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automatico last won the day on July 19 2017

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  1. automatico

    Low Ball vs Higher Ball vintage submariner replicas...

    Staying dumb. I would have been better off if I had stayed dumb. The more I learned about watches the smarter I thought I was. Then I started screwing with replicas. Before long I could tell a 'Low Ball' replica from a 'Higher Ball' replica so I went after the Higher Ball models because they were...Better! Turns out, not so much. They just cost more. Then I got smarter and smarter and went chasing after Frankensteins. They are 'cool' for having a genuine movement etc but parts can get expen$ive in a hurry. I stuck a few together and the rest of them are still in parts years later. What have I learned? 1...A fresh swiss Eta is probably better than an NN/DG/Seagull, etaclone etc. 2...A Relax 1520/60/70 is no better than a fresh swiss Eta...in a replica. 3...If it looks good on the outside...it can be 'ugly' on the inside.
  2. Let's call 'Low Ball' replicas the models we normally refer to as run of the mill '21 jewel' models. They may have a few flaws such as goofy crown guards, solid mid links, wrong hoods (bracelet end pieces), dimly painted lettering on dials etc and the movement may be held in place by a plastic spacer or maybe even crews/clamps. In order to be worth consideration they need to be oem construction at least...will accept oem spec crystals and bezels. The case back gasket can be in the back like genuine or in the case like later models or vintage SD, this really does not matter. There needs to be enough metal around the spring bar holes in the lugs to allow them to be drilled for genspec spring bars. Watches like this usually sell for around $175 to $200 from a TD. After a few light mods they usually end up costing around $300 or so. Next, let's call 'Higher Ball' replicas watches with a higher quality case and an etaclone, swiss ETA or other high quality movement. They usually have close to genspec cases and bracelets with hollow mid links along with screws and clamps holding the movement in place etc. The movement is usually an Asian etaclone 2824 or 2836 and they sell for around $250 to $350. Some may have swiss Etas but the movement may be a combo of swiss and clone parts or a used swiss eta that may or may not need service. After medium mods they usually end up costing between $400 and $600. Q...Why would I come up with this goof ball comparison? A...Because I have one of each and have worn them day in, day out for a while to see if there is much difference in their performance. The two examples compared: A 'cartel 5513' with a Seagull ST16 movement (c/o to give it a better chance of survival). It has a Clark crystal, 'spring wire' bezel assembly from a DW submariner, brass movement spacer with screws and clamps, the crown that came with it, lug holes drilled to 1.3mm, pretty good solid mid link bracelet with screws in the removable links, and WSO 990 hoods. A 'nos' '5514' from Paul at Abay from 12 or 14 years ago with the original (new at the time) Eta 2836 removed and a freshly c/o Eta 2846 installed. The HEV (oem spec more or less) was removed and a pressed in plug installed that looks the same on the outside. DW bezel assembly and Clark crystal with the original crown and tube that came with the watch. The lug holes were drilled out to somewhere around 1.5 or so with solid pressed in stainless steel bars installed with the ends contoured and polished so they are smooth with the lugs. It has a one piece nylon strap with a steel buckle and two steel strap keepers. I have worn them before and for this 'road test' I wore each one for a week every day to compare the performance between the Eta 2846 and ST16. The ST16 powered watch is about 35 seconds fast in a week (I am still wearing it). The Eta 2846 was about 1 minute fast in a week. Both were worn all day and usually parked at night. When they were parked it was with the case vertical and the '12' up. The Eta has more reserve when parked than the Seagull after a day or two of active wear...it will run for at least 30 hours and the Seagull will run for around 24 hours. This Seagull just does not have very long reserve even with the efficient 'magic lever' type winding system. I have the same movement in a DJ replica and it has much more reserve and also keeps very accurate time. When I had the ST16 from the '5513' apart I also cleaned the mainspring and barrel then put Mobius 8201 on the barrel wall, floor, and cap. The 8201 may be alllowing the MS bridle to slip on the barrel wall prematurely and this may account for the lower reserve. The ST16 movement in the DJ has not been c/o, only the balance jewels and anything else I could easily get to were oiled. Both have so-so dials with fair letters and dots...the letters are a bit dim compared to a Yuki etc dial but the matte black paint is good on both. The hands are average. What is the performance difference between a $200 '21 jewel' replica and a $350 mid level replica? Not much imho...as long as both movements have been c/o. I would go for the Eta movement because of ease of service and parts availability IF I had the $$ to spend and planned on swapping the supplied swiss Eta/etaclone out for a fresh swiss Eta when needed. The Eta in the '5514' may be able to run a little bit closer with rate adjustment but it is Ok with me as is. I doubt the ST16 will get much closer because it rounds out at about 5 seconds a day fast...pretty good. It may go haywire as time goes by but right now it is fine and dandy. So...if I was going to buy a 'beater' replica, I would probably just get a '21 jewel' model and see how it goes. Many '21 jewel' models have the same cases/dials /bracelets as the 'swiss' models anyway. You might have the lug holes bored and maybe reshape the CG for not much time and $$. Most will come with a NN or DG instead of the ST16...not much difference. Meanwhile you might be saving the $$ for a MBK/Yuki/Viet case with an Eta or 15xx Relax movement. But...when I compare either one of the watches above with my MBK '5512' with Relax 1570/Yuki dial...at a glance they all look the same. BIG difference in $$ for very little return. Back to square one...            
  3. automatico

