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Revisiting an old hobby


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Introducing the latest prospective candidate for the 404 club, winging its way to me from the darker corners of the internet.

This is a USSR "Zaria", which cost a whopping £0.99p (you know you are scraping the barrel when the watch cots twice as much to post as it does to purchase).



It is clearly missing its winding stem, so if anybody knows where to obtain one, and/or can identify the calibre let me know.


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On 12/1/2018 at 12:12 AM, AndyHull said:

That looks the part, what kind of microphone are you planning to use.

I have now tried with an electret microphone from Sony, the preamp is a ready made USB one. It didn't perform as good as I expected and I think I will switch to an piezo electric when time comes.
Pic 1 shows the placement of the microphone.
Pic 2 presents all the parts , spring load,  sliding grip and everything, 3D printing is a fantastic tool for prototyping.. lol

For the curious the movement I test with is a Certina 7750 "BMW Sauber F1 Team Limited Edition"



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/15/2018 at 4:20 PM, steele5213 said:

I,m sorry I have been off for a while.  I also worked on computers but I,m retired now, Your watch looks great!

I have a question, how do you know the battery size for a quartz watch. i Bought it on eBay.


I missed this post, however for the record, if you can identify the movement, then it is relatively easy. Otherwise you need to fairly accurately measure the depth of the battery "hole" and its diameter. Posting your question, in a new topic with a few pictures if you are still struggling.

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While looking for a cross headed screwdriver in my mother in law's house I came across this old HMT Avinash, that has met with a rather unfortunate end.

The watch looks OK externally apart from a couple of small cracks and scratches in the crystal, and some "patina" on the dial,  however it became apparent fairly quickly that all was not well when I tried to wind it.


It turns out that the bridge that holds the winder, mainspring gear, mainspring click spring etc. has been broken in two by an impact, so repair would be un-economical, however since this watch has a bit of history to it, I may see if I can resurrect it from parts in my spares pile when I get back to the UK.

It appears to have the fairly standard 17 jewel HMT movement, and I think I have something similar in the 404 pile.

The watch was bought by one of my brothers in-law for the other, around 30+ years ago. An almost identical watch is still for sale on the HMT site today.

I'll spare you the gory details of the dead watch autopsy, with all of the broken and mangled bits, I wouldn't want to put you off your lunch.:D

Edited by AndyHull
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  • 2 weeks later...

Boredom is a dangerous thing. In my weak and meaningless defense, they averaged two an a half quid each. How could I resist.

I bring you.. three more amigos (bought as a job lot on ebay, spares or repairs) that will hopefully swell the ranks of the 404 club when I get back from my holidays.


I know... the Nino is probably repainted (but that case is quite neat), the Citizen is the worst Indian redial you have ever seen, and speaks in a foreign tongue and the Richo has a chip in the crystal and needs its face washed, but if nothing else surely the straps are worth a couple of quid each.

A quick service, perhaps some dial work and some elbow grease and I bet they look 1000% better.

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I already picked up a donor to fix the HMT Avinash barrel bridge, so this one is just because I really need to learn to move the keyboard a few inches beyond the end of my fingers to stop me from accidentally typing ebay.co.uk in to the browser.


17 sparkling Indian rubis and 84 pence change from another 404 membership subscription. Now where is the off button on this ebay thingamabob.

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Something has been bothering me. Why is it that the Chinese manufacturers don't produce a "classical" mechanical watch, of reasonable quality, say similar to the HMT or maybe the F Hinds I showed previously both of which in my opinion are actually pretty good for what they are.

All they seem to produce are novelty skeleton watches in garish oversized cases. I know the current trend is for large copper frying pans generally, but there is still a market for classic elegance at a reasonable price.

The closest I can find would be something like this..


But I am looking for something more "classical" than that, and not with a 24 foot wide strap either. They do seem to make some reasonable quartz designs, but nothing automatic or even 17 jewel manual. Its not as if the movements they produce are particularly huge, or invariably of poor quality (thought undoubtedly some are), since a number of non Chinese manufacturers do make well designed timepieces with these, or similar movements. Given the recent advances in manufacturing, it should be possible to produce some very high quality designs without having to charge a fortune for them.

Maybe there is a marketing opportunity being missed here. :unsure:  

Does anybody know of any current Chinese brand that produces watches you might actually want to wear, with the quality at a level of say Citizen, Seiko or even Sekonda, but with the attractive price tag that generally comes from being Chinese?

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We needed an alarm clock the other day, and ended up picking up a neat little Casio, but in the process we unearthed a couple of "vintage" numbers, neither of which actually went.


(The lift angle is a guestimate)

One was a local Indian make, the more sophisticated of the  two, in that it has a separate barrel with spring for the alarm. Unfortunately it has suffered some pretty terminal damage, and is missing a hand, the front bezel and the glass.



