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Shall we rescue another eBay mess? Seiko 6309a.


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I was trawling the "Ending Soon" filter on eBay and came across this Mumbai Special for $32 AUD. inc shipping. Instantly I knew it was gonna be garbage, and I had to have it. Aftermarket window caseback with no make/model marking. The dial is way too good looking and slightly off center, so the feet probably broken. There's a good chance it's going to be a junkyard inside this thing.

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After it arrived it sat in my drawer for a few weeks while I busied myself with learning the ropes on my basketcase 7009a. Today, I finally felt the urge to pull it apart. 

The first thing I noticed is this is 100% not the watch I bought. Different rotor, different crown, different strap, the case is absolutely covered in shmoo. They must have a barrel of these things that they just dip into and throw into the post.

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Gross!

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So my hopes are already quite high that this is going to be a great movement.

I opened it up and removed the rotor. To my surprise, this is a clean looking movement otherwise.

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Trying to remove the dial, and one of the dial feet screws is missing. Not a great sign. Of course the dial is aftermarket for another movement, with the feet removed so it can be glued down. They also managed to get glue onto the movement ring (but I'm happy it came with one!). Otherwise the date dial and day disk look pretty decent.

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After that, disassembly went quite well with no obvious missing or broken parts. The barrel looks a bit scored up but I'll see how it cleans up. The mainspring is in good condition otherwise. At first glance the barrel arbor hole in the mainplate doesn't appear to be worn or ovaled, but I'll know more when I do a better inspection later. All the screws are in individually labelled ziploc bags so I don't mix them up, I'm still not great at keeping track of those, but otherwise everything is ready for a clean.

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All I really need is a dial foot screw, otherwise (pending inspection of jewels etc) this movement should be good to clean and go back together.

I think I might try and find another 6309a movement with a decent dial and case. I can't find this particular case anywhere else so have no idea what case model this is. The front bezel is kinda beat up too, so I'm happy to put this movement into another case.

 

EDIT: Pulled the trigger on a somewhat decent-ish looking retro styled 6309-4020 non-runner. It will need a new crystal but that can be sourced. The case and dial seem in good nick, and it will be good to have spare parts if needed. Gonna be a couple weeks before I get that.

Edited by lexacat
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16 minutes ago, Nucejoe said:

How did you determine this? 

TIA

I popped it out of the barrel for a visual inspection and there doesn't appear to be any kinks except the usual spot where the bridle meets. The shape looks uniform and it's sitting flat. For my purposes it's re-usable. 

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11 hours ago, watchweasol said:

Hi there is a whole industry in India recycling watches, I would hazard to suggest that any watch obtained from India is of the Mumbai cobbled school of watchmaking and any one buying one will appreciate that.   Buying one is a bit of a lucky dip.  Good luck with the clean up.

There sure is. It's incredibly pervasive. I'm starting to get an eye for them now. It's kind of sad how many actually turn up in online auctions, which gives them some kind of legitimacy. 

I've recently bought some cheap case/bracelet/dial sets from Ali-X to house some 7009a's I've cobbled together from non-runners, and those brand new aftermarket parts come fully branded as Seiko, right down to the case numbers, matching serial, and all logos and branding. I thought I was just buying a clean generic case.

So yeah, there's a lot of mud in the water it seems for seiko in particular.

But they are fantastic for practising on, since I'm not super invested in these things having any kind of "legacy".

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Still waiting on the other movement to arrive, along with some other bits and pieces, but I think I've decided what I'm going to do with this watch now.

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That's right, once I've got it up and running I'm going to slap it into a dive case. Specifically this one I got from Ali-X:

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I'm planning to clean and reassemble the movement today, but can't complete building this until a few parts appear. I need a dial foot screw from the donor movement, a new dial and hands that I've ordered from speedtimerkollektion and a new stem that I've ordered just in case the one I have isn't the right length to work with this case and the screw in crown.

I've got a nice SS bracelet but the end links don't marry up to this case. I'm considering filing the end links to the right shape so I can use it, otherwise I've got a flat ended SS bracelet and a couple of silicone bands on the way.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Welp. The next 6309 turned up in the mail, and now I need to figure out if there are different versions of this movement. 

