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Today's watch is a microbrand. Never before have we had so many choices concerning watches. Literally, anyone can source cases, movements, dials, even display boxes for a minimum investment. There's no need to do the expensive design and development, just use standard off the shelf components with the exception of whatever branding you choose to add. Some suppliers have such a low minimum that as few as 100 watches of a particular model can be assembled and sold for profit. 

This has produced some outstanding examples of good component selection, coupled with savvy marketing. Many of these microbrands are destined to be a 'one and done' effort. Most have little or no service support after the warranty period. I'm encouraged to think that this means more work in the future for watchmakers. Most of these microbrands don't use ETA movements so parts aren't all that difficult to come by. Thanks to the power of the internet, virtual storefronts can be built quickly and easily to display and sell these watches. Overall value, if any, is in the eye of the beholder.

This is an Aquatico Pilot, Blue Angels model. It is powered by one of my favorite movements, the Seiko NH35 which features hacking and winding plus date but no day wheel. It is a robust, fairly accurate movement that is widely available. The watch features a stunning blue dial with C-3 lume on the numerals and hands. You can almost read a newspaper with the emitted light in the dark. The case back is the display type with an etching of an airplane on the inside. The watch came with two different straps, one vintage leather and one solid nylon. I like both but have the nylon strap on it most of the time.

I purchased this from a previous owner who tired of it after only wearing it a few times. The watch was essentially new with no faults at all, yet I paid slightly over half the cost of a new one. Everyone loves a bargain, including me.

AquaticoDial.jpg

Aquatico Back.jpg

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6 hours ago, TexasDon said:

When were these models marketed? That's quite a striking watch!

The Camper came out  1982 - 1983.  I forgot when this one with the Airborne logo was made.

It is the only one I ever saw.  The seller said they bought it at a PX..  true or not it is cool.

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Today I'm road testing the black dialed Citizen Eagle 7 - 21 jewel automatic I cleaned up yesterday.

It has had a hard life, and has a plethora of battle scars, but is still keeping good time. The sapphire crystal responded quite well to the long tedious process of polishing out the worst of the scratches.

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I will probably eventually replace the crystal, but it was a worth while test of my polishing skills as this one was about as bad as they get.

Best I can tell it is from September '93 - which at 25 years old, makes it a relative youngster in the 404 club.

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Picked up this Seikomatic-P 5106-7000 from Japan for repair, day wheel is out of place and the date progress pusher located within the crown isn't functioning. Excited to have it up and running.

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IMG_7305.JPG

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This Chinese skeleton movement "Identity London Diamond" just got a pit of TLC.

 

 

 

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There is some damage to one of the lugs, and it had some dial damage (blue metal salt crystal "fungus" round the edge of the dial).

The dial looks a whole lot better, and the thing keeps remarkably good time, +/- 5 s/day at the worst, which is a bit of a bonus as I was expecting the performance to be pretty poor. At 0.99p plus P+P it is one of the lowest cost members of the 404 club.

There is something mesmerizing about skeleton watches, even slightly tatty ones, that gives them a charm of their own. 

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This particular watch doesn't even feature a see through case back, only the front view of the works is available to the wearer, so here is what you would otherwise be missing.

I think it is just a pretty low end skeleonized Chinese standard movement.

No blued screws or other bling, but still fascinating to sit and watch. I may pop the engine in to a slightly less tatty case at some stage, for the full franken-noodle experience. :P

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2 hours ago, JBerry said:

Picked up this Seikomatic-P 5106-7000 from Japan for repair, day wheel is out of place and the date progress pusher located within the crown isn't functioning. Excited to have it up and running.

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IMG_7305.JPG

Nice looking watch JBerry. When you align the day dial with the date, could you post how to do that? I currently have that issue with my Seiko diver and I'm still trying to noodle out exactly how to correct it. 

