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Annie

Need advice on repairing a Wittnauer Geneve 242t

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Hi all!! I inherited two watches from my late father. One is his retirement watch, a Seiko from the 80s that has a pretty beat up crystal and I doubt has ever been cleaned. I replaced the battery and it works, but I'm sure it could use more servicing. The second watch is my prize. It is a Wittnauer Geneve 242t. Dad was a B58 and B52 pilot and probably bought it when he retired from the Air Force. It's so cool! Unfortunately it doesn't work. I took it to a jeweler with the intent of having it restored and they sent it to a Rolex repair shop. The estimate to fix is $1,840. I'm at a loss as to what to do as that is a big chunk of change for me to lay out right now. I turned to YouTube to see if there are any videos featuring this watch and no. That's where I found Mark from thewatchrepairchannel. I love his videos. They are concise and well laid out. It looks daunting, but maybe I can fix this watch myself. I'm here for advice to see if I'm on the right track or should I take it to an expert.

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Karl here. I would love to see pics if you can post them. I know very little about Seiko. But Wittnauer I've seen off and on. I know some repair technicians can charge a pretty penny, but did the estimate they gave you go into detail on what the needed repairs were. That figure does sound pretty steep. Was it dropped from a B52? (Which could actually cause a costly batch of repairs I imagine.) Either way, it would be a great thing to get it running.  I wish you luck with them both.

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:mad:

Hopefully a decade of experience after graduation from Mark Lovicks courses, you will have acquired enough skills to attempt servicing the Wittnauer complications. Let us enjoy watching its picture please.

Meanwhile we can have fun playing baseball or with the seiko. 

Just a thought.

Regards.

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5 hours ago, Annie said:

It looks daunting, but maybe I can fix this watch myself. I'm here for advice to see if I'm on the right track or should I take it to an expert.

The reason why The repair is so expensive is several reasons. If you take the watch to a jewelry store and they send it out for repair they mark up the repair cost considerably. Ideally you want to find the repair shop yourself you'll get a better price. But no matter what this watch is going to be expensive to get repaired. If the shop really was a Rolex shop they nearly double the cost of anything that's a vintage watch. Then if it's complicated like a chronograph it will go up again.

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/bring-a-loupe-nov-29

Then Nucejoe was kind of kidding about a decade of experience. For instance depending upon where you're located their schools teaching professional watchmakers two years there would put you in a much better position the service a chronograph. But Mark does have chronograph videos I have a link below for one of them not the same caliber as yours unfortunately but don't give you a clue is only six parts should bill a breeze through that no time.

Okay here's the problem it's a chronograph with some stuff on the dial side it's a little more complicated. There is a service manual for it but it's really big file size so I'm not going to attach it. In order service this yourself you're going to need to learn how to master servicing a watch without breaking it probably service several of them without breaking them. Then I would find one of these movements on eBay to practice on before working on something that you prize. Because no matter what in watch repair things happen and breaking something that you value is actually a really good lesson in watch repair to teach you why you shouldn't be repairing it in the first place. It just depends on how much pain and suffering you like. So it's not impossible that you can repair it yourself it just isn't something that we would advise you to do at least not right now until you get lots of experience. Then as you didn't say where you're located it makes it hard to make recommendations of where you might look for repair shop.

http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&0&2uswk&Valjoux_72

https://youtu.be/EI3T-IR3AgM

 

 

Valjoux_Valjoux 72.pdf

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4 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

The reason why The repair is so expensive is several reasons. If you take the watch to a jewelry store and they send it out for repair they mark up the repair cost considerably...

But no matter what this watch is going to be expensive to get repaired. If the shop really was a Rolex shop they nearly double the cost of anything that's a vintage watch. Then if it's complicated like a chronograph...

JohnR725 makes excellent points (and enlightens me with a needed reminder): it's a chronograph, and many repair places will send it out, and charge for doing so.  As he says, finding a reputable local shop will mitigate some of that cost.

And it is somewhat true that some of us have near-masochistic tendencies, working on watches with complications which other technicians won't touch for fear of the headaches they will have.   Our knuckles white, our hands steady despite the adrenalin, we soldier on, hoping the metallic collection of bits and bobs before us will work when we are done doing whatever we have to. It gives one a bit of a rush.  Especially when we *do* get it to work well. You can grow a little addicted to it. That, and the fascination that comes from watching a mechanical movement doing its thing can put one in, like, a state of Zen.  If you do go down this path, Annie, you may find it enjoyable. But as John here says, don't let your very first project be a chronograph.  That'd be almost akin to learning to ride a motorcycle by hopping onto a Ducati Monster.

