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About 8 months ago or so I was in the process of restoring some 6106 and 6119 Rally Divers with the help of several forum members. The end result of all that, if you remember were these four guys:

During that process a lot of parts where exchanged and lots of conversations led to a couple of interesting discoveries:

1. The chapter rings on these things where entirely painted with a very thin layer of paint. This paint is very prone to peeling and chipping with age. In a lot of otherwise excellent condition Rally divers, these painted chapter rings are often damaged. We also discovered that the paint can be easily removed by dipping in it in a solvent bath. Interestingly what is underneath is a brass ring plated in a protective satin finished silver colored finish. The end effect looks very much like stainless steel. As to what the silver finish is, your guess is as good as mine (maybe swedefreak can chime in); and

2. we accidentally discovered that the bezel insert is swappable with that in a modern SKX diver. I bought a replacement bezel from a former which had an insert in great condition. I didn’t pay close enough attention and was surprised when the bezel proved to be different from the original. On closer inspection it proved to be an SKX bezel with a rally insert in it. With that in mind I experimented with different SKX inserts, fitting them into a rally bezel and sure enough they are a straight swap, though depending on the condition of either piece you might or not need some adhesive to stabilize it. With that discovery in mind I set out to see what else would fit and tried a tuna can insert. The fit was perfect. The only thing was that the tuna can insert is a wee bit thicker than the lip of the bezel, so a bit of filing would be needed later to blend it all in.

With these two discoveries I decided to use the left over pieces from the renovations and salvage them into something interesting. I have seen Harold’s Scubadiver dial made for the 6309 and knew that it would also fit a 6106. This is the dial in question:

So I contacted Harold about sourcing one. However I could not find any hands that fit. I pestered Harold until he agreed to do my a favor and have a set of his plongeur hands, which were then only offered painted, made only silver plated. A few months later a couple of prototypes arrived in the mail in with two different types of lume (Harold you are the man). These where the hands (picture from Harold):

Now I needed a case. I put a WTB on the trading forum looking for a rally diver case. I also sent Jose Soto a request for one in case he came across one. The very next day I got an e-mail from jose telling me that he had found a sport diver that I could use. We arranged for the sale and the watch was shipped off to me. Imagine my surprise when the watch arrived and it wasn’t a junker at all, but rather an iridescent blue dialed 6119 rally diver in excellent restorable condition. Rather than chop it up this one got restored and now looks like this (please excuse the crappy picture):

Fate must have been smiling because later that same Day I also received and e-mail from Good ole Ken Setser telling me that he had one of these cases laying around and that he would be sending it over at no cost. Not only did ken send over the case, but he also cleaned it up and took out the scratches. WOW, what a gentleman!

Soon enough I was armed with the case, dial, hands, bezel, insert, unpainted chapter ring, Old movement and a black day wheel. Here Lew Brown offered to help me put it all together, so I sent the parts to Lew. A few days later I go this little teaser picture back:

The movement needed some work and new gaskets, crystal, and stem had to be sourced. After some time under master lew’s care, things began to take shape. Pretty soon this picture arrived:

The scuba diver was starting to make it. Though it still needed work, I was wondering what it should be mounted on. After some though we agreed that only one of Swedefreak’s, awesome H-link bracelets would do. So pretty soon one was ordered and sent down to Lew’s. The problem now was finding endcaps to fit this case. Lew quickly found a set that fit, but which had a center link recess that was smaller than the H-link center link. At my insistence and against Lews advice, I asked him to shave down the first link to make it fit. The result was this:

Ok now things are looking good and I was very happy with the result. However something continued to nag at me. So I decided to follow lew’s original advice and see if the bracelet could be made to fit with a correct center link. I sent it off to Jonathan.

In short order, Jonathan removed the downsized link, sourced a couple offend caps and was able to save the bracelet. He also retouched the case, so as to sharpen the finish a little and a few edges as well, and blended the edge of the bezel into the overlapping insert. Another replacement crown stem later and some more seals, and the Scubadiver was finally ready.

Ladies and gentlemen, with my extreme thanks to Lew Brown, Ken Setser, Jonathan Koch, Harold Ng and Jose Sotto, allow my to introduce the one of a kind 6106 Sport diver Scubadiver mod, or as I prefer to call it… THE PORTHOLE!!!

Here are some more pics of some of the little details.

Dial I Bezel Insert Details:

End Caps:

And profile shots showing the different finishes and the domed crystal:

Thanks For watching guys and I hope you enjoyed getting to know the Porthole.

28 Posts
Awesome Mod Isthmus. :)

I really love the proportion of bezel to case for your mod. I love it when the bezel is raised and visually carries about as much weight as the case.

It reminds me of a T-SAR case, only your mod is actually a reasonable size for someone to wear.


6,982 Posts
hey what happened to all the pics...anyone know how to get in touch with Isthmus?
thanks in advance God Bless John..i really liked this mod
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