Project Restoration/Build - 1976 Seiko 6138-0030 Kakume Chronograph Blue Dial - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 10-27-2019, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Project Restoration/Build - 1976 Seiko 6138-0030 Kakume Chronograph Blue Dial

You all may recall my post over in the Japanese Watch Discussion Section a month or so back when I picked up two Kakume's off ebay, both needing some attention but with potential. While I am waiting on the cases to return from being refinished, I took some time to service the movements on both. This is the Blue Dial JDM version. The other documented in another thread is the Champaign version.

This watch was running when I received it but barely. Recall this watch has the incorrect case back from a 6138-0040 Bullhead so I was uncertain what year the watch was manufactured until now. I was able to source a correct caseback. Based on the 63 on the back of the dial, I date this watch to April 1976 as the possible date of manufacture.

When I opened the case back, this watch presented me with a ball of fibers sitting on top of the pilar wheel and massive amounts of lubrication. Upon inspection on the teardown, I found hairs and fibers all throughout the movement including one wrapped around the lower pinion of the escape wheel. Wonder it even ran. Only issue I have noted thus far is two incorrect screws used on top of the automatic framework which I will replace with the correct ones part 022459. Watch is cleaned and ready for re-assembly. Take a look at the balance assembly. Looks like the incabloc setting on top of the bridge was replaced at some point. Also note the strange solder used where the spokes meet the balance wheel. Believe it or not the wheel and spring swing true with no wobble and the hairspring is flat and clean. I thought maybe the spokes of the balance wheel may have been cracked and needed repair but examining the under side of the wheel everything looks undamaged. Curious to know why some previous watchmaker used solder in these spots on the balance wheel. Mainspring and barrel look to be in good shape. All I found was old S2 lubricant but dry as a bone. It will be interesting to see how this watch runs when I get through with it.
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Can’t wait to see the progress.


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Old 10-28-2019, 01:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"Curious to know why some previous watchmaker...."


I hope you're using the term "watchmaker" very loosely!!


It'll be good to see the progress too.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Making progress.
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Looking good so far. That should end up a very nice watch.
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I am interested in the case outcome John, Had you taken any case measurements prior to sending them off ? Curious to know the actual difference between factory and pro lapping results.
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Another interesting find with this watch. Check out the pallet fork. It is difficult to see in this pic but it has almost a gun blued appearance like it was heat treated at some point. Anybody ever see this coloration with pallet forks in their restorations? The pallet fork pivots and stones appear good.
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am interested in the case outcome John, Had you taken any case measurements prior to sending them off ? Curious to know the actual difference between factory and pro lapping results.
Unfortunately, I did not take any case measurements prior to shipping them off. Just did not dawn on me to do that. However, the case lapping work I have seen from Tanner in the past would indicate both cases should look sharp and as new. I am sure the lapping machine is taking off a few thousandths from the surfaces. I could have probably refinished both cases myself but my bigger concern was the terrible engraving on the case back of the Champaign Kakume. I figured while I was having that done I might as well see what Tanner could do on the cases. Looking forward to saving both these fine timepieces and bringing them back to their former glory.
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am interested in the case outcome John, Had you taken any case measurements prior to sending them off ? Curious to know the actual difference between factory and pro lapping results.
Unfortunately, I did not take measurements before sending them off to Tanner. They should come back looking sharp and as new albeit a few thousandths thinner. My primary concern was the terrible engraving done on the Champaign Kakume's case back. I will say this work is not cheap.

I could have refinished both cases myself by hand but I think the results with lapping will be far superior to what I could have achieved myself.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Up and running. Initial numbers look decent with amplitudes in the 220s. I was able to dial in 0.0 BE and get the timing to within +/- 5 s/d but we will see what the numbers look like after some run in time. Chrono functions seem to be working fine. More to follow.
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Old 10-29-2019, 12:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Another interesting find with this watch. Check out the pallet fork. It is difficult to see in this pic but it has almost a gun blued appearance like it was heat treated at some point. Anybody ever see this coloration with pallet forks in their restorations? The pallet fork pivots and stones appear good.





