About

This blog documents the development of my interest in wristwatches and, in particular, watchmaking since 2008.  It is common for middle-aged men to develop obsessions and this has become mine.  My obsession though has nothing much to do with watch collecting, although I suppose this is an inevitable by-product of my particular flavour of WISdom* but is driven by the thrill of reviving something complex and potentially beautiful, and then using it.  It is fair to say that the majority of the projects described here concern Japanese watches but you will see the odd Swiss interloper as well as mention of flirtations with newer watches, most of which are inspired by the classic vintage aesthetic.

*WIS = Watch Idiot Savant

107 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi!

    Great blog and great work you do….

  2. alan parkes said:

    Hi

    I’m a novice to the compulsive disorder thats watch collecting, do you sell any of your creations.

    Regards

    Alan

  3. Hey Martin,
    I just happened across your blog today and its awesome! I just today received my grandfathers 6105-8009 seiko. I had some questions about restoration costs and if you could recommend anyone in particular to maybe find a new bezel?

    regards,

    Justin

    • Hi Justin,
      Thanks for the nice comments about the blog. With regard to the bezel on your grandfather’s watch, the best course of action depends very much on whether the whole bezel (the turning ring) is still present and intact and if it is, what condition the insert is in. If it is present and looks something like the 6105-8000 described in the blog, then you might best be advised to embrace its condition and enjoy the history on display! If the insert is really poor then sourcing replacements is not so easy: the diameter of the insert is slightly smaller than the size used in most large Seiko divers after 1970 (including the second generation 6105) and consequently like-for-like replacements simply do not exist. Probably the best option might be to turn down an insert from a Seiko SKX007 and possibly also enlarge the pip hole to accommodate the lume pip from the old insert. If the whole bezel is missing altogether, then you may have a wait on your hands. Complete bezels are very thin on the ground I’m afraid and when you do find them, can be eye-wateringly expensive. I’ve seen three on Ebay in the past year, ranging from about £150 upwards. Currently, there is one for sale with a buy-it-now price of US$599 from a seller in Thailand but it’s been listed for months and if you spent that much, you’d be very unlikely ever to recoup the investment. Best of luck!
      Best regards
      Martin

  4. Martin, Love the blogQ

  5. Hi Martin,
    You did a great job on your blog….I just ran across it for the first time.
    I regularly do Rolex restorations…but for whatever reason I’ve recieved many 6138’s to restore recently. Keep up the good work! Take care, Steven

    • Hi Steven,
      Many thanks for the nice comments. I’ve just finished working on an ancient Rolex Tudor 59 project and so there will be a little bit of Rolex content too appearing here soon!
      Martin

  6. Hi Martin
    I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and have become hooked on the Seiko restoration thing and was inspired by your experience with the ladies 2205.
    So my first project is a Seiko 2205 lady diver (destined for my missus) which needs movement service / repair which I will leave to the experts but I want to replace the dial and bezel insert.
    Can I find parts…No.
    The current face looks like an after market 4205 so not looking to restore it but can you suggest somewhere I could try and secure a dial and hands for a 2205 even if requires re-luming etc.
    Maybe there are other dials that are same size etc you could recommend?
    Your help would very much appreciated.
    Keep up the good work with the blog.
    Mark.

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m afraid I’m not going to be of much help. I would very much doubt you’ll find a service replacement dial from a watch material house but you never know. Sometimes these parts just surface from nowhere! Your best bet though is probably to buy a second watch to farm for parts, and hope it comes with a decent dial. The good news is that decent 2205 divers do appear on Ebay fairly regularly so be patient and keep your eyes peeled!
      Good luck
      Martin

  7. Hi Martin, I was pleasantly surprised to recieve your email on Mark.

    I did peak into the Tudor restoration like you suggested. It turned out quite nice! I just finished a fun Record restoration a few weeks ago for a customer. You can see it at http://www.thewatchmaker.com.cy. The pictures and presentation doesn’t come close to your site though.

    I would love to learn how to set up a blog similar to yours for Rolex restorations someday. Could you give me some tips….as I am a little retarded when it comes to blogging. Kind regards, Steven Burton

  8. Great blog and pictures 😀 I’ve only just took my first wobbly steps in customisation, having bought a plethora of crummy hong-kong tools, and changed the hands on my stupidly overpriced ebay “win” of a 6309-7290. Now that I’m happy with the hands, the nasty aftermarket dial is bugging me. Do you know a good source apart from Dagaz / Yobokies?

    Cheers, James

    • Yobokies or the 10watches.com are probably your only option for unbranded third party 6309-fit dials. If you want Seiko branding then there are plenty of original dials you could use from 6xxx series Seikos but if you want to retain the dial tab which locks to the chapter ring, you need to stick with 6309 or 7548 dials. I’d steer clear of reproduction (i.e. fake) Seiko dials though. Generally poor to very poor quality and objectionable for other reasons, not least the potential to fool the unsuspecting purchaser in the future.

