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Today I went with old Heuer, a Ref 347 circa early 1940s. It has a beautiful Valjoux 22 movement fitted on a custom strap of which the leather is said to have came from Old Yugoslavian Army ammo bags. 

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6 hours ago, JasonND said:

I love the band! Makes the rest of the watch pop off!

Thanks, I'm boring when it comes to leather straps and only like black and brown but this one I'd actually consider a dark blue one as the face is dark blue, hard to tell in this pic though.

This is the replacement strap it came with and it's well padded and comfy and I love the pattern.

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Its a 1977 Timex Mercury two hander today, with one of those classic Timex high contrast dials with the wobbly font you can read from 100 yards.

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This was gummed up when it arrived. It got a good clean, but still tended to stop randomly, and had poor amplitude around 140. The issue, which I spent a good half hour chasing was a tiny spot of gunk on the edge of the escape wheel. Once removed the amplitude shot up and remained rock steady within a couple of degrees around 252 on a partial wind, and the thing is now going great.

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3 hours ago, AndyHull said:

Its a 1977 Timex Mercury two hander today, with one of those classic Timex high contrast dials with the wobbly font you can read from 100 yards.

RIMG0048.thumb.JPG.8bdc589f698a1aab6443d5a3ac4cc8b0.JPG

This was gummed up when it arrived. It got a good clean, but still tended to stop randomly, and had poor amplitude around 140. The issue, which I spent a good half hour chasing was a tiny spot of gunk on the edge of the escape wheel. Once removed the amplitude shot up and remained rock steady within a couple of degrees around 252 on a partial wind, and the thing is now going great.

Don't you just love fault finding? Great watch.

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17 minutes ago, JasonND said:

Don't you just love fault finding? Great watch.

That's half the fun of this game. Saving them from ending up as landfill is actually very rewarding. 

I'm typing this while wearing the Snoopy from the other day, 'cos I took off the one above. It is still going great, but one of the strap pins is the wrong size, and I didn't want the strap to come off while I'm strolling about. I'll fix that later.

I've taken a bit of a shine to Snoopy. Great fun, and surprisingly accurate considering its unknown service history.

I've got much "posher" and dressier watches (not all of my stuff is from the 404 club), but the tennis playing beagle is turning in to a bit of a favorite. 

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One of my occasional forays into Chinese-made watches, this 34.65mm 1970s BaoXuan with a Zhongshan SN-2  movement which came with various jewel counts, ranging from nine to this “up-graded” one with 17. Bit of fun, being quite sparkly with its red and gold accents, and even in their day I believe these watches weren’t aimed at anything like the top end of the home market.

Produced by the Jie Yang Watch Factory and absolutely not the world’s prettiest movement but described as “robust” and “reliable”. Equally unattractive is the cheapo bracelet which accompanied it, soon to be changed for a decent leather job.

Regards.

BaoXuan 2019 v.2.jpg

BaoXuan SN-2 v.2.jpg

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5 hours ago, balaton said:

One of my occasional forays into Chinese-made watches, this 34.65mm 1970s BaoXuan with a Zhongshan SN-2  movement which came with various jewel counts, ranging from nine to this “up-graded” one with 17. Bit of fun, being quite sparkly with its red and gold accents, and even in their day I believe these watches weren’t aimed at anything like the top end of the home market.

Produced by the Jie Yang Watch Factory and absolutely not the world’s prettiest movement but described as “robust” and “reliable”. Equally unattractive is the cheapo bracelet which accompanied it, soon to be changed for a decent leather job.

Regards.

BaoXuan 2019 v.2.jpg

BaoXuan SN-2 v.2.jpg

Chinese movements are completely foreign to me! Pun intended. Love learning something new! Keep the input comming!

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Another Timex today.

This time a 1974 model/caliber 25 based, 23550 02574 - "possibly a Marlin" but the experts will no doubt be better placed to give me an exact model.

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This arrived unable to wind or set, which was down to a broken wind/set rocking bar. A suitable replacement was extracted from a donor movement, and after a quick service and polish, and a fresh crystal this is the result. Another very 1970s curly font black and white dial.  Clean and readable and running well.

Edited by AndyHull

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Off to another of these largely forgotten horological corners today with this all-steel Vixa, dating from the 1940s and running on a 15j Lorsa 237B.

