Case Modifications - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Case Modifications

hello,

i have a hobby that might horrify some, but having been trained as
an architect and a sculptor, it comes to me very naturally. i like to
change the shape of watch cases that i find to be not beautiful,
clunky, chunky or overly large, or dangerous to the wrist, even.

dangerous to the wrist? yes. There are many watches that have hawk's
beaks on their lug ends, pointing right down into the wrist. i was wearing
such a watch 20 years ago, teaching a yoga class, when i was sent
inadvertently sprawling, i was fine, but the iwc fleiger chronograph i was
wearing drew blood, and i had to continue teaching with a bleeding
wrist. later that day, i filed down those lug ends so that this would
not possibly happen again, and i do the same with any watch i've
liked enough to buy and keep, so the first photo i'll download is an
nth scorpene which is shown with it's lugs defanged, i also had the
case bead-blasted.

next up is a watch case i thought was just overly baroque, an omega,
i don't see why anyone would want twisted lugs on a "tool watch".
so i filed the twist out of the case, and my experience of the watch
now is that the dial, which is so gorgeous, gets most of the attention,
and the lovely thinness of this watch really gets expressed, what i love
most about this watch is how flatly it sits on the wrist ( love the lume,
too and with this case mod, it seems to sit lower.

i should interject here, i don't like polished finishes on watches,
especially tool watches, so when i am done filing down the case on
any watch, i then create a brushed finish with wet/dry sandpaper,
i find #320 to be the best for the final finish. what i then have is
a fuss-free finish on the watch, it can be retouched at home anytime,
and you don't have that feeling of having a fragile egg on your wrist
that you might have when you're wearing a showpiece of a watch,
( my seiko bullhead, which i sold, comes to mind as this sort of a
watch. and no, i did not file down and sand the bullhead, i let it
go as being an entire implausible watch, i do not ever time my speed
over a fixed distance.)

some watches are just clunky, and i have a strong preference for
streamlined, and i don't mind taking matters into my own hands,
especially with a more common watch like a seiko 007....sometimes
i remove the crown guards completely, which i feel turned the
7S26-0028 from a buick into a corvette, sometimes i keep the
crown guards in place but streamline the metal, the goal being to
make the metal look as much like mercury as possible, this can
be seen on the 7c43-7010 ( which was not in fine condition) and
the sarb059 alpinist, which was coming across as a fine country
gentleman's watch, and i just am not ready to be that guy....i
got a sapphire in the watch too, to lighten it up. i spend some
real time hiking in the woods, and it's great to wear a watch that
is dedicated to that purpose.

( the more common green alpinist looks to me like it should be
marketed exclusively to leprechauns. sorry. i don't dislike leprechauns
at all, but i am glad seiko made an alpinist like the one i got....)

i've got a fairly small wrist (6-3/4") and i gravitate towards watches
that are 40mm and under, and i was very excited to see the new
mini turtles come out, and they wear much like a standard 40mm
watch. but there was a frilly detail on the case, it looked to me
like a tail fin on a car, perhaps you like tail fins, but i think extraneous
details like this detract from a watch...anyway, it was an easy job
to turn the mini turtle into a true turtle/cushion case, took less
than an hour, i was happy to take the polish off them and make
them all matte/brushed, they wear even smaller that way.

i had a dagaz aurora that rode the wrist on sharp blades. this is a
subtle and easy mod, i flattened those blades that contacted the wrist,
and in doing so reduced the thickness of the watch by at least 1.5mm,
making it sit even lower on the wrist, a really huge improvement.
i should take before pictures, i guess, i couldn't believe a watch
could be sent out into the world with sharp creases like that as
contact points on a human arm. this one was fast and easy too,
then i sanded down the sides, made the watch way less glitzy.

one last one, a helson 40mm shark diver that to my eyes just had
outlandishly fat and thick lugs, i rounded off their ends, slimmed down
their profile, and thinned the straight-on thickness of the lugs too.
it makes the watch way more wearable, and it is still a very robust
watch, no getting around it.

well, that covers the scope of what is kind of a hobby-within-a-hobby
for me. if anyone else out there does similar work, i'd love to hear from
you, if anyone would like to have similar work done on a watch, i'd be
happy to do so very reasonably for you, because it is work that i really
enjoy doing.

