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I'm back from the dead. Gonna try and bring a well cared for bell matic back from the dead too.


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Howdy. Been awhile since I posted here. Serviced all my watches and then got involved in other things hence the absence. Now that i've done about 7 day/date three hand watch services on seikos that all seem to have only gotten better with age I decided it was time to step my game up to something a bit more complicated and a golden opportunity came my way.

Got this beauty in one of those lucky "I was given my dead grandfather's old seikos thats just sitting in a drawer for 20 years." finds from a friend who needed some cash. He never knew the guy and he doesn't wear watches so I got the thing off him for 150 bucks. It's in fantastic shape, crystal needs a sanding and polish and there's a few dings on the case but the movement, case and bracelet look beautiful outside of that. Two service dates scratched into the caseback, one in 1974 and one that's illegible thanks to being scratched over with some strange code, it's like X3-AX-AG or something, I already forgot what it says but something like that. Not a speck of rust on it, it ticks and the alarm worked when i got it but has since stopped. There's no tension on the winder for the alarm winding anymore so I got a feeling the bell mainspring broke. I got a feeling this will be a straight forward cleaning and service job and i'll give her some new mainsprings.

I know some folks here have spent some time in these things so tips as i go through this are as always appreciated. The tech sheet for these things isn't near as easy to follow as modern ones and I found a lubrication guide to it from the time but there's only two lubricants listed so I might have some questions here and there of the best modern thing to use on various parts.

Only current questions I got are:
1. Anybody ever heard of a company called techswiss? There's a guy selling aftermarket mainsprings for the thing for pretty cheap, swiss made and made by this company. He's a reputable vendor i've used before I think.
2. If anybody offhand knows the size of an aftermarket mainspring i could get for the bell on cousins that might save me some cash. There are plenty of NOS ones floating around but I'm weary of buying stuff from Thailand and the Philippines, especially since the only pics i see of them don't appear to be in any seiko packaging despite saying NOS in the description. From what i've gathered there's good fits for the alarm mainspring aftermarket/generic but not for the main-mainspring.

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5 hours ago, Birbdad said:

Howdy. Been awhile since I posted here. Serviced all my watches and then got involved in other things hence the absence. Now that i've done about 7 day/date three hand watch services on seikos that all seem to have only gotten better with age I decided it was time to step my game up to something a bit more complicated and a golden opportunity came my way.

Got this beauty in one of those lucky "I was given my dead grandfather's old seikos thats just sitting in a drawer for 20 years." finds from a friend who needed some cash. He never knew the guy and he doesn't wear watches so I got the thing off him for 150 bucks. It's in fantastic shape, crystal needs a sanding and polish and there's a few dings on the case but the movement, case and bracelet look beautiful outside of that. Two service dates scratched into the caseback, one in 1974 and one that's illegible thanks to being scratched over with some strange code, it's like X3-AX-AG or something, I already forgot what it says but something like that. Not a speck of rust on it, it ticks and the alarm worked when i got it but has since stopped. There's no tension on the winder for the alarm winding anymore so I got a feeling the bell mainspring broke. I got a feeling this will be a straight forward cleaning and service job and i'll give her some new mainsprings.

I know some folks here have spent some time in these things so tips as i go through this are as always appreciated. The tech sheet for these things isn't near as easy to follow as modern ones and I found a lubrication guide to it from the time but there's only two lubricants listed so I might have some questions here and there of the best modern thing to use on various parts.

Only current questions I got are:
1. Anybody ever heard of a company called techswiss? There's a guy selling aftermarket mainsprings for the thing for pretty cheap, swiss made and made by this company. He's a reputable vendor i've used before I think.
2. If anybody offhand knows the size of an aftermarket mainspring i could get for the bell on cousins that might save me some cash. There are plenty of NOS ones floating around but I'm weary of buying stuff from Thailand and the Philippines, especially since the only pics i see of them don't appear to be in any seiko packaging despite saying NOS in the description. From what i've gathered there's good fits for the alarm mainspring aftermarket/generic but not for the main-mainspring.

image.thumb.png.e0c93f9f35b6181de17659d17208906a.png

image.thumb.png.484c705d8e3edeb9cab7fb4cca962aa6.png

image.thumb.png.fb3359145437f42867e3b20b2a66aef9.png

Hellllo Colin how the devil are you, hope you've been well. 🤔 yep that tg reading is well ropey. 