    My favorite 7016

    Good looking watch. It's no wonder many watch buyers are afraid to buy a 'genuine' tudor today except from an AD or reliable, established dealer. Otoh the Average Joe is not nearly as suspicious about a tudor as a rolex when they see someone wearing one. I doubt you hear "Is that a 'real' tudor?" very often. Maybe because they are not familiar with tudor and figure there are no replicas. Saw this on a forum a day or two ago but do not know if they were referring to new models, vintage models, or tudor in general. From memory: Spent time with a rolex employee over the last couple days. They are receiving (replicas) for service that are so close the only difference is case and movement finish. I have owned three genuine tudor dive watches in the past...a used 'snowflake' model 94010 in 1998 (paid $225), used tudor acrylic crystal no date in 2001 (ref unknown, paid $300) both all original with rolex signed bracelets (folded? can not remember), and a tudor date lnib for $425 also in 2001 (reference number unknown). Traded away as usual...except the acrylic no date, I gave it away. Free!!
  4. "...when the watch is place on a flat service like table etc , the piece runs perfect time. However when I wear the watch, the time will stop after a while or even if it runs, the time will slow by over 10 minutes within an hour." It can be anything from a broken or damaged balance staff to dry balance jewels, dust, a speck on a train wheel etc. From what I have read about these movements they are mostly Ok but may need to be disassembled, cleaned, and oiled before they will run reliably. If you send it back to China you may never see it again...this has been my experience. Others have had better luck. Options: You can get a forum member who works on this movement to fix it or maybe get someone to fix it locally. If you try to have it repaired locally, many repair shops will not work on replicas and you may have to remove the movement from the watch along with the hands and dial...even then they may not work on it. Another problem is no parts are available. Some genuine parts will work but they are expensive. I am afraid there is not much good news because all options will cost $$. My explorer story: I have one of the 39mm explorers and it came with a 2836 etaclone that promptly went from running, to running and stopping, then to not running at all. The fix was a new swiss eta 2836. I also re-cemented all the markers to the dial on the back side to prevent them from falling off later (common replica problem). I did not get a watch with the rolexclone movement because they are hit or miss with no parts and with an etaclone you can have it repaired or swap it for a genuine swiss eta and be done with it. Many genuine eta parts will work in etaclone 28xx if needed but I chose to abandon the clone movement.
  5. automatico

    JMB '1016' project update...

