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A right of passage for many of us is to succumb to the lure of something that turns out to be not quite what one would have hoped. The defining such experience for me came in 2008, when still very green around the gills, I bought my first vintage Seiko, a 6105-8110 dating from about 1974. The price I paid was more or less par at the time for a nice example of this iconic divers watch. The artfully executed photographs in the auction were good enough to fool me and even with the watch delivered and in my hand, it was a day or two before I realized I’d been sold a pup. This is what it looked like when I received it:



Superficially, it looks clean enough but most of you lot will see through this one very quickly: The most conspicuously dodgy and single most objectionable component for me is the horrid aftermarket dial, not just because of its very poor quality, but because its Seiko branding tips it from aftermarket replacement to fakery. The bezel insert too is as wrong as it is possible to be whilst still being close enough to fool the unwary. On the upside, the hands were original, although in poor condition, the bezel turning ring, case and crown all pukka.

The question buyers of these blinged up watches should be asking themselves, above anything else, is the following: ‘Why is this watch festooned aftermarket parts?’

An initial appraisal of the movement set off no immediate alarm bells although it was clearly on the grubby side but importantly it was running and keeping decent time into the bargain.



The fact that it was a runner lulled me into thinking its deepest flaws lay in its exterior appearance and it was these that I addressed initially, starting with a replacement date wheel, then auto-winding weight, a series of increasingly better quality bezel inserts, a sapphire crystal and most radically a dial and handset from MkII watches, fitted to purge this particular watch of that hateful dial.



In spite of the shaky start to our time together, this watch has become my default go-to, a staple beater and a firm favourite. But somewhat ironically, with all of the watches I’ve worked on over the years, I had never serviced this one, never even taken a proper look at the movement to see what that dastardly Ebay seller might have been hiding with all of that superficial surface gloss. Well, the prompt to do so has come finally with my recent purchase of a slightly scruffy, but wholly original 6105 dial. My objective was to take it back to something approaching what I was hoping for from that original 2008 transaction.

That process needs more than just a dial though, the hands being an essential component. With some uncharacteristic foresight, a while back, I’d ferreted away a 7005 dress watch fitted with the same hour/minute hands as those used in the 6105 divers watches and I had also kept hold of a traffic light seconds hand taken from a 6306 sports watch:



The dial was largely free from hour marker lume rot but was pretty dirty and the Seiko emblem corroded:



The process of discovering what exactly was hiding within revealed a number of surprises, including:

  • a balance wheel and cock from 6309
  • a sheared off screw in the main plate
  • a train wheel bridge glued to the main plate
  • a hacking lever bent to work with the 6309 balance wheel


The biggest headache of all of these was the sheared off screw and that was solved using a spot of chemistry, although I did slightly over-egg the pudding on that one. Anyway, I’ve documented how each of these problems was resolved in an entry in my blog (see here) and you are welcome to take a look if you are interested. The conclusion to that tale was a happy one





This should serve as a cautionary tale to those tempted to buy suspiciously good looking examples from vendors in the usual locations one expects to come across such watches but also from closer to home. Mine was bought from a seller in the UK.

Martin
 

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Interesting, I have perhaps missed out on a few bargains but I try to never buy from HHC's and the "bad" sellers on the Bay, the finished article looks pretty good martin :):clap::clap:
 

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Interesting, I have perhaps missed out on a few bargains but I try to never buy from HHC's and the "bad" sellers on the Bay, the finished article looks pretty good martin :):clap::clap:
This one wasn't a bargain at the time John and not sourced, at least by me, from you know where. I don't actually think this type of watch is ever a bargain. They offer a superficial something for those that don't know any better but certainly not value for money.

Martin
 

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This one wasn't a bargain at the time John and not sourced, at least by me, from you know where. I don't actually think this type of watch is ever a bargain. They offer a superficial something for those that don't know any better but certainly not value for money.

Martin
Agreed

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money—that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do ... If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
— John Ruskin (1819-1900)
 

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Well done throughout, Martin! May I ask, is the first photo above from when you obtained the watch a few years ago, and the second from the recent service you did? I notice a change in the wear to the upper edge of the barrel...
A few other things I'd mention: I've had the same (bad) experience with Seiko movement plating and alum, so now I try to use white vinegar instead. But even easier (if you have a jeweling tool) is to just push out the train bridge screw "tube" that contains the broken fragment, and install a good one from a donor movement (they are also listed as a spare part on the parts guide).

Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well done throughout, Martin! May I ask, is the first photo above from when you obtained the watch a few years ago, and the second from the recent service you did? I notice a change in the wear to the upper edge of the barrel...
A few other things I'd mention: I've had the same (bad) experience with Seiko movement plating and alum, so now I try to use white vinegar instead. But even easier (if you have a jeweling tool) is to just push out the train bridge screw "tube" that contains the broken fragment, and install a good one from a donor movement (they are also listed as a spare part on the parts guide).

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for that Noah. Yes, the first movement photo was from 2008 and the one near the bottom from a couple of weeks ago. The movement was, at least superficially, a lot cleaner in 2008 but it's been in and out of the case numerous times and just got quite a bit grubbier in the intervening period. The additional tarnishing to the train wheel bridge in the more recent photo is probably down to the glue used to secure the bridge at that point combined with the fact that I was probably not as careful to avoid handling the movement with naked fingers when I first started dabbling back then!

The appearance of the barrel worsened I think partly by the fact that this watch has been worn alot in the intervening period and presumably whatever scored it in the first place, continued to do so under my ownership. I would add though that the scoring looks wider on one side of the barrel than the other, something which is perhaps amplified by the fact that quite a bit of liquid mainspring lubricant had leeched out from the arbor and migrated across the surface of the barrel, making the scoring look worse that perhaps it is in reality. You can see a big blob of it in the photo below:



Your suggestion to remove the tube is a good one but I have no staking kit and no experience of using one and without the latter in particular, I would have been hesitant to experiment on a mainplate that is next to impossible to replace as a single part. But your suggestion may yet act as an incentive to give this a try on something more disposable!

Martin
 

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It just goes to show you never really know what you are getting. Buy the seller not the watch. Great that you have pulled it back around. Love your blog. Much respect.

Your suggestion to remove the tube is a good one but I have no staking kit and no experience of using one and without the latter in particular, I would have been hesitant to experiment on a mainplate that is next to impossible to replace as a single part. But your suggestion may yet act as an incentive to give this a try on something more disposable!

Martin
Definitely you need to get one Martin! I was given one (ta Clockbloke) and it does get some serious use. Punching out the screw tubes and popping in another from a donor movement is a 2 minute job and so nice to know its done properly.
Also useful for re-assembling 6138/6139 minute recorder assemblies too....
 

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Hi Martin - Great post!
My 6105 had similar wear on the barrel edge, caused by contact with the auto-winding weight due to a worn bearing in the auto-winding mechanism. Three 6106 movements I have all have the same problem. Maybe this is what has caused the wear in yours?

The appearance of the barrel worsened I think partly by the fact that this watch has been worn alot in the intervening period and presumably whatever scored it in the first place, continued to do so under my ownership.
 

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very interesting.
Your work and understanding saved this watch, and that's awesome.

If I'll try very hard, I could understand a watchmaker that did those things.
in his perspective, he "saved" the movement by all those improvisations.
BUT, and that's a big "BUT", this is too much, superglue and broken screws doesn't belong in any movement...

Again, interesting read and what a great outcome :bowing:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Definitely you need to get one Martin! I was given one (ta Clockbloke) and it does get some serious use. Punching out the screw tubes and popping in another from a donor movement is a 2 minute job and so nice to know its done properly.
Also useful for re-assembling 6138/6139 minute recorder assemblies too....
Thanks for the encouragement. I'll keep a look out but they ain't cheap!

Martin
 

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Hi Martin - Great post!
My 6105 had similar wear on the barrel edge, caused by contact with the auto-winding weight due to a worn bearing in the auto-winding mechanism. Three 6106 movements I have all have the same problem. Maybe this is what has caused the wear in yours?
You are probably right. There is some reciprocal wear on the underside of the old train wheel bridge which either suggests that the ill-fitted bridge was snagging on the barrel or that the scored barrel was snagging on the train wheel bridge. The autowinder bearing seems sound enough but I'll keep an eye on things as I run the movement in.

By the way, I took this one off the wrist 48 hours ago and it finally stopped an hour and a half ago. 46.5 hours power reserve isn't bad at all for such an old timer!

Martin
 

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There is some reciprocal wear on the underside of the old train wheel bridge which either suggests that the ill-fitted bridge was snagging on the barrel or that the scored barrel was snagging on the train wheel bridge.
This is typically what happens when the barrel itself is worn (the holes in the barrel drum and cover which the barrel arbor turns within), and/or the holes in the bridge and mainplate that hold the arbor in place are worn. There is gradually enough play created there that allows barrel tilt to the point of dragging on the plate and bridge. I can see where the ratchet wheel edge has been digging through the upper side of the bridge as well. This can be avoided to a large extent by periodic, correct maintenance so that old, contaminated lubrication (or lack of lubrication at all) isn't allowing the metal to wear faster than it should.
 
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