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Discussion Starter #1
I hope everyone is doing OK in your areas during this pandemic. It hasn't hit my specific area hard, yet (Wilmington, NC). I consider myself lucky to have recently retired - I am getting my pension and don't really have to leave the house. Members of my family are a bit more "modern" and draw income from several less conventional sources like Etsy and Air B and B, and they're really feeling it!

Anyway, I was looking for a project watch to work on during "quarantine". I watched the old WW2 movie, Destination Tokyo, the other night and there was at least three different cool old watches featured in the movie. If you like old movies, I recommend this one. During the movie, a submarine sneaks into Tokyo bay and sends a party of sailors ashore to gather intel for an upcoming attack (the Doolittle Raid, as it turns out). They don't have modern communications, of course, so they communicate with a signal lamp and have to coordinate their movement with their watches (the sub will be on station for a pick up every night at 0330 until the shore party is able to make it out). In one sequence they show three watches - I think one of them is a Pierce Chronograph...it's definitely something similar. Another is an Aerotel Chronograph. You can't make out Cary Grant's watch because the crystal is damaged or has moisture inside it!

So, I got the idea to do a World War 2 watch. I found an inexpensive candidate on Ebay. I know nothing about it. I can only find limited information about the apparent manufacturer. It seems to have some really cool history. I got it in the mail today. WOW! is it SMALL compared to a Seiko diver.

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The case is 30mm without the crown. It is about 37mm lug to lug. The lug width is 16mm. It meets the design requirements of a lot of WW2 watches - luminous hands and numbers, "railroad track" minutes markers, waterproof (by contemporary standards), shockproof (it has a form of shock protection in the balance jewels), and accurate in order to coordinate those submarine RVs at zero dark thirty (it has an adjustable, 17 jewel, swiss movement).

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It has a cool caseback, I think! Look how that spring bar is barely held in place by the lug wearing away into the spring bar hole.... So, it has a base metal case and a stainless steel back. I understand that stainless steel was in short supply during the war so many of the WW2 watches used something other than stainless for the cases. The whole "crown side" of the case seems to be worn away - about a millimeter of material appears to have been worn off.... Compare the lug thickness...

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I open it up and... nice. I think the movement is beautiful. Looks like everything is there - I figure if the movement ring is in place, the rest of it probably is, too....

Does anyone know anything about the Zedon Watch Company?

What do you call that style of shock protected jewel on the balance staff? I guess it is not technically an incabloc?

There are some interesting inscriptions inside the caseback. There appear to be two dates. One looks like it reads "5 10 35" and the other appears to be "5 26 48". Beside the dates is what appears to be a name? or signature? I can't make it out with my magnification. I'm guessing that if I am reading the dates correctly, they might be dates of military service of the owner. The year on the first date is very clearly "35". This would be too early for any marking related to the watch company or service. It would be too late for a birth year of someone in the military during WW2. Of course, they might not be dates at all and one of you might recognize them as some other kind of marking related to the watch itself...?

I love that old spring bar. I looks like a WW2 spring bar to me....

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The dial looks cool. All the printing is super crisp - better than it looks in this picture. It is only 24mm across! So is the movement ring. The crystal is 25mm across and about 3.5mm high. The crystal is plastic and simply pressed in to the case - no special retaining ring or anything.... The seconds hand is shiny under the red paint and I wonder if it was originally red or if the owner painted it red at some point?.... The tips of the seconds hand and the minutes hand curve to follow the profile of the dial. The crown tube is perfect. I don't really see any sign of a gasket in the crown or in the caseback - I guess "waterproof" was a bit hopeful...

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So, it's a metal - copper or brass - dial. Dial feet are intact, no damage. Uncovered some more markings under the dial.

If anyone knows what these markings mean, I'd love to hear about them.

I'm going to disassemble and service the movement. It runs for short periods of time and then stops. When it runs, it runs VERY fast. I covers what should be a 5 second span in about 3.5 - 4 seconds. What would make a watch like this run so fast?

I'm going to replace the crystal. If anyone can recommend a source for a replacement crystal like this, please let me know.

I'm not sure, yet, about the case. It's pretty damaged. I might send it out to get the lugs repaired so that they will hold a spring bar reliably and then get it coated or replated. Maybe a black or silver PVD or DLC coating?...

I don't want to touch the dial, but I'll probably relume the hands to match the dial.....

Please let me know if you have any information about this watch.....Thanks!
 

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Careful with the dial; if it's WWII vintage, it's probably radium lume.

Cool looking watch, should be a fun project.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the warning about the lume! I assume the lume on the hands might be the same. I'll treat it as if it is when I'm working with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, I am temporarily finished with this one. It still has some issues but the issues exceed my ability right now. I really enjoyed tearing this one down and reassembling it - mainly for a learning exercise. It is also my first experience getting inside a non-Seiko so that was interesting....