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At first I was thinking that you were fed "a line" by the jeweler about the "Rolex shop". But after searching on that movement I see that it may have Valjoux 72 chrono movement in it. I believe that some classic Rolex chronos use that same movement.  I agree with others about the virtual impossibility of fixing it yourself without doing more harm than good.

That said, that price probably includes some things that you can do without. That sounds like a complete refurbishment price to me. Depending on the condition of things, you may be able to get by with a clean and oil to get it running. You won't get guaranteed waterproofing, new crystal, etc., but you may be able to make it wearable.

As you can see in the information that JohnR275 provided, there are a lot of parts in that movement. Just keeping the screws of so many different shapes and sizes takes a special type of care. And if something got lost of broken during repair I don't think you'll have access to a large inexpensive supply of replacement parts for a Valjoux 72.

If you're in the USA, Annie, you might consider navigating to the AWCI website. They are an organization specializes in watch and clock repair information, continuing education, etc., and has a list of watchmakers who you can probably set store in. Maybe there is one in your area? That's where I'd be headed. Best of luck. It sounds like a great watch to have inherited.

Edited by MrRoundel

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I love your reference to a Ducati. I used to ride a Harley and then a GSXR 1000, so I totally get what you mean. Honestly, the more I read in the forums the more I realized me trying to fix this watch would be a really bad idea. I still love the forum though, and I hope I can still hangout, read, and learn. 

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11 hours ago, KarlvonKoln said:

Karl here. I would love to see pics if you can post them. I know very little about Seiko. But Wittnauer I've seen off and on. I know some repair technicians can charge a pretty penny, but did the estimate they gave you go into detail on what the needed repairs were. That figure does sound pretty steep. Was it dropped from a B52? (Which could actually cause a costly batch of repairs I imagine.) Either way, it would be a great thing to get it running.  I wish you luck with them both.

Hi Karl! As soon as I get it back from the Rolex shop I will post photos. Lol on the dropping it from the B52! Thank you so much for your support!

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11 hours ago, Nucejoe said:

:mad:

Hopefully a decade of experience after graduation from Mark Lovicks courses, you will have acquired enough skills to attempt servicing the Wittnauer complications. Let us enjoy watching its picture please.

Meanwhile we can have fun playing baseball or with the seiko. 

Just a thought.

Regards.

Smarty pants! I agree though, really. The more I dove into the forums, the more I realize this is way over my head. You have challenged me, though. I can think of worse things to devote ten years to. 

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If you're willing to put in the legwork, I have a similar (albeit less severe) scenario with a Venus 170. Any chronograph is pricey to get back to happy. Assuming nothing is broken-broken, and all it needs is a clean and a lube, set it aside buy some tools and a bunch of other (sacrificial) watches and learn how to do it yourself. It'll take more time, but you'll get there, and have a ton of tools and fun for the trouble.

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1 hour ago, Annie said:

Smarty pants! I agree though, really. The more I dove into the forums, the more I realize this is way over my head. You have challenged me, though. I can think of worse things to devote ten years to. 

Practice makes perfect, in this case lots of it.  

Apart from its sentimental value, your watch is rare, collectible and not cheap, I'd entrust it only in a master watchmaker's hand. 

Good luck.  

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I found a couple of videos of interest Mark repaired one in one video so how complicated could it be? The second video is interesting in that it's giving you a quest to slowly acquire spare parts for the future just in case.

The third link the Amazon book is a good book on chronographs just a lot a general information.

Then the eBay link a must have if you're in to chronographs. In particular Volume 21  57 pages of how to service a particular chronograph.

https://youtu.be/pFOQm9sAzE8

https://youtu.be/AVISmI8r-5Q

https://www.amazon.com/Chronograph-Its-Mechanism-Repair/dp/B0058NJFVE

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Esembl-O-Graf-Chronograph-Watch-Course-Vol-1-28/402295131097?hash=item5daaa88bd9:g:TuwAAOxy3NBSdB80

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Yes, those Esembl-O-Graf booklets/DVD, etc. would be very handy indeed. I remember seeing them being sold at NAWCC marts. But since I was only interested in pocket watches at the time, I never snagged any. I do remember a friend buying a bunch of them. Good thought. I had forgotten about them.

 

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21 hours ago, KarlvonKoln said:

That'd be almost akin to learning to ride a motorcycle by hopping onto a Ducati Monster.

Motorcycle references tickles me too, as one needs to make them right :). The Ducati Monster is just (like a watch model) name for their popular naked bike style. They come as small as 400c with power adequate for a beginner and the related license. Monster was ever meant to deliver big power, not even in it's 1200cc declination, or track use. 20 years ago the overused reference for a top performance bike  was perhaps an Hayabusa, more modernly maybe Ducati V4, or a Ninja H2R.

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