  9. Where do you get all those great yellow hand sets for those Seiko mods?

  10. Hi Martin,

    I just discovered your blog and really like it. Your projects are interesting and you have a nice eye for style. I wondered if you would consider doing some posts on how you learned your skills and what your workshop is like? It would be as interesting as the projects.

    Regards,

    • Hi Matthew,
      Many thanks for the nice comments about the blog. As far as the learning process is concerned, that is charted reasonably well I think in the progression of the posts in the blog. The very first post, although reproduced here in 2012, actually dates from 2008 when I knew pretty much nothing and those that follow do so more or less in chronological order, with most of those appearing last year describing projects undertaken last year. As to the workshop, there isn’t one! I started out working at the end of the dining room table, laying out and packing up each time but I quickly became fed up with that approach and eventually had a bespoke watchmakers bench/desk made by a joiner in York: that is now part of a permanent, dedicated workspace. I still have to improvise a bit though with the messier aspects such as cleaning and pressure testing.

  11. Mark Frischkorn said:

    Hi Martin,
    I am very impressed with the detail of your workmanship. I have a Seiko Divers Watch, 6105-8000, which I bought with my first pay packet in 1969. It has been in a drawer for the last 15 years, and I decided that I should resurrect it. I found a local watchmaker who is servicing it (it constantly stops, even when well wound), but we cannot locate a new gasket/seal for the crown. This is required for it to be pressure tested. Do you know where I might locate one of these? If needed, I will purchase a new crown and seal. I am in Australia.

    • Hi Mark,
      The crowns on both editions of the 6105 as well as the earlier 62mas all feature enclosed or captured gaskets which sit behind a metal washer pressed into the crown. Consequently, removing and refitting a gasket requires the washer to be prized out and then pressed back into place again once the replacement gasket has been fitted. Such a design suggests that the original intention at service would have been for the crown to be replaced in its entirity rather than to attempt to replace just the gasket. On those occasions where I’ve wanted to retain water resistance in my 6105’s I’ve managed to find new old stock replacement crowns but have had experience with a 6105-8110 crown of having the gasket replaced by a watchmaker, a process which left the crown looking somewhat the worse for the experience:

      6105 crown

      An alternative approach might be to have the case converted to a triplock arrangement if waterproofing the watch is important to you. There are specialists who will perform this conversion should you want to consider it as an option.

  12. Martin,

    First, great blog. I read it with joy.
    Secondly, do you take on restoration work? I’ve got a 7C43 in dire need of some TLC.

    • Hi Rich,
      Many thanks for the nice comments about blog. I’m afraid just do this for my own amusement and only rarely do the odd bit of work for others. There are plenty of dabblers who will take on projects who you can generally find on watch fora and of course some excellent professional watchmakers. If you are in the UK, I would recommend Richard Askham in the latter category.

  13. Good work. I admire your attention to detail and the loving care you put into your work.

    Question: I have a Seiko diver (6309-7040?1980 vintage?) that I wish you restore. It belonged to a friend of my who passed away. Local watch dealers were unable to fix it however I don’t think they wanted to deal with an old timepiece. I hesitate to send it to someone unknown for fear of losing it. It has great sentimental value. Do you have a recommendation for a trusted source for restoration?

    Regards.

    Buck

    • Hi Buck,
      I see you are in the USA and there are a number of watchmakers there who specialist in vintage Seiko. The two with whom I’ve had direct experience are Randall Benson and International Watch Works (IWW) but at the time I dealt with them, a few years back now, they had quite long lead times. The other place I know of which seems to have a good reputation in the US is Motorcitywatchworks – they seem to specialise in modified watches but also do reluming and movement servicing. I also know of at least one excellent professional watchmaker in the UK who could service the watch to a very high standard (see my reply to Richu75 above) and there are individuals on various watch forums who also do restoration work (Cannop for example on the Seiko Citizen Watch Forum and tz-uk). I hope that helps.
      Martin

  14. Jordan Lenssen said:

    Hi Martin. Beautiful work I must say. You would have a quick customer out of me with the amazing work you do. I recently purchased a 6139-6005 Pogue that is in good condition, but in need of service, a bit of a makeover and a neat bracelet. If you’re still not taking work, do you know of any names in the Toronto, Canada area that could take care of the repair?

    Thanks for the site, the tips and the great photos!

    • Hi Jordan,
      I have no knowledge of specialists in Canada but have had interactions with three Seiko specialists in the US in the past all of whom I mentioned in my reply to Buck above. I have no idea whether any/all of them would take on a 6139 but I do know that Randall Benson has certainly worked on them in the past. As for me, I am just too busy with my day job to contemplate taking on work for others and in any case, that is not what this is about for me. Many thanks for your kind words though.

  15. David Haas said:

    Trying to start in the hobby restoration of Seiko’s. What model do you recommend starting with? Also, how or where do you find them?

