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The remarkable thing to my mind about these watches is that they are so inexpensive.

For example here is one almost identical to the "Sewor" above,  at a mere £4.86 plus £3.36 shipping.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003015373493.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.634e56devuAwxW&algo_pvid=a4a5cf1f-92ca-4755-b6b7-8c31fd589320&algo_exp_id=a4a5cf1f-92ca-4755-b6b7-8c31fd589320-9&pdp_ext_f={"sku_id"%3A"12000023238556604"}

Now I have to admit the quality is not spectacular, and the design is odd, but undoubtedly eye catching in a somewhat chintzy way,  but you have to consider that I can barely pick up a new watch strap locally for the price they are offering a brand new skeleton mechanical watch.

If you want something to practice your watch repair skills on, these may well be the cheapest new option around, and at that kind of money, if you do break it, you wont be crying in to your beer for too long.

Edited by AndyHull
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21 hours ago, AndyHull said:

If you want something to practice your watch repair skills on, these may well be the cheapest new option around, and at that kind of money, if you do break it, you wont be crying in to your beer for too long.

I don't agree. Ultracheap Chinese mechanical watches are not good for a beginner, because they break so easily, either when just worn, and even more when taken apart. Everything is made to the lowest possible cost, to be assembled once then shipped out of the door, to break soon so that another has to be bought. Working on them, trying to solve problems that are impossible, and having parts crumble at the slightest touch does not help in building confidence in oneself.
If one likes Chinese watches should get current Sea Gull movements, or the good old Tongji of a good grade. Although not exactly built as tanks, they at least belong to a different league.

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Fair point. The ultra-cheapies are just that. Ultra cheap.

You can't compare the build quality of a "Winner" or a "Sewor" with even the most basic of jewelled Swiss watches.

I would say however that they are on a par in terms of build quality with, or arguably better built than some of the  pin lever Swiss mechanisms.

There are much better Chinese watch calibers as you say. Having said that, the Sewor and its ilk are just Chinese Standard mechanisms, all be it of pretty low quality. What you see in one of these will be pretty much identical in terms of layout (but not in terms of materials) to some of the better versions. 

You can see the similarities and the obvious differences if you compare a Shanghi Tonji with the Sewor Skeletonized version.

The Sewor finish is much poorer, but the components and layout are almost identical.

There are a couple of obvious component differences apart from the skeletonized bridges and main plate (the click for example).
Shanghai-ZSH-Circular.jpg

SeworSkeleton.jpg

(The two images are different sizes, but in reality the two mechanisms are the same size too).

Edited by AndyHull
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I once spent several evenings in front of the TV scrolling through the many many thousands of mechanical watches on AliX. It was pretty fascinating. My ideally spec'd dive watch is available, albeit with a Miyota or Seiko movement (not a huge demerit) for around $100 to my door! I can even get it without some unpronounceable letter salad name on the dial!

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So... I struck out about a dozen times a week from 1/16-7/12. A nearly six month, 300-loss losing streak. Then, in the last few weeks, I snagged a jump hour for $1, then the all stainless fully jeweled possible keeper, and last night I managed to catch a third! Also all stainless, also fully jeweled (my minimum criteria these days), for £3.97 and about that again shipping. Obviously, lots of losses in that time; it's a game of numbers. But still! I was about to give up on my minimum criteria, but maybe something has changed in the greater market? Maybe there's a seasonality to it?

My desk is almost back to a usable state. I'm hoping I can get the last bit cleared and cleaned tomorrow! Then I need to find some time during the week to sneak down to a scientific supply store in the flats to pick up some silver nitrate to finish up my silver plated French survivors and get them sold!

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Sounds like a mod did something. No clue what that might have been. It's not an especially controversial corner of the internet.

Meanwhile, I finally recovered my desk! First order of business is to go down to the flats and get some silver nitrate to restore some silver plated cases I have. The movements are done, cases cleaned and polished. I just need to replate where the thin plating either polished through, or was never there in the first place (might be why they were NOS). I think all that will be left on those watches is crystal glue, and maybe straps? Meanwhile, I think I'll tackle something out of my project box this afternoon/evening to see if I can't get back in the swing after such a long hiatus.

Edited by spectre6000
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/30/2021 at 5:31 PM, Plato said:

This purchase must qualify:

1019184560_404Accurist.thumb.jpg.a2d238069da6c8bdeb4d1b4af5c7f4c6.jpg

Revived! £8.72 for a mainspring and £1.20 for a crown so a grand total of £17.16. 

No specific mainspring was available for this watch (on Cousins) so I took a chance on a generic one that was slightly longer but I can't see that being detrimental? The amplitude and beat error are good, I won't regulate it until the oil's had a chance to bed in.

It's a nice little movement (ETA 2409) with a shock system I've not worked on before - similar to Seiko's Diashock in the way it's fitted. I didn't receive it with case clamps and I'm not sure they were ever used.

IMG_0011.thumb.JPG.6ddec2f13dd4c82a8776487e4691a6bd.JPGIMG_0012.thumb.JPG.54ec9636f10507cf2b8167dd0ec43328.JPGIMG_0013.thumb.JPG.38a9b6c022f3f3377175a5a74de40250.JPGIMG_0018.thumb.JPG.2ea76e776a88f3b907e0f78eb27936d5.JPGIMG_0014.thumb.JPG.167e4e751093ebbb6193a0a916652fc4.JPG

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Nice! On the nose!

The cutout in the main plate to the left of the balance in that first movement photo is a weird one... Almost looks like something is missing, or it was just hogged out rough and never finished...

Edited by spectre6000
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11 hours ago, spectre6000 said:

Nice! On the nose!