Got started with the dial side....

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I like how this movement has end stones for several of the wheels...

Got to the other side and removed the balance...
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Then the train bridge... It doesn't show in these pictures, but most of these screws are a beautiful blued metal....like blued watch hands.... End stone on the escape pinion...

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Removed the click and click spring... This is the first movement I've worked on with these tiny wire-like springs. Wasn't bad but made me nervous of "pings"...

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Center wheel bridge...

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Another bridge....I also did the mainspring for the first time on this movement. I found it rather easy as long as I followed all of the good advice from videos on the internet.... Also, this spring looked very different than Seiko springs I've seen pictures of. It is thicker from top to bottom and appears to be shorter from end to end, so maybe it is a lot easier to rewind back into the barrel...

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Getting into the keyless works...

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I found the design of the setting lever and screw to be very difficult to work with.... Having the screw pass through the plate and then into the setting lever on the other side is horrible on reassembly. I'm sure that once one has done a few it is not that bad, but this combination also is responsible for retaining or releasing the crown/stem and that is one of the issues that this watch has... the crown/stem will fall out. I believe that it is due to these two parts not working well together and probably because of the screw getting worn out over the years of removing and replacing it.... The Seiko systems that I've seen where a simple push on a retaining spring releases the crown/stem is a lot better.

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So, I cleaned it and reassembled it. It runs - sort of. I'm pretty sure it has an issue with the balance staff pivots or stones. It will either run very well, OR run with very small amplitude and very fast (almost double time - like it's twitching rather than running properly), OR will stop entirely. It will cycle between these modes when the movement is jarred slightly - dropped onto the workbench from about 1/2 inch while in the movement holder. This makes me think that the balance staff pivots have a sweet spot where they will work well but a slight bump will cause them to move onto a broken jewel or make improper contact due to a worn pivot. Anyway, for now I'll replace the crystal to keep it contained and I'll set it aside until I want to get into replacing components of the balance works...... So here it is, temporarily finished. (Now to find another project...)

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Wow... I hope you don't mind me saying.. but who'd have thought such a basic and plain watch would have such a gorgeous movement. I guess watchmaking was more of an art than a robotic assembly line back in those days.
Thank for sharing
 

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You rarely see Zedon watches over here, I guess the majority were sold in the US?

The movement is a A.Schild a well known Swiss ebauche maker and looking at it it definitely looks 1940's although I doubt military issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
"Wow... I hope you don't mind me saying.. " Not at all. I agree with you. I don't know much about the watches of this period but apparently there are a lot of similar, hand wound movements that vary slightly in the number of jewels and the attention to detail on the bridges - many of them used in these utilitarian "military" watches. Not that they were official military issue, but they were all built to certain specs requested by the military. The base metal case is really the main thing that lets this one down....I wish it was all stainless. I've read that you will find more stainless cases in the 50's after the war when there was not a premium placed on stainless steel in manufacturing....

Neil - I learned that it is, as you say, an A.Schild movement - an 1194 model. Does that mean that A. Schild made the movement for Zedon and/or Zedon added their name to the bridge detail? Or does Zedon (or Elgin, or whoever) make the movement themselves according to the A.Schild design?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
7s26b - Thanks for that diagram of the shockresist setting. I couldn't figure out how to remove the endstone just from looking at it. The diagram you sent makes it pretty clear that you cannot remove it from the "top" but you would have to push out the entire assembly to clean and service it, then press it back in.
 

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"Wow... I hope you don't mind me saying.. " Not at all. I agree with you. I don't know much about the watches of this period but apparently there are a lot of similar, hand wound movements that vary slightly in the number of jewels and the attention to detail on the bridges - many of them used in these utilitarian "military" watches. Not that they were official military issue, but they were all built to certain specs requested by the military. The base metal case is really the main thing that lets this one down....I wish it was all stainless. I've read that you will find more stainless cases in the 50's after the war when there was not a premium placed on stainless steel in manufacturing....

Neil - I learned that it is, as you say, an A.Schild movement - an 1194 model. Does that mean that A. Schild made the movement for Zedon and/or Zedon added their name to the bridge detail? Or does Zedon (or Elgin, or whoever) make the movement themselves according to the A.Schild design?
A.Schild (AS) made a huge number of movements for many Swiss watches.

They make the movements for the client and put the clients name on them during manufacture.

A lot of these so called "names" would probably not make any parts of their own watches and simply order ready made watches from a catalogue and if they bought enough they could have their own name on the dial/movement.

Alternatively they could order movements/cases and assemble them themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
very interesting... Thanks!

I guess that's why having "an in-house movement" is such a big deal - if the movement is well made.
 
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