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Discussion Starter #1
Caveat: If you’re an experienced watchmaker or modder, read no further. There’s likely nothing new here. (Or at least manage your expectations before you do read further.)

Backstory: I’m new to the Seiko mod game, and find myself on a solemn quest for that White Whale, the perfect mod. Idea for this mod came because I love the lume, black day/date wheel, and hands of the old black monster, but not so much the case. This particular monster is important, as I bought it just before my first son was born to commemorate the occasion. It was also my gateway Seiko. Blown away by the combination of quality and value, I ordered a mod from Harold before my second son was born (which I’ve since re-modded), I just got a blue sumo off the ‘bay, and currently have a strong thirst for SRP775. But I digress.

For this mod, I figured I could plunk the black monster guts into an SKX case and move on with my life, having achieved the perfect mod and having shaken the Seiko monkey from my back. Clearly I’m not the first to have this idea, but I even planned on a name: The SKX-ster. In my fantasy, I would post the results and take a victory lap, receiving praise in the comments from the super users with thousands of posts and fielding questions from more junior folks like me. But, alas, it was not to be. The results, while very good, are not perfect.

The Process: The mod itself was fairly straightforward. First I dismantled an SKX (see "before" pic with orange bezel insert).

I’d read somewhere that the monster chapter ring can be left in place if the SKX chapter ring is removed, so I popped out the crystal surprisingly easy with my new crystal press from Esslinger (more on that below), removed the chapter ring, popped the hardlex back in (again surprisingly easy) and went to attack the monster.

Not much difficulty there, either, as I was just removing the movement, keeping everything attached to it, and re-securing the caseback. Now for a few top tips:

Top Tip #1: Use a tiny piece of scotch tape to tape the rotor down so the movement doesn’t spring to life mid-mod. Learned this one the hard way on a past job.

Top Tip #2: The plastic ring that secures the movement to the case is the same for both the monster and SKX, so no need to swap. I learned this upon close inspection with the magnifying visor, which my wife thoroughly enjoyed seeing me wearing.

Top Tip #3: When placing the movement back into the case, DON’T. Rather, gently lower the case down on top of the face-up movement. I’d previously been flipping them over and praying I didn’t smash the hands, etc. I did not invent this technique, but read it somewhere (likely on this forum--hat tip to whomever posted). Once the case is in position, slide a piece of paper or something under the movement so you can pick up the whole ensemble. Now back to the mod.

Once I had the monster movement in the SKX case, it was time for the bezel. I’d decided on a black stainless steel coin-edge number from Crystal Times (which is fantastic—more on that below, too) and the stock SKX insert. Very nice; high quality bezel. I did have a bit of a time squeezing the insert in, however, as it was just a smidgeon too big. Inspiration struck after a bit of fiddling, and I popped the bezel off and went to the crystal press. With a little even pressure from a large die, it snapped right in as if they were made for each other.

See the pics for the final product. I think it turned out pretty sharp, and looks nice on the vanilla-scented rubber strap (not the most comfortable strap for the summer, though, wears a little hot and sweaty).

Anyway, I went to sleep, incredibly pleased with myself for having assembled the perfect mod, periodically checking the time with the superb lume and imagining the adoration I’d receive for my creation. Then, this morning, disaster struck when I noticed the imperfection (see pic with yellow arrow).

Turns out there’s a 1-2mm gap in both length and height between the monster chapter ring and the SKX case, as the SKX chapter ring is slightly larger. For a moment, I tried to convince myself that I could live with it, but I’m far too anal retentive not to be bothered by it. Upon digging a little further, I found this post: http://www.thewatchsite.com/21-japanese-watch-discussion-forum/215554-skx-monster-mod.html, which mentions this issue and also displays an excellent mod (and tip for filling holes on the monster dial).

So the quest for the perfect mod continues ....

Takeaways: my takeaways from this go-round are:


  • The Crystal Times black bezel with the SKX007 insert is the star of the show. Looks really sharp and seamless with the snug fit. The bezel is excellent; very high quality, unidirectional with 120 clicks. Came with a gasket, 3M stick’em for the insert, and some finger cots, all packaged really well. I’m already developing ideas for using this combo in my next crack at the perfect mod. An SKXA35, perhaps?
  • So far, I’m a fan of the Esslinger crystal press, available here: http://www.esslinger.com/watch-tool-crystal-press-and-case-back-press-with-nylon-dies/ … it ran about $50 with shipping. Haven’t tried it yet with a domed crystal, but will do so and report back. Nice heavy design feels decently built and a workable selection of 14 dies.
  • Not sure what to do with my monster now. I can’t sell it due to the sentimental value, but don’t wear it very much. Perhaps a bead blast is in order, or perhaps I’d enjoy it this summer on a rubber strap. DB73BP, maybe.

In any event, I live on to mod another day ....
 

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IMO, it would look 100% better sans the monster hands - they unbalance the watch really badly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Post script to this project.

I put the monster innards back into the 7s26-0350 case and put it on a Seiko silicone strap (# 4KR3JZ, goes with sawtooth I think). I've really been enjoying wearing it.

One bummer is the dial crept up a bit when it was in the SKX case and the leading edge of the hour hand dragged a faint circle in the dial (see pics--only visible in certain light). Oh well, live and learn ....
 

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So is this now an "un-modded" mod?

Enjoyed your write up by the way. Great details and a true sense of enthusiasm for the craft!

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Mike. You are correct for the moment, although at some point it could become a re-modded un-modded mod.
 
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