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Revisiting an old hobby


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One more venerable clunker got its first hydrocarbon bath and and small sip of lubricant for many years.

This one surprised me in the sense that it actually worked at all. The first zero jewel movement to come out of the junk pile and it actually goes after all of these years.

I wouldn't say it is terribly impressive, since it fluctuates between -40 and +70 sec/day sometimes more, but it does actually function and you could, at a pinch tell the time with it, just not terribly accurately.

I think this mechanism is more notable for what it doesn't have than what it does. It has no jewels, no way to quickly advance the date, no conventional shock protection. and absolutely no delusions of being anything other than what it is. Compare and contrast with all the bling on the modern cheap quartz fashion watches.  GDR simplicity engineered to a price, and therefore, no doubt very popular in its day...



.. and for what its worth, it is probably every bit as loud as the "Unique De Luxe". In a strange way, I actually quite like it.

On that note, time to call it a day I think.


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Still working my way through the recent additions to the 404 club.

First we have this slightly ancient Smiths, sitting next to the "Unique", which is now sporting a period correct stainless steel depilation band:biggrin:

The Smiths was just another clean, polish and adjust. Not a brilliant timekeeper, but it goes. The square leather band helps to show off the watches squareness rather well I think.


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.. and then we have the star of the 404 show so far.

This was listed as "three ladies watches, one broken, may require batteries" or something similar, on ebay, and I was just about to move on, when I spotted that the broken one was this little Orient. This means the club now has one automatic from Orient, Seiko and Citizen. 

The Orient is in need of some serious TLC. Not only has it been smacked in the face, but it was suffering from fiddle, fiddle, break... run away disease. The balance was tuned to the moon, and it took a fair bit of careful readjusting to get it back in beat.

It has one remaining issue, in that it doesn't appear to wind.I haven't investigated that, since it will no doubt require a bit more of my time than I had to spare, however if anyone has any experience of sorting out the winding on these, or indeed if anyone has any tips on replacing the crystal, I am all ears.




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For what its worth, there is a good video of assembly of the Orient 46943 movement here.

I think I have the winder sorted, so I'm going to wear the thing today and see how it goes.

It lost about 20s dial up over night, so a little more tweaking may be in order, then if it proves to be stable, despite the obvious impact damage, it might be on its way to getting a new crystal soon.


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Another quick rummage through the 404 contenders and I dragged out another couple of pin levers. One had a rather obvious broken pallet fork, the other however needed nothing more than a clean, oil, adjust etc.

So let me introduce the latest member of the club. "The Chancellor" (not to be confused with the rather dour faced Mr P. Hammond of the same title). 


It boasts the usual exciting features, i.e. approximately one jewel, it ticks loud enough to scare the cat, and more or less tells the time, plus the addition of some security by obscurity in the form of a fake screw on back, which actually pops on, but has quite a number of apprentice marks on it from previous attempts to remove it before it came in to my possession.

The give away that it didn't screw on was the pen knife slot, for those that take the time and care to check these things, and the less obvious fact that the writing on the case back was perfectly aligned, which it very rarely is if the case actually screws on.


It wont win any prizes for accuracy, but for an 88XX it isn't too bad at at a pretty constant rate of around +40 s/day face up and down. It was pretty poor face up, fluctuating wildly between -1000 or so and -130 before it got a clean and a little light lubrication. 

The beat error is not too impressive at around 4.5ms, but I can live with that.

I stuck a slightly over sized strap on it as I have run out of 19mm and have an excess of 21mm brown leather ones at the moment. It also needs some work on the crystal.

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I put the Orient aside for the time being, it still has a few quirks, but it is going and winding, albeit not winding very efficiently. I'll indulge in a more in depth analysis of that later. Maybe take a closer look with the microscope (which I will need to dig out from its hiding place).

In place of the Orient, I introduce for your delight and delectation, an ancient Scottish beauty.

No, not a bottle of 30yr old Highland Park, this mantle clock for the wrist, complete with after market (I presume) white elastic band movement holder.


Cleaned, oiled etc. It does go, but is inclined to sulk if left face down for any length of time, so either some wear in the "bearings" or pinions, or some dirt that has escaped my attention is still causing issues. I suspect the former, but I didn't have much time to examine it closely.


I don't intend to use it much, since it is probably too old and fragile to be serviceable   so it can enjoy a well earned rest with the other members of the 404 club for the time being.

