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automatico last won the day on October 3 2018

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  1. "...been looking for the best possible looking base Rolex GMT ll that's reliable." I am not very familiar with later models of rolex but am familiar with etaclones and China GMT conversions. Cases, bracelets, and dials do not cause much trouble so movement reliability is the main concern. China etaclones are Ok if you get a good one to begin with. One good thing about them is you can swap out the etaclone for a swiss ETA if or when the etaclone gives out. Today's China GMT conversions are generally Ok but earlier examples with adjustable 24H hands might not be as good. Basic etaclone GMT rule...the less you adjust the 24H hand, the better off you will be. The China GMT conversion should work on a swiss ETA when/if the time comes to swap the movement out. Maybe someone with more experience with these movements will post some info.
  2. "And yet the value of vintage rolexes is still quite strong even at the lower end where I generally hunt." Agree. I have snagged a few pretty good rolex buys in the last few years but they were not mainstream models. One was a gold top 6694, one was a manual wind no date model, and one was an older 17 jewel (1520) 5500 AK. Otoh I looked on eBay at sold 6694 just now and they are going for around $1100 to $2500 so that's not too bad at the lower end of the prices. I paid $500 for the gold top 6694 and the owner threw some other watchjunk in with the deal so I ended up with about $400 in it but it needs a case tube, crown, crystal, and clean/oil etc = about $500 when finished with crystal, gaskets, spring bars, strap, buckle, ST case tube, swiss Générale Ressorts mainspring, and a good used crown, c/o is free. It probably sold for $250 or less when new. Gold top vintage rolex watches were said to have around 80 microns of gold on top of the case and the bezels were solid gold, usually 14k. The gold case top was a gold cap soldered on the steel case similar to heavy gold fill...you can see the edge of the gold cap on the bottom of the cases. They seem to hold up for many years with no wear through unless some Gomer buffs the gold off the case. A lot of older watches had 20 microns of gold plating on the case, a few were 40 microns, and watches with heavy plating usually have the thickness stamped on them somewhere. Today the better brands are usually 10 microns or less and some cheaper brands are 'flash plated'...you can rub the plating off with a Fabulustre polishing cloth in two or three swipes. Here is a 40 micron rolex case: http://www.passions.com.sg/v2/watch/rolex-30mm-c1960s-oysterdate-precision-ref6466-yellow-gold-40microns-plated High quality Générale Ressorts mainsprings come in many swiss watch brands. A few US GR mainspring suppliers: Cas-Ker Inc Esslinger And Co Jules Borel & Co Otto Frei Some may market them under a supply house brand or other brand name.
  3. "...I'm always amazed about your knowledge of cases and movements Rick!" Thanks, I appreciate it! The bottom line (imho) is the 40+ year accumulation of 'useless knowledge' gained from my watch hobby is really not worth much in today's world outside of this and similar forums. The mechanical watch seems to be going the way of the dinosaur as the current generation shuns traditional watches for I-phones and smart watches in their early $$ earning years. Maybe mechanical and/or vintage watches will catch on later in life but who knows? By then they may really cost a fortune. As for younger 'watch nuts' wanting to go into the repair trade, things are not rosy at all as the 'Big Name Brand' watch repair business is swinging toward 'corporate watch repair' as can be seen by the latest rolex move to cut off parts to almost all of the remaining independent US repair shops that work on rolex watches. Since most brands have already gone or are in the process of going this route, repair guys will have to go corporate, go AD, or go independent and swap out batteries and quartz movements to pay the rent while searching for mechanical watch repair parts. Forums like this one are unique because a large percentage of members know a lot about watches in general where the average 'brand forum member' usually only knows a little about certain watch brands...mostly reference numbers, movement caliber designations, and production dates, along with their most important questions of all...What's New? Are they available yet? Who has one? How much are they? Everyone wants a rolex but almost everyone wears a Timex. (or Citizen/Seiko/Fossil etc)