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Today's offering is a fairly new Invicta diver. This is the model 7044 which isn't rare but it isn't seen all that often either. I features the SII NH36a movement which has hacking and stem winding along with day and date. I originally purchased this watch to find out if I would like this movement as I was considering transplanting one into my Seiko 7S26-0020. Frankly, I like the stem winding feature but it is fiddly. You have to push the crown in, then pull it out to the mid position to change the day/date as usual. To stem wind the movement, you have to push the crown in to the seated position, then pull it out a second time to the center position. If you overshoot the center position, you have to do it again as the internal gears will fail to mesh. 

This example was served up by the on-line retailer named after a S. American river and I saw it on cyber Monday last year for 66% off of the normal street price, which is lower than retail by quite a bit. In addition to the NH36a movement, I like the crisp white dial and the second hand being minus that awful Invicta logo thing on the end. It has decent lume a beautifully finished case and a substantial bracelet. It wears easily and has quickly become a favorite. I've timed it over a two week period when worn for up to 12 hours daily and it lost a total of 3 seconds. Even though the crown is unscrewed in my photo, it does in fact screw down properly. It also has the display case back which shows a rather plain movement with a decorated OW. 

Invicta.jpg

Edited by TexasDon
spelling

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5 hours ago, TexasDon said:

Nice looking watch JBerry. When you align the day dial with the date, could you post how to do that? I currently have that issue with my Seiko diver and I'm still trying to noodle out exactly how to correct it. 

Unlucky for me the day disk has been damaged, the gear is riveted into the disk, and has come undone, don't think I will be able to refit this with a staking set so I may resort to gluing it... I can't find the part anywhere either :wacko:

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54 minutes ago, JBerry said:

Unlucky for me the day disk has been damaged, the gear is riveted into the disk, and has come undone, don't think I will be able to refit this with a staking set so I may resort to gluing it... I can't find the part anywhere either :wacko:

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For what it's worth , I just had the same problem with a date disk not lining up with the date window . I could at first swivel the disk on the gear , but it eventually they did separate . I used a few punches from my staking set and joined the two parts together successfully . 

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17 minutes ago, ricardopalamino said:

For what it's worth , I just had the same problem with a date disk not lining up with the date window . I could at first swivel the disk on the gear , but it eventually they did separate . I used a few punches from my staking set and joined the two parts together successfully . 

Thanks for the tip! I'll give it a go later

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I'm a bit of a sucker for anything with a blue dial. (Who am I kiddin', I'm a sucker for anything with a dial.. or even without)..

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.. so today we have two sunburst blue dials. The square one is an EB88XX 17 jewel Newmark day/date, probably from the late seventies or early eighties judging by the design, and the second is an Accurist Accu2 quartz.

 

 

 

RIMG0328.thumb.JPG.5c1f7f1ba1c0f33218573e51ce767eca.JPGThe Newmark needed the usual clean, service and polish (I still need to do the crystal, but it has a small crack, so I may look at finding a replacement).

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The Accu2 needed a battery, but that was the easy bit. Persuading the back to open, without damaging it was far more tricky, especially since there wasn't a mark on it, and I didn't want to spoil that.

I eventually resorted to super-glueing a large stainless steel nut to the back, and holding that in the bench vice, while gently twisting the watch body. I got to the stage where I was convinced the nut was going to part company with the back, before it yielded to my efforts.

I little blunt force, and some acetone, removed the evidence of the nut, and the back has escaped undamaged.

The Accu2 looks unworn, not a mark on it. Both watches are now ready to join the club.

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I couldn't help but notice that your garden, as seen through the background window, appears to be free of snow. Has spring finally arrived? Beautiful Accu2 watch btw.

Edited by TexasDon

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2 hours ago, TexasDon said:

I couldn't help but notice that your garden, as seen through the background window, appears to be free of snow. Has spring finally arrived? Beautiful Accu2 watch btw.

Spring is on its way. The snowdrops are finished and the daffodils are in bloom, there are even a few cherry trees flowering.

There is still quite a bit of snow on the hills, and a bit of a nip in the air while I was out tidying up the garden yesterday, but I think winter is finally on the wane.

