the independent watchmakers too, not just the replica makers), which makes the available movements very expensive or in need of a service and very expensive, which does not help my situation. If I wanted to spend time on servicing the movement, I could service the one that came with the DSSD.

While I was waiting for the movement to arrive, I inspected the case. These cases have the helium release valve also called HEV (Helium Evacuation Valve). On the genuine watch this makes perfect sense, even though it is overkill (there are not many people in the world who would dive to depths requiring the HEV). The HEV is an automatic valve that releases the Helium that builds up in a watch when you dive to ridiculous depths and spend long periods under a diving bell. If there was no valve, the Helium would expand inside the case when returning to the surface and blow out the front crystal. Thus the HEV automatically engages and relieves the pressure (patented by Rolex and Doxa).

On a replica this is just pointless. No one in their right mind would go and actually dive with a replica, much less to ridiculous depths. These valves also need to be calibrated and lubricated. Replica makers usually don’t even lubricate the back gaskets, much less the HEV, and this makes the HEV the premiere point where the water rushes in when swimming. Therefore, what you do, in case you wanted to swim with a replica is to epoxy shut the valve. I tend to do this on all replicas that have the valve and the HEV is not purely cosmetic (sometimes the seating for the valve is not drilled all the way through the case. This is the case with many Breitling SuperOcean SteelFish replicas (at least in the one I have).

When I looked at the DSSD case when the movement was removed, it seemed to me that the HEV did not come completely through the case.

I attempted to remove the inner ring, but it seemed to be part of the case. I looked online and there were competing statements to that effect. Some people claimed it was machined as part of the case, some people claimed it was separate. Some Noob versions apparently had the ring removable, some not. Same thing with BP versions.

Hmm.

Well. I can start painting the back. I use enamel model paint. You need to cover the lettering, let it dry completely and then remove the excess paint with pegwood.

Here is what it looked like, when I got it:

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I applied the paint:

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I let it dry for a day and then used pegwood to remove the excess paint. The result is much improved, but not perfect (notice that the ‘=’ sign is not painted and that a few letter are not completely painted).

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I repainted the problematic areas and will leave them to dry.

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Back to the HEV issue.

Everyone agreed though, that even if the ring was removable, you need to get the crystal out first. And possibly the bezel. This is some work and you are prone to screw something up. You can break the crystal (well perhaps not in this case – it is half a centimeter thick), scratch the inner ring, break the insert, bend the bezel, incorrectly re-seat something etc. I figured I would see what can be done and if the movement still hasn’t arrived by then, I might attempt it. I would need to remove the crystal to get to the insert anyway and I would need to get to the insert in order to glue in a pip I ordered. So, the crystal will need to come out in any case probably, unless I am satisfied with gluing the pip in from the front, which might be problematic as I would then superglue the insert on the bezel ring and that may lead to all sorts of problems later (probably rending the bezel ring unmovable, depending on how the bezel is constructed. People were also saying that removing the bezel on the Noob is very hard.

I decided to first test the watch for water resistance as is, to see whether I need to epoxy the HEV shut at all. I also asked the seller whether he swam with the watch and he confirmed, so I was reasonably confident that it was not leaking. But I still tested it and it passed. See? No bubbles.

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So I could just leave everything be. But that would bug me. I would know that HEV is an accident waiting to happen and would not be confident swimming with the watch, knowing that it might implode at any time. Also the movement was out already and I knew I would not be arsed later to do all this work once the watch was reassembled. And also the movement was very dirty and in need of a service. It was less than two years old (which is too short a period for that amount of dirt to accumulate), so it is possible that there was water ingress there previously and that destroyed the movement. Later, I looked at the stem and it seemed corroded, adding weight to this theory. If the water getting into the watch is not seawater, then the movement does not corrode, the oil just degrades more quickly and that might have led to the destruction of the rubies in the spindle seats, because they were not lubricated properly anymore (if they were lubricated in the first place).