  4. Random '1016' movement/case combo Q & A from messages and posts: Q...On mounting of the gen 1570 on the 2824 case in terms of diameter it works, but not sure about the height. A...The distance from the stem center line to the dial is the critical measurement...then add the thickness of the dial. Most genuine vintage rlx dials are .40mm plus or minus, replica dials may be a little bit less. Q...Is there a specific spacer that assures a correct placement of the movement or is it trial and error? A...In the projects I have done using an aftmkt 15xx rlx case with a rlx 15xx movement, I did not need a spacer IF the case is made for a date or no date movement and that is what you are putting in it. You can read about using a spacer between the movement and dial on MBK 55xx/1680 cases when using a no date rlx 15xx movement above. An RWG friend (Stilty, from Canada) had some special ETA to rlx case spacers CNC machined about 10 years ago and later Yuki had the same type of spacer made and they are still available. Q...Do you always have to use the stamped metal dial spacer on ETA's when it has nothing to do with spacing the dial away from the date wheel? A...The spacer is needed to level the dial. I stuck an ETA 2836 with 26.0mm dial without the calendar spacer in a Yuki '5513' OEM spec case and the stem does not line up. A little better without the spacer but not much. Besides that, the dial flops around on the movement because the spacer also holds the dial level. in cases made for a 15xx movement, I needed an OD type spacer to fit an ETA 28xx movement in the case because an ETA movement is 11.5 ligne size and a 15xx rlx is 12.5 ligne size (1 ligne = 2.2558291 mm). I make spacers out of brass flat washers on a lathe and cut them to fit the movement OD and case ID. Some standard brass cartel watch spacers will do the job. I also make some of the spacers with a shoulder that comes up higher than the movement plate so I can stick the dial to the spacer when using dials made for rlx movements without dial feet and do away with the flimsy stamped metal ETA spacer. Fyi...I bought a nos Eta 2879 day/date movement and it has the calendar spacer made on the movement plate, not a sheet metal spacer. They will work in cases made for Eta 2836/46 and have the 21600 beat rate that is close to the rolex 1520/1570 19800 bph...but they are not good for 5512/13 projects in genuine spec cases because they will be too thick like an ETA 2836/46. Imho, most cartel DJ 16200 type cases are better suited to ETA 36mm DJ/modern sapphire explorer etc. projects than '1016' projects especially if they do not have 'through and through' lug holes because lug holes are very hard to get right when drilling them in blind lugs. When using cartel cases you can also have trouble fitting a 2836 in a case made for a 2824 or putting a 2824 in a 2836 case...plus drilling lug holes. I did a '1016' project using an early genuine rlx 162xx case with a 1570 and it turned out pretty good and although the case is not exactly 1016 spec, it is very high quality and looked fine. There is also plenty of metal around the lug holes to drill the holes to 1.25 or 1.3mm without getting too close to an edge like some of the cartel cases. A genuine rlx 160xx case might be closer to a 1016 than a 162xx case but you would probably need to use a calendar spacer etc. like with an MBK 55xx/1680 case when using a rlx 15xx movement. I never tried it so I do not know for sure. I still have my JMB '1016' with a combo 2824/2836 movement and it has been fine. The combo movement I put together seems to run Ok but like all ETA movements in my experience it needs more active wear to keep the running reserve up compared to a rlx 15xx movement. I drilled/tapped the JMB case to put a standard 6.0mm case tube in it so it would accept a standard 6.0mm crown...I used a replica crown on it though. Random comments: I have used Eta 2836/46 movements only in cartel/MBK cases that were made for Eta 2836/46/DG etc