Once again I find myself swooning over a watch that for me, just checks all the boxes. This Tudor Prince Oysterdate does just that. It’s the perfect size at 34mm, it’s understated, funky yet classy and has historical and horological significance.
Tudor was first created by Rolex in the 50’s to offer a more working class option for people wanting the brand recognition and style of Rolex but not wanting to fork over too much cash. The cases and bracelets on Rolex and Tudor watches are almost interchangeable as well as the quality of the dials and hands. The big difference is the movements, which on Rolexes, starting from that time, were made in-house, whereas the Tudor watches used ETA and sometimes AS movements. These are great movements that have stood the test of time but the quality is a little more industrial and a little less elegant.
The service went well and it was apparent by how dry the movement was, that it had been quite a while since it had seen another watchmakers touch. The movement is an ETA 2784 which is the older cousin to the famous ETA 2824. It is also a high beat movement ticking away at 28,800 bpms. The little differences are in the setting mechanism and the calendar works which have noticeably been upgraded to a more “watchmaker friendly” set-up. The 2824 has fewer little springs to deal with that sometimes find their way into the abyss…
The bracelet is a beautiful folded linked Oyster dating from the late 1960’s. You can read about this interesting history of these bracelets in this nice article from Hodinkee.
I would’ve loved to have polished the case and bracelet up but I didn’t upon the request from the customer. This one definitely shows its age but I can understand wanting to keep those memories intact. When I was reassembling the bracelet, I realized that I hadn’t recorded the exact size that the bracelet was set. This was an easy problem to solve as the worn out parts of the bracelet were exposed leaving the untouched parts underneath the clasp. This made it easy to determine the original sizing.
Now where to begin with this one? As a watchmaker, there are times when I feel this little tingle of joy when a rare and valuable watch comes across my desk. I also feel grateful to the owners of these treasured objects for entrusting me to give their watches the care that is needed.
This puppy is a family heirloom and checked all the boxes for me. I dream of owning many watches, many that are way out of my budget, and this one is on the top of that pile. Oh the stories they could tell. If you want to learn more about this reference, check out this similar watch that was featured on A Collected Man
The watch was no longer winding and the crystal was quite scratched. I opened her up and discovered no evidence that the watch had ever been serviced. Watches of this vintage, usually have service marks scratched on the inside of the case-back. The markings rarely give any real information, sometimes a date, but usually it’s just a signature of sorts. There were no such markings, and the movement was almost brand new, except for the dried out lubricant and dirt that had collected over time. I was confident that once I popped in a new main-spring and serviced the movement, it would work great without the need for any serious repairs or adjustment. I was right, once I cleaned it up and put all the parts in place, It came alive like Encino-man. I cased her up, polished up the crystal, and that was that.
A highlight for me was the opportunity I had to make a custom leather strap for it. The owner wanted a fresh vibe and called on my leather crafting skills to add some vintage spirit. We decided the veg-tan with matching brown stitching would be the right fit. I think it turned out pretty nice. Over time, this strap will get that sweet sweet patina.
Sometimes, when I have to give back such a great watch, this song goes through my head.
Yes, I’ll admit that when I started in watchmaking I was all like “If it ain’t swiss it ain’t nothing!” I am so glad that I’ve come around and seen the huge contribution to watchmaking that Seiko has given. As well as the very cool style offerings and customization that really puts their customers first, instead of some arbitrary ideal.
This has been a really great couple of weeks for me on the bench because I’ve had the pleasure of servicing some classic and beautiful chronographs. Last week was this beauty, and this week was the infamous Omega 321!
What’s not to love about a good ole vintage alarm watch? In my opinion, this type of complication in a mechanical watch is one of the coolest there is. It’s also one of the most useful. I know how much I use the alarm on my cellphone but this alarm is a lot more fun. I enjoy interacting with my watches and this is why I like chronograph watches too. It not just a thing that we sit back and watch work, but it’s something we can program and engage with.
When it comes to servicing quartz movements, the most likely and cheapest route taken is to replace the movement. However, sometimes the parts for watches and movements are so rare and tough to find, that servicing is the only option. As was the case for this gorgeous Seiko Grand Quartz from the mid-seventies, the Seiko 4843A movement was not readily available and the need was there to take it apart and service.
I love to fix watches, especially for the people I love. This watch came to me for a restoration from my brother in law looking to gift it to his wife (my sister in law). He found this beauty while looking for a “Victoria” labeled vintage watch.
These watches always make me a little giddy. Gosh, I could never afford one, but being a watchmaker allows me the opportunity to play with these watches in a more intimate way then most of their owners do.
This guy came across my bench with a mangled hairspring. I also found the impulse jewel to be broken off and missing. So I replaced the spring and fit a new jewel. Fitting the jewel was fun as I needed to shellac the jewel on the impulse plate. Always fun to use my staking set as well. Watching these old guys come back to life is very rewarding. The stories they could tell.