There’s no nice ‘n’ easy linear narrative for this French “Vixa” brand which isn’t recorded in the usual databases but was made by Stéphane Boullier of Besançon who was much involved in Timex setting up their Kelton brand in Besançon. Boullier became head of Timex France so, given his profile, I’d have thought that the history of his own Vixa Watch Co would have been reasonably well documented but either it’s not, or I’m not finding it.

I’m not alone in this  -  others have tried and have also come up empty, so this fragmented synopsis is as much about what I can’t find, as what I can. I can’t even establish when the Vixa brand was first registered, nor what they were doing either before or after Boullier took charge at Timex France.

However, it is reported that when WW2 ended, they were one of six companies (Breguet and Dodane amongst them) commissioned to supply Type 20 Chronos for the French Naval Air Force. Seemingly, Vixa’s cases and movements for these came from the German Hanhart factory under war “reparations” and were then assembled into complete watches for Vixa back in France by Kiplé in Morteau.  

Thereafter Vixa appears to have largely concentrated on watches for the French Military, possibly alongside other civilian models like mine, but when those orders dried up, the company’s doors were closed in the early 1960s by whoever was running it then.

If anyone has any more insight into the original Vixa company, then please do share.

Regards.

Vixa v.2.jpg

Vixa Lorsa 237B v.2.jpg

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44 minutes ago, balaton said:

Off to another of these largely forgotten horological corners today with this all-steel Vixa, dating from the 1940s and running on a 15j Lorsa 237B.

Very interesting historical insight. For the technical side of Lorsa 23x one can browse my walk-through 

 

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24 minutes ago, jdm said:

Very interesting historical insight. For the technical side of Lorsa 23x one can browse my walk-through 

 

Many thanks! Absolutely informative and beautifully photographed. I think the 238G is one of the few 23x I haven't got, but I'll know where to go if I ever need to tear one down.

Regards.

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The trashed Gant "West Creek" got the finishing touches applied today.

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I picked this up on a whim, for 99p no other bidders, simply because the mechanism looked interesting. When it arrived, pretty much everything was wrong with it. The case was scratched to bits, the glass was smashed, the band was trash and the mechanism had obviously taken a knock, since the day indicator was off the scale.

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All of this has now been attended to. Fresh crystal, fresh leather swapped from a similar strap to preserve the branded clasp. I went for black as it matched the dial better in my opinion.

The mechanism was partially stripped to fix what I guess could be termed the keyless work, or whatever the quartz equivalent is. One of the levers had jumped off, putting the whole day/date/time adjust into random mode.

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Here is a quick size comparison. 1950s ladies Smiths Empire, Gents 1930s Bulova, Gents 1980s Sekio and contemporary Gant "West Creek". It is well built with a stainless case and a VX46  quartz mechanism and it 'aint bad looking, but given its current RRP of £200 I think I'd rather add 50 new members to the 404 club for that money. :D

Edited by AndyHull

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A gold plated champagne dialed  "Kudu" joins the club.

This 17 jewel Swiss front loader needed a service, a crown and stem to get it running.

It also benefited from a complete valet, and a crystal polishing session.

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Finding and fitting a suitable stem was the most tricky part, since the original had broken off right at the edge of the base plate, so extracting without stripping it down was a non starter, and finding something to match the broken stub in my "pile of random stems" took a fair bit of scratching around and experimenting.

It looks a whole lot nicer in real life than it does in my rather badly lit photograph.

The strap was borrowed from an HMT Kohinoor which is hopefully going to be the next patient up on the healing bench.

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The HMT Kohinoor I mentioned in the previous post.

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The dirt in this one included some interesting black powder visible here on the paper.

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I didn't analyse it further, but it was caked on the inside of the case back, and lying around in the mechanism. Rather predictably the dirt had stopped the thing dead in its tracks. A clean, polish etc and it is back to its former glory. The case does still have some very minor battle scars, but don't we all. 

I do have one or two more dead HMTs in the queue. I've built up quite a collection of them, all picked up for pennies and revived. So far I've only had one mechanism that was beyond saving. 

As I've mentioned before, HMT are in my opinion greatly under rated (and undervalued), and also one of my favorite brands.

They are easy to work on, and almost indestructible. They are also about 90bB quieter than their Timex cousins. So much so that when checking them with tg-timer my headphone microphone struggles to hear them and I have to use the built in mic in my laptop instead.

Its sitting around +10s/day to -5s/day. I'll leave it running overnight and check and adjust it tomorrow.

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