Should I avoid a polished Bellmatic? - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum Ė Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Should I avoid a polished Bellmatic?

I recently got interested in Bellmatic. I found one 4006-6031 nearby and went to see it the other day. I really like the way it looks. I has a great dial, original hands and it works well, from what I could see. However, the case was polished, it has a replacement crystal and it doesn't have the original bracelet. The dealer is a watchmaker and he was honest about polishing the case. I do like the way the watch looks, but should I avoid it only because it was polished? The price is around $165. Thank you.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I always think that if you like it then get it, try it on and if it grabs you go for it.


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Old 04-20-2017, 06:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the opinion. I really appreciate that.

I do like the watch. The only thing I don't like as much is the crystal. It has a sharp, trapezoid like shape. I'm not sure if this is how the original crystal looks like. I thought that the edges are more round.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I put some pictures of crystals back in this thread New Bracelet

The new crystals I get are pattern parts and always have that flat angular edge, which sounds like the one you have and don't like. It suits some cases and looks horrible on others. Someone on that post gave a picture of an OEM Seiko crystal 325T02ANS0 which also seems to have that flat angular edge. I've got over 50 bellmatics and I'd say well over half have a very old crystal which i think is original with the metal expansion ring, and they are all rounded edges. I can't explain that picture of the OEM Seiko crystal 325T02ANS0, unless it is a replica also? Its very easy to print off a bit of paper and age it, so you get 3x's the price of a replica for instance. Anyway, it seems most crystals advertised today specifically for the bellmatic have that horrible profile. I rounded the edge off on a lathe, there is plenty of plastic to do that with. In that post, you can see on the 6000 case, the standard replica crystal looks terrible and I had to reduce the height and round the edge. I've got 4 x 6000's and none of them had the angular crystal when they arrived, all had a low profile rounded look. They look so much better with the crystal being rounded. There must be other crystals you can try though, I think the 325 simply means 32.5mm doesn't it?
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info about crystals. It's good to know that, with some persistence, I can find a crystal that I like, even though it might not be the original. But I definitely prefer a lower profile crystal with rounded edges.

Is there someone in favor of not buying a polished Bellmatic?
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sossity View Post
I've got over 50 bellmatics

Wow




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Old 04-21-2017, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You said yourself you like the way it looks so go for it. I wouldn't worry about polished/unpolished unless it's for collection of original watches.

I have three 6139's and two are original case finishing, the one I have that has been polished looks so much nicer. It may look the best but it's the least valuable because it's less original.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I refinish all my watches as best I can. I like them to look as close to new as possible.I did get a 6000 which had a nice looking patina on the dial, and it was a radial brushed effect which seems quite rare on that model.I canít reproduce that radial effect because it is a compound curve.At the time I wanted a really highly polished 6000 and so I polished it.You can judge for yourself here. http://www.thewatchsite.com/44-bellmatics-forum/179250-i-done-bad-murder.html
I really like the look of a highly polished 6000 and it was an available factory finish as well. However, Iíve ended up with other 6000 cases and I have them all polished, but I donít have one with a radial brushed effect.I really regret cleaning the dial and polishing the case on that one.
Patina on a dial can occasionally look nice, but for me I mostly prefer a new looking dial and a case that looks perfect. However, polishing badly can change the shape of the case by removing sharp edges and corners.If its polished so the shape is ruined, then I personally donít like them.Some other people just donít like them polished because they like the aged look and they want to see the ďhistoryĒ.To me, polishing is part of the history, how is it any different from accidentally scraping it along a wall?Both change the look.
And yes I suppose 50 is quite a lot. very few of them were working when I bought them and I got a lot for AUD$50 or less. ironically, an unfinished still to be restored bell has increased in value more than the others I think. They seem to have doubled at least. I bought them as in investment, thinking when I do them up, they will increase in value, plus there is a chance they could become more valuable as people discover them. Plus I like doing them up as a lot of people do. That's probably why the unrestored ones have increased so much, supply and demand.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sossity, I understand that with Bellmatics their movements are very high end designs, but are more difficult and expensive to repair than other Seikos due to availability of parts and expertise to repair. What is the best approach to buy one? I'm thinking of eventually finding a good one for my collection. Thank you!


