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Watches for repair hobby on ebay?

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I have been playing with repairing watches for a year now (with one longer break for a couple of months). I have learned some basic things (dissembling, cleaning, oiling, reassembling). I am still learning how to manipulate hair spring, for example. Most of the time, I bought old cheap dirty watches for bargain on ebay and worked on them. Mostly of them were ladies watches (although smaller, they were always cheaper) with ETA movements from 60s and 70s. Here and there I managed to work on Seiko 6309 and 7009 movements. I worked with few pocket watches (which seemed so easy compared to tiny ladies wristwatches).

Now, I would like to step up and concentrate at least on one manufacturer, so I can work constantly on movements, and have spare parts from other. It seems that ETA is the best choice, since I am interested in vintage watches from 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. There a lot of spare parts on ebay, and again cheap watches which could donate spare parts as well.

Do you have any tips on buying this kind of watches on ebay? What to look for/not to look for?

My general idea would be to concentrate on low cost watches such as Eterna, Doxa, Tissot, Mido, Rado etc. and avoiding rust. What price is generally expected here?

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16 minutes ago, bojan1990 said:

My general idea would be to concentrate on low cost watches such as Eterna, Doxa, Tissot, Mido, Rado etc. and avoiding rust. What price is generally expected here?

It would be impossible to say it's too open a question all those makes you mention have sought after models that command high prices into the thousands in some cases and less sought after models that don't you just have to keep your eyes peeled and learn as much about the subject as you can, find out which models command high prices and sometimes with ebay you get lucky. 

Use the Ebay sold listings button and do the math for yourself you will soon get an idea of what prices they are fetching.

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Now, except for the Unitas 6498, which can be found in many inexpensive Nastrix pocket watches on eBay, I've been using Russian movements to learn watch servicing and repairing. To the best of my knowledge and experience, these Russian movements are some of the most affordable on the market. In some cases, like with the Poljot 2614.2h, the Russians have copied Swiss movements and have adjusted them to be more rugged. There's a really cool article about it here.

An interesting aspect of these movements is that they have their roots in the era of the Soviet Union, meaning that the movements were not the result of a free market, but ordered by the Russian state to provide the masses with a way to tell time. As a result, these movements were designed so that they could be serviced using just tweezers, a couple of screwdrivers, and a bit of watch oil. Ideal for any beginning watch repairer.

As an indication of their affordability, a brand new 32 Jewel Automatic Vostok calibre 2416B is about $40 (and if you buy 10 or more $33). On eBay, you can find fully working Russian watches, that more than likely need service, for less than $20 with free shipping.

My favourite brand is Vostok (sometimes spelt Wostok, Boctok, or восток) especially the Komandirskie and Amphibian models. It was this video that got me into Amphibians. Vostok, Poljot, and Raketa are the big Russian brands.

Needless to say, I'm very fond of Russian watches and movements, and although the appreciation for them isn't that great on WRT (yet), there is a pretty large community found on the F10 forum on watchuseek.com. These watches are also very easy to customize and many do.


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    • Ok then that settles that. Yeah I thought I saw it titled Horolovar 400 day clock repair so it stands to reason that it's probably the most informative.

      I was also looking on one of my favorite sites on the net: clockworks.com I'm not sure if you're familiar with it but it has a wonderful clock repair kit with a comprehensive e-book with a repair guide for cuckoo clocks, anniversary clocks, spring driven and weight driven clock repair. Also with that you get an oiler with oil, cleaning solution, visor, level, brass brush, hand/gear puller and a mainspring letdown key all for $69. Seems like a great deal for all that and I'm fairly certain is not all Chinese crap either.

      I need to get a staking set and anvil, a better hammer, decent screwdrivers, (also unsure as to what the best ones for clock repair are) bushings and the necessary tools to do that work, all at a smaller price point.

      I don't have the funds to shell out atm for everything I want. Also I'm only in the hobby phase for now. I am, more and more coming to truly enjoy working on clocks and watches and am considering doing this for a source of income. When you can turn a hobby into a job it's a win-win.

      Sent from my Z956 using Tapatalk

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