The barrel and train wheel bridge at the bottom is out of the eBay watch and has a broken transmission wheel pivot jewel.

The one at the top is from the movement that just arrived from SpeedTimerKollektion. The transmission wheel jewel looks fine but it's missing the two diashock settings.

Why are there diashock settings for what I assume are just the third and fourth wheel pivots? 

I'm guessing it won't matter so much if I use the top bridge instead of the bottom one.

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EDIT: I just figured it out, the eBay 6309 came with a 6319 bridge (complete with broken jewel). I'm thinking I'll flip this restoration on it's head and use the speedTimerKollektion movement primarily, with parts from the eBay one where required.

 

The newly acquired movement was okay otherwise. Wanted to run and first inspection looks good. The mainspring is a mess and someone put a screw for the minute wheel bridge in the wrong spot, but hopefully I can turn these two piles of parts into a working, enormously heavy dive watch.

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6 hours ago, thor447 said:

Just remember it this way.

Diashock = OK

Diafix = Evil  -  especially these:

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What makes them evil? They're just garbage to work on?

 

It's gonna be another couple of weeks before I can work on this. One mainspring was completely trashed to start. I'm still having teething issues with getting automatic bridles into mainspring winders, so I've now managed to bend the only good 6309 mainspring I had. Now I'll need to order one from somewhere, but they all look to be 2x the cost of the watch in the first place. And shipping to here always takes about a billion years.

Just bought a new mainspring from Jules Borel for $54AUD................ jesus christ. I probably should have bought 3 more complete movements and taken my chance that one or more would have a decent mainspring.

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2 hours ago, Waggy said:

I've used this in the past with good results on 6309A - worth a look

Equivalent Mainspring ETA 2892a2.pdf 223.82 kB · 0 downloads

Oh wow, now I'm kicking myself for not asking here about alternatives before I pulled the trigger. I can get an ETA 2892a2 mainspring delivered for around $15....

That's awesome though, thanks for letting me know! If I manage to FU the one I've bought I'll try the ETA as my next option.

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My advice is Do not take the Diafix springs out...lolIncredibly difficult to install. Watchmaker level 100 stuff.

Should they be taken out to clean the jewels? Absolutely, and by someone with great talent and skill to re-assemble.

Mark makes it look easy on one of his videos. Others have fabricated very small tools to help the assembly process.

To each his own way however.

 

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13 hours ago, lexacat said:

Oh wow, now I'm kicking myself for not asking here about alternatives before I pulled the trigger. I can get an ETA 2892a2 mainspring delivered for around $15....

That's awesome though, thanks for letting me know! If I manage to FU the one I've bought I'll try the ETA as my next option.

To be honest I find them better than the dedicated "Seiko" mainsprings which tend to have too large a hole in the centre for the arbour so you end up having to try and close it up (and risk breaking it) so the arbour will 'bite'. All you need to do with the ETA version is remember to flip them over when you install (coloured side of disc down instead of up) and they seem to be a better fit for the arbour so no modification required.

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11 hours ago, Nibbler said:

My advice is Do not take the Diafix springs out...lolIncredibly difficult to install. Watchmaker level 100 stuff.

Should they be taken out to clean the jewels? Absolutely, and by someone with great talent and skill to re-assemble.

Mark makes it look easy on one of his videos. Others have fabricated very small tools to help the assembly process.

To each his own way however.

 

Haha that sounds like a challenge! Well, the good news is the bridge with the diafix settings has a broken jewel in it anyway, so I'm not really planning to use it for anything. I kinda want to have a go at removing/installing the diafix springs now...

 

2 hours ago, Waggy said:

To be honest I find them better than the dedicated "Seiko" mainsprings which tend to have too large a hole in the centre for the arbour so you end up having to try and close it up (and risk breaking it) so the arbour will 'bite'. All you need to do with the ETA version is remember to flip them over when you install (coloured side of disc down instead of up) and they seem to be a better fit for the arbour so no modification required.

Ah man, well hopefully the one I ordered does alright, the final bill came in and it was $60 all up. I could have gotten 4x ETA mainsprings for that price... Definitely the plan if all goes wrong!

