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qhartman

Seiko S-261 opinions?

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I'm just getting into repairing/restoring vintage watches. Mostly for fun. I have several which I absolutely cannot get the backs off with the case knife I have. I'm considering just trying my luck with a better case knife as the one I have is definitely a cheapie, however I also found the Seiko S-261case back opener: https://www.esslinger.com/seiko-s-261-easy-snap-case-back-opener/

It's a rather expensive tool since I'll not likely be using it to generate income, but I wonder if it might we worth it. Do any of you have experience with this, or similar, tools? Would you recommend one, or is there something out there that is a step between this and the cheapie case knife I have? Would a better case knife really be that much better?

Edited by qhartman

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Not all case backs that look like they should come off, actually do. Some watch cases are split in other ways, and some only allow access from the front.  Show us some pictures of the watches in question and we might be able to assist.

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The tool is only worth it if you make a living fixing watches/changine batteries.

I usually force a paper cutter blade as a start, this is to widen the gap so a case knife can get in. Sometime the paper-cutter blade needs to be tapped in with a small hammer. Note do not use this blade to open the caseback, just to widen the gap.

Watch your fingers as the blade is sharp!

Anilv

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I'm pretty certain that at least most of the ones I'm struggling with are snap back. The latest rage-inducer is a Seiko 6619-7070, and I've seen pictures of 5's from this era (it's either a 1966 or 1976 based on the serial number, not 100% sure which), and all the ones with screw-backs have case-tool slots, and the ones that don't seem to very clearly be snap-backs. I'd love to be proven wrong though! Here's a picture of a similar contemporary model with the back removed: http://www.klongtonwatch.com/store/product/view/Vintage_Wrist_Watch_Seiko_Sportmatic_5_Water_proof_Diashock_21_Jewels_Japan_made_automatic_6619_8970-26183233-en.html

Have you found that a "good" case knife makes a difference?

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Ultra tight snap on case backs are a pain. Literally. I have a Bulova that is also very difficult to remove. In fact, I've never been able to open it with a case knife. As posted above, the Seiko S-261 is an expensive paperweight. I purchased a tool very similar to this:

www.ebay.com/itm/New-Type-Watch-Repair-Tool-Snap-on-Watch-Back-Case-Opener-Workbench-Case-Remover/264127322090?hash=item3d7f3717ea:g:yQcAAOSwY4pZZufe:rk:79:pf:0

I'm not shilling for any of the sellers of tools here, just mentioning what worked for me. There are better prices to be had also than the one in this link.

I'm already assuming that you've thoroughly examined the case back to see if there is a slight indentation on the case back lip. If so, that's where you apply pressure. Does the case back on your 6619 say waterproof or water resistant. If it says "proof" then it's a 1966 vintage. By the 70's, the US Federal Trade Commission, among others,  had forced manufacturers to adopt the totally asinine system in use today and your watch would say, water resistant. Somehow in the new system, 200 meters on the dial doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe to dive into the deep end of your own swimming pool while wearing it. Washing your hands with it on "might" be okay.

 

Water Resistance by Casio

You've got a great watch with your Seiko 6619 so don't give up. Once you have a proper case back opener for this type of watch, you'll wonder how you ever did without one. Expect to have to press the case back on when you've completed the repairs too. You almost certainly won't be able to do it without dies and a press.

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Thanks for the pointers on both dating the watch and the tool recommendation. It says "waterproof", so that would put it as '66, but I think it's a JDM model as the day wheel only has Kanji days, it's not one of the multi-language ones, if that matters.

That tool does look interesting, and I like that it's half the price of the S-261. I do have a crystal / back press already, so replacing it shouldn't be a problem.

Yes, I'm coming to love this watch. I originally got it as a stop-gap before I can afford a 50's or 60's Omega Seamaster (ideally one of the crosshair or honeycomb dials) but the more I live with it, the more I think an "upgrade" might not be needed! :D  

Unfortunately all the local watchmakers I know won't touch it, apparently they think it's not worth the effort, and everyone I've found online in the US isn't taking new work, so this will be my first "project watch" that is something I actually care about. I'm actively looking around for another 6619 I can practice on since I've never worked on a Seiko before. I'm hoping I can get it running reliably, it currently stops if I leave my hand still for too long with it sitting horizontal. If I'm up and about and walking around it keeps good time.

