I will be working on restoring Perrelet James Cook Antarctica.
For those who may not know the brand, Perrelet takes its name from Abraham Louis Perrelet, the inventor of automatic watch movements back in late 1700. The brand, however, did not survive through the turbulent times, and was only re-activated in the 1990s. And that's when Perrelet James Cook Antarctica was born.
I would say that the Perrelet timepieces from the late 1990s and early 2000s seem to be the most beautiful to me. I think the case design and the dial are timeless, hence my personal affinity to the brand.
I already own a two-tone Perrelet Tempest and spotted this Perrelet Antarctica on eBay with some visible damage to the dial and hands. I pulled the trigger and here I am trying to restore it. Also, the bet with the size of the bracelet did not pay off, and I am currently trying to source spare links from Perrelet - what a pain. I already contacted the authorised distributors in the US, the UK and Germany, but apparently everyone in Switzerland is on holiday now!
As you can see, the dial appears to be water damaged, but the markers are fine. Additionally, the front rotor (the trademark of Perrelet watches) appears to be discoloured in places, which after some inspection seems to be due to stripping of the nickel (or possibly gold) plating on steel rotor. I will be nickel plating soon (using brush technique) and will share pictures soon.
I have managed to remove the markers and strip the dial from its colour. I am however unsure whether the original colour was achieved by chemical treatment or painting - the colour seemed to be completely resistant to varnish. It could only be removed by gentle polishing. There is still some left over in the ridges.
I am unsure how to proceed from here. I would like to get back the beautiful blue finish on the dial. I already purchased an airbrush, but I have difficulty in choosing the right paint for the job - I would like to preserve the sharp look of the ridges without putting too many thick coats. I would greatly welcome any advice on what paint would be the best for the job, and how to prep the dial (assume roughing slightly with 1500 sandpaper would do fine?)
Alternatively, is it possible to achieve such deep, aquamarine blue colour by electroplating? That would seem like an ideal solution?
Hopefully, all the sweat will pay off. I will keep updating the thread with progress as I go. Happy to answer any questions on my work so far.
I have recently purchased a National, Electric Watch Cleaning Machine. Attached is a photo for reference and identification of the model type. As can be seen, it has a fairly typical design, reminiscent of many other types, particularly Elma Super Elite. In fact, I do wonder which came first - the National or the Elma. My musings on this point later.
This is a very old machine, circa late 1940’s, 1950’s, but they seem to turn up sometimes on eBay, in various conditions ranging from the “beyond hope” and only really suitable as a donor for parts, and the “old but serviceable” and might-be-worth-a-punt-on machines.
This one fell into the middle somewhere, as it was a bit tatty and the heating element did not work. On the plus side, it had all its original cleaning fluid jars and lids, and the motor and speed control gave smooth, controllable spinning and no play in the bearings. I went to visit the seller to inspect it and we did a deal on the spot. This is not always possible on eBay, but as the seller had listed it as for collection only (due to its weight), it was a possibility on this occasion.
Once I had it home and gave it the once over, I decided that I would have to either do without heating for the drying stage, or find a replacement element. At the same time, it was very obvious that all of the original cabling was not safe to leave in place and it would all have to be removed and replaced. Any other electrical parts deemed unsafe would also be replaced as I inspected them. So - the idea of a restoration (of sorts) was born.
Now - it is not my intention to restore it to the point where it could pass current electrical safety standards, but I will be making it as safe as possible, without losing any of the essential character of the original machine. This is not going to be for resale, so being safe to use is an acceptable compromise, in my opinion. I will however, perform testing on it once the electrical work is done, to make sure that the essential aspects of earth leakage, earth bonds and polarity etc. are passed. (PAT Testing included.)
Whilst this is not likely to turn into another example of a superb restoration of an Elma Super Elite (as seen elsewhere on these forums), I hope at least to have at the end of it, a perfectly serviceable watch cleaning machine, and a restoration story - of sorts - of a vintage piece of English watch making and servicing machinery.
So first off - the before pictures. This one is a good view of the machine and its cosmetic condition, as purchased. The base is a heavy, cast alloy jobbie, with its original crackle paint job beginning to flake away in places, where the years of cleaning chemicals have attacked it, but generally sound. The jars still had residues of cleaning and rinse chemicals present. The first wash jar (front left), was particularly grotty and can’t have been cleaned for years. Fairly ironic not to clean the thing, that cleans the things! Maybe it was just left unused and unloved for many years.
