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About dpn

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  • Birthday February 4

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  • Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
  • Interests
    Seiko modifications, vintage watches, Sinn watches, bats, wildflowers, and analog large format photography.

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  1. So, here's kind of a fun story: A few weeks ago, I purchased a Gruen Verithin Pentagon pocket watch in filled white gold. It had a distinctive engraving inside of its caseback that read "Leland S. Offer, Los Angeles, Calif." Based on the serial number of its case and movement, and with the assistance of some Gruen experts, I was able to date this watch to 1922 or 1923. Because I was curious and like a good story, I researched the original owner, one Leland Stanford Offer, who was a successful salesman living near Los Angeles at the time he purchased the Pentagon. Using Ancestry.com, I was able to learn the names of Leland S. Offer's living descendants. With the help of Google and some paid people searches, I was able to get in contact with Leland S. Offer's living grandson and one of Leland S. Offer's living great-grandnephews. I mailed the great-grandnephew Leland S. Offer's Gruen Pentagon, and the current plan is for the great-grandnephew and I to surprise Leland S. Offer's living grandson with his grandfather's watch on a Zoom videoconference later this week. I was happy to reunite this family with the pocketwatch free of charge, but the great-grandnephew insisted on covering my expenses. Because of this, I've been on the lookout for a nice replacement Gruen Pentagon pocketwatch. I had been lusting after a 14k or filled green gold Pentagon, but earlier today I found a really nice solid 14k white gold specimen that was nicely engraved and featured pretty black enamel painting on its case. Here's the replacement Gruen Pentagon that is on its way to me now: I plan on polishing and heat bluing the hands from this watch. I would like to overhaul it myself, but I don't know if I have the skills to attempt this yet. I've been practicing on Seiko NH36A movements and the experience has, to say the least, been humbling. There's something about the super thin and delicate layers of aluminum in the NH36A movement that I can't help but destroy.
  2. Mostly it's just a lot of fun, and a very inexpensive way to practice an old horological technique.
  3. Mostly its aesthetics, but the bluing provides corrosion protection. A lot of really old watches have blued hands that have gone black with time, and it'll be fun to restore them. Long term: I'm working on some custom watch projects, and would love to be able to sell hands that I've blued, or custom watches with certain blued components.
  4. Quick update: I'm documenting my progress on the NAWCC forum, but I've been able to (unevenly) blue some hands. I've got a long way to go, but I'm really looking forward to continuing to improve!
  5. Thank you Nucejoe ... Yeah, I'm worried about what has seeped onto the front of the movement from behind the dial. I'm still looking for a Zenith caseback opener, so I don't know that the extent of the problem is. Thanks for the tip!
  6. Hello everyone, I recently purchased a Zenith Defy (A3642) from 1972 with a 2562PC movement. The watch is in overall gorgeous cosmetic condition. Per the seller, it was purchased new in 1972, worn briefly, and then put into a safe for ~45 years. I do not know its service history, but it is running decently (averaging -10 s/day with a low amplitude of 180-200). It may be that this watch has never been serviced. The movement absolutely needs an overhaul, but the good news is that the crystal, crown, bracelet, etc. are all original. Unfortunately, the original rubber or plastic crystal gasket has deteriorated into a black "goo". Most unfortunately, some of this goo appears to have dripped onto the dial. It isn't fouling the hands, which is a plus, but it definitely appears to have stuck onto the dial. Does anyone have any insights into cleaning this goo off of the dial? The dial is in otherwise gorgeous condition. I'm worried that there won't be an elegant way of pulling the goo off without damaging the dial. I'm also concerned about stains on the portion of the dial now covered in goo, but am happy to live with those if I can otherwise remove the goo safely. In the same way, I hope to clean the goo off of the original crystal. This seems a little easier, but I don't want to scratch the crystal removing the stuff. Thank you so much for any advice you might have. I am confident in my abilities to extract the movement from the case and remove the hands safely, but have no idea how to pull the goo off other than maybe prying it with some pegwood. (There's no urgency in this matter: I'm currently hunting for the correct caseback opener and correctly-sized replacement gaskets, and the goo isn't currently fouling the hands.) All the best, Dan