    "Also, don't you mean the case is 28.3mm" Seems it would be kinda hard to stuff a 27.9mm dial in a 27.3mm hole!" Dial win-der! Like the win-der you look out of (aka dial opening). The dial sits beee-hind it. "You must have one of the early cases, they had a smaller dial seat." This case will work better than a genuine (27.5mm dial opening) DJ case or case with a larger dial opening because the smaller (27.3mm) dial opening in this case gives more mounting area for the dial. "If you were to place a precision mvt spacer and you want to stick the dial onto that, what would be the best..stickers of glue? Keeping in mind that you want it sitting secure but removable when needed." Stickers (dial dots etc) and easier to deal with but do not hold the dial firmly. Cement of some sort (epoxy, Gorilla glue etc) is better but can have so much holding power that removing the dial from the spacer may be difficult. I will have to use glue on this particular project next time around because dial dots did not work. Since the dial is a hair smaller than the OD of the spacer, the dial can still move around on the spacer when dial dots are used. On a project where the dial OD is very close to the ID of the dial seating area in the case and the dial can not move from side to side, dial dots should be Ok. I did not address the problems incurred when you r/r the movement and dial as a unit and the dial (cemented to the spacer) moves around or raises up...sometimes allowing the hands to rub on the dial and/or allowing the hour hand to come out of mesh and get out of correspondence. The truth is...these projects can be a real hassle sometimes. I have done a lot of them and they do not seem to be getting much easier. I also work on quartz character watch projects and they are a pleasure compared to these cussed things. Watch fixer Q&A: Q...What is the difference between a pro and an amateur watch fixer? A...The pro can fix his screw-ups.
  6. automatico

    JMB '1016' project update...

    "Personally I would not file the dial as it is so easy to damage " You are right because if it chips, the chip can be fairly large. I have seen this happen. I have enlarged dial center holes using sandpaper wrapped and cemented around a toothpick mounted in a battery powered Dremel tool. The center hole is sometimes too small for this. Besides that, it is slow going and dust gets all over the dial. The best solution is a close fitting movement spacer with the 'no foot' dial securely mounted to the spacer so nothing can move. I did not mention that when the dial slid off to one side on my '1016', there would be an small open space where the dial uncovered the dial window opposite the direction it moved. The aftmkt dial is 27.9mm. Just now measured a genuine 1016 dial and it is the same...27.9mm. The dial window opening in a JMB case is 27.3mm as stated above. Measured genuine 16200, 16233, and 16234 cases and the dial window openings are 27.5mm. A 16014 was also 27.5mm. Do not know what a genuine 1016 case dial window is. So...a genuine spec 27.9mm 1016 dial in a JMB '1016' case will have .6mm to play with (only .3mm all the way around the dial), and a genuine spec 162xx case will have .4mm to play with (.2mm all the way around) because of the larger 27.5mm dial window opening. Since the dial is smaller than ideal using any of these cases in a 'not perfectly precise' project, a precision movement spacer is a necessity (JMB stated this in a previous post iirc). No way around it.
  7. automatico

    JMB '1016' project update...

    "Super glue gel..." Thanks, I may go with gel. The cement needs to be just a little bit flexible so regular SG usually cracks and lets go. "great write up..." Thanks. If and when I finish it, I'll post an update.
  8. automatico

    JMB '1016' project update...

    I started this project about a year ago but never finished it so I took another run at it recently. Here is what was done and where it stands : Standard last edition JMB '1016' case. Probably the best affordable '1016' project case available. Swiss ETA 2824/2846 'combo' movement. Combo = 2824 main plates with 2846 wheel train and balance assembly. Why the combo movement? Because the case was made for a 2824 date movement and I wanted a lower beat rate (2824 = 28800 bph 2846 = 21600 bph...1016 was 18000 for early models and 19800 for later models). My 2846 are all day and date models and thicker (5.2mm) than a 2824 (4.7mm). The dial is an oem spec example that 'Stilty' got for me 6 or 8 years ago. Pretty good dial. Removed the dial feet for this project. Movement was c/o and assembled, ran fine. The movement spacer was a good fit in the case with just a little slack. The spacer is a good fit on the movement. The spacer is 26.05 ID x 29.1 OD x 2.35mm thick. The case/movement clamps were a good tight fit but pulling/pushing the crown will overcome their friction and move things around a little. Note: The dial mounts to the case spacer, not the movement. There is no ETA calendar spacer used and a dial washer was used to keep the hour wheel in mesh. The movement would mount too far toward the back of the case if a calendar spacer was used. I tried it. 'Dial dots' were used to stick the dial to the movement spacer...dial dots were a bad move it turned out. Drilled the case tube hole out to approximately 2.5mm and tapped it for a standard older type 6.0 ST (external spline) case tube (3.0mm x .35mm case threads). Why? So I could use a genuine old style 6.0mm crown. Movement runs fine and it all looked very good when assembled. The trouble... The oem spec dial just barely has any room for centering error in the case because the dial window is 27.3mm and the dial OD is 27.9mm leaving only .3mm purchase on the outside edge of the dial to the inside of the case with the movement and dial centered. What was the problem? Maybe .3mm sounds like enough (and in theory it is) but with the dial mounted to the movement spacer with dial dots, the movement and spacer can move just enough when pulling/pushing the crown in and out to allow the dial center hole to rub the hour wheel/hour hand tube and stall the movement. Why? Because the dial dots ('slide dots' Ha!) will allow the dial to slide on the case spacer What's the fix? Maybe make a precision movement spacer and cement the dial to the spacer with epoxy or Gorilla glue to hold it in place. Filing the dial center hole out a little bit might work too but it may also chip the dial paint. Do not want to take the chance. What's next? Nothing planned for now. May abandon the project and move on to something else, have not decided. If not a JMB case then what? Maybe a genuine 160xx case but they are getting expensive and many of them suffer from corrosion. Iirc a 2846 will work in them. A 160x 'slow set' case may also work but I have not tried one.
  9. automatico