movements. Externally the 2836 is basically the same as a 2846. So...I tried a 2836 with 26.0mm dial in a Yuki 5513 genuine spec case and it would not work because the movement is too thick and the stem will not line up in the case tube...it is too far toward the back. A 2824 would probably work but I did not try one. Note...the movement still has the dial spacer so removing it will make the movement thinner but probably not thin enough. The movement/dial combo I tried in the Yuki OEM spec case was from an MBK '5512' and they use standard Eta 2836 movements with the calendar guts removed but with the calendar spacer left on. The details on the MBK cases are at the top of this sticky. If you wanted to use an ETA 2846 in a Yuki 55xx it would probably be like my JMB '1016' project where I had to use a set of 2824 plates with 2846 running gear (escapement etc) plus center wheel/hour wheel/canon pinion. HellofaMess unless you like taking Eta movements apart, mixing parts up, and putting them back together. Besides that, since the movements had no service history and had been handled, I also had to c/o them both. In rlx 1016, 55xx projects... "I could sell my 2846 and get a 2824 to get a thinner movement." The 2824 = wrong beat rate and the center wheel/hour wheel/cp may be too low, making the hands too close to the dial. The bottom line is... Projects like this always turn out to be trial and error unless you are working on a standard project with known parameters. If a 2836/46 is too thick, you either have to go with a 2824 (wrong beat rate), a combo 2824/2846 movement (hassle), or a thin Eta/A Schild etc. of some sort with the 21600 beat rate. Early rlx 15xx were 18000 bph but most are 19200 bph and 21600 bph is close enough (for me anyway). Like I said before...It's a HellofaMess (on a very small scale). Otoh look at the bright side...by the time you get finished, you will know more about vintage rolex projects than 95% of RWG members...for what it's worth. Ha! Yuki adapter: https://rwg.cc/topic/116411-yuki-eta-2824-adaptor Dial with no dial feet: https://rwg.cc/topic/183724-dial-with-no-feet 6610 Explorer: https://rwg.cc/topic/189330-rolex-6610-explorer-with-a-r-e-a-l-gilt-dial-pure-beauty/ DJ 1600/16000 info: https://rwg.cc/topic/192376-datejust-160016000/
  5. "Startime has also bezel assemblies, but I don't know the quality." ST and Clark bezel kits were exactly the same a couple years ago but do not know about now. Both are high quality and accurately OEM sized...they also have a matte finish that can be polished away in a few minutes. Have read that WSO can be hit or miss. Mostly miss. Cartel cases can be OEM spec for the case neck (28.2mm) and standard bezel kits will work but many are not OEM spec and this can lead to a lot of trouble. My advice is to measure the case neck OD first before spending a lot of $$ on a 55xx/1680 project. If it is off much more than .1mm you may have a lot of trouble getting a proper fit. Getting proper tension between the crystal retainer bezel and rotating bezel can be a real hassle too so as soon as the crystal and crystal retainer are installed, snap the rotating bezel on the case without a tension washer and see if it turns with no tight spots. Tight spots can usually be removed by putting fine polishing compound on the parts and turning them back and forth until they smooth out. Btw, one of the worst bezel fitting jobs was on a genuine 1675 using all new genuine parts so there is no guarantee that using genuine OEM parts will be a hassle free fit. Always press down lightly on the rotating bezel when testing the turning friction or using polishing compound to prevent undue wear on the bezel parts that provide the snap on fit. After the bezel fitting is finished and the rotating bezel is finally mounted, continue to lightly press down on the bezel when turning it to lessen the tension between the rotating bezel and crystal retainer by compressing the tension washer. This also prevents wear to the mating surfaces as mentioned above. I would guess that about half of my bezel fitting jobs were trouble free but some of the others turned out to be a time consuming hassle. This is not meant to discourage anyone but to say that ill fitting rotating bezels are not out of the ordinary. The next hurdle is bezel inserts...
