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.
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!
This beauty came across my bench like a celebrity sighting of Scarlett Johansson. As a watchmaker and a watch lover, it’s hard not to get a little flush when in the presence of such a gorgeous watch. The owner of this watch has such an amazing collection of Gallets (among other awesome brands) that I affectionately call him “The Gallet Guy”.
I’ve always appreciated a good leather strap. It’s that extra part of wearing a watch where we can take some creative licence and express ourselves. So I decided to flex my creative muscles and start making leather straps myself. Leather craft! What a world!!
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.
Now this is a unique story in the world of watch repair. However, I feel that over the next few years, this type of anecdote may not be such a rare occurrence. The world of counterfeit and fake watches is a billion dollar a year industry, and it is positioning itself as a very real competitor for those established and historic watch brands. In some cases, such as this, the established brand shoots itself in the foot by producing a sub-quality product under an assumed standard and the counterfeiters have no choice but to out-perform.
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.