Interestingly enough, while the Scottish made Timex watches generally say "Made in Britain" or "Made in Great Britain" on the dial, but often have "Made in Scotland" stamped on the plates somewhere, this example says "Made in Scotland" on the dial and "Made in UK" on the brass.


There is a somewhat cynical Scottish saying, usually leveled at sports players  to the effect that "..yer British if you are winning, but Scottish if you are losing.." referring to the way that these individuals are spoken about on the BBC and other media.

More info about Westclocks in Scotland here.

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I spent a little time this evening doing a component swap from a kitsch little Swiss tourist tat "pocket watch", with an EB 8810, into the Roxedo.  The pocket watch was sitting unloved on ebay, and I picked up for less than the cost of a balance fork.

Here is the Roxedo resplendent with a nice shiny "new" red ruby enhanced balance and a working pallet fork. I couldn't simply swap the movements as the pocket watch movement was sans second hand, and I didn't want to spoil the look of the Roxedo.


I also did the usual clean, oil, polish etc. and tidied up the face slightly, though there is still a slight mark at the 5 o'clock marker.

The case might benefit from another rub down with the diamond encrusted rag, and then I'll need to find it a suitable band. Considering its low cost pedigree, it actually looks not to bad (and certainly orders of magnitude better then the pocket watch)


I'll let it run for an hour or two, then adjust. It is currently -120 or so both face up and face down, so it looks to have come through the surgery unscathed.

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I think I may start a new topic "Fail of the day".

Here are some pictures of the EB 8800 and EB 8810  donors, getting a clean and service. The 8810 has a broken winder stem (with part of it still in situ), the 880 has no winder stem whatsoever. The 8800 was absolutely filthy, but the 8810 (the weird little pocket watch) looked like it had just come out of the factory. Both got a strip down and hand clean. I still haven't dug out the little ultrasonic cleaner yet.

The "Fail of the day" involves the highly aerodynamic click spring from the 8810 which I fitted to the 8800, as the original is missing.

I fitted it.. no problem, then decided to remove it again while figuring out which bits needed swapping to get the 8800 working. Removing it again, also went without incident, but re-fitting it was not so simple.

I know these things have a tendency to click themselves instantly into another dimension, never to return, so I was being super cautious. In it went, on went the click wheel, one false nudge later and out flew the spring. No problem, it landed on my lap.

I tried again, even more carefully, so carefully that I when I got to the same point in the process I had everything to hand. In went the spring, on went the wheel, screw was carefully placed... and then I fumbled the tweezers.


I picked them up off the floor, or more accurately extracted them from the floor as they were actually embedded pointy end first in to the carpet, they are pretty sharp, and went back to work... no spring, wheel fallen off in tray, screw also in tray, but no spring...

Much dark muttering, searching the work area and crawling round the floor later, I admitted defeat. It was gone. I then set about reassembling what remained. 

It was then I noticed the spring. 


Somehow it had landed on top of my large angle-poise  illuminated magnifier. I cannot begin to imagine the path it traveled to wind up on the other side of a very large glass and metal lamp. I have a sneaking suspicion it used some quantum tunneling effect to pass straight through the thing. 


Launch pad, with missing spring.


Spring prior to extraction and obviously prior to cleaning everything.This particular movement was filthy, with some corrosion pitting.

I refitted again. This time holding my breath and carefully planning each move in advance. I even set up a couple of cardboard "reflectors" to bounce it back if it did take off again, but it went in without the slightest problem.

I still need to remove the face, extract the pillar with the stud of the broken screw and if I can't extract the broken stud, swap it with the one from the 8810, but I've left that excitement for another day.

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Another Saxon, this time a little more upmarket. It features a rather pristine looking Chinese or Russian movement. Probably Russian as the Saxon brand tended to use Russian movements. I'll need to do some googling to positively identify it.


Once I get it on a strap and on the timegrapher I'll post more details. So far though my initial results are good. It appears to be rock solid at around -30 sec/day with a beat error of around 1ms face up and down, which 'aint bad. I'm not sure I can get it any better than that, but I'm going to give it a try.

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The latest member of the 404 club is this slim gents Santina 17 Jewel Chiaka 1601A based number. 


Close up, you start to notice the worn plating on the lugs

It looks pretty health considering I extracted an interesting piece of thin papery debris from its balance area.

A quick clean (no strip down), oil and adjust and it sits about +30sec/day or so crown up, around +6 to -7 sec/day face down, -40 sec/day or so face up. I'll take those numbers for a small 17 jewel 7''', Dm= 16.0mm, Do= 16.4mm  (modern, 1980 or so) movement.