OK, so it is settled. I will disassemble the case and seal the HEV shut.

I start by pushing out the crystal. I take great care to not touch the insert and use a plastic die size that grips the bezel, not the insert.

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Remove the crystal (with the crystal press). Sides of the crystal are a bit dirty.

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I then mark the ring position before removing it as I want to be able to align it easily when I am returning it (in the inside of the inner ring there is ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX engraving and I want it to align correctly – the Rolex crown at 12 and R at 3 and 9). I do not even touch the insert when removing the ring. Still I hear a crack. The insert shatters. I read on the forums how brittle they are, but this is ridiculous. No matter, at least I won’t have a problem with re-seating the pip. I’ll just buy a new after-market ceramic insert. I order one. It is a lot cheaper than the genuine one, but it still costs me as much as the whole watch did. Oh well.

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Notice the hairs stuck in the bezel glue and the dirt? The hairs are not mine. Bleurgh.

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I push the ring out and the bezel pops out with it too. I make sure not to lose any of the four spindles that provide the clicking motion.

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I mix marine epoxy and fill the HEV hole. Once it is completely dry, I will sand it down further. It needs to be left alone for at least a day.

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Here is the case completely disassembled.

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In the meantime, I get the movement (an hour after disassembly and epoxying). Nice timing.

Here is the movement.

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Nice Perlage. I can now start assembling.

First thing I need to do, is remove the winding disc as it otherwise interferes with the the position in the movement holder. You may be too lazy to do this. I certainly was once or twice, but that led to some difficulties later on – the movement does not sit nicely on the movement holder etc. It is one screw and if you neglect to remove it, you may bend the disc, destroy the fitting or similar.

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Then remove the hands, day and date wheels. And fit a Rolex-like one. Here is a photo of a wheel I that came with the watch (right), and one that I sourced from elsewhere (left). They are roughly the same, but the left one is more nicely done. I think I’ll use that one.

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This is fairly fiddly business, but not to hard in the end. Here are youtube (video by rick914) pointers on how to do it.Takes about 20 minutes, but here it is, new date wheel fitted:

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Then I need to check whether the alignment is ok. And it is just fine – the photo is at an angle, that is why this looks misaligned. I put on a dial.20161021_125719459_ios

 

Now the hour, minute and seconds markers:


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Wind and let it rest. I will return to it, after I’ve seen to the case. I notice that I cannot set time anymore. I trace the problem back to a bent plate covering the keyless works (my fault entirely. I repair it and reassemble).

It is now two days later. The epoxy is dry and I need to first brush off the larger imperfections and then cover everything in silicone grease which will make the inner ring easier to slide in.

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Now, insert the inner ring and align with my  markers (I am using a crystal press for this).

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Here it is from the front.

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You see the four little holes? Springs and spindles go into those. And silicon grease. But first I need to grease the seal between the crystal and the white gasket. I decide against gluing the crystal in, as I might need to take it out at some point in the future. Grease should do fine. I put the crystal in (by hand, as there is a titanium ring that goes around it, locking it into place.

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Then I put the silicone grease into the holes and add springs and spindles. There is one spindle on the bottom right that is of slightly different shape. Be sure to put it into the correct place and to align it correctly.

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Now put on the titanium ring and the bezel. It is slightly fiddly, but I managed to get everything sitting correctly in the end. The bezel is in place but not too firmly. At first I pushed it too close to the case, which impeded it’s movement. I re-attached everything a few times and ended up with a secured, rolling bezel. There is a bit of silicone grease now on the rehaut, but I am not too bothered about it. Of course, it would be possible to remove it, but then I would have to go through the whole fiddly business again. And I cannot be bothered. Perhaps next time I will need to service the DSSD.

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Since I have broken the ceramic bezel and am still waiting for the new one to arrive, I am pretty much done, for now with the front of of the case. So, let’s go back to the back side of the case.

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Notice that I do not have the right crown installed, yet? That is because the crown that came with the movement was slipping and I needed to source a new one. I’ll set everything up with the old one, but then replace it, once it arrives.