Good work getting it going so well especially having to sort the balance jewel etc


I can't remember ever seeing a blued (or blackened) set of pallets in a Seiko.
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Old 10-29-2019, 01:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here are some early numbers after 12 hours of running and some adjustments. I am happy with the outcome thus far given the state of the movement when I received it. The pallet stones looked to be in exceptional condition which makes me wonder if a previous watchmaker may have replaced them. The pallet would have been heated prior to the jewels being installed with some shellac which may account for the bluing. It is obvious someone worked on this piece in the past given the modifications to the balance assembly. It all appears to be working okay so no harm no foul. Should be a decent piece for daily wear when I am done.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Okay, finished up with the calendar side and mounting the dial and hands. Everything is working beautifully. Pleased with the overall outcome. Just waiting on the cases to come back to finish these restorations up and get them both on wrist.
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Great work.

Maybe in my next life (phase?) I'll take up this profession. My clumsy fingers and inability to sit still hunched over a work table might preclude it.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great work.

Maybe in my next life (phase?) I'll take up this profession. My clumsy fingers and inability to sit still hunched over a work table might preclude it.
One of the things I've had to accept the last couple years is that I don't have the dexterity to do the small detailed work anymore. I just can't do what I used to - I get clumsier and have less ability.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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One of the things I've had to accept the last couple years is that I don't have the dexterity to do the small detailed work anymore. I just can't do what I used to - I get clumsier and have less ability.
Yes, that's the sad thing with ageing! But you're still blessed with the talent and ability (maybe a bit diminished now) that not too many people enjoy...the vintage Altec Lansing restoration project being the latest proof!
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:59 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes, that's the sad thing with ageing! But you're still blessed with the talent and ability (maybe a bit diminished now) that not too many people enjoy...the vintage Altec Lansing restoration project being the latest proof!
*** sigh *** thank you my friend!
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:44 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Okay, finished up with the calendar side and mounting the dial and hands. Everything is working beautifully. Pleased with the overall outcome. Just waiting on the cases to come back to finish these restorations up and get them both on wrist.
Looks fantastic so far. Newly lapped cases are going to make a mighty fine looking watch.
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Old 10-30-2019, 04:08 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Looks great! The case will look a killer too I believe!
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Okay, finished up with the calendar side and mounting the dial and hands. Everything is working beautifully. Pleased with the overall outcome. Just waiting on the cases to come back to finish these restorations up and get them both on wrist.
Looking great indeed...you are likewise blessed!
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks for the compliments guys. Will post updates when the cases arrive back.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:50 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Great job John !

Mine is coming...


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Old 11-06-2019, 03:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Great job John !

Mine is coming...


Looks like your Kakume will be a challenging project but worth it in the long run. Thanks for the compliment.
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Old 11-06-2019, 03:12 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, I did not take measurements before sending them off to Tanner. They should come back looking sharp and as new albeit a few thousandths thinner. My primary concern was the terrible engraving done on the Champaign Kakume's case back. I will say this work is not cheap.



I could have refinished both cases myself by hand but I think the results with lapping will be far superior to what I could have achieved myself.




I am under the impression that standard casework (sharpening rounded edges) involved laser soldering new material (s/steel wires) to said edges, then then lapping those new materials.


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Old 11-06-2019, 06:54 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I am under the impression that standard casework (sharpening rounded edges) involved laser soldering new material (s/steel wires) to said edges, then then lapping those new materials.


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Steph - I think it depends. I have seen some Omega Speedmaster Mark II cases that look like a bar or soap due to polishing and wear. Appropriate lapping and refinishing reveals a case with sharp case lines and correct radial brushed finishing albeit the case is a few thousands thinner. Laser welding was used to fill in any deep gouges or marks prior to lapping but was not used to set case lines. I have seen at least one craftsman on Youtube who uses laser welding to add material back to the case around the rounded edges and then laps the case back to like NOS but I do not think that has to be the rule.
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