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LostManAbroad

Curious about my watch

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I have been given my grandfather's old Seiko watch. I like the watch and it has a lot of sentimental value to me but I know very little about watches. It has been sitting in a cupboard for the last 20 years and now it tells the time very badly. I set the watch and it often works for many hours perfectly fine and then will suddenly lose a lot of time. I took it to a watch repair shop and it was explained to me that over time the oil within the watch goes, "clumpy". That's how it was described t me. I was told that the entire watch would need to be taken apart and cleaned and re-lubricated. I was quoted 250 Euros mimimum for doing so and was told that it would be even more if parts needed replacing.

That is way more than I can afford so I started watching videos about how watches are serviced. I am pretty good at doing fine delicate work and I am pretty confident I could manage it myself but I wanted input from people with more knowledge than me.

Firstly, can anyone tell me anything about my watch? It is a good Seiko watch? Is there anything I need to know about it? How would it compare trying to service this watch over other watches? Should I get hold of a cheap watch and take that apart first?

One other thing I need to know is about one of the tools. I watched a great video of someone disassembling a Seiko automatic watch, cleaning it and then re-lubricating it and putting it back together again. It all looked fairly straight forward apart from the main spring. He used a special tool for rewinding the spring before putting it back into the housing that holds the spring. Does anyone know what that tool is called and where I could get one from? I am in Germany.

Below are pictures of my watch. Thanks in advance for any advice or help anyone gives.

https://postimg.org/image/99y2k4459/

https://postimg.org/image/5g4maymt9/

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Hi LostManAbroad,

Sentimental value certainly has its merit, but the watch itself is probably not worth more than $60 or so on eBay. This is a Seiko 5, which is in fact a pretty decent watch with a sturdy movement, but it's a Seiko and therefore doesn't really carry much prestige in the market. See more about Seiko 5 here: http://www.seikowatches.com/5sports/seiko5story/index.html 

The tool you saw in the video is probably the Bergeon mainspring winder, which is a great little tool for putting the mainspring back into the barrel after cleaning it, but also quite expensive. Here is a pointer: http://www.ofrei.com/page243.html 

For your grandfather's watch, what you could do is to buy another Seiko 5 or two on eBay and play around with servicing them before moving onto the real thing. You can always put the mainspring back by hand, it's not that easy to do and you risk breaking the mainspring or fouling it some other way, but without investing hundreds of euros it'll be difficult to justify it for servicing this watch only. Another option and probably the better one, is to clean the barrel with the mainspring in it, then open the barrel afterwards and put three tiny spots of grease on the mainspring then. That way you'll get a clean-ish mainspring without all the headache.  

Best of luck,
Stian

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Reading your reply gave me an idea but I am not sure whether it is possible or likely. If I were to take it apart and clean the parts, what do you think the likelyhood would be if I asked a watch repair shop just to rewind the spring and put it back in the barrel, lubricate it and close the barrel for me?

From the video I watched it looks like that would be a two minute job for a person with the right tools. Would a watch repairman be likely to agree to do it and if so, what would be an acceptable fee for doing so?

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Hi and welcome, you can always ask and maybe a kind watchmaker would do that for you....but without warranty as he did not clean the rest of the watch himself.

Btw 250 euro for servicing a Seiko 5 seems a nbit high, even when changing the main spring...Good luck and have fun.

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I believe you can do reasonable job, enough to get it running better, without any special tools.

You'll need a couple of pairs of reading glasses, worn together, to get close enough to see what you're doing. 

Take pictures at each stage, for reference during reassembly, you won't be able to without them.

Some lighter fluid, for cleaning.

Small screwdrivers and tweezers. You may have to buy these if you don't have anything close.

Some light oil to lubricate.

This is by no means the correct way of doing it, but it will work, and you may get the watchmending bug, and you can do it properly at a later date.

By the way, without the proper tools and practice, DO NOT attempt to remove the balance jewels. You WILL lose them.

Hold down any springs with a toothpick, until you have released the tension, or they'll fly to the lost parts graveyard, never to be seen again, until just after you've bought a replacement.

You can do it, it's easy, but it might be best to practice on something that doesn't matter so much first.

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Hello LostManAbroad,

a nice watch you have there!

First things first, I would strongly advise against attempting to learn DIY watchmaking like this.

If you do follow this path, start with a pocket watch, do all the steps a hobbyist would, do not try to cut corners. You will need proper tools, you will need correct oils, you will need experience and practice. After you've mastered the basics, you can look into servicing a Seiko 6309A (similar but more readily available than 6319A) first and only then would I even consider touching a watch you care about. All in all, you can use this approach as a motivation to learn something new, but you can't save money with it. Not on your first watch, that is. If you rush it, you'll most likely do serious damage instead.

OK, this out of the way, I have a small watch collection and in it is also a Seiko 6319-8060, very similar to yours. Mine dates back to 1977, while, according to the serial number, your 6319-7060 is from 1978.

A couple of observations:
- when new, Seiko 6319A was a decent movement, a little above entry level and capable of reasonable accuracy (a small step up from the 6309A)
- your watch seems to be well preserved.

A very small amount of polishing (glass especially) will bring it right back to life, cosmetically. The dial looks to be in a good shape which implies no apparent moisture damage, you have the original bracelet. All looks good to me. If it has simply been unworn for so long and assuming it was put away in the working condition, you can bring it back to life in no time.

BTW, just to mention, as it is now, do not try to clean it with actual water. The gaskets on your watch are petrified and it isn't water resistant any more.

As for the service, the quoted price of 250 EUR seems excessive. Perhaps labour prices in Germany have risen so much..? Well, why not use the benefits of the EU then... I could put you in contact with an experienced watchmaker in Slovenia that can service your 6319-7060 for less than half of that amount, polishing (glass and case, just a touch, nothing in excess) and gasket change included. I guess it would have to be a mail-in service, but it's an option you can consider.

As others have mentioned, an actual market value of this watch is close to or even less than the service would cost, even at less than half the price you were originally quoted. That's true and there's no escaping that. But as probably all vintage watch owners know, market price isn't everything - as long as you don't intend to resell it, it doesn't really matter.

In the worst case, I'd leave the watch as it is and wait for some other opportunity to present itself. Keep it in a dry, dark place, close the bracelet so it doesn't get bent and let it rest. It won't go anywhere.

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