So now the movement is back in the case. It is attached by a holder ring and then by washers. Before putting back the stem, I’ll need to slide in the holder ring.

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Ok, now attach the automatic rotor and grease the back of the case. A plastic washer goes into between the back and the case.

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Then for the fun of it close it up. First the case back.

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Then the screw down part.

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Then clean off the excess paint and end up with a fairly nice case back. The number 8 still needs to be retouched, I may do that at some point in time.

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And here is the DSSD from the front:

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Once I get the bezel and the crown, I’ll revisit it and update this post.

—–

Got the insert today. First thing that is needed is to press in the inner bezel ring.

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Then add adhesive.

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Then, press in. And align. I notice that on the photos it looks like the insert is higher than the crystal. That is not actually the case. The insert is flush with the crystal.

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Now I only need the crown and then I can regulate and wear. I’ll update then.

UPDATE 1. 

The Crown is in transit from the Airport now, but it seems it won’t arrive today. Well, I can still do some things.

  • I’ve noticed that the date wheel does not want to jump all the way through on a date change.
  • I also noticed a spec of of dust on the underside of the crystal
  • Another thing is that the date now flips over at about 0:15 that is about 10 minutes longer than I like.
  • I also need to test for water resistance now that I’ve completely disassembled the watch. I want to know whether I’ve put everything back correctly (the crystal seems to be a lot lower than it was originally).
  • I need to regulate the movement (it is about 20s/d fast out of the box).
  • And I still need to replace the crown.

So, I open up the DSSD again. This time it is fairly easy as I have received the correct size die (36.5mm) a few days ago. Because I have successfully ruined a few watches in the past by having their crystal blow out and the movement got soaked and parts subsequently rusted, I have now decided to remove the movement out of the case, and test without the movement. This is btw, the correct procedure anyway. It is a pain to remove the movement, but it is an even bigger pain to have to remove it afterwards and order new parts. So, since I need to remove the hands and dial to get to the calendar wheel and since I need to clean the underside of the crystal, I really have no choice.

I put the watch into the tester and it passes nicely. I realize I will need to retest with the new crown, but it is very unlikely that a properly lubricated crown would leak. See? No Bubbles. WR to 60m and probably a lot more, but I can certainly go swimming with it.

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I then focus on the movement. I figure that the date wheel is bad. It could happen. So, I remove the hands and the dial and replace the date wheel. I have plenty of spare ones, because the Huanzghou 6460 GMT movement comes with a replica Rolex datewheel and I have about 6 of these movements merrily ticking away in several of my watches. The wheels are left over, as I, until recently, had no interest in Rolex replicas. So, I replace the wheel and also the ring that comes between the movement in the dial. I test (by putting the dial and the hour hand back on) and it is still sticking. Sigh. The new date does not show completely in the date window. I remove the hour hand again and release the levers holding the dial in place and the date jumps forward, perfectly aligned. Cool. That means that I only need a bit more clearance between the dial and the calendar. I test this several times, replace the washer that comes between the dial and the movement and voila. The date is now perfectly centered and advances correctly.

I also re-seat the hands and now the date flips over at 23:57. Good enough. I am not usually awake for this (or not awake in order to watch my watch flip dates), so it is a moot point anyway. But, I do that too. I then thoroughly clean the insides of the case with optical paper and lens cleaner. I lightly brush the dial with a lens brush. And re-seat the movement. Perfect. No dust anywhere. Now the only two things remaining are to regulate the movement and to replace the crown. I’ll do the crown when I get it. Probably not today. But I can certainly regulate.

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Very good, overall. The amplitude is nothing to write home about, but the positional variation is not too bad. I am now almost done. Only the crown remains.

 

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Update 2.

The crown arrived today. So, just the last stretch. Here is the package:

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And here is the crown. A stem was attached to it, but while it was a 2824 stem, the Seagull ST2100 has a slightly different one.