  6. "Just because it's a Phong doesn't make it a franken- more like just a replica..." The goat has a good point. A Frankenstein project needs a genuine case or movement. It takes genuine guts or skin to qualify as a 'stein imho. Dials... Some of the 'affordable' genuine dials are so bad that I would much rather go with a reproduction on a replica or Frankenstein watch. I have read long diatribes on rlx forums against dials accused of being Fake! and next, the same posters are falling in love with a ratty original dial that looks like moldy swiss cheese on a Ritz cracker (genuine swiss cheese). The day after that they are swooning over a 'service dial' that is not much if any better than the average $150 reproduction. Bu-bu-but it's Genuine! Genuine!...in a 45+ year old watch with half the guts swapped out including some generic parts thrown in and a $40 HK bezel assembly. Not to mention case corrosion so bad that they have to take it off to whizz. Next they discuss in minute detail microscopic differences in font, letter spacing etc that no one in their right mind would notice or care about. It's insanity. In my humble insane opinion...
  7. "What I don't agree with is the supposed importance of judging people based on what's on their wrist. This writer sees the world through the shallow eyes of consumerism, shown by the mere fact he would write such an article." Good point. The guy does come across as sorta snobby sometimes. One thing about rolex watches is they have not changed much in the past 30 or 40 years and they are very easy to spot. Besides that, just about everyone knows they are overly expensive and supposed to be 'The Best'. Imho this may have a lot to do with why they are so popular and have become the premier Cuff Shooter. Otoh a pretty good replica or a big hairy wart on the wrist will get the same attention. "There are other reasons to wear a watch; chiefly for me it is the nod to history, technical achievement, artful design, and personal style." I have a few vintage dive/dive style watches and would rather wear one of them than a rolex of any type. One of my favorites is a 1960s/1970s Wittnauer manual wind dive style watch because it is thin and has 'retro style'. Matter of fact I have two of them just alike except one is quick set. I paid $25 for the slow set and $30 for the quick set in 1990. Here is what they look like... https://wannabuyawatch.com/?s=wittnauer&post_type=product Top row right and second row left. "Status and wealth never factor in to it for many of us." True. My only status symbol is an eXmark lawn mower.
  8. "A 1601 had a 1570 cal and the dial feet positioned at 30/57 (y/n?)" Yes "A 16014 had a 3035 cal and feet position at 12/37 (y/n?)" Yes Note: The 16xx dials are dished down at the outer edge and 160xx/162xx dials are flat (same dial foot location on 3035/3135) so this must be taken into consideration when using a 16xx case vs a 160xx or 162xx case. On top of that, the 3035 movement is thicker than a 3135 movement from the stem center to the dial so the cases are different. On the same note, an ETA 2836 will not fit properly in a case made for an ETA 2824. So...the hit or miss rule is a case made to rolex 3035 spec will usually accept an ETA 2836 and a case made to rolex 3135 spec will usually accept an ETA 2824. The key word being usually. "A 30/57 dial from a 1601 should the screw directly into the base plate of the 2824-2?" No. Any rolex 15xx, 30xx, 31xx dial will not work on an ETA 28xx because the dial feet are in a different location from the ETA. "A 2824-2 also needs a h4 hour wheel to allow for the correct height needed." You will need more than that. You can look at eBay item number 132956881176 for a list of the parts that are needed. "A 12/37 will not. (fit an ETA 28xx) It requires its feet to be repositioned? Are there adapters on the market to save the feet being removed fully?" I have read that some ETA main plates can be drilled to accept some rolex dials but I have never tried it and do I know which dials/movements might work. "if one was determined to use a 12/37 dial in a 1601 would an alternative ETA be required?" A '12/37' dial for a rolex 3035/3135 will fit into a 16xx case but you have to take into account that you are using a flat dial in place of a dished dial so the movement thickness will come into play. This all consists of complicated procedures (believe it or not), and just a few hundredths of a millimeter can make a big difference. A smart man once said "The only substitute for knowledge is money." He was right. Read and learn. Btw, buying a watch from BK etc might be the way to go starting out because any mistakes made on a project are part of the overall cost of the resulting watch and this often adds up to more than a ready made watch would cost. Good luck!