    Thank you.
    David Haas

    • Ebay is the obvious place to start. Look for scruffy but honest-looking examples of humdrum models sold by private sellers who do not have hoards of similar looking stuff for sale. Look for watches which you like, at least a bit, because if all goes well, you might then enjoy wearing and using it.

      As for models, the usual sound advice is to start simple and take it from there so a watch with as few complications as possible, such as a manual wind 66 is an option. If you want an auto then a 6601 and an auto with a date, 6602. There are plenty of cheap as chips 6619’s about too. I like working on 6119’s and 6106’s although you might want to steer clear of the higher jewel count models with their fiddly diafix settings. The 6309’s are a very nice, simple and well-designed movement, made in huge quantities and fitted to tons of standard models – so easy to find quite cheaply. Moving to more modern stuff, the 7S26 is a simple movement but can be a bit tricky to work on the calendar side because of at least one stupidly tiny screw.

      Oh, there is one seller in particular based in the Philippines who sells job lots of junk movements which you can either use to practice on or as a source of parts as you gain confidence. I think his handle is something like thewatchcollector. The watches described here were sourced from him.

      Good luck!

  16. Bernard said:

    Enjoyed your blog and found it very useful as I’ve just started my journey into Seiko. What are those blue round parts holders called/where do you get them from please?

  17. Thanks Bernard. You can find the dust cover parts trays from most watch materials houses. In the UK, that means Cousins.

  18. Bernard said:

    Martin, Thank you for your help with this. It is a pity that Cousins don’t provide a enquiries type service but I gather they were overwhelmed with contact of this nature in the past. Bernard

  19. great blog – always waiting for new email-notifications of new posts – keep up the great work!

  20. Hi Martin,

    This is an incredible website. As an amateur fettler myself, your photographs and tutorials have been absolutely invaluable.

    I just finished restoring an old Bell-matic 4006-6027 and am happy to report everything works fine. One thing is missing, however– a bezel. Do you have any idea where I might be able to purchase one?

    Thanks, and keep up the good work,

    Woody

    • Hi Woody,
      I have a 4006-6027myself and managed to get a new (blue) bezel from Jules Borel. I am not sure whether they still have stock but worth a try. If you could live with a bezel with a black insert then there is an Ebay seller in the UK who has stock (schillachi61).

      Thanks for the positive feedback!
      Martin

  21. Hi Martin,

    I just came accross your webpage and must say it is incredible the work and craftsmanship that you are doing and showing as well! I wish i had the skills to perform such work as a watch lover. Talking about watches, i just acquired my first Seiko Pogue and i must say although i gambled (paid super cheap!) i love it! However i love it and would like to restore her and have her running 100% with all fuctions! The crown she is using isn’t the original, however the inner bezel is rotating (not smoothly) but the cronograph is with issues…the reset buttom is not working properly.
    Do you know anyone or would you be interested in work with this watch? If you provide me with an e-mail or so i can forward you some pictures so you can see and decide about it.

    Thanks a lot and keep up the awesome work!

    Kindest regards,
    Pedro

    • Hi Pedro,
      Thanks for the nice comments and congrats on your Pogue. As far as recommendations for someone to work on your watch, that would depend on your location but I made a couple of suggestions in my reply to Buck above. It really depends what you want though and with the chronic scarcity of replacement parts, it is generally much more straightforward to perform a simple service on an otherwise correctly functioning watch than repair the common faults with these movements which require part replacement (such as the centre chronograph wheel). In the UK, I would suggest either Richard Askham, an excellent professional watchmaker but who may no longer be accepting work on 6139’s or Cannop, an amateur watchsmith who posts on tz-uk and the Seiko forum.

      Good luck!

      Martin

  22. HI Martin – love the blog – I’m rather passionate about the 6138/6139 series, in particular those with serials beginning 57 (my birth year/month) and currently have 3 different 613x’s, a 6138-0030, 6139-8020 & 6138-0011 plus a few other seikos, MuDus and Ricohs.

    I had a problem with my favourite 8-0030 recently and found the blog to be a super resource in allowing me to fix the issue, so I had to thank you for your help, even if you didn’t necessarily intend the blog to be a resource.

    Keep up the fascinating work. I’m looking out for a defunct 613x watch to “play” with – I don’t want to totally de construct one of my collection but its something I feel I need to do , if only for my own sanity.

    Looking forward to more posts!

    Mark

  23. Hi Martin, great blog, thanks.

    I’m putting back together my 1973 6139-6012 and struggling to get hold of a second hand with the correct profile tube for 6139B movement. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

    Regards

    Mike

    • Original unused chronograph seconds hands are generally thin on the ground and can be quite difficult to source. I have obtained the odd one over the years from a watchmaker in Australia (who I think may be out of stock now) and others from a well-known UK-based seller on Ebay who has huge stocks of old stock Seiko parts. My advice is just to keep your eyes peeled. They do pop up from time to time but I am not aware of anywhere that has a ready supply I am afraid. It is always worth doing searches by part number too. Sometimes Google throws up sources, previously unknown when you do this.