The tiny movement sitting quarts style behind a much larger dial.

I wore it most of today and it is so thin and light you hardly notice it is there. It didn't miss a beat, and was about 5 seconds fast at the end of the day.  Not bad for around 35+ years old, and probably never been serviced.

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I'm using two different set ups.

Mainly I just sit the watch on the laptop mic, which works for most things.

I also use an old Nokia 3.5mm headset with microphone that was lying around in my junk pile.

The latter option works reasonably well with the mic blue-tacked on to the watch, or the movement holder.

Mostly however I just fold the laptop flat with the screen open on to my desk and place the watch on the place where the microphone lives, which on my ThinkPad is next to the camera.

This is of course, far from ideal, but it appears to work reasonably well, so long as the room is quiet, and there are no ticking clocks nearby. I adjust the microphone sensitivity on the computer so I get good results without picking up too much background noise. I'm using Linux, so I use the  built in Sound Preferences app to do this. 

RIMG0707.thumb.JPG.3b14a0de35a4d1cca1ff80d3c20d2edf.JPGWhen I have some spare time, I intend to cobble up or 3d print something more suitable, but for the time being, and considering that I am not doing this for a living, the current setup will do.


The headset is in the office, so I can't show you pictures of that at the moment as I am working from home today.

Edited by AndyHull
Fixed typo
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This rather beat up looking old fellow, a 17 jewel Ancre, had been assigned to the "unlikely" pile. No crystal, absolutely filthy, half of the dial accents missing, a limbless minute hand, no more than a disk of metal, and a mangled hour hand.


However to my surprise, with little more than a clean and inspection off it went. Initially somewhat reluctantly, but after a few seconds, and following a quick blow with the magic air bellows, it set of at a more normal pace.

It isn't terribly accurate, at +50 dial up, -60 or so dial down, but neither is it terrible. Now i need to figure out what I did with the "bag of ancient hands, which might come in useful some day", which I'm sure are somewhere, but where exactly is another matter.

I'll report back if I get it looking moderately presentable.



I did find the "bag of ancient crystals, with a distinct yellow flavour", and even found one that was a perfect fit, although I resorted to fitting it very much by hand, resulting in minor thumb damage,  as it didn't want to co-operate otherwise.


I'm not sure of the exact vintage, nor have I identified the mechanism yet.


Edited by AndyHull
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More from the pile of random. Two 404 members and a couple of freebie quartz numbers.


From left to right, the Ancre, with a probably temporary hour hand slapped on, and the minute hand on in the wrong place.. oops, I seem to have lined everything up at 1 O'clock instead of 12. 

Next is a "Regis" yet another EB 8800 this one is working, but missing a crown.

After that IS a quartz, or should that be is an IS a quarts.. or maybe.. well you decide. That needed a battery.


Finally we have Hotblack Desiato's black watch with black hands that light up black on a black background.

Actually it calls itself a Komono Winston Regal all black it too only required a battery to save it from being landfill.  You have to admit the 404 club is becoming quite an eclectic mix of ages and styles.

No Rolexes or Omegas in the 404 club yet, but you never know..

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I may need therapy. 



In my defense, it was only two quid, and it is an HMT... and they have stopped making them.. and errr... its yellow... nope that last bit isn't really much of a defense.

As someone much wiser than me said only a short while ago.. "I have to stop looking on eBay !! "


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I can't deny that sometimes one search through auction sites to find something special, the other day I just got the urge to buy my first bumper automatic, the downside was I had to buy 5 more watches with it .
Received it today and found out one actually can fix watches by lighting bonfires in them, at least it looked like it when i opened the watch.
But despite this I know deep inside I still will buy these watches in the future by an magical bid appearing at the auction in my name. I myself suspect I have some kind of poltergeist roaming around in my computer.

My eye spots an arrow above the 17 jewels, maybe you just found the 13th watch in the dirty dozen collection ;)


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Wow.. that looks like it was struck by lightning.

One thing I have learned. The moment my latest compulsive purchase arrives from the darkest corners of the interweb, whatever it is gets a good sanitizing once over, before I even think about fixing it. Some of my acquisitions  look like they spent half their life down a coal mine (and I guess they may well have done).

There is something deeply satisfying about removing many years  of accumulated grime to reveal the gem that is hidden underneath.

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