The mains cable was a cloth-bound type I have not seen in years and could well have been original as it still had the old UK wiring standard colours of red/black/green. Also adding to the vintage-ness, was a very old, Bakelite three pin plug. This must have been one of the first of its type as I have not seen one in brown Bakelite before! (And I am 62...)
Anyway, that’s enough for now, as I’m not even sure anyone wants to read much about such an old machine. If anyone is interested though, please add comments and I’ll add to the story as I make progress.
At the very least, I hope I have found a potential solution to finding/ making your own heating elements for these old machines, which could also include providing replacements for Elma Super Elite, RM80/90 HCS511 etc. Machines. More details later...
I have just purchased an old Brenray watch cleaning machine. I have dismantled everything except the motor. I need to remove the basket holder but I don't know how this is attached. It has a grub screw which I have drilled out since the head was broken, however, the holder won't come off. Is the basket holder attached to the piece above, is it attached directly to the motor shaft or is the whole assembly attached to shaft? Any help with this would be appreciated.
Recently I have become obsessed with ana digi watches from the 1980's! I really dig the style for some reason.
I was looking on ebay in the low price ranges and I found this little nugget for the princely sum of $5.70 - the shipping from Peru was an inflated $20 AUD - so I got away with it for under $30.
It came well packed in a little padded envelope. It was missing the back, had severe damage, but I didn't see any rust stains on the back.
A view from the side
It is a Seiko H127A-5000 - the year could be between 1979 and 1980 - there is a little bit of info around the internet.
The case back will be an insanely rare part to find so I may have to CNC mill something or potentially 3d print a plastic back.
That is if I can get it working.
The Crystal is trash. I've tried sanding it, will wait till I have some crystal polish - I haven't had much luck polishing mineral crystals.
A new crystal is around $35 - with OEM Seiko writing.
I removed the movement and soaked it in WD40 to loosen all the bolts. It was too seized to attempt opening.
The LCD panel/dial has a crack in it. The sub assembly appears clean, the zebra strips on the LCD were a bit gummed up but cleaned up.
Happily the analogue movement was turning over freely, it wasn't ticking - but likely due to so much grit and much on the contacts.
The only corrosion was on the rotor, and some of the non important chrome plated parts.
I've soaked them in shellite. Cleaned with blutac and then inspected under microscope.
Everything appears fine.
It is a very high end movement with 8 jewels and all metal parts - it would have been top of the line back in the day. Very tiny parts.
The main circuit board is out - my it looks complicated.
Simple plain jane movement - nothing fancy: It's all inside:
The bridge is off and the rotor is next to the movement:
Cleaning the case:
Tonight I have finished cleaning everything - I have put it into my movement parts tray - awaiting some time after work tommorow.
If anyone knows how the LCD works please let me know - is the display in the top dial section? Or the next layer down? There is a white mirror presumably to reflect the light off the screen as this is the black model version (there were two models).
Parts look pricey and rare - I've found a dial panel NOS - also crystals online. May have to look for circuit board if its fried -
Can't find any bracelets - may have to go non OEM generic steel band.
Goal is to get it running - if its not running - atleast to be a show piece in my cabinet.
I got kinda jealous when I read a bunch of posts about people using Photoshop or InDesign to mock up dials and print them on decals etc... I mean, I know the real way to refinish a dial is to send it to the professionals, but I've been wanting to try to make some of the cheap and cheerful Bulovas I do be a bit more presentable before I wear them... Been wanting to try some diy approaches, but I always get stopped by the first task: removing the dial markers / indices.
The few posts I've read about diy dial restoration speak about using a pin or tweezers to push the dial markers out from the back... but the vintage Bulova dials I see have totally smooth brass backs with no sign of marker feet or anything... so how do the dial refinishers remove them? Are they riveted on somehow? are they held on by varnish or something??? Anybody know?
Here's a pic of the kind of thing I'm talking about - hopefully someone out there knows how the dial people remove these little markers (and replace them)... inquiring minds want to know
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Hello everyone! Picked up a small bunch of parts from an estate sale awhile back and inside was a box with a Seiko 6106-7689 completely torn down. I thought the watch was very unique and decided to piece it back together. The movement is now back together and running very nicely, but when I fit the day and safe wheels that were in the parts box, the day and date don’t line up in the dial window. My question is, because the crown is at the 4 o clock position, are the day and date wheels specific to the 7689 because they are offset of the crown? Any help would be greatly appreciated!