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When is a diving watch no longer a diving watch?

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Hi all, am needing some advice.

As everyone probably already knows here as soon as you mention you are interested in watches friends and relatives say they have a watch in a drawer that doesn’t work and could you possiblyhave a look at it? 🙂

Well this happened to me last month when a relative said they had a Citizen Promaster Aqualand (5810-F80014 TA GN-4-S) diving watch they bought whilst working in Asia 30 years ago that doesn’t work and  has been in said drawer for 15 years. (See pictures below).

Even though I am more interested in antique watches from the early 1900’s than quartz diving watches I agreed to have a look at it and after purchasing the appropriate tool to remove the screw back replaced the battery which had no effect initially until I read online the pressing all three function buttons simultaneously can re initialise it and it duly sprang into life!

As you can imagine I was very pleased with myself that I had managed to get it going and after cleaning it even re-enamelled the bezel as the paint had started to come off after watching an excellent video by Mike on his “My Retro Watches” channel on how to do this.

The problem came when I went to hand it back to my relative, they were so grateful and told me it was perfect timing as they were returning to Asia in December for a once in a lifetime 3 month tour and were looking forward to taking it diving again!!!

Now I am no expert, and I did treat the case back washer with some sealing grease before reassembling, but being that this watch is from the early 90’s I’m guessing that some of the gaskets may have perished and need replacing and the watch will have to at least be pressure tested before going back in the water.

After making some inquiries I have been told that vintage Citizens can be difficult to reseal and presure test and manufactures don’t even recommend taking vintage diving watches in the water if they are more than 20 years old. I did e-mail Citizen UK but they just sent me a returns label without any discussion on whether it is possible or the cost which didn't inspire confidence and after reading some horror stories online about Citizen Customer service I am loathed to send it off into possible oblivion given that it means so much to my relative.

Does anyone know of a good watchmaker that may specialise in diving watches who could make it useable again (assuming gasket kits are still available) or is this watch destined to be no more than for show and never see the sea again?

Any help from the knowledgeable inhabitants of this forum would be very helpful indeed!

Many thanks in advance




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2 hours ago, clockboy said:

IMO if a diver watch is going to be used whilst diving then it’s essential that it has been regularly serviced including having the seals changed and also the watch was pressure tested. 

Yes, a diving watch is theoretically a piece of life safety equipment.  It shouldn't be dusted off and wound just before you get in the water.  I don't dive but,  like most hobbies, it can't be cheap.  As a percentage of the whole trip, how much would it be to have it served properly (take no offense, I wouldn't "certify" it sea worthy either).  A dive shop may know someone, after all, their all in the same boat.  Pun intended. 😊

Good luck.


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2 hours ago, clockboy said:

IMO if a diver watch is going to be used whilst diving then it’s essential that it has been regularly serviced including having the seals changed and also the watch was pressure tested. 

When do you change gaskets as opposed to just relube and reuse? Anything to look out for? Rule of thumb as regards its age?

Or with a diver, is it change as standard procedure? 

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