A 5126-8130 Rally Diver Restoration
About a week ago I got real lucky and won an auction for a piece that I never thought I’d own: a 5126-8130 “Rally Diver”.
While far from NOS, it has a lot going for it. The bezel is super-clean, and the yellowed lume pip tells me that it’s probably original. The case seems to be without many scratches or dings (I hope it hasn’t been polished). The blue paint on the indices and hands seems intact, if faded. The seconds needle seems to be the original Tomato Orange color. But above all is that lume: evenly yellowed, but with no sign of the black rot.
While I understand how a little “wabi-sabi” might be appreciated in an antique WWII pilot’s watch, it just looks tatty on this late 60s Sports Diver.
I intend a full restoration.
The crystal and gaskets will of course have to be replaced, and the mechanism will be overhauled (I have a 5126 donor dress watch standing by if the need arises). In addition the dial must be relumed, and IF needed the blue indices MAY have to be refreshed as well (or not).
I learned how to renew colored indices in a 2013 post by Fatthegreat, who performed this operation on an orange 5126-8120. He writes:
For the face i have to brighten the ORANGE colour, and RE-Lume the dots ( to make it white and Fresh ) , Thinking for a while and >>> Artline HighLighter fluorescent Orange. That works Great!!, Hands as well.”
A highlighter… why not!
A Highlighter seems to me a very conservative approach. Highlighter ink is translucent, so you’re just adding pigment, reviving what is already present, as opposed to layering on, covering, or replacing, which is what you’d be doing if paints were used.
The main difference between my watch and Fatthegreat’s is that my 8130 has blue painted indices and hands, while Fattegreat’s 8120 has these highlights in orange. Either way, highlighters are available in both colors.
I’m sure all this all seems a bit premature since the watch has yet to even arrive, and isn’t even due for two more weeks (it’s coming from overseas), but the anticipation and planning of these things is half the fun.
I’ll be posting pictures as things develop, and I welcome any comments and suggestions anyone may have.