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Revisiting an old hobby


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Here is the "before" shot again.. stone dead and in need of some serious TLC.

Well now at least it goes, albeit with a pretty ropy auto-winder, and it is in dire need of a crystal.

I added a couple of small felt pads to stop the crystal from flapping about in the breeze. I don't think its going to pass any waterproofing test in its current state anyway.

Those deep scratches on the back were much worse. I've polished them down till they are barely noticeable. I suspect someone had been attempting to open it from the rear.

Any suggestions for what kind of a strap would suit it. I was thinking something in a dark burgundy red leather.

Also can anybody think where I might find a  source for the crystal?

The quick mashup of the old broken one, with clear acrylic nail polish at least allows me to keep the dust and fingerprints out till I find something suitable.

Those little bubbles are not so noticeable in reality, but it does somewhat spoil the look.


Edited by AndyHull
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Another "honorary member" for the 404 club, a few pennies over the limit, and advertised as in need of TLC, this HMT Rajat arrived sans strap and pins, but otherwise almost as clean and polished as the day it left the Bangalore factory.

I have it a quick wind, and a rub down with a soft cloth to remove the fingerprints, and off it went.

It is rock solid at about -2 to +4s/day face up and face down. I decided that in light of its performance I wouldn't touch, since there is a slight chance I might fix it till its broken. :DI didn't even open the back, it seemed somewhat unnecessary, though I suspect it might benefit from a clean and oil at some future date. HMT-Rajat-650191.thumb.png.a221205ba9004ef1e14a00bb3ebc2e03.png


Instead, I indulged it with some TLC in the form of a new band, also heading from the east (well some place in China I suspect).

Fully functional automatic watch in as new condition + "genuine leather" (their words, not mine, time will tell) 16mm black strap all for under £10.00  Not much to complain about there.

Edited by AndyHull
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Looks like my pessimism about finding the crystal for the Silvana was ill founded. Some careful measuring and a bit of internet trawling and it appears that CousinsUK stock it, or something remarkably similar.

I'll probably hang fire on purchasing it, until I figure out what else I need, since the watch is still not 100% fully working to my liking.
I'll also need to design a movement ring in Freecad and 3D print that. Watch this space for the finished results.

I will probably put the EB 8800 pin lever palette fork in to the same order, and perhaps a mainspring for the Adrem, though I'm not sure how I'm going to swap the mainspring without a mainspring winder... time to improvise something else on the 3d printer perhaps.

Edited by AndyHull
Fixed URL to search link rather than my basket.
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The Adrem got a little bit of TLC today, or should that be.. it got down to disco with the Luuvv machine.... well maybe that's pushing it a bit far,  but it just oozes 1970s style.

Straight out of Life on Mars in fact. 

Its still waiting for a donor mainspring, so it will only run for short periods, but the spring steel bangle style strap that looks like it was fabricated in the Clyde shipyards had had a good scrub and the "sticky back plastic"  (obscure 1970s reference for all you young folk.. Google it :biggrin:) that holds the rubber on the road (well the slightly strange smelling rubberised polymer to the stainless steel band to be more precise) renewed.



I only managed to put the parts of the borked strap spring pins into orbit three times while re-assembling the strap, and recovered them from the far corners of the room each time. I did indulge in some suitably 1970s strong language when they flew past my eye... just for authenticity of course.

I'll probably need to replace  a couple of them anyway, but that is a job for another day.


To lume or not to lume, that is the question, it does look a little odd with lume remaining in only one hand.


The strap in all its brushed stainless 1970s utilitarian glory. You can almost smell the weird bubblegum smell from the plastic from here.

Sadly the strap is just a fraction too large for my skinny wrists, so I wont be donning my stick on hairy chest, medallion, platforms and flared trousers just to show it off.

Edited by AndyHull
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Since I was polishing stuff I added this "honorary member" to the 404 club. This was basically free with one of the other watches. I bought a bunch of junk including this and the mechanical watch I wanted, all for less than the £4.04 target.

It was incredibly scratched, and the back had been cross threaded, which required a little care to remove and correct.


Most of the scratches have gone, but a few of the more major dings remain, but for the price, who's complaining?


It got the same stainless steel TLC as the Adrem, and I think it came up quite well. The strap appears to be an after-marked replacement, and is a little flimsy.

It runs, so I've ordered a couple of SR920SW batteries online. The one that was in it, was in a sorry state, but fortunately the gubbins in the battery had merely grown an interesting white beard, but not actually eaten the contacts.