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I removed the one that came with the crown and inserted the one I trimmed already. They were the same length, but just different enough that the 2824 one wouldn’t seat correctly. I replaced the stems, inserted into the movement, greased the seals, screwed the back back on and attempted to wind. It works! We are finally done. One perfectly working DSSD 2014 Noob that is about 1 second fast every 3 days. 20161031_123957916_ios

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The Restoration of Sector STE200 part 2

This post is about my efforts to restore my Sector STE200 watch that died because of water ingress. Here is the first part of the post.

So. The parts arrived. Several times. And then the correct parts. And then some more correct parts. This is what I have done:

  • I searched everywhere for a used STE200. I found one listing in Brasil. Hmm… I then found an Italian seller who was selling a Sector movement only. For Sector 155 chrono. It seemedSTE155 similar enough. The diameter was about the same (the difference was 0.2mm). The height seemed ok. So I ordered it. It is an ETA G10.711. Ok. The face and the hands are atrocious, but I figured I would buy another set. Then I read the reviews for G10.711. And they are not favourable. Really, as far as possible away from favourable. The most positive thing people could say about this movement is that ETA managed to cut costs extremely well and still charge through the nose for it.
  • Never mind. I looked up specifics for G10.711. Hand sizes are here and dimensions are here.
  • I went to cousinsuk and ordered the correct hands. Cost me 10 pounds. That is fine. The original hands were beyond repair anyway.
  • I then looked more closely at the G10 movement and look, there is no way to attach the old dial to it. I mean there might be, but not the same as in the previous movement. You can see here  how the dial was attached previously (they even helpfully provided little orange boxes around the important bits). Oh, but then I realised that the previous movement was ETA too. Specifically ETA 251.272 (it says so in the back of the ruined movement). I wonder if I can get ETA 251.272 anywhere… I can! At cousinsuk. And it is not too expensive. about as much as the G10.711 cost. But the 251 is better quality by far. Cool. I don’t want to rush too much though – perhaps the G10 can still be adapted. I mean, it is not like I was planning on using the watch. I just wanted to repair it and put it into the display case. So, it does not much matter what kind of movement is in it, I won’t be using it anyway. I figure I’ll wait and see.
  • I get the movement and I immediately have two issues. (a) The dial is glued to the movement, so I would have to keep the white and beige atrocity. (b) The movement does not fit into the case. Oh well. I buy an ETA 251.272 from cousins the same day but I have another issue. The large chrono hand is not available. So I order everything else (hour and minute hands). I figure I would reuse the seconds hand and the small dial hands. The movement and hands arrive the next day.

Here is the movement.

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I put the dial on and realize that the date wheel is not properly aligned. The numbers are not slanted and they are too big. See? Pay no attention to how crappy the dials and the lume looks. I am cleaning that up after I fixed the date.

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I replace the date wheel with the old one. I know it was sensible not to throw it away. The way to replace the date wheel is to unscrew the three little screws next to the subdial pinions and then remove the little half discs that hold the wheel in place (it then just falls out). Here is the end product. Old wheel, new movement.

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It now looks a lot better. The date. Not everything, yet.

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Adding the hour hand and re-luming.

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Adding the minute hand and realizing I have a problem.IMG_4460

The minute hand hits the lume and spreads it around. DOh! I re-lume again, and align the hands. This is fiddly. You need to do it several times. The first time the problem was that the date changed at 4am, which I did not like. So I set it to start changing at 24:00 and completely flip at 1:00am. But then I realised that the minute hand and hour hand were not perfectly in sync. When the minute hand is at 12, the hour hand should point exactly to a specific hour not between the markers. So I did that and had to reset it a few times.  But when satisfied, I added the little hands too.

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The thing is, I screwed up badly. I have no idea where the hands from the old watch are. The chronograph seconds would be very useful right now. I cannot buy it – can’t get it. And the one from G10 does not fit. So I left the one that came with the movement on, but will be changing it as soon as I can. Now I need to replace the stem crown. The old stem is rusted. Note. I need to thoroughly clean the stem tunnel. First, remove the crown from the old stem.