  24. I have a 6309 729a that has been modified with 6105 hands and face but the lume is poor. I was wondering if you would re-lume it and what the cost would be. Failing that is there an idiotproof guide to opening and reluming one. also is it possible to replace the bezel gasket without a press to re-assemble

    • I’m afraid I don’t take on work for other folk – that is not my motivation at all. I would say though that it is likely that the dial in your watch is aftermarket – some might say fake – and consequently the quality of the dial would never justify the expense of having it relumed professionally. As far as do it yourself, that is not something to be rushed and certainly not without proper tools and plenty of practice. No short cuts really. Just practice, practice, practice!

  25. Hi Martin – just a quick note to say how much I enjoy your blog. I’ve been fidgeting with watches for about a year now and find your articles to be very entertaining as well as informative. My motivation is simply to enjoy myself and to learn new skills, which seems to be the theme of your articles. Well done and please keep going! Cheers Matt

  26. Hello Martin,
    terrific blog, I’M more than speechless on the qualityof work you do.
    I’m about to repair my 6139-6002 pepsi on which the crown has broken off the stem.
    I’d very much appreciate it, if you could tell me the spare part #’s at cousins of the one you used in your restoration, as I cannot find it 😦
    Have a good one!

    • The Jules Borel site suggests the crown to be 50M04NS1. Cousins report this as obsolete but there is a UK seller on Ebay (schillachi61) who has a few at £14.99. Good luck!

      • Thanks Martin for showing me the alternative and the part#. Thing is, I need the stem as well and the guy is asking 60 quid for the set. I’ll lookout for a donor first …

  27. Greetings from York!

    Thank you for your marvellous blog.

    I’ve just taken apart a cheap old Russian watch that was failing to work, cleaned it, oiled it, broke a foot off the dial, cracked the crystal and it still doesn’t work. And the hands have fallen off. Looks like another go is in order! Fascinating hobby that demands much practice, so I won’t be encroaching on your Seikos for many a year I imagine, but I shall look at your work as an inspiration!

    What method do you use to clean up the cocks? I was using isopropyl alcohol and don’t get the shininess you achieve regularly.

    Thanks again.

    • I clean the movement parts in ammoniated watchmakers cleaning solution, followed by a thorough rinse in the watch rinsing solution. The former is fairly noxious and not to be use in an unventilated enclosed space!

  28. Martin,

    I’ve been learning more about watch repair and want to start a restore project and have a lot of interest in vintage Seiko’s. What do you think would be a good one to start with? I’m looking for something that is common enough to find at a good price and that has a good availability of parts.

    • I’d keep it as simple as possible to start with, something tp help you learn the basic layout and then build from there. Something like a manual wind 66 calibre or perhaps the automatic 6601. The latter in plentiful supply and cheap as chips as long as you don’t opt for rarities. Best of luck!

  29. Great site. Put a link to it at my forum watchlords in the Seiko section.

  30. Hi Martin,

    Fantastic site. Some of your work is great and your IWC creation really has me wanting to have a dabble. If possible could you provide some details etc. of the parts or the name of the company you used? If you could i would really appreciate it!

    Many thanks,
    Nick

    • The case and movement came from a seller called Getat in Hong Kong and the dial and hands from Roland Kemmner, who trades under the Ebay handle erkahund. I should add though that I built that watch nearly 5 years ago and so I’ve no idea whether any of the parts are still available. Good luck!

      • Many thanks Martin! I appreciate your response! I’m on with sourcing parts now, I’ll let you know how I get on!

  31. Great little blog. Posted a link to it on my forum.

  32. Mel Rodriguez said:

    Hello Martin,
    Love your site! Excellent work.

    Hope you can help?
    When reluming the pip on a 62MAS, do I need to clean out the old lume and reapply from from behind? I believe there’s a acrylic window of some sort there, correct?
    If so how do you get the old lume out without damaging the acrylic window?
    My watch guy suggested just dabbing some on from the front.

    Also, could a 1972 6105-8119 have come originally with a type I crystal?

    Keep up the great work, you’ve definitely inspired me.

    Brdgs,
    Mel

    • Hello Mel,
      I’m glad you like the site. The lume pip aperture on the 62MAS insert is dish shaped and does not extend through to the rear. So you have to scoop out the old lume from the front and then simply apply fresh lume. I just let a glob or two drip into the dished hole and let it settle. There would not have been any window on these inserts either, which is why the aged lume is often so discoloured. Seiko did not use acrylic windows on the 150m divers until the first generation 6105.

      To answer your crystal question, I believe that the type 1 crystals were used pre-1972, which presumably includes both generations of the 6105, but Seiko may have quickly switched to the type 2 to make the crystal less vulnerable to damage. The type 3 became the default OEM and service replacement style post-1972 (this is all according to Jonathan Koch).