  7. If anyone is curious, there's a great thread on the NAWCC forum on this subject of heat-bluing hands. Marty, who sells NOS blued hands as well as hands he has recovered and blued, has shared a lot of tips with me. He's friendly, approachable, and has freely shared some great information. After doing more research, I've concluded that it's darn near impossible to find inexpensive steel hands in wrist watch sizes that would be suitable for heat-bluing. Esslinger tells me that all of their Swiss-manufactured hands are treated brass, not steel. I think one either needs to buy a laser cutter, cut hands out of a thin sheet of high-carbon steel, and then manually solder or otherwise connect a small brass tube of the correct diameter (as described in this excellent blog post from Anordain Watches in Scotland), or work with Ickler.de or a Chinese factory to have a small run of hands produced to one's specifications. Neither approach is reasonable for a mere hobbyist. The best approach that I can see is finding pocket watch hands that are either the correct height and diameter, or that can be modified to be the correct height and diameter. I'm researching this further. I have a mishmash of 100 pocket want hands coming from eBay, and will be sizing them with a Bergeon gauge and a micrometer in the hope that I can get a couple of sets of matching hands. If anyone is curious, here's where I am on my hand bluing progress: 1) I've built a really ugly brass heating tray. It's too ugly to share publicly, as I built it out of brass sheet that was far too thick to be shaped easily. As someone who is entirely self-taught, having no relatives interested in metalworking and having taken no shop classes in school, basic metalwork is a challenge. I'm in the process of making my second attempt at a heating tray using far thinner brass (0.025" thick instead of 0.125" thick). 2) I've got several ounces of brass scarf, both propane and butane torches, and an infrared thermometer that should hopefully get me in the ballpark. 3) As previously mentioned, I have an assortment of 100 steel pocket watch hands en route from eBay to start to practice with. 4) Once I get the hands, I'll be disposing of any radium hands I receive and starting to strip and polish good candidates for heat-bluing. I'll share my progress photos, etc.
  8. As a frequent seller on eBay, I feel your pain. My first Defy was described as working well, but the movement wouldn't wind and the date could not be set via the crown. My second Defy was described as original, but it had a nonoriginal crown and crystal that weren't evident from the provided photos. Please rest assured that I only return items if there are really significant errors between the photos and description and what I actually receive. /// I sell a lot of vintage camera lenses and equipment, and always err on the side of overdisclosing any flaws and providing more photographs rather than fewer.
  9. I saw that 36° figure cited somewhere -- maybe the NAWCC forum? But I have no idea whether that was someone's spitball guess or whether its based on hard data. Thanks @JohnR725 and @nickelsilver for the info on how to measure the lift angle. For me and this specific watch, this exercise is beyond me. I am thinking about trying this calculation out on one of the NH36 movements I have sitting around, though.
  10. I have one more incoming watch that I'd like to share: A ~1972 Zenith Defy (A3642). I've been looking for a nice example of this watch for a few months, and have purchased and returned two examples because of undisclosed problems and generally not being as nice in person as they were pictured and described as being. This one, I hope, will be the keeper: It is completely original, not overpolished, and looks like it has been kept in a safe for years. It was purchased new in ~1972 by the father of the person who is selling it to me. Once I get it open, I'll be able to date it from its movement (which should be a 2552PC). It purportedly runs well, but the seller didn't offer any pictures of its movement. This is a watch that I'm definitely going to send out for an overhaul, either to the Zenith factory or to someone recommended to me. Normally I wouldn't send a watch back to the factory for repair, but I'm concerned that parts availability will be an issue with this model.
  11. Thanks @jdm for the insight. I think that I'm going to stick with the ETA 6498 and the Seiko NH36 movements to practice with. The Gruen is too beautiful for me to butcher. I'm definitely open to any recommendations about where I should send the Gruen for an overhaul!
  12. Thank you so much @watchweasol! I'm very grateful to be a member of this community.
  13. I just received a Gruen VeriThin Pentagon pocket watch in the mail. I'm in love: The dial is gorgeous and in beautiful condition, and the movement is stunning. I didn't expect the mirror polish in some of the movement components. This is probably the most beautiful movement I've ever seen in person. This may just be a white gold filled case, but it's my first non-SS cased watch. Next steps: Figure out if this is a good candidate for me to overhaul. My current thinking is that this is far too "fine" a movement to practice with, and I don't know about parts availability. It's running okay right now, with a healthy amplitude but losing 3m/day.
  14. Thank you @jdm! That's a great explanation, and I feel a little foolish asking this question. I can see that the amplitude looks healthy with my eyes, and assuming a 52° lift angle my timegrapher is showing a 250° amplitude. The movement I'm looking at is, however, running very slow (-3m/day) so I'm looking into giving the watch a CLA. Cheers, Dan
  15. Hi all, I'm curious as to whether anyone knows what a common lift angle would be for Gruen VeriThin movements? I've seen that 36° is typical for American pocket watches, but given that Gruen's movements were manufactured in Biel/Bienne I don't know whether it's reasonable to assume a 36° lift angle. I've seen several posts on the NAWCC forum explaining how one actually measures/calculates a lift angle, but they're, frankly, beyond my ability to achive. More generally, how important is it to get an *exact* lift angle when judging the accuracy of a movement on a timegrapher? Thanks all for indulging this newbie question. I appreciate any insights this forum might have! Cheers, Dan
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