It pays to do favors for strangers - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It pays to do favors for strangers

I bought this Accutron 218 tuning fork watch in Leadville, Colorado on a ski trip last year. It was at an antique store in a case full of beautifully restored American pocket watches, looking a bit misplaced. The condition was great, on the original bracelet, so I grabbed it. Shortly after, the second hand started to stutter. I went to change the battery and did something wrong, and it stopped entirely. At some point I launched a tiny battery clasp screw clear across the room and never found it again. I stored it away, ashamed at having ruined my watch.
Some months later, on a whim, I called the antique store and left a message for the watchmaker. The gentleman called me and I told him what happened. He was very nice, but apologized, and told me he couldn't help. He's a pocket watch guy, and doesn't actually work on these. No worries, these things happen sometimes, and it wasn't all that expensive anyway.
The very next day I stumbled on five beautifully engraved American pocket watches in need of repair at a flea market. I texted the gentleman photos and we engaged in a 3-way negotiation that ended with me buying the pocket watches and shipping them to him. This was all done on good faith with a man I'd never met. He was surprised I passed them on at my cost plus shipping, but I wasn't going to mark them up when he couldn't handle them and be sure what he was buying.
Yesterday I got a surprise package with a non-working 218 movement for parts. It had the missing screw, and something I hadn't noticed before: a tiny brass sleeve the screw screws into that's pressed into a plastic insulating spacer that insulates the clasp from the bridge. That piece was missing from mine, probably still attached to the missing screw that's somewhere in my living room. I also discovered that the battery I had been using trying to repair it last time was dead, possibly drained by accident during the repair. The watch also had one of those battery spacers with a resistor plate on top of it to reduce the voltage to 1.3v, which is what the old mercury batteries from that era supplied. I put it all together and it started running again, but still with the stuttering second hand. I tried removing the resistor plate, and sure enough, the impossibly smooth sweep of the Accutron second hand was back and keeping time. I think the resistor was bad, and turns out you really only need those things for the older 214 movements anyway.
It's running again and back on the wrist. The comforting hum of 360hz (that's between F4 and F#4 for you musicians) has never sounded so satisfying. Somewhere in Colorado some old pocket watches are getting a much needed restoration

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Old 08-13-2019, 07:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Very cool story and some beautiful timepieces in the pics...


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Old 08-13-2019, 09:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Great Story and Fantastic Outcome...
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well written heartfelt story about the shared passion in timepieces, however different they may be. You did a kindness that is missing in great part from todays hectic life. You made it personable and human again borrowed from a time when a man was judged by his character and his word. Simple kindness. Thanks for sharing a story about something that should be more common.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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One good turn deserves another
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing this tremendous story. I am meeting more fine people in this hobby than I can count. And the tuning fork Accutrons are one of my favorites. I want to get a Spaceview at some time in the future.


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Old 08-13-2019, 03:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CombatID View Post
Thank you for sharing this tremendous story. I am meeting more fine people in this hobby than I can count. And the tuning fork Accutrons are one of my favorites. I want to get a Spaceview at some time in the future.


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I got into this whole thing because I wanted a spaceview, but they're expense and very few people can service them, so I bought this watch to scratch that itch at a much lower price.
Now, of course, this has gotten me wanting a spaceview again. This hobby is going to put me in the poor house

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Old 08-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well done all around. You deserve the wonderful outcome.

Yes I dabbled in 218s for a while, sold off all my working and non-working Accutrons, parts watches, parts, etc. That insulator you discussed is critical and can also just disintegrate when you torque down the screw and not realize it causing the watch to stop - ask me how I know !

They are so lovely with the continous sweep (to the naked eye) of a SpringDrive at a fraction of the cost. Get one with the 10K or 14K case and they polish up like new and will not disappoint.

Congrats again.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradurani View Post
I got into this whole thing because I wanted a spaceview, but they're expense and very few people can service them, so I bought this watch to scratch that itch at a much lower price.
Now, of course, this has gotten me wanting a spaceview again. This hobby is going to put me in the poor house

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Ha! Seiko chronos are doing that to me. When I was looking for restoration folks I did find the company that has the old Bulova timing equipment and is able to service these awesome watches. I think we’re talking Pogue money to put it in perspective.


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Old 08-14-2019, 12:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Super cool and lovely watch!
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