There were a few more quartz monsters in with this one, so I may clean them up and post them her later. This was probably the best of the bunch though. I may have a crack at removing the lines from the crystal at some later date too.

Edited by AndyHull
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More quartz action today.

I recently picked up a couple of dead Seiko Kinetics (ladies sizes, so not much interest on ebay). I thought I might be able to make one working watch out of the two. As it happens I now have one fully working and one 99% working.

The first one would run for a short period then stop, so I figured it was probably the capacitor and ordered one. There goes the £4.04 budget, the capacitor cost more than the watches.

The other was more of a mystery. It appeared to function, but the button for showing the remaining reserve power wasn't functional.

I stripped down the better looking Titanium one with what I assumed was the duff capacitor today and was disappointed to find that my hunch was wrong. In fact once I replaced the capacitor the thing was stone dead, so I dug out the multimeter, gave the thing five minutes of vigorous shaking and measured the voltage on the cap. It came in at a relatively healthy 1.4 Volts, so I started stripping it down again to see if perhaps I had put one of the insulator in squint or something.. and it started to tick.  So I stopped and re-assembled it. It ran for about 30 seconds, then stopped.

Long story short, it appears (from the fingerprints, damaged seal and a few  apprentice marks) that I am not the first person to cast mey eyes on the insides of this watch, so I examined it carefully and noticed that the second hand appeared to be able to travel up and down relative to the dial. Not a good idea, I much prefer my second hands to go round and round rather than up and down.

It seems that *someone* i.e. not me, had loosened a bunch of screws, so I set about very carefully tightening everything  (I removed the oscillating weight and went over everything carefully. It now works. I say it is 99% working, because I'm still slightly suspicious of what else might be wrong with it.

The second watch was much more obvious. I took it apart, and there were obvious signs of slight damp ingress. The spring that grounds the mechanism to the chassis was a rather ominous green colour, and there were a couple of tiny rusty spots here and there, so I set about it very carefully with a fiberglass pen trying not to get any dust or corrosion residue into the works. I also tweaked the spring slightly to cause it to push harder against the case. A bit of a scrub and it now operates as the manufacturer intends.

They do look a little odd on my hairy wrist. One rather obviously still needs a crystal, or at the least a polish of the existing crystal. I may experiment with the diamond abrasives on this. They could probably both benefit from some attention to the finish of their straps and bezels. 

RIMG0529.thumb.JPG.31f10e1a03c2d8dd4237113254c9cd70.JPGSo I have a question. Does anyone have a service diagram or manual for these movements?








No... before you ask, the grubby marks and fingerprints are not mine.


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Following hot on the heels of the kinetics we have this little beauty, and at only 25.75mm across the crown and 27.35mm lug to lug it is little. It just squeezes in to the 404 club, costing exactly £4.04 + p+p and appears to be in almost new condition. Even the strap appears to be unworn.

It also runs almost perfectly (the beat error is a little high), which is just as well as the case back appears to be stuck fast.


Its a shame that I didn't manage to crack it open, 'cos these tiny little automatic movements are an absolute marvel of miniature  engineering. I'll give opening it another try when I am feeling a little braver.


In the meantime I'll just enjoy its unblemished charm and good looks, and ignore the hairy armpits.
I hope the "Bambi" brand strap is not made out of real Bambi.




It could probably do with a clean and service, but those numbers look OK all things considered.

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I forgot to mention the EB8800 Roxedo also got a quick makeover, while I was in a polishing mood.

It may well be up and running again soon, as I have a couple of potential donors for the palette fork, on their way from the e of bay.


Before shot in all its grubby glory.


After shot. I bit of gentle diamond buffing on the metalwork, and some frantic polishing of the acrylic crystal with brasso etc and it looks a whole lot better, and yes, that is the original crystal.   

While I had it under the magnifier, I spotted something clinging to the second hand. I'll remove that, and any other imperfections on the hands and dial that I can, when I start playing with the palette fork. 

The "3" in the picture only appears washed out because of the angle and intensity of the light. In reality the whole dial is surprisingly clean, given its age and the "3" looks the same golden hue as the 12,6 and 9. In fact the whole effect is rather pleasing. I think a simple black (16mm) leather band would look good, assuming of course that I get it working.

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Another 404 for the healing bench. Although I'm not a huge fan of quartz, unless there is something different about them (Kinetics, Eco drives, solar etc), I must admit there was something about the titanium, blue and gold that made me put a bid on this one.


Its is in desperate need of a clean, and the bracelet is slightly damaged, but I think it should look good once it has had some treatment. .

From the serial number it looks to have been manufactured in July 1990 but 28 years of use haven't dulled the dial too badly.