The German one however provided me with a little entertainment this afternoon. I was too lazy to head off to the local shop to pick up some clock oil, since this was just a fun little time waster project, so I nipped out to the car and extracted a couple of drops of motor oil from the dip stick. Probably way too heavy for this use case, but better than the thin film of rust that was previously "lubricating" the pinions.



Some cleaning, oiling, and the occasional mild expletive as I attempted to perform the operation with nothing more than a safety pin and a completely unsuitable screwdriver, and off it went.

Fully wound, it sits at +50 or so, and drops to -300 by the time the alarm has been rung a few times and the spring is getting low.

I wouldn't say the rate is particularly stable, nor would I rely on it to time the launching of a satellite, but what the heck, it was dead and now it lives. 

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1 hour ago, oldhippy said:

The mechanical Europa 30 hour. These are easy to repair. When it comes to re-bushing, you can buy the bushings from a supplier, they just tap out and with a staking tool, tap the new one in. Clean it in a watch cleaning machine  

Thanks for the info and the good sound advice, however I'm on holiday, visiting my in-laws and family in India, so I'm many miles from my usual tools and cleaning materials. Hence the dipstick oiling and clumsy screwdriver work. In my defense, there is every chance that if I hadn't made the effort, it would probably be in the bin by now which would be a bit of a shame. 

It is still ticking away strongly some hours later, and keeping good time, but it will be interesting to see if it makes a good stab at a full thirty hours. I guess it all depends on how much life is left in the old mainspring, and how much friction used motor oil actually manages to overcome.

If I was back in Scotland, I'd probably do a much more comprehensive job on it, use the correct oil and tools. Fix the cotton lining of the lid, and maybe even polish the brass work on the dial surround and clean the green case.


Although I doubt if it has much monetary value, it has a certain charm and character that the Casio singularly lacks.

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I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew this time. This sorry specimen will be waiting for me when I return from my travels.


An authentic Junhans - Cal.95 Art Deco gents tank - I would guestimate from the late 1930s, but I'm sure someone will correct me on this.

It looks like it needs a huge amount of TLC, including finding or fabricating a winding stem. I probably have a suitable crown, but the stem might prove much more of a challenge.

It could also do with re-plating by the looks of it, but we shall see. I can't even tell from the pictures if that is chrome or EPNS. My guess is nickel silver, but I could be wrong.

Before I start giving it the beauty treatment, I have to get it ticking first of course.

"What was the price?" I'm glad you asked...  £0.99p (plus shipping)

I wonder what the chances of it ever looking even remotely as good as this..


Image unashamedly stolen from this random corner of the internet.

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I have no need of one, nor any intention of bidding on it, but I just saw this on the bay, and thought it worth a mention.


I suspect it uses paper rolls, and plots dots in response to the beat of the watch, with that perspex disk giving the slope of the line you are aiming for. I could of course be completely wrong, so anybody with more knowledge on the subject, please chime in and correct me.

Link to listing is below.



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More from the "thread of random", that this is rapidly turning out to be. Some of you have no doubt seen this before.



I've been to the Tower of London and seen the Crown jewels, but they are little more than a vulgar show of baubles when compared to some fine engineering like this.Ankerchronometer.thumb.png.a29342c823580ea842827269f4fadbed.png

Edited by AndyHull
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Nice! ... However if that turned up in my living room, it would most likely result in instant divorce. :biggrin:

Yes, my Mrs is none too pleased with it. I think it may be going onto a popular auction site at some point in the not too distant future. Mind you, I say that about a few things and hardly ever let things go!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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4 hours ago, Pip said:

Yes, my Mrs is none too pleased with it. I think it may be going onto a popular auction site at some point in the not too distant future. Mind you, I say that about a few things and hardly ever let things go!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I presume it works. Do you have a schematic for it? Often they used to print such things and fix them somewhere on the equipment, back in the day when people actually repaired stuff.

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More expensive time wasting on ebay. :P I bring you the 17 jewel ancient wonder that is "Tunis"...




That logo is weirdly familar. It has more than a passing resemblance to the Fortis one. Delusions of grandeur no doubt.

Its heading in to the 404 club if I can get it ticking, as it cost a whopping  £2.67 (plus shipping).

I think a plain back leather strap with butterfly clasp would suit it nicely. Failing that perhaps a sand coloured canvas number.

I wonder if I should attempt to re-plate it with nickel. Any thoughts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another basket case. This time a Titus Geneve, I would estimate somewhere in the 1930s.

I picked up a couple of job lots of hands, so hopefully I have something suitable.

I also picked up some .5mm brass sheet, so I can try my hand at dial making.

This might be a suitable candidate for a face transplant, assuming I can defeat the grime in the works, and make it run.


Who said any of this was going to be easy? :P

In case you couldn't guess from its condition, this is headed to the 404 club if I can make it run.

I may even try my hand at leather work and make it a period correct looking band. I have the tools, all I need is a few scrap pieces of leather and that very rare commodity, some spare time.


Edited by AndyHull
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