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Old 04-22-2017, 01:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi CombatID, I can offer my opinion, but Iím sure everyone has their own. My approach to buying a bellmatic was to learn how to repair watches and then buy non-running watches with good dials and get them going. You wonít do this for just one watch, it has to be something you are interested in and it takes a lot of time to build up experience.It was rather naÔve of me to begin with, because thereís a lot more to getting a watch running well than just cleaning and oiling it.Just because a watch will run for a few minutes before its stops, does not mean itís fundamentally healthy and just needs a service.Someone just posted a 6002 they had inherited which looks like it had never been opened and had probably not been used much either.Something like that is really rare and worth a lot I reckon, because its so nice to be the first person in decades to work on a watch.One like that has probably been left in a drawer for most of its life and shouldnít suffer much wear.However, an awful lot of bellmatics are pretty worn.If it doesnít look pristine inside, my guess is you have a 50% chance of getting it to run reasonably accurately. You can get anything running with enough parts, but realistically, you maybe struggle to get better than 1 minute a day on some.There are common parts that wear, particularly some of the alarm parts.All you can do is replace them.Donor watches are quite likely to have the same part worn.The balance wheel pivots, pallet fork pivots, escape wheel pivots can all suffer wear and cause timing problems, the hairspring has to be perfect, plus it can ďwearĒ loose on the balance wheel, the pallet stones can get very slightly loose or move, these are relatively common problems that can cause really difficult to find faults. If you want it to keep to 10secs per week, you really need to find one that has not been used much at all, although there are some exceptions.One of my best time keepers I bought as a parts only watch.It arrived with no crystal, the hands all tangled up, and was pretty filthy inside.Incredibly, untangling the hands and it immediately started running.After a clean, its one of my best and I can end the week at the same time I started, although it drifts back and forwards a little during the week.
So, buy a working watch. I have bought a few, because I did get caught with the collecting bug and went for certain cases, rather than going only for bargains.My first bellmatic, I was dead lucky because it the cheapest buy it now, and it just worked.Itís still working and I havenít got round to cleaning it yet.Best of all, it turned out to be all original, something thatís hard to know when you start out.Actually, I donít mind frankenís, because they are all original Seiko parts (just from different models of bellmatic) However, I think they should be sold as such, and should be cheaper.They usually are neither.
I had a look on ebay the other day (I havenít bought a bellmatic for months, maybe a year, so Iíve not been looking) and there seemed to be a lot of people making up frankens, and asking a lot for them.There were very few good quality ones.I saw someone selling a 1968 case as a 1978 watch, with the wrong dial, and the dial had corrosion and had been polished but still looked bad.Inside there was a lot of corrosion.He claimed it to be original 1978 and he wanted US$250! I couldnít see any that I thought were reasonable condition or good value. There used to be a seller, reed7272 or something like that, sold straight from japan. His were reasonable and always original and didnít have corrosion, but I did buy one that was a runner but it stopped after a week. I felt it was still good value because I cleaned it myself and it wasnít too worn at all. The watches from Thailand and asia tend to be quite corroded because of the humidity but there are always exceptions. There are some dodgy sellers there too, which look pretty good and I think weíve all bought at least one, but work quality tends to be low and roughly done up for a sale. Personally I am very wary of any watches from India. They actually do a better job at polishing than some others but they do some real shoddy work inside and donít show pictures of anything dodgy. They also are probably the best at faking dials.
If I was looking for a runner, I would look at anything over $150 (just in case you are lucky and the first to see it). There seems to be no correlation between price and quality. Be wary of the glut of buy it now at $250. When I looked, the $250 lot seemed to mostly be the dodgy buy it now sellers that are making them out of parts. Get one that you can see pictures of the dial clearly, because itís the most important cosmetic part of a watch and mostly canít be repaired. If it looks pristine inside then you have increased the odds of it being a good one by a lot. If there is some rust inside, it might still be good, but the odds are lower.
If I wanted a bellmatic just to wear with no hassle, I would say just go by condition inside and out, and hope for the best. The dial is a very good indicator because it is so easily damaged by corrosion and people. If you get an immaculate dial and no visible rust inside, thatís as good as you can do when buying off ebay. Wait until you see a really good one, they do come up. They tend to go for a lot also of course. Itís a good sign if there are no screw driver marks where someone has slipped taking the back off, but thatís rare as hens teeth. Make sure you know what the model is supposed to look like. My pet hate is repainted dials and when the case has been polished so much the edges are rounded off.
Actually, I just read this again and then thought, you could get just one watch, get the best you can afford and pay through the nose for it. or get several, where maybe you can't see the dial so take a gamble and have to replace the crystal. Then hope one of the watches is a really good one. Its all luck at the end of the day.
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Old 04-22-2017, 06:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Great post Sossity. Many thanks for taking the time.
And don't forget the quick set destruct.
Still hoping a 3D printing solution is round the corner.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thank you sossity! Awesome info. When it's time I'll probably watch the FS board here. But I'm also starting the watch repair route too. That part I'm really looking forward to.


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Old 04-24-2017, 11:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I count the quick set as part of the alarm chain tbh. If the alarm is working correctly, you can probably fix the quickset just by assembling it correctly. Or by cleaning the greb under the button, or by getting a new stem because I've seen a few where the stem wasn't long enough, presumably because its a franken with the wrong button. If someone has got at it, its quite likely to be assembled wrong.
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Old Yesterday, 11:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I bought the watch that started the thread - Bellmatic 4006-6031 - my first vintage watch. I'm very happy with the new timepiece, so far. I would love to hear your thoughts, too. Thanks for help!
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