      Hope that helps
      Martin

  33. Hi Martin,

    Thanks for the tip!
    I also have a couple 6105’s, so I assume those need to be cleaned from the behind the acrylic window?
    Can you suggest a method for cleaning the lume out without damaging the window and leaving it clean?
    Also, if the acrylic window is missing, can I still successfully lume the pip?

    As to the crystal question, that’s welcome news since I recently had a May ’72 6105-8119 serviced and new type I crystal, from kleinvintagewatchparts, installed before reading your “Crystal gazing” post.

    Brgds,
    Mel

    • Yes, with the 6105 bezel, you remove the old lume from the rear but unless it is seriously discoloured, I’d leave it alone. As far as the lens is concerned, you just have to take extra care removing the lume as you get deeper, and not use anything likely to damage the lens. In practice though, the steady as she goes approach generally wins the day!

      Martin

  34. Thanks Martin,

    I have an original 6105 bezel insert with the acrylic window and lume completely missing, just an open whole.
    I’d like to use it on a recently refurbished 6105-8119, any suggestions on what to do about the missing acrylic window and reluming the pip?

    Keep up the awesome work!

    thanks,
    Mel

    • You could try a couple of approaches: it is possible to find replacement pips if you can find a trashed 6309 bezel with the pip still in place. I’ve had a few that way from junk watches sourced from Ebay. Alternatively, fill the hole from the top with a flat, non-sticky surface beneath to prevent the lume running out and let it settle. It should dry pretty much flat with a little bit of care.

      Martin

  35. Martin,

    I had 6309-729A pepsi insert which was quite a bit scratched up so not pretty cosmetically, but had a good acrylic window, used the square end a 1/16th inch drill bit which I slightly tapered and barely touched the front of the window and it popped out the back, lume and al,l intact.
    Put it in the 6105 insert from the back and just a small sliver of clear packing tape over the back of the lume to make sure it wouldn’t fall out and back in service.
    Lume still charges and glows satisfactorily.
    Perhaps a relume later. Good for now, its the watch’s original insert from 1972 in serviceable condition, very minor wear.
    thanks for the tip!
    I’ll be watching your awesome work and always going back and using your posts as reference!

    Brgds,
    Mel

  36. …btw, reading some of your 6105 posts, I like the 6105 insert pictured in the 05June2014 “What lies beneath”.
    Is this a repro or NOS insert?
    If it’s a repro can you direct me where I may find one?
    thx,
    Mel

    • That is a modified Seiko insert from an SKX007 fitted with an original acrylic pip window from, I think, a 6309 diver. There is no single source for the inserts other than to keep you eye out with some of the usual suspects (10watches, monster watch, watch forums, Ebay etc).
      Martin

  37. Hi,,
    Love the restoration work, and cant believe the level of detail. I have a sieko Bellmatic and am looking for it to be serviced and cleaned. Do you do take on this type of work or can you recommend someone. Any help would be great!
    Karl

    • Hi Karl,
      I am afraid I don’t work on other folk’s watches which leaves me free to make all sorts of mistakes! I am not sure where you live but if in the UK, then I would heartily recommend Richard Askham (thewatchspotblog.com) or Duncan Hewitt (Cannop on the Seiko and tz-uk forums).
      Martin

  38. Hi Martin,
    Have you ever tried using bleach on black grungy hands. I took a toothbrush dipped in bleach to a pair of grungy 6309-729A hands and the discoloration went away, I took the same brush to a pair of 6105 black grungy hands and it also went away, however I got a bit too aggressive scrubbing them and some of the lume came off. I think just a gentle pass or two would have done the job and not damaged the lume.
    Mel

  39. I try to steer clear of bleach because it can corrode the hands themselves. If the hands are really in that poor a state, then I’d much rather just remove the lume altogether, clean the hands and then relume.

  40. Is there anything you can do to mildly affected hands?
    I have a pair of 6105 hands showing slight signs of the black grunge just near the inboard ends of the loom closest to the center of the watch.
    Other than that they are pristine.

    • My view is you either accept a certain level of patina and live with it, or try to address what you might perceive to be cosmetic problems directly. The extent of that intervention is up to you but my experience is that half-way house measures can often make things worse!

  41. Le français à sapporo said:

    Amazing Blog ! I Love it. Martin you are a great narrator ! Really, the way you explain things tells a lot on your skills too ! I wonder how you get into it at first, something I am dreaming I would be able to do the same. How did you start ? Any prerequisite needed ?

    • I’m glad you like the blog. You can get some sense of how I started if you go back to the very earliest posts and then see how things developed since. The only prerequisites really are patience and the ability to learn from your mistakes!

  42. Sabin B. said:

    Hello,
    I read all your blog and that pushed my to get myself a Seiko 6319-6000. It deserves a service and some new parts to refresh the looks. Definitely a new glass, new hands and maybe something made to the dial. Can you help me with this, especially with the labor?
    Thank you,
    S.