    Rolex 6542 bezel

    Fine looking watch! In the past 25 years I have seen ONE original 6542. A Bluegrass fiddle player/watch trader friend bought it for a few hundred bucks 8 or 10 years ago from the original owner's family. Having seen only one 'original' in 25 years, I could live with a bezel insert that was a little bit out of spec, aluminum or 'Perspex' because no one other than a dyed in the wool 6542 collector/enthusiast would know the difference. Most watch guys have never even seen one up close. I vote for the Perspex. Back when there were a few 6542 around at affordable prices, no one was much interested in them. I remember another friend paying $1200 for a 5510 and we (local traders) thought he paid too much. Then he paid $2400 for a super nice 1655. Same response...we all thought he paid too much.
  10. automatico

    Rolex Tool for repair/reassemble Oyster Links

    "Could you then fix SEL issues??" Good question. Taking the last bracelet link apart would allow the SEL end link to be removed if that is what you need. On some replicas the SEL links are solid and some are made in three pieces. Some genuine models are made in three pieces too. I have not taken a three piece SEL link apart but it is probably pressed together like the regular links. Some genuine SEL bracelets have the SEL end link attached to the bracelet with a small spring bar rather than a press pin. Do not know if they all are this way or not. Since I work on vintage models I have no experience with modern SEL bracelets. A forum member who knows more about them may chime in with some information. You can go to 'BING' search and type in Rolex 93250 bracelet construction and see lots of SEL bracelet pictures...some with one piece SEL and some with three piece SEL. Here is an old thread showing a genuine one piece SEL and a three piece replica SEL: https: //rwg.cc/topic/141510-tc-93250-oyster-bracelet/ Close the gap to complete the address.
  11. automatico

    Rolex Tool for repair/reassemble Oyster Links

    "Maybe two different jaws on each side, I need to think about it and draw something." After looking at the custom made pliers for spreading links apart... https://rwg.cc/topic/179096-permanent-link-removal/ Maybe you can make a tool out of a set of C-clip remover pliers like eBay item number 401439961933 or something similar and grind the tips to fit the application. Here is a YouTube video showing some different styles: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwxsMj8Jgl0 Close the gap to complete the address.
  12. automatico

    Rolex Tool for repair/reassemble Oyster Links

    "Actually these are Vietnamese tool and displayed at 1200 USD each one.." $1200!! Pressing the links together is easy. You can press them together with a $8 bench vise from eBay. Example: eBay item number 192482064496 Here is a 4" vise a few steps up in quality for a little more $$: eBay item number 273148184281 Line the jaws with brass or something soft to prevent scratches. It would not be hard to rig something up for around $75 or so using available tools modified for the task. Getting the links apart without damage will require a device that clamps the link down and spreads it apart. Maybe mount a set of small clamps on top of the jaws on the eBay 273148184281 vise. The vise frame/jaws are made out of cast iron so it can be drilled and tapped easily. All you need are clamping devices of some sort with padded jaws to prevent damage to the tops of the outside links. Anyone who can work on a watch should be able to make a tool to take links apart and press them together. 'Padded' = brass, copper, aluminum etc. Btw...I have seen 'watch fixers' drive razor blades, box cutter blades etc between the links to get them apart. Sometimes it does not leave much of a mark. Sometimes (usually) it does.
  13. automatico