best regards, and thanks for reading,

peterr
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1 nth scorpene.jpg (213.4 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg 6 omega.jpg (241.1 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg 8 seiko 7C43.jpg (203.1 KB, 57 views)
File Type: jpg 2018-04-09 13.55.01.jpg (177.8 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg 2018-04-09 13.59.06.jpg (178.4 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0739.jpg (199.0 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_0729.jpg (192.8 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg 5 dagaz aurora.jpg (201.4 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1218.jpg (219.7 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1216.jpg (186.9 KB, 55 views)

Last edited by peterrizzo; 04-15-2018 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I like the look of your 007 case with the guards removed.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie_B View Post
I like the look of your 007 case with the guards removed.
thanks willie b,

to properly do that, it's best to work with an empty case, have
a watchmaker take it all apart or do it yourself if you're comfortable.
you wouldn't want to mar the crown. i usually put a small metal pipe
( modeling stuff found in most hardware stores) around the crown
tube so the threads don't get messed with either....)
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's really impressive work Peter. As you know I would typically want to keep the case as it looks, but I have a few old knackered cases that I am considering sending to you, or picking your brains as to what to do!

Bollyrotten on here (Mike Bolton on YouTube, not the singer) also does great restorations of cases.

By the way, I really like that SKX mod in the forth picture down, and I have warmed to the 7C's look since you showed it to me.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Much respect, that's a brave thing to do. Like Guy I too like the fourth piccy, the satin finish is nice.
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I like it. Make the watches look like you want them to. I do not buy watches to sell them, but to enjoy them, so its all good.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyJ View Post
I think it's really impressive work Peter. As you know I would typically want to keep the case as it looks, but I have a few old knackered cases that I am considering sending to you, or picking your brains as to what to do!

Bollyrotten on here (Mike Bolton on YouTube, not the singer) also does great restorations of cases.

By the way, I really like that SKX mod in the forth picture down, and I have warmed to the 7C's look since you showed it to me.
that mod is just so legible, it reads like a time machine...the only thing
if lacks is great lume, it's a hong kong dial, would you be able to relume
the 12-3-6-9?
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pollyc View Post
Much respect, that's a brave thing to do. Like Guy I too like the fourth piccy, the satin finish is nice.
that one was professionally bead blasted, and it really shows as such,
the #320 sandpaper works pretty well, but if you held it to a loupe or
something, it'd be like lon chaney taking off his mask, i bet
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnLecarre View Post
I like it. Make the watches look like you want them to. I do not buy watches to sell them, but to enjoy them, so its all good.
i agree completely, once i do this, i feel i have married the watch.
luckily, watch polygamy is legal
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterrizzo View Post
that mod is just so legible, it reads like a time machine...the only thing
if lacks is great lume, it's a hong kong dial, would you be able to relume
the 12-3-6-9?
p.s. i'd love to see some cases, you can send 'em back here anytime....
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Peter, this is excellent work! Kudos to you.

I must admit that I shuddered a little reading the descriptions before studying the pics. But I think this is because I was picturing what one of my watches would look like if I tried to file and sand it, rather than an expert with the artistic eye such as yourself.

Your results speak for themselves and look great! I’m trying to decide which is my favorite. I too like the mod with no crown guards, but the alpinist and scorpene are great, as well.

I think someone mentioned in another post that the great thing about your stuff is how much you enjoy it. Your eye for design and passion for the hobby are evident from your posts, and a little bit infectious. Keep up the good work!

Now, I’m off to the action sites to find a knackered example to send to you for improving ....
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default This is awesome

Looking great .
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default send me your knackered....:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by OutaTime View Post
Peter, this is excellent work! Kudos to you.

I must admit that I shuddered a little reading the descriptions before studying the pics. But I think this is because I was picturing what one of my watches would look like if I tried to file and sand it, rather than an expert with the artistic eye such as yourself.

Your results speak for themselves and look great! I’m trying to decide which is my favorite. I too like the mod with no crown guards, but the alpinist and scorpene are great, as well.

I think someone mentioned in another post that the great thing about your stuff is how much you enjoy it. Your eye for design and passion for the hobby are evident from your posts, and a little bit infectious. Keep up the good work!