    • I’m afraid I can’t offer any direct assistance – this is just my hobby – but happy to offer advice if you have specific questions.

  43. I came across your website when searching for some DIY tips on watch repairs, it’s a fantastic site and I love the brilliant restoration work you show.
    I recently found my late fathers old watch which I think was issued when he was in the army. It’s a Unitas from the 1940’s, I found some pics on the web that match it but no further info was shown. I’m hoping to wear it and have cleaned it up but I can’t get it to adjust, it winds and runs fine, can’t really afford to pay someone to repair it so I was hoping to fix it myself. I would be grateful for any tips on what too look for.

    • Hi Rob,
      The problem you may face is that the cost of equipping yourself with the tools you will need to do this yourself, as well as the cost of a few cheap watches to practice on first may well comfortably exceed the cost of getting a watchmaker to do it for you. If you are determined to have a crack at it yourself, then you really must buy a basic set of watchmaker’s tools AND practice first on something for which the inevitable mistakes can be taken on the chin!

  44. Hello Martin,

    Thanks very much for a fine site, so well written it would not matter if I was interested in watches or not as reading your words simply makes me (us all) “feel good about life”.

    I hail from London but now live in Japan by the sea about an hour South of Tokyo. This area, known as Shonan, is a kind of West Coast America meets Hawaii with most people connected with the ocean. Surfers, sailors, stand up paddlers, windsurfers, divers etc.

    I bought a 6306-7000 and a 6309-xxxx (slim case) simply because I wanted a reliable timepiece that could take the knocks and that I can wear all day, in and out of the ocean. They work for me and also for many of the old sea-salts here that have Seiko divers bought in the 60’s and 70’s that they bought as new.

    In the same way we like mechanical things I also prefer to read a physical book that I can hold in my hand as opposed to reading digital media. So… would you like to convert your blog to a “real” book one day? I’d be happy to take a look at setting that up for you if your were so inclined.

    I don’t think we’d make a profit out of the venture (that would not be my objective) but we could certainly spread the good word(s) and allow more readers to be able to nestle in the comfort blanket of your writings.

    What say you?

    Thanks again for all your good efforts… feel free to respond either here and/or directly to my personal e-mail address.

    Kind regards,

    Bill

    • Hi Bill,
      I am always grateful for appreciative readers and pleased that you think the blog may offer something for folk not necessarily interested in the subject matter. I too prefer reading real books and magazines but for me, the blog simply provides an outlet and because it is live and constantly evolving (your contribution an example of that) I think the medium is well-suited to its nature. In the context of the web, it is of course a microdot in terms of its impact but somehow, quite a lot of folk seem to have dipped into it from time to time.

      Incidentally, I too am from London originally and lived in Japan for 2 years in the early 1990’s in town called Okazaki, near Nagoya.

      Many thanks for your contribution and I hope your Seikos continue to serve you well.

      Martin

  45. Thanks, Martin. Come back to Nihon and visit sometime. Welcome to stay with us in Kamakura if you do. We have, as you might know, a lot of Seikos here for you to play with.

    Kind regards,

    Bill

  46. Hey Friend,
    Awesome work on this site. I was in the process of building the same SM300 and wanted to ask what size you ended up cutting the stem? I already messed one up and was hoping to get an exact measurement. Thanks again

    • I never measured the stem length but just cut it a little long and then took a bit off at a time until it worked correctly. Good luck with yours!

  47. Inspired by your blog I started hunting on the Swedish version of Ebay Tradera for 25 jewel automatic Swiss made watches going cheap in the hope that when I opened them they would be decent ETA movements.I was quite successful but when I got into “fettling” one of the 2063s I found that I was not cut out for it as I could barely see some of the parts and I was not willing to give up my coffee to see if my hands stopped shaking.

  48. Martin,

    Thanks for the terrific information. I have a project idea that might interest you. The only affordable mechanical moon phase watch I know if is the Seiko 5, movement no. 6347. They come up fairly regularly on ebay and can be had for a reasonable sum. The only problem is that they are phenomenally ugly. Someone with your skills could take a 6347 movement and put it into nice case, with a less garish dial. I’m not sure where you would find a dial with the moon phase cutout, but it would make for a great blog post.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Doug. The 6347 is basically a high jewel-count 6309 with the day wheel replaced by the moon phase disk. They are, as you say, gaudy, rather ugly watches and none of those that I’ve seen have particularly attractive dials either so I don’t really see much mileage in trying to base a project on this one. In any case, my baseline for any project appearing here is 1) I like the watch and 2) I can see myself wearing it in the future. But thanks for drawing my attention to the movement which has passed my by up ’till now.
      Martin

  49. Martin Smolka said:

    Dear Martin, love the blog! I read through most of your Seiko posts and learned a lot. Right now I have in front of me a beautiful 5722B in dire need of replacement crown and ratchet wheel (284640 and 285640 respectively) and sadly lack the network to find theses parts. One idea was to buy a Lord Marvel 5740B, but sadly it has different parts for both crown and ratchet wheel. Do you have any idea who to ask? Cheers, Martin

    • Hi Martin, I am very pleased to hear you like the blog. As to your 5722B, I can offer some hope on one front but less so on the other. Cousins in the UK currently have the crown wheel in stock at £2.48 + VAT but not the ratchet wheel. Unfortunately the latter is unique to the 3180/430/5722A/B series and so finding a replacement may take a little detective work. You could give Yahoo Japan a try but finding the part may require patience. Plenty of parts seem to pass through there and I suspect your chances will be better than relying on Ebay.