    1570 datewheel overlay

    "Someone needs to make a ready made eta datewheel with the silver flat top so we don’t have to mess with aligning it. I hate aligning them." Agree. It sure would make things easier. About 6 months back I bought a DW overlay to fit ETA 2836 with a bigger outer diameter to fit under a dial on a 41mm DJ project from an eBay seller in China (41mm DJ date has more offset to the right). I doubt there is much demand at all for them but someone made them. For some reason no one has made a complete DW for ETA 28xx movements with the standard rlx offset. I would guess there would be a lot more demand for a complete standard rlx offset DW than an obscure DW overlay for a 41mm DJ. I looked and the fellow I got the 41mm DJ DW overlay from does not offer them now but has quite a few DW overlays for regular rlx date offset. http://stores.ebay.com/BANDS-AND-BRACELETS-FOR-ROLEX-WATCH?_trksid=p2047675.l2563
  14. automatico

    Which Case Tube Wrench for Athaya 702?

    "Any ideas which wrench will work with this tube?" Modern 6.0mm and 7.0mm case tubes with external splines use the same tube wrench. A case tube wrench for modern 5.3mm tubes with external splines is a little bit smaller. I have an Athaya case tube left over from a project and it takes a 5.3mm case tube wrench made for external splines. Besides using a 5.3mm case tube wrench, the threads were the wrong pitch to go into an OEM spec case. I ended up using a WSO 990 case tube made for 'no dot' 7mm crowns. If the Athaya case tube does not want to start in the case or binds up before it is seated in the case...do not use it. It may seize in the case or break off. The bad...You may have to go with a WSO 990 case tube and it seems they sure are proud of them ($$). The good...The quality is first rate and they are made out of stainless steel. Q...Did the WSO tube work Ok? A...Not at first. Q...Why? A...The thread pitch was right but the overall OD was a hair too big to screw into the case. Q...What was the fix? A...Polish the OD of the threads a little with Simichrome polish (or some other fine grit polishing compound) on a small buff wheel in a Dremel tool. That fixed it.
  15. automatico

    5500 AK/Explorer project tips...

    "How thick is the 1002 case from case back to crystal top? I have the same project in mind but I have a 15000 case instead." The 1002 OP and 5500 AK cases are thinner and made for no date movements where the 1500 and 15000 OPD cases are a hair thicker and made for date movements. A cal 3035 date mvt/OPD dial will fit into a 1500 case and a cal 1575 date mvt/OPD dial will fit into a 15000 case, they are basically the same internally. Neither one will fit into a 15200 case properly. Same goes for DJ cases of the same eras...DJ dials are just bigger. A rolex 15xx movement made for a no date 1002/5500 no date case will not fit properly into a 1500/15000 date case, the movement will mount too far toward the front and the stem will not line up in the case tube. Whew! A 5512/13 case is the same internally as a 1002/5500 and a 1680 case is the same internally as a 1500/15000. If the 15000 OPD project is using a genuine 15xx rolex movement, you will need to use a no date movement with date calendar spacer/center wheel/canon pinion/hour wheel and all the other date parts removed. If the 15000 OPD project is using an ETA movement, a 2836/46 may work but 2824 probably will not for the same reason as above...mounts too far to the front. Whew again! When putting an ETA 28xx movement into a rolex 1002/5500/5512/5513/1680 etc case you will need a special spacer because the ETA movements are 11.5 ligne size (26.0mm) and rolex is 12.5 ligne size (28.2mm)...1 ligne = 2.256mm. Btw, it's sorta hit or miss on actual ligne sizes stated for movements...they sometimes round it off. Now that you are thoroughly confused, maybe someone who has put ETA movements in a 1002/5500 will chime in.