  9. Interesting article and I have no argument with it. AA may have a good point when he states that rlx props up much of today's lux watch market when he says many wannabee lux watch kings are still in business because rlx helps sustain the overall lux watch market. My story... I always liked rlx watches from the 1950s/1960s/1970s but not the later models. Their current campaign to cut off parts to all USA independent repair shops was the final nail in the coffin so I am slowly selling off what is left while hoping the prices continue rising. I am also removing rlx movements from F-steins to put in genuine cases. I tried to wear mechanical watches every now and then for many years but always ended up wearing a 214 or 218 Accutron until quartz watches came out, then it was usually a Bulova, Citizen, or Seiko. Never liked the jumping second hands though. I guess I have worn rlx Frankensteins with 15xx movements more than all other mechanical watches combined, and that's not a whole lot...a few days at a time is about as long as I can stand one. I do not carry a cell phone, mainly because I spent a large chunk of my life on call 24/7 and detest telephones in any form. I have a cell phone at home and check messages about once a week but hardly ever answer it thanks to caller ID. If I need to know what time it is when out and about, I wear an Accutron II of some sort. https://www.ablogtowatch.com/todays-traditional-watch-industry-cant-exist-without-what-rolex-is-selling/
  10. "Of course mine would be to use the following tool and start again." I like this one too...
  11. mmm nailed it. 'Lazy runners'... I have seen a few movements that would run but with 'lazy' balance motion after a thorough c/o and this can sometimes be traced to a worn/bent balance staff and/or a dirty/damaged balance cap jewel. Example...I have a high mileage rlx 1570 that had lazy balance motion with dial up after c/o (good balance pivots) and it had a tiny divot in the center of the cap jewel where the back side pivot runs. The spot can not be removed and is almost impossible to see or feel with a needle but it is bad enough to bog the balance down. My guess is whoever owned the watch laid it down dial up every night for 20 or 30 years and this is what happened. The fix is a new cap jewel. Basically fool proof balance jewels c/o... Soak the cap and hole jewels in fast evaporating/low residue cleaner for 10 or 15 minutes or buzz them in an ultrasonic machine. After cleaning, rub the flat side of the cap jewel on a clean business card or something similar to remove any residue, then oil the flat side of the jewel with a drop about half as big as the jewel in the center. Next, place the hole jewel down over the cap jewel taking care to get it level and centered (capillary action will move oil to the hole jewel). If you miss the cap jewel and smear the oil drop, clean the jewels and try again. Note...sometimes rubbing the cap jewel on a card can remove some 'paper fuzz' from the paper to the cap jewel and it needs to be rinsed off and reoiled. I have used blue Rodico to remove the fuzz and this is Ok as long as the Rodico is clean and does not leave any trace on the jewel. Quickie Outlaw fixes: 'Old Timer' trick number one... Remove the balance assembly and pallet fork, then wind the watch a little bit and let it 'spin down' to sling trash, fly specks etc off the wheels and away from pivots. This is quick and dirty but probably Ok on an Asian '21 jewel' trader/beater movement. It can also sling oil away from pivots and overheat them if allowed to spin too fast or too long. 'Old Timer' trick number two... Apply a little Ronsonol lighter fluid to the pivots on old dirty movements, then crank 'em up and watch 'em go. Your choice on the lighter fluid brand but I always liked Ronsonol. 'Old Timer' trick number three...Heat the watch in the sun or put it close to a light bulb etc. This warms the dirty/gummy oil up and frees the wheel train...for a little while. Sell it in a hurry while it is still running. This is a favorite flea market trick...if you see a guy set up outside in the sun with a glass top show case full of watches, buyer beware. "It's a crazy crazy world when it comes to hairsprings. They can drive you insane! LOL" Imho hairsprings are the bane of the mechanical watch. That and $500 to $3000 'tune ups' every few years. Oh yeah, I forgot...no parts being sold by the swiss biggies. That alone should put them out of business as far as I am concerned. It's no wonder quartz watches rule the market by volume. My crystal ball shows many swiss watch companies going broke trying to keep their overpriced baubles relevant to buyers who do not really care. It happened to them once already and by a fluke of nature (gullibility?) and advertising they flushed their obsolete miniature mechanical malfunctions back out on the market again with greatly inflated prices during the 'look at me!' 1990s...with much success I might add. Times are mostly good again but the new inhabitants of the watch buying world do not give much of a %#(+ about mechanical watches.