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15 hours ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Hellllo Colin how the devil are you, hope you've been well. 🤔 yep that tg reading is well ropey. 

It's fitting for winter! A lovely blizzard lol. Also to be expected with a watch that hasn't been serviced in 35 years probably and hasn't run in 20. Thank god it sat in a dark dry drawer all this time!

 

And i been good. Involved in a MASSIVE ongoing art project that i do not get paid for haha, so i'm going broke trying to work on that as much as possible and work on work as little as possible. It's given me scant time for watchmaking. My best service i'm the most proud of took a dive on the concrete when my damn hirsch strap failed and so that's been sat have lubed and half assembled for months...i got a feeling i'll have to start over from scratch haha. Not sure if a half assembled and half lubed watch can just sit there. 

 

How're you? I'm better with profile pictures than with names, iirc you're the guy that had the pic of your dog, a husky as your pfp right? How you been?

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4 hours ago, Birbdad said:

It's fitting for winter! A lovely blizzard lol. Also to be expected with a watch that hasn't been serviced in 35 years probably and hasn't run in 20. Thank god it sat in a dark dry drawer all this time!

 

And i been good. Involved in a MASSIVE ongoing art project that i do not get paid for haha, so i'm going broke trying to work on that as much as possible and work on work as little as possible. It's given me scant time for watchmaking. My best service i'm the most proud of took a dive on the concrete when my damn hirsch strap failed and so that's been sat have lubed and half assembled for months...i got a feeling i'll have to start over from scratch haha. Not sure if a half assembled and half lubed watch can just sit there. 

 

How're you? I'm better with profile pictures than with names, iirc you're the guy that had the pic of your dog, a husky as your pfp right? How you been?

Good thank you colin. Shame about your favourite watch, time to find a new best one o would say, lots of new folk here to advice and some disappeared 😪. Pleased you are doing well and keeping busy. 

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1 minute ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

Good thank you colin. Shame about your favourite watch, time to find a new best one o would say, lots of new folk here to advice and some disappeared 😪. Pleased you are doing well and keeping busy. 

Nah, just means i gotta fix it! Will be my second hairspring shape job. And yeah it looks like this place has slowed down some. I joined a watchmaking discord that is kinda helpful so i got a couple outlets now. Honestly i feel like till i move onto chronos and other more exotic movements i've mostly figured this out so i don't need a lot of help other than finding how on earth to match a part, gaskets and mainsprings and such. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, got a tiny little crowbar and cracked this sucker open. So far i mostly like what i see. Somebody who had no business inside this thing was inside it. Lots of hairs and fibers, lots of pretty mangled screw slots and tweezer slip marks. Sad cuz the movement appears to be pretty pristine aside from that and a gross greasy film covering everything. 

I low key raged when i got a close look at the hands and saw somebody tried...very incompetently to set them with tweezers. 
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Even more rage inducing, this dial looked lovely other than what appeared to be some debris on it. That debris is actually corrosion where whoever tried to set those hand slipped multiple times gouging and scratching the finish allowing moisture in. It's rust under the dial finish which is making it bubble up.

 

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Some good dial news is what I thought was a very ugly unattractive patina is actually some weird greasy residue. A little work with a pointed qtip and the indices and hands look about a million times shinier!

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Seemed like a bad omen but immediately i notice one of the alarm set ring retaining thingy's is broken. Sigh, hopefully I can find a new one 😕

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What i thought was some light corrosion or ugly patina is the same greasy residue that has covered EVERYTHING. No idea what that is. It's just a film on everything. But that means this movement will absolutely shine when it's clean!

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Was so pleased to see the balance looked pretty great. Could probably use a little shaping towards the beginning of the terminal curve but I am not gonna mess with it unless i absolutely have to. New balance completes for this thing are almost 100 bucks if i screw it up. Also this is how i'm keeping track of screws. Labeling and photographing each set.