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37 minutes ago, qhartman said:

This looks promising: 

 

This is little more than an inexpensive copy of the Seiko S-261 and won't work any better for you. Most of the Seiko snap on water resistant models that I've owned all have the indention on the back placed between the lugs. You need a removal tool that is capable of working between the lugs and this one won't do it. At least not properly. You would have to clamp the cast too high in the tool in order to access the area between the lugs and the watch will pop out of the holder instead of giving up the case back. Even if the small removal indention is on the side, every Seiko repair manual that I've read cautions to place it between the lugs when reinstalling the back.

Your watch may or may not be a JDM version. Usually, JDM versions were sold only in their Eastern markets, mostly in Japan. However, many US sailors purchased watches when on a western Pacific deployment over the years and these watches have slowly found their way into our domestic supply chain. My general rule of thumb regarding JDM models is to ascertain whether or not the model was ever sold in the US at retail. The 6119 movement was a real workhorse in movements sold to the US markets so what you may have is a Japanese version of this watch with the Kanji week wheel. The wheels aren't plentiful. Indeed, no spare parts for this caliber are in good supply but other calibers shared some parts so thankfully, restoration is mildly difficult but certainly not impossible. There is currently one Arabic week wheel for this caliber listed on our favorite auction site but it's a bit spendy. Were it me, I would leave the wheel and learn the Japanese day characters. There are only 7 of them and Sunday is a gimme since it's in Red. Vive la difference, eh?

Edited by TexasDon
clarity, grammar

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Thanks again for the insights on this tool, much appreciated.

And yes, no intention of changing the day wheel. I've long wanted to learn Japanese, so learning to use this is one small way I can move that goal forward a bit. Really I just want to get some dust off the dial, maybe replace or at least polish the crystal, and get it running right. Everything else, case character included, will remain. 

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Ok, according to the casing guide that's a Snap3 case. I've attached the relevant extract from the casing guide which shows how it all goes together. It does come out the back. Best bet is some jury rigged razor blades, but careful of your fingers! I'd put it in a very sturdy movement holder and study all the way round under magnification to see if there are any places that look hopeful, then carefully wiggle a razor blade under a bit of pressure. Put tape on the closest parts of the case so hopefully you won't scratch it if the blade slips. Where in the world are you by the way? 

Snap3.pdf

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Here's a pic of one I found showing the caseback off on t'internet (credit to original poster)003.jpg

By the way, in case you don't know you can tell the year and month of production. For example the one above is a December 1966 - the first "6" in the serial is the year but you have to work the decade out yourself and the second digit "D" equates to Dec using the code 1-9 for Jan to Sept and O, N or D for Oct, Nov, Dec.

 

 

Edited by Pip

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3 minutes ago, qhartman said:

Thanks so much for the extra info!

I'm in Denver, Colorado, US

You are most welcome! Ok, was gonna suggest if you're in UK I'd try for you but maybe not then! I'm sure you'll work it out, you really usually don't need special tools. The good news is that if the caseback is very difficult to get off hopefully the movement will be unmolested and hopefully moisture free so long as it has no other issues. Come back and let the team know how you get on yeah?

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Just now, qhartman said:

My watch and the one you found are close cousins! Mine was made same year and month, SN is 6D10361

Hey, how about that! They probably were handled by the same chap on the assembly line! Think about that, 52 years ago old Jimmy on the production line handled these two specific watches that you have now seen, probably in the space of a few days. How cool is that?

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That is super cool. The historical angles, the "life" that watches have is one of the reasons I love them so much. The piece that is really responsible for getting me into it is a 1941 Hamilton Lexington I inherited from my grandfather. One of the more interesting thigns about it is that it is engraved on the back so it was probably a graduation gift for him, but no one in my family can figure out who the "from" initials belong to. I like to think it was his secret girlfriend... :D

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Oh wow, I’d love my grandfather’s watch, that is so awesome! I have one of my dad’s but my grandfathers went to one of my nephews as I wasn’t quite so into watches at that time. I’m happy for him but would have loved to have had it in my rotation of course.


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