The cutout in the main plate to the left of the balance in that first movement photo is a weird one... Almost looks like something is missing, or it was just hogged out rough and never finished...

It does look a bit odd, could it be there to help with assembly, as in lining up the train gears before fitting the bridge? @AndyHull's 2391 has the same cut-out.

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2 hours ago, Plato said:

It does look a bit odd, could it be there to help with assembly, as in lining up the train gears before fitting the bridge?

That seems likely. In the course of manufacture, there was almost certainly some kind of jig or jigs involved in placing the various components, and those cut outs are most likely used to align an assembly jig.

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AsPurchased-l1600.thumb.jpg.7e1ef14b9c15d31cb535986ca3d4d976.jpg

A USSR Sekonda Pocket watch, for a pocket money price, hoping to join the club is on its way.

Most probably a 19 jewel Raketa 2609.HA, however the picture on the listing is pretty terrible, so that is  just a guess.

EDIT: The nearest I can find with Google is this, so perhaps my initial guess wasn't 100% correct.

image.png.a81a7896fd181e32076440be1aee9aaf.png

Edited by AndyHull
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4 hours ago, Plato said:

It does look a bit odd, could it be there to help with assembly, as in lining up the train gears before fitting the bridge? @AndyHull's 2391 has the same cut-out.

Interesting little family of movements, This is a 2390 from another accurist I did last year, very similar movement (no date complication) but the base plate doesn't have the same cutaways.

IMG_20200607_000606~2.jpg

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23 hours ago, Plato said:

Another type of shock system too.

Interesting, all three are ETA, and all three have different shock protection. I guess you licensed the design, and fitted whatever you fancied, depending on the price, unless of course someone has replaced the shock springs on one or more of them at some point when servicing them.

 

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image.png.5cedae7dda8dad9252e62bf10e54bb9a.png

Oh dear, when will I learn?

Another Mao, this time waving, not smoking.

This was in a batch of 13 described as "various watches bulk sale all need batterys"

image.png.16417cc0def760f92b6d06fa73f3630e.png


There are at least three mechanicals, including an Avia and the Chairman Mao, and a couple of quartz that look interesting.

I scored the lot for 0.99p but the postage brought it up to about a pound per watch.

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5 hours ago, Pauly said:

Not even sure all the 2390s I had used the same shock systems, they had different balance wheels for sure

I think the most ETA 2390 has the ordinary Incabloc shock system, but obviously some seems to be equipped with the older Shock-Resist system for some reason. The balance shifted sometime in the 60’s. I have a stock of older ETA 2390 balance completes produced in a country which should excite @AndyHull, took a Pic as a clue…  guess they might have produced an 2390 or two on license too with a different shock system..

20210830_213802.thumb.jpg.0fc0056b279dbb68cc917456c8df048d.jpg

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Very interesting. I wonder what the history of "Novex" is.

There is a "Novex Enterprises" based in Mumbai, which claims to have been established in 1980, however I have no idea if there is any relationship with the watch balances you picked up.

https://www.novex.org/

The web site is not particularly interesting, and the company appears to currently be a reseller of Japanese and Chinese quartz movements.

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Another 1969 Timex Marlin joins the club today.

RIMG0969.thumb.JPG.b119d694d0c3f5cf9d3a487c80fa4e6f.JPG

It needed a lot of cleaning and a new crystal (and a fresh strap and pins) as you can see in the "before" picture below.

AsPurchasedCropped-l1600.jpg.337d85b20da9027e83633558414336ed.jpg

It is not quite as pristine as its sibling on the left in the first picture, but the pair of fifty two year olds are both ticking away nicely.

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I'm very pleased with how the Avia 17 jewel turned out.

RIMG0972.thumb.JPG.22d23b3778535ddd98202f61ee870545.JPG

It was dead as the proverbial door nail, filthy and had a badly cracked crystal when it arrived. Someone had been "fat thumbing" the balance, and the rest of the mechanism was gummed up with forty year old oil.

RIMG0973.thumb.JPG.c095306cd1d7dc9d9de1180cdcb83578.JPG

The most difficult part of getting it looking good was fitting the original tension ring to a standard crystal, since I had nothing with a tension ring in my stash. This involved some delicate "lathe" work with a small file, with the crystal blue-tacked to the chuck of one of my battery drills. I didn't expect this trick to work, but it was actually fairly easy to do.


Once cleaned, lubricated and spruced up it goes well and looks pretty good too. I'll let it settle down today and adjust and regulate it tomorrow.

If that goes well, its Mr Mao's turn back on the bench next.


I already took a look inside that one, and it had the usual low grade Chinese standard movement with Mao's arm attached to an extended shaft on the balance fork. The hairspring was gummed up and bent as a result of the half baked attempt to lubricate it.

It had more oil in it than some of the smaller members of Opec, so I'll need to clean all of that out. I got it running (sort of), but I suspect it will require a lot of work to get it working well.

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Who's sorry Mao?

RIMG0979.thumb.JPG.b9e3920e0c141954325017eb37439724.JPG

I got it working reasonably well, considering what it is.

RIMG0977.thumb.JPG.74b59ea361bcb971a6fa25b9fbd2b980.JPG

I also remembered I had a small bundle of Chinese "Hing Yip" "watch band-strap" "real leather" straps, so I chose something suitable from the mix and here is the result.

RIMG0978.thumb.JPG.d2b35e6909d5a27bdb9d1c480eaaa7fb.JPG

Here is my other Chairman Mao for comparison.

image.png.338e9657207b3f247eb307772e712c75.png

.. and here they are side by side, both sporting the worlds finest "Hing Yip" bands.

RIMG0981.JPG

I have seen a couple of other designs of Chairman Mao watches, but the smoking one seems to be relatively rare.

Edited by AndyHull
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