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The 6309, 6319, and 6349 use different wheels.  The length and diameter of the pivots are different.  The parts sheets show different part numbers.  Seiko specific forums have topics in this.

The problem with the movements from where you are sourcing them is that they mix up all the parts and it may work or it may not. 

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22 hours ago, bklake said:

The 6309, 6319, and 6349 use different wheels.  The length and diameter of the pivots are different.  The parts sheets show different part numbers.  Seiko specific forums have topics in this.

The problem with the movements from where you are sourcing them is that they mix up all the parts and it may work or it may not. 

Thanks for that advice, that sounds like a headache... Fortunately I've not mixed the parts, both movements are stripped but separated. The 6309 I got from speedtimer looks more legit, the case style and age matches the model, and it didn't have any parts that were obviously incorrect. I'll at least do an eyeball inspection of the parts side by side to see how they compare, but think I'll primarily use the speedtimer movement for this build.

I'm still waiting for the mainspring to arrive in the mail. Maybe this week, probably next week.

I've also got a Tissot and an ancient Ehr in the mail, so I'm keen to move onto those next.

Edited by lexacat
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Hah i've always hovered over that buy now button on a mumbai special thinking how bad can it be? 
Let me guess, the listing for this said it was running great and serviced by one of their master watchmakers?  

I've always wondered what if any value could be squeezed out of a mumbai special. Like are the cases EVER legit? Are they fake? Iv'e seen some sorta nice looking ones for 30 bucks and figured there has to be 30 bucks worth of good parts there. Maybe not haha. Best of luck with this. 

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1 hour ago, Birbdad said:

Hah i've always hovered over that buy now button on a mumbai special thinking how bad can it be? 
Let me guess, the listing for this said it was running great and serviced by one of their master watchmakers?  

I've always wondered what if any value could be squeezed out of a mumbai special. Like are the cases EVER legit? Are they fake? Iv'e seen some sorta nice looking ones for 30 bucks and figured there has to be 30 bucks worth of good parts there. Maybe not haha. Best of luck with this. 

 

Buy one and find out 😉  If you pay very little and view it as buying for it's parts you'll be fine.

But generally they are cobbled together, you'll find the case doesn't match the dial, and the dial is fake/had it's dial feet removed and glued down to the movement.

Be full of grit and oil and you'll wonder how on earth it even ran.

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On 2/1/2023 at 12:45 PM, Nibbler said:

My advice is Do not take the Diafix springs out...lolIncredibly difficult to install. Watchmaker level 100 stuff.

Should they be taken out to clean the jewels? Absolutely, and by someone with great talent and skill to re-assemble.

Mark makes it look easy on one of his videos. Others have fabricated very small tools to help the assembly process.

To each his own way however.

 

Here is a nice video on the topic

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well, of the 3 I've bought,

  • 1 had a movement that has so far kept great time and been relatively bulletproof.
  • 1 was missing movement spacer.
  • 2 had dials glued down.
  • 2 had hands in terrible condition.
  • 2 were missing dial spacers.
  • 2 movements had broken jewels.
  • 2 had individual parts that didn't match the movement (7019 mainplate in a 7009, and 6319 barrel bridge in a 6309).
  • All 3 had badly glued in, ill-fitting crystals.
  • All 3 were not water resistant, to the point they would condense in the slightest humidity.
  • All 3 had movements, dials, cases that were mismatched.
  • All 3 had decent balances.

I'd say it's a complete crapshoot, but you're not getting anything great.

It's probably better to buy a job lot of 7009a movements and a nice aftermarket case and bracelet, spacers, and gaskets.

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On 2/9/2023 at 7:21 AM, LittleWatchShop said:

Here is a nice video on the topic

So that looks to be the best technique but don't you have to remove the setting entirely for cleaning? I'm about to work with these things myself and they have such a horrid reputation i'm really nervous i'm gonna lose some because i PROBABLY have two excellent working 7006a movements but if i lose one of these damn things i'll have to start looking for parts movements.

Between these and the awful diashocks on more modern seikos I swear they have some sadists working in their antishock engineering departments. At least i've learned to set diashocks with just tweezers.

Edited by Birbdad
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