Now, I’m off to the action sites to find a knackered example to send to you for improving ....
that would be so cool, i'd be happy to file something down for you...the 7S26 seiko/sinn gets the most love, maybe because it was bead blasted, but also
because the cases are a bit clunky, and there really is a corvette in there
waiting to be let out....but i just did my first 6309 case mod, and it was
more effective than i thought it would be, it really diminished the effective
mass of the watch, visually. i'll post it when it's done....

thanks,

peter
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking great .
thanks carlos, having fun
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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awesome!
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:18 AM   #16 (permalink)
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How did you achieve the soft luster look on your cases?
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wcsarge View Post
How did you achieve the soft luster look on your cases?
the scorpene and the 7S26 were both bead blasted, they're also both
sinn homages, so that makes bead blasting even more appropriate.

so, any watch without the 12-3-6-9 dial has been first filed ( and if you
finish file with a very gentle touch, you can almost leave the case polished)
and then i sand it carefully, always along the length of the case, none of
that fancy perpendicular brushing for me, i am not a fan...i'm using #320
paper to finish, and a well used piece of #320 might translate to #500
for the last passes....the case and bezel edges offer guides to parallel,
even brushing....
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:20 PM   #18 (permalink)
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awesome!
thanks bill wilson, from peterrizzo, say, why are we not needing to
be incognito here? those other guys aren't ashamed of their watch
habits, are they?

just kidding
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by peterrizzo View Post
that would be so cool, i'd be happy to file something down for you...the 7S26 seiko/sinn gets the most love, maybe because it was bead blasted, but also
because the cases are a bit clunky, and there really is a corvette in there
waiting to be let out....but i just did my first 6309 case mod, and it was
more effective than i thought it would be, it really diminished the effective
mass of the watch, visually. i'll post it when it's done....

thanks,

peter
wanted to add, any 007 has a cushion case lurking within, and it's a
very beautiful cushion case, too. it's just a matter of subtraction....
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Had a go at a SKX007 case. Dremel with a carbide bit for the heavy work, then files to soften the rough edges. Into the bead blast cabinet to see what that will do. Plan to do a white pilot mod on it now.
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File Type: jpg SKX007case mod.jpg (250.0 KB, 23 views)
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Bead blasting the case was fun. Peterrizzo, thanks for the input and the push to go for it.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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beautiful work, more in synch with the original design, more
respectful, i feel like i'm committing watch case blasphemy
here's a photo of two recents, my first 6105 mod ever, and an
sne 109, i had duarte bead-blast both of them.

cool you have your own bead blasting device, what's the
brightest finish you can achieve with it?

when i carve cases, i often think of auto design, in terms of
curves and creases, though i tend to eliminate creases and
go more towards old jaguar xke territory, flowing curves and
aerodynamic...
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File Type: jpg IMG_1504.jpg (147.9 KB, 31 views)
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Old 05-25-2018, 09:35 PM   #23 (permalink)
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My bead blast cabinet is really one I got for cleaning up car parts before painting. The price was right as a neighbor was tossing it before moving so I gave it a new home. The first pass thru was with older worn down media so the case was not as rough as I wanted so put new glass beads in to have more texture. After the watch came 2 sets of spark plugs and a hand brake assembly for a classic mini.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterrizzo View Post
beautiful work, more in synch with the original design, more
respectful, i feel like i'm committing watch case blasphemy
here's a photo of two recents, my first 6105 mod ever, and an
sne 109, i had duarte bead-blast both of them.

cool you have your own bead blasting device, what's the
brightest finish you can achieve with it?

when i carve cases, i often think of auto design, in terms of
curves and creases, though i tend to eliminate creases and
go more towards old jaguar xke territory, flowing curves and
aerodynamic...
They look great, Peter! And that dial turned out really nicely.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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They look great, Peter! And that dial turned out really nicely.
not bad for mere paint...with layer upon layer of thin paint, you
can get pretty close to mother-of-pearl, and i put layers of matte
medium on with a very small brush to get the shingled texture
right.

i want to send this one to you for a service, decent lume on the
pip and hong kong hands, and i would love to find a plain silvery
chapter ring for a 6105, can't find one yet....

i especially like that sne109 because all said and done it's still
less than $200, a very cool little beater that'll probably still be
running a long time from now. i'll wear this when i'm hammering
and digging in the dirt....
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