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Then remove the plastic crown from the new stem and replace. Voila.

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Put the movement in the case. Screw it in (two half-moon screws), put in the stem, put in the battery.

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Put silicone grease on the gasket, put the gasket on the back cover and close it. Turn the watch around and … We have Lift-off!!

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I put the bracelet back on. And have it pose for a picture.

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I hardly need to point out that the object of the exercise was not to have a perfectly restored watch, but rather to not give up on an object that has been with me for a long time. It works. And they said it could not be done. Sure, it could be made prettier and restored better. But hey, I did it on my own for me. And that is quite cool.

Things still to do:

  • Clean the stem tunnel better.
  • Replace the seconds hand
  • Align the chrono hands
  • Change the battery

 

 

 

Waterproofing replicas part 2

IMG_4379In the previous post, I waterproofed Planet Ocean GMT with DG2813 movement. The ETA2836-2 PO GMT Replica Waterproofing is the next step.

Before I start, a few general comments – I looked in the forums on how to spot an Asian ETA movement. This is a comprehensive, fairly recent post. Either the Chinese have gotten a whole lot better in replicating the ETA’s, or this is the ‘real’ thing. How do I know? The ETA seal on the ebauche is legible. The + and – signs in the micro adjuster are etched and not stamped. The finish on the wheels is not shiny. Hmm… Well, whatever, this is still a replica one way or another. It certainly is not a coaxial movement, it does not have a silicon wheel or main spring (as the Omega 8500 calibre and its variations have). It is an exceedingly nice replica, though, and a lot better than the cheaper one I got. Still not as nice as the genuine Omega and the watch has certainly been assembled in a dirter environment, compared to the gen, but it is still very nice.

I need to do pretty much what I did with the DG2813. The only difference is that now I know how to get the movement out, so I will be sealing the front crystal too. I start by organising the workbench.

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I open up the watch with the Jaxa wrench. The gasket is dry as in the DG2813.

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I take the gasket out and put it into a silicone bath.

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Close the lid.

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I remove the three screws that hold the movement in place (with little washers) and the rotor.

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I then remove the stem and get the movement out (turn the watch around and tip it gently into my gloved hand). I want to make it clear that while it is true that the movement is face-down, it is (a) on a very soft cushion and (b) the movement is not running, so the seconds hand is not moving and is thus not under strain.

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I then apply G-S glue to the front crystal.

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I use pegwood and rodico to remove any residual G-S glue.

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I then notice (see the pic above) that there is absolutely no opening for the HeV. That is brilliant, because I do not need a Helium release Valve anyway and now I do not even need to close it down with marine epoxy. I now do not need the movement to be outside the case any more. While I am here, I am going to grease everything.

Prepare the silicon grease.

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I use the silicon grease and a fine brush to grease the stem tunnel, the crown and the gasket groove.

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Before I put the movement in and attach it, I notice that there is a grey smudge on the rotor edge. It was not me! I used cotton gloves and I was handling the rotor with tweezers. I use rodico, pegwood, watchmans brushes and soft cloth to remove the smudge. I was not completely successful, but it is a lot better than it was.

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Everything is greased now.

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I then put the movement in and re-attach the rotor and the washers.

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And the stem, of course.

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Before I am done, I need to apply G-S glue to the display window in the back. I do exactly the same thing as I did with the previous watch.

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I close the watch down, remove the wrapping … and realise there is a smudge on the inside of the front Sapphire glass. Doh! I know that I must fix this now, otherwise I will never fix it and it will drive me insane. OCD FTW. I open everything up, remove the stem, the washers, the movement and clean the glass. I then reverse the whole procedure and re-grease the gasket. I close the watch up and now the smudge is gone. I need to take the watch into town and have it tested.

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UPDATE. Had the watch tested. Water-resistant to 100m! Woohoo!