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This looks like it is going to be Mondays watch of today. I think this is a Lapanouse - Rego 143 movement, produced some time after 1960. The dial and hands, style looks early 1960s, but the case, being aluminium suggests late sixties or seventies.

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The movement construction is somewhat unusual. Kind of half Timex, half Swiss.

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The date has a quick change pusher at 9 o'clock, as you can see in this picture.

Edited by AndyHull
Added link to movement.

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I now realize how little I know about watches and movements. Four out of five of the watches you post; I've never heard of them. Still, I can admire both your skill and knowledge. Nice watch.

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Another microbrand watch, this time an Undone meca-quartz utilizing the SII VK63 movement. The beauty of these watches lie in their individuality and niche features. The VK63 utilizes a quartz movement with a stepping motor for motive force. As seen through the display back, this one is clearly battery powered. The sub second hand is gear driven but that's where any similarity to a quartz chronograph ends.

The chronograph function is totally mechanical and pushing the start or stop buttons provides the wearer with a satisfying mechanical feel. The action is crisp and the return to zero is instantaneous.  The blued steel hands nicely balance off the cream dial with black and red timing marks.

The display back was a $30 upgrade that the original owner paid for. I'm unsure why as a quartz movement isn't a thing of beauty. At least, not in this case. With an oversize crown, the time is easy to set and with no date to keep up with, it's a clean, vintage look all around. I purchased it on another website where the owner had tired of it. I haven't had it off my wrist in several days other than to shower. It is light, to the point of not noticing it at all even though the case and pushers are 316L stainless steel. 

The strap is a vintage style gray suede with ecru linen stitching. The principals behind this watch are in Singapore and it was originally begun with a crowdfunding app. They make several watch models but this is the only one that caught my attention. Like many other microbrand watches, this brand is sold on the internet only. It's a keeper that I was able to pick up for less than half of the current street price. 

UndoneFront.JPG

UndoneBack.JPG

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Just got a parcel from George Clarkson in Berlin.
I had sent him 3 watches for repair and service.
A Seiko 5t52 Worldtimer
A Seiko 7a28-7029
A Seiko 7a28-7040

Tough choice which to wear but this one won

zqURiw1.jpg

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I was tempted this morning to wear the "Winner" skeleton to see what reaction, if any it would generate, but I decided instead to continue working my way through the waifs and strays that have been awaiting my attention since I got back from holiday.

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This rather charming little late fifties Linaso Ancre 17 Rubis  "Candido" - Swiss (ETA 1132 I think), was crying out for attention, so I opened it up and took a look. It was running +2000 s/day or something ridiculous, and I had assumed it would be all gummed up. 

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However when I popped the lid, it was pretty obvious what the trouble was. The hairspring had been molested. It looked like someone had attacked it with blunt chopsticks. A little massaging and it un-sproinged, and a few more caresses of the tweezers removed the remaining rather major kink.

I also removed some fragments of the original waterproof seal, which I initially thought might be shattered bits of case, as they were a metalic grey and brittle. Perhaps one of them had managed to get in to the works at some time in the watches history, and caused the "springulation" problem.  

It is still a little wild in terms of the beat error, but it now sits at a much more respectable -5 to +15 s/day. I was tempted to fiddle some more to get the beat error down, but I'll wear it for a bit longer and see what it looks like once the cleaning and oiling have had their full effect.

It also needs a new strap. The original is in almost perfect condition, but it has become as brittle as the seal that I removed. I'll try a little leather rejuvenation cream on it, but I think the leather is probably beyond saving. The crystal will need a little polishing too, but other than a few surface marks, it is in pretty good nick.

Edited by AndyHull

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10 hours ago, AndyHull said:

However when I popped the lid, it was pretty obvious what the trouble was. The hairspring had been molested. It looked like someone had attacked it with blunt chopsticks. A little massaging and it un-sproinged, and a few more caresses of the tweezers removed the remaining rather major kink.

Fixing molested hairsprings can be one of the most treacherous things to do a real minefield but you seem to have done it very well.
Keep up the good work, just love to follow your adventures. (even though my attention now is moving towards gardening)

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