      The other option might be to try to substitute a ratchet wheel from something like the 5740 you suggested or one of the other manual wind movements based around the same base calibre. In fact, Cousins have the 285.570 in stock too (the 5740B ratchet wheel), also at £2.48 + VAT so may be worth giving it a try. The other possible source might by Jules Borel in the USA but they frequently list parts on their site that subsequently turn out not to be in stock. Worth a shot perhaps though.

      Best of luck!
      Martin

      • Martin Smolka said:

        Dear Martin, I really appreciate the quick reply! I’ll give it a try. Kind regards, Martin

  50. Martin, thank you for keeping up the blog. As someone who got interested in watches recently (ironically because of the Apple Watch) I love the detail and care that you put into taking photographs of each step and showing the before and after. It is truly great work that you’re putting into this and amazing (and very thankful) that you are sharing it with us!

    Question: When you go about cleaning out the parts of the watch, what do you actually do to clean them up? Do you need special tools, brushes, cleaner?

    Also, do you sell any of the watches that you have worked on? I am looking specifically for a small Seiko Quartz lady diver.

    Thank you again Martin. Keep up the amazing work!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    • Chris, I am pleased to hear you like the blog. To answer your questions, I clean parts in watchmakers cleaning solutions in both ultrasonic baths as well as a mechanical watchmaker’s cleaning machine. There are photos of the latter in, I think, the most recent 6139 post. To answer your second question, I do sell watches from time to time but usually through watch forums. I do not currently have any ladies watches for sale though.
      Martin

  51. Just bought a Seiko 7548-7000 and the seller on tz-uk said it was the one from your blog. It is a birth-year watch for me and hope to keep it for many years or even decades. Do you have any advice on keeping it going or looking after it etc.
    Any info would be fantastic, thanks Martin.

    • Hi David, that watch should not need any particular attention other than battery changes every couple of years. The only operational quirk of the 7548’s is that when you set the time, you need to go 5 minutes past the desired time, then wind back the minute hand to the correct time before pushing in the crown. The gaskets should last quite some time before needing to be replaced so I’d just enjoy the watch and attend to any issues if and when they arise. If you want to maintain a degree of water resistance, then the case back gasket may need replacing, or cleaning and regreasing when the battery is changed. That’s about it I think.

      Martin

  52. Hi Martin,

    Wonderful site, photos, and articles. I’ve enjoyed reading your many posts. Do you have any recommendations or a write up on case cleaning? I have a few vintage pieces I would like to clean and I believe your techniques would be invaluable to learn.

    Thanks for your time,
    Kevin

    • My approach to case cleaning is not especially sophisticated. I start with elbow grease and pegwood sticks to remove as much exterior gunk as possible; then if corrosion in evidence, pegwood again or whatever else works to scrape off rust without damaging the case.

      Watchmakers putty is good for removing grease, oils and swarf. Then toothbrushes and toothpaste and/or ultrasonic bath, depending on your preferences. Rinse and repeat as necessary!

      Before reassembling, putty again to remove stray bits of fluff, dust and lint.

      I’m glad you like the blog 🙂

  53. Martin, do you ever purchase watches? I have a 6138 UFO that I would love to sell and I know you would restore it beautifully and I would love to see it documented. It is in great physical shape but need some repairs because the crown seems to be stuck and it does not run.

    • Blake, my problem is that I buy too many watches. The 6138 UFO is an iconic Seiko but I’ve had one before and they are a little too large for my tastes now. I am sure I would enjoy working on it but I tend to focus my attentions on what strikes my fancy at a particular time and at the moment that seems to be on the high quality dressier stuff from the 1960’s and early ’70’s. Thanks for the offer though. Best of luck.
      Martin

  54. Somnolet Philippe said:

    dear Martin i found your work searching a special watch for me… i found your very nIce this

    https://adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/skx-pilot-a-thirty-minute-mod/pilot-lume/

    are you selling some of your creations some times…?

    best regards

    Philippe

    • Hi Philippe, I do sell my watches from time to time but probably not as frequently as I should! I don’t use the blog as a platform to sell though, preferring watch forum sales corners and occasionally Ebay (I think I’ve only used Ebay once to sell a watch). If you see something you like though, it can’t do any harm to ask.