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The ONLY fault this thing seemed to have was the alarm stopped working two days after i got it. Well now i know why. Somehow the arbor slipped out of the mainspring, the center coil of the mainspring was elevated a bit and was pushed out. 
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The mainspring is perfectly in flat still. I have no idea if this is a worn out or healthy mainspring. If anybody knows plz chime in. If i could reuse it that would be nice, though the winder to put it back in will cost me about 35 bucks more than a new one lol.  but it would nice to have it on hand for future services as this is a keeper.

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That's where i am now. Tomorrow i'll take apart the calandar/alarm side. 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Neverenoughwatches said:

You can make that Col.

How and out of what? Also i just ordered the one that exists on the internet for 20 bucks from the phillipines haha. 

I know a laser cutter could make one pretty dang easy but short of that not sure how i would go about it.... I'ts an insanely small part, a few mm's across. You would need some sort of cutter to make it i would think.

 

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25 minutes ago, Birbdad said:

How and out of what? Also i just ordered the one that exists on the internet for 20 bucks from the phillipines haha. 

I know a laser cutter could make one pretty dang easy but short of that not sure how i would go about it.... I'ts an insanely small part, a few mm's across. You would need some sort of cutter to make it i would think.

 

Carefully and out of a very small piece of steel 😅.  20 for a tiny bit of shaped metal wow. I've made a couple of setting levers, bigger than what you have here though. Tedious but so are most things in watchmaking. The standard material of choice is from feeler gauges. There's a thread somewhere with one i made using a dremel type tool with a grinding wheel to rough out the shape and then finish with a diamond file i made and some degussit stones. Just another part of the journey.

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Just now, Neverenoughwatches said:

Carefully and out of a very small piece of steel 😅.  20 for a tiny bit of shaped metal wow. I've made a couple of setting levers, bigger than what you have here though. Tedious but so are most things in watchmaking. The standard material of choice is from feeler gauges. There's a thread somewhere with one i made using a dremel type tool with a grinding wheel to rough out the shape and then finish with a diamond file i made and some degussit stones. Just another part of the journey.

That sounds like way more work than clicking "buy" on ebay XD. Time is money right? And it's funny you mentioned feeler gauges. I was just thinking how i got one and i know some total nerds into maker space type things like 3d printers and cnc machines. If one of them has a laser cutter i could totally make some of these out of feeler gauges. 

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2 minutes ago, Birbdad said:

That sounds like way more work than clicking "buy" on ebay XD. Time is money right? And it's funny you mentioned feeler gauges. I was just thinking how i got one and i know some total nerds into maker space type things like 3d printers and cnc machines. If one of them has a laser cutter i could totally make some of these out of feeler gauges. 

Haha yes its way more work, but gets less the more you do it. There will come a time when everyone will have to make parts.

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Ok put on my hardhat and got my pickaxe and started rummaging around through this thing. And mostly no surprises which is all good news. I had nightmares of one of those tiny shepherd's hook springs flying off into the forbidden zone and was going to take extra special care to not do it....so of course i did it lol. I did not expect the date wheel to be held in by one. After regaining my comosure i looked down and immediately spotted it on the carpet
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For one i was delighed to see all that haze and dinge on it is all just that weird oily film and it all comes off. Everything seems to be in stellar shape. CLeaning is going to be a PITA i have a feeling though. I can't wait to see this movement shine when it's all clean now that I know it will!. there's very very minimal wear, a couple of the raised rings under motion works wheels have a little brass showing but no real wear to speak of. the non jeweled pivots look fantastic, almost new.

Job is complete, i have no idea how i'll keep track of all those little gears and which one goes wear D:
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This is the only surprise for me. How on EARTH do you open these barrels?! They open at the top and the lid is basically flush. Usually i use my fingernail with side opening ones but this is not that...any advice?