For a few pennies more than a "Caramel Grande" at your local coffee shop, what's not to like. The 7n42 movement alone is worth a lot more than it cost.

Edited by AndyHull
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The first of a batch of "16 watch faces, one quartz" from ebay, picked up for less than 50p each including shipping. Most are likely to be junk, but one or two are quite interesting, including this Ronda 1215 based beauty.

It didn't quite tick when it arrived, and it obviously needs a crystal, but a little bit of cleaning, polishing and a few spots of lubrication and some fairly major corrections to the balance and off it went like an err... Swiss watch.

Obviously "someone" had been having a ham fisted attempt to fix it before I got it. It had the usual collection of thumb prints, including one on the hour hand, which I hopefully be able to remove when the crystal arrives. 

I did have a fairly prolonged head scratching session while refitting the stem. I stood it on its back, I stood it on its head, I stood on my head.. nothing seemed to work, then I went off for a quick cup of coffee and when I came back, it went in fist time. I don't know what I was missing, but obviously something was catching. I was beginning to think perhaps I ought to replace the big blob of congealed tar that was on the stem when I took it out, so see if that made any difference. :D


From running for about 5 seconds at a time, going tick clack, it now sits at -8 to +12 sec/day on the time-grapher and the beat error has gone from >20ms to around 0.4ms

I think it deserves a crystal, and a strap, don't you. RIMG0579.thumb.JPG.50ca51fd8124fb0eb08ebd17ed0dfbcf.JPG

You can probably just about hear me scratching my head in the background in this shot. 

Edited by AndyHull
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I ordered the crystal, and took a quick shot at cleaning up the dial.

The hands still need some work, I'll probably need to remove them and have another go.  There are a couple if stubborn marks on the hour markers, but I've seen a lot worse. At least all of the fingerprints and dust are gone from the dial. 


Any tips for removing those stubborn marks on the hands?

I tried a pencil eraser. I hesitated to hit them with the diamond lapping paste in case I turn them silver, but I might give that a try if there are no other more sensible suggestions.



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Well it may not be a Patek Philippe but you have to admit, it is Unique.


Another member of the 404 club.

This one appears to be NOS, there are no signs of wear, no dirt, except for the dust you see in the picture, and my thumb print on the case and the only scratches on the crystal were probably caused by it being shipped with a bunch of other stuff.

I didn't even disassemble it, just gave it the merest whiff of lubrication and adjusted it. -30 to +40 seconds per day 0.3ms beat error.


Well since it is a Hong Kong assembled "Swiss parts" one jewel engine, so I guess we can hardly expect chronometer like accuracy.


Its probably only been wound a hand full of times in its life. I think it quite pleasing on the eye, and certainly - Unique.

The crystal would fit the previous watch, so I may swap.. or I may just polish the crystal, find a suitable strap and wear it tomorrow.

Edited by AndyHull
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Hi clockboy, thanks for the insight. I suspected as much, though hopefully with the "low mileage" it should be OK for a couple of years. It will probably only see intermittent use anyway. It was probably going to be landfill If I hadn't bid, so it has had a stay of execution, at least for the time being.  

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One more working 404 watch from the pile. Another quick clean, oil, adjust, polish the case and crystal and away it goes.

From dead to working rather well in under an hour. The crystal will need replacing obviously. 

Can anybody identify the movement?


So much compost, no wonder it wasn't going.


Cracking cheesy crystal, Grommit.


Around +7 sec/day face up, similar face down. Beat error is pretty good too.



Time for bed now I think. Always quit while you are winning. :biggrin:

Edited by AndyHull
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One more for the 404 club, actually from the bundle of 16 I mentioned earlier.

This king has lost its crown. Other than that, it appears fine. I simply need to identify the movement, and order a stem and crown (and of course, clean, oil, polish etc)


Anybody who knows what the movement is, let me know. It will same me a lot of googling.




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Extracting the remains of the broken crown stem from the Leeson looks like it might be a bit of a challenge. It is broken so far in that there is nothing to grip, so some disassembly will certainly be required. Before I get stuck in to that though, I guess I need to identify the mechanism, otherwise I cant source the correct replacement stem.

Edited by AndyHull
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I thought this might amuse a few of you. The "Unique De Luxe" is so loud I can check its calibration using time-grapher on my laptop while the thing is still on my wrist.


Its not that the microphone is particularly sensitive (it can't hear my Ronda automatic based Sicura Voyageur, unless it is placed on the microphone), its just that the one jewel wonder in the Unique is so loud that it picks it up about a foot away. 


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