      As your comment concerns an SKX modifed watch, I should say that they are all sold and I have no plans to do any more. You can see where my interests have taken me recently in the past year or two and that is mostly away from modding (although keep a lookout for the next post).
      All the best
      Martin

      • Somnolet Philippe said:

        thanks martin for answering, i’m really in love of this one you did in the past… I’m going right now looking at you’re new stuff..

        all the best

        (I’m french andd my english is not that fresh ..)

  55. Steve Moore said:

    Hi,

    I’m building a special in a 6309 7040 Case from Ramon (thewatchcollector on eBay) and hopefully if we can get it to fit, a Seiko 5106 33 Jewel Presmatic movement (another Ramon find) and a Kinetic see-through back. All to be PVD coated black by Martin Kalland (www.cerakotewatches.com) in Helsinki.

    The only thing is, the 5106 won’t allow me to use a 7040 dial, so I’ll have to use a Yobokies non-date dial, which is a shame.

    I started Googling to see if anyone has ever ‘hacked’ a 6309 (I have a number of bare movements from Ramon which could be donors) and came across references to you on SCWF.

    Have you built a hacking 6309? I seem to recall a comment from you about a centre wheel from a 6106? I happen to have a 6106 for parts. Would you consider building a hacking 6309?

    I hope you will t mind the contact.

    Regards,

    Steve Moore

    • Hi Steve,
      I’ve fitted hacking 6306 movements to 6309’s in the past but not modified a 6309 movement (at least I don’t think so). In principle though, it is straightforward operation, requiring a center wheel bridge from a 6106 and a suitable hacking lever. The problem is finding the latter as the lever from the 6106 is not compatible. In years past you could buy kits to make the conversion, initially supplied by a watchmaker in Australia and then one of the Philippines’ Ebay sellers. I do not know if these kits are still available though. And finally, as you may have discerned from reading around the site, I generally do not take on work for other folk. Sorry!

  56. Hi Martin,

    Love the work that you’ve done on all these watches, I’ve got a question for you – I recently purchased a King Seiko 4502 after reading about it on your blog and felt the need to scratch the itch myself.

    Unfortunately the watch I received is a bit of a fixer-upper with a badly scratched crystal, and it was only then I realised how difficult it is to source for a replacement. Would the 300v04GNS crystal meant for the 56-series King Seikos fit at all, or are we restricted to only the 300V05GN crystals which seem to be nigh impossible to source now? =S

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Hi Mark, yes, the crystal supply for these watches rather puts a fly in the ointment into the case for ownership but there are potential strategies to address the problem. The first, as you suggest, is to experiment with similar crystals but there are important differences in the way these two part crystals are designed which makes interchange between different models problematic.

      The alternative is to remove the old crystal from its frame and then to glue in a replacement. It is easy enough to remove the old crystal but I’ve not yet tackled the job of gluing in the replacement. I suspect a great deal of care will be required to avoid making a mess and providing a clean view of the ring below the crystal.

      The latter process will in due course feature here once I find some time to have a crack.

      Good luck!

      Martin

      • Cheers Martin, I’ll have a go at finding one on the ‘Bay before trying to McGyver it then! If it works out I’ll share the good news – unfortunately my forum trawling hasn’t thrown anything up yet but never say never!

        Mark

  57. Seikoloco said:

    Hello Martin ! What an AWESOME PLACE this is !!! How do I contact you? Cheers.

    • If you would like to correspond off-line then make a comment containing your email address, and I will then contact you. Your email will not appear publicly because I have to approve all comments before they are published. Glad you like the blog!

  58. Mark Griffiths said:

    Hello
    I have a a Seiko Diver 150 watch. Its a 7548-700A. I have owned it from new, purchasing it in 1979 or 80 ( I cant remember exactly). It has never been serviced. It stopped working in about 2002. I took it into a local jewlers for a battery and they opened it up, shoved in a battery, and subsequently lost a screw that holds the battery clamp. they then gave it back to me and said, they wont guarantee it. Its not worth mending. So, I promptly forgot about it and put it in a draw. Clearly, its become quite desireable, particularly as It has an orange face and an original stainless steel bracelet. Looking at the many restoration videos its better than most and externally the watch is in really good condition. Do you do repairs and servicing for other people? If so would you be prepared to take a look at it. and give me a quote for getting it going again. I wouldn’t be fussed about a complete restoration save for a bit of a clean.
    Im not expecting you to post this just a way of giving you my email address. Thanks mark griffiths

    • Hi Mark, your email address is not reported to me when you make a comment but the comments are not published until I approve them and so if you wanted to correspond by email, then feel free to put your address into a comment which I would be able to see but which I would then not publish to preserve your privacy.

      That being said, I do not take in work as this is just my hobby. I can recommend one or two watchmakers who should be able to help you out if you can tell me which part of the world you are from.

      Your issue with the battery retaining screw is a common one, resulting from the technician undoing the wrong screw (the one at the coil end) with the spring then launching the screw into oblivion. The screws themselves are not so easy to find these days, but not impossible.

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