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Just now, Waggy said:

Look at the side, the OD of the cap is slightly larger than the OD of the base. So they overlap on the side. Some use a razor blade or knife, but I manage most times with fingernails, one on the teeth then another under the overlap:

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Sorry for the pool sketch.

i'll have to look at it again, it looks to me like it opens on the top and the top is flush with the bottom, i don't think it opens from the side like that? I"ll look again

 

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2 minutes ago, Waggy said:

Can you not just put it on something hard, then push down on the teeth to pop the lid off?

That's how most Swiss style barrels open

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Here's a better shot of how it's constructed. And do you mean to like...have the arbor push the cap up from the bottom? The lid is flush with the top and pops out the top itself. 

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Your barrel looks more like something I would see in a Swiss (or non-seiko) watch. To open it in your case I would place the closed side of the arbour on my riveting anvil and then press down on the teeth at 6 and 12 o'clock and try and use a spare finger to stop the lid popping off when it becomes loose. The Arbor should force lid off as you press down.

The start of this video may explain better

 

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2 hours ago, Waggy said:

Your barrel looks more like something I would see in a Swiss (or non-seiko) watch. To open it in your case I would place the closed side of the arbour on my riveting anvil and then press down on the teeth at 6 and 12 o'clock and try and use a spare finger to stop the lid popping off when it becomes loose. The Arbor should force lid off as you press down.

The start of this video may explain better

 

I get it. I actually love that. that is so much easier than the barrels i usually work with which just have a barely perceptible slit halfway down the side so you get to trash your thumbnails trying to pry it open. Thanks bud!

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Correct me if i'm wrong but this looks like a very reusable mainspring right? It's nice and flat. Weirdly i only really find worn vs new comparison images with the non S shaped mainsprings.

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Edited by Birbdad
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20 hours ago, Birbdad said:

actually love that. that is so much easier than the barrels i usually work with which just have a barely perceptible slit halfway down the side so you get to trash your thumbnails trying to pry it open.

What do you usually work on? I’d like to know what else to avoid 😂

…seriously, enjoying your progress here…

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2 minutes ago, rehajm said:

What do you usually work on? I’d like to know what else to avoid 😂

…seriously, enjoying your progress here…

So far i've only worked on 7XXX series seiko movements (One 7006, about 9 7s26, and one nh36 which is just a hand winding 7s26) who's barrels actually aren't even supposed to ever be opened or serviced. The lid is about halfway down the base, there's a microscopic slit that you can eventually get a fingernail in and then you have to be super careful when you pry it open not to bend either side. This was so much easier!

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I've built one and am on the build of a second. I have used Adams video as my catch all.  My build can be seen in 'Watch of the day - page 166'.  https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/6203-watch-of-today/page/166/#comment-233962

Both the below videos were (are) invaluable.

 

Watch Adams brilliant video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2UOIUcUEYA&t=2586s

Also used Mark Lovick's video from his course

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/6203-watch-of-today/page/166/#comment-233962

Actually wearing the first one as I write. Put it on today. Going to wear it when I visit the Ayr antiques fare on 27th Jan. 

 

 

Edited by rossjackson01
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5 minutes ago, rossjackson01 said:

I've built one and am on the build of a second. I have used Adams video as my catch all.  My build can be seen in 'Watch of the day - page 166'.  https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/6203-watch-of-today/page/166/#comment-233962

Both the below videos were (are) invaluable.

 

Watch Adams brilliant video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2UOIUcUEYA&t=2586s

Also used Mark Lovick's video from his course

https://www.watchrepairtalk.com/topic/6203-watch-of-today/page/166/#comment-233962

 

 

Funny you mention that vid of weekend watch repair, I'm using that for assembly/disassembly and our very own mark's video he did on the bellmatic for lubrication, just for reference. The service sheet sorta sucks for this thing. 

SInce you've built one before there's some weird stuff i didn't quite understand that i'm not sure anybody goes over in vids about having to have the alarm wheel in a very specific place during assembly otherwise the alarm won't be synced up to the time you set it to. If i can't figure that out mind if i DM you? I haven't gotten there yet but googling about i've seen a few frustrated people who ran into that issue.k

Also since you've worked on these, how does that mainspring look to you? i got it pretty much perfectly flat, just unsure what a worn out one looks like.

Edited by Birbdad
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