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I like to buy a watch every week or two to do up in the evenings, its my way to relax and switch off after the daily grind. Invariably I go for sad 6138/9's because I like the look of them and working on the movements because they represent a better challenge.

It is quite hard finding suitable candidates these days, most 6138/9's are too expensive to be project material or are over expensive faked up aftermarket jobs so you have to buy what you can find. The latest 6138 is a 0011 UFO that came off Ebay UK (like most of my victims) did not look too bad in the listing and appeared to be an ideal restoration project as the seller said it was for spares but through the scratched crystal I thought there was potential. Little did I know that the watch really was for spares or should I say made up of broken spares.

Here is what Polly bought


Not too bad eh? Well, I was banking on a quick service, crystal, hand repaint and relume but upon unpacking the watch my plans were shot down.

First off the sweep hand appeared to be loose and swung around with a mind of its own and turning the crown produced a load of crunching but nothing else. So off with the caseback to be greeted with rust, the case ring spring had converted itself into iron oxide but careful scraping had the remnants removed and the case ring prised out. The crown and pusher gaskets were so hard they would not come out, some brute force and levering with a screwdriver did the trick without causing any damage. At this point you would turn the watch over to have the movement drop out nicely into your open palm but not this little bugger as the dial ring was corroded into the case and worse still the dial glued into the case too with general grunge. Fortunately gentle prising shifted the movement and the dial came away without damaging the printed minute track.

Now I could see the dial side properly I could see the printing on the day/date wheels appeared to be lifting, drat. After removing the hands and dial, phew! the day/date wheels are OK, they are only covered in oil. Actually there was a lot of oil, everywhere. So much so that the parts were put straight into the cleaning solution as disassembled to control the messy situation.

The sweephand was found to be swinging around because the gear train and chronograph bridges were loose so no gears were meshing. Other problems found were (best to make a list as we have not got all day to describe in fine detail);-
1. mainplate badly corroded
2. balance hairspring distorted and coil bound-fitted spare complete assembly
3. pallet fork missing pallet stone-fitted a spare
4. escape wheel corroded-fitted spare rather than try to clean it up
5. third wheel pinion broken off-fitted a spare
6. chronograph center wheel has weak clutch but could not find a replacement so reused-checked in serviced movement and it does not slip.
7. gear train and barrel bridge had the transmission wheel jewel missing. did not find this out until fitting the automatic gubbins and finding it would not handwind- Tom Hickman to the rescue with a spare bridge for me :))
8. Chronograph bridge had minute recording wheel bush missing- I found this jamming the ratchet wheel and hence messing up the operation of the keyless works, so refitted it.
9. reset hammer corroded-fitted a spare
10. The day wheel was bent and would not advance-a little bending required
11. Finally movement wise the mainspring and barrel was a pickle, pickled in oil

The mainspring was fine after cleaning but I had to fit a replacement barrel and plate due to scoring.

The service went OK, these movements are pretty simple to work on and bomb proof. I shoved it on the Timegrapher and got an amplitude of 317 degrees straight of the bat. I was surprised as I never had one this good before!

And so onto the case which although worn had no serious dents so it was given a light touch up with files, emery sticks and then lathe. The dial luckily had not suffered as much abuse as the movement. The original lume was so crumbly it dropped off easily at the lightest prod revealing clean indice blocks underneath to which I slapped on two coats of white blue glo onto. The original hands were put to one side and a pair I had repainted and relumed previously (on a quiet evening) were fitted.

On reassembly a new Sternkreuz crystal from Cousins was fitted into a new crystal gasket, that J Koch had given me (I knew it would come in handy one day). Crown gasket from Stefano, pusher gaskets from hal0eight and caseback gasket a generic job that matched for size.

One small embarrassing confession; I buggered up the original tachymeter insert, I did swear. An aftermarket replacement was sourced from Seikosis as I mistakenly thought the extra he charges would provide a better quality item than others (mountapo Ed) but it was half a millimeter too large in diameter and required filing down to fit so next time I will try Ed.

For the bracelet I had a spare 22mm solid link Genuine Seiko Jubilee left over from my divers watch days. I bought a cheap 20mm straight endlink Jubilee off watchgecko and fitted the endlinks to the 22mm jubilee. It's very comfortable and the weight suits the head better than the original UFO bracelet. Great as this is going to be a regular wearer beater watch.

Some pictures of the finished article, I should have taken some pictures of the carnage but you guys know how it is once you get stuck in photo's become a second priority.





Keeping my other UFO company



I have another 0011 incoming, I hope it will provide as much entertainment as this one :)
 

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Nice one Mike. I have one that needs a new chronograph centre wheel (slipping clutch so can't push the minute register but works fine without chrono) and this old working wreck I fixed up! Oh and I had a nice one that got nicked :-( in the summer break in!!! Mike the dials on yours one is yellow and one orange is that just age?

The wreck....



Its got the original slightly stretch bracelet...sellers picture

 

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Another amazing job Mike, congratulations. It worked out well!

I wish you said about the tachy bezel though....you know you can pick nos ones of these up at the moment? Stefan will have some I expect....

As annoying as it initially is when you pick up something like this - it's still damned rewarding (more so) when you come out on top in such a way :)

Personally I quite like finding out what nightmares lurk inside these pick-ups...this one I'm still trying to understand...





It seems that a hole was drilled, I think so it could be completey over filled with oil - which then just poured out into the movement.....needless to say the watch was not working well. The hole had deformed the drum created a burr so that mainspring was surely catching. It is in the bin now.
 

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It seems that a hole was drilled, I think so it could be completey over filled with oil - which then just poured out into the movement.....needless to say the watch was not working well. The hole had deformed the drum created a burr so that mainspring was surely catching. It is in the bin now.
Amazing the efforts some people go to to bodge a "repair" :)
 

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Great work, done well there considering the list!
I don't seem to be able to find project 6138s on eBay UK any more, must be something wrong the search settings with my phone app or something.
 

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Brilliant as always, such a transformation.
When I get home I'm going to put mine straight on (which came through the pollyc project room just a month ago).
 

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Wow your a real craftsman,beautifull result,amazing:rock:
 

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That's nice work. :D

Just to clear up some confusion - isn't that oil well of a mainspring wound the wrong way as well? It should be wound anti clockwise should it not?
 

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I asked the question a couple of weeks ago if there was a rule of thumb as to which way mainsprings were wound and one of the replies was that a 6138 was wound anti-clockwise - so to me that means starting from the centre arbor, the spring would be wound in an anti-clockwise direction in the barrel. The photo shows it is wound in a clockwise direction from the arbor - or have I got it completely wrong and the direction of rotation is taken from the other end of the spring by the barrel outer casing?
 

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I asked the question a couple of weeks ago if there was a rule of thumb as to which way mainsprings were wound and one of the replies was that a 6138 was wound anti-clockwise - so to me that means starting from the centre arbor, the spring would be wound in an anti-clockwise direction in the barrel. The photo shows it is wound in a clockwise direction from the arbor - or have I got it completely wrong and the direction of rotation is taken from the other end of the spring by the barrel outer casing?
No rule of thumb will beat checking the direction the hook faces when the barrel arbor is fitted into the barrel.

If the mainspring is fitted the wrong way the hook will never engage the hole.
 

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Mike, you do such incredible work. I am amazed, again, at your transformations.

You call this a 'new beater watch', heck it's way nicer than a lot of everyone else's non-beaters !
 
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