  12. " I think it took too much force and the crystal may begin cracking in the future. It passed a water pressure test I did at 10 BAR but I think they sometimes crack over time if too tight?" You can look down through the outer edge of the crystal between the case neck and crystal retaining ring under bright light using a 10X loupe to see if the crystal is cracked. Look at it just after installing the crystal and a week or two later. From time to time check it to see if it has developed cracks because the older the crystal gets, the more prone it is to cracking. Otoh most watches will not leak in everyday situations with a cracked crystal...washing hands etc. "Does anyone know which crystal works perfect on an MQ Vietnam 5513 Case?" Sad to say but in my experience it is hit or miss depending on the crystal and crystal retaining ring...assuming the case neck is very, very close to 28.2mm OD to begin with. My DW 'submariner' case necks are 28.15 +/- and I have to use PA 462-67 or some other brand that is a hair thicker than oem. I have had good luck with ST and Clark bezel kits being the right size. "What the heck tool do professional watch makers use to press 5513 retaining rings on with?" I do not know what pros use but I use a 'BB' crystal press with an aluminum die being careful not to press the bezel on with a die that could bend or scratch the ledge on the bezel where the rotating bezel snaps on. The 'BB' press base is cast iron and the plunger is steel so there is very little if any 'wobble' when pressing a retainer ring on. I also have an aluminum die that 55xx/1680 cases will fit on and not move around. You can also use this type of press to install aluminum bezel inserts using a die that presses the insert in the rotating bezel at the outer edge of the insert. You need to pad the insert so the die will not scratch it. If you attempt to press an aluminum insert into a rotating bezel using a die that exerts pressure on the inside edge of the insert it may flatten the insert out and it will not go in or shave color and/or metal off. Sometimes you can recover the bezel taper by evenly pushing the insert down over a glass Coke bottle or something similar with a tapered neck. Now there are 'new' BB crystal presses as well as 'replica' BB presses at reduced prices that should work just as well. Here are pictures of the new BB type press, the replicas are near identical: http://www.ofrei.com/page1708.html It is hard to justify today's prices for watch tools. I bought my BB presses and dies at NAWCC watch shows many years ago but there are probably still a few here and there at reasonable prices, you might find one at a jewelry store that used to work on watches. Ask around and put the word out, maybe one will show up.
  13. "I did my first attempt to dismantle a movement...3804B so not the most simple movement (basically DG2813 + GMT function added)." If you get to where you can take these things apart and put them together with a high success rate...you should be able to work on most swiss time and date movements with no trouble. Why is that? Because the chintzy date works in A21 movements in general and the Miyota clones with the buried reverser along with most train wheels stuffed under one plate will make a watch fixer out of just about anyone who sticks with it. "First problem was the date lever spring satelised as I removed the DW plate, etc...and movement stayed in parts for almost 2 years." On some of these movements the U shaped spring goes in last after the date works cover plate is on the movement...it goes through a slotted hole in the plate. Do not ask how I know this. "After months of practice on Asian, French and Swiss movements, I've decided to have a look at it. I just cleaned all the parts, got the missing parts from incomplete movements I had collected for free, reassembled everything back in place and lubricated along the way. Now the movement is ticking and keeping good time... just waiting for me to give it a dial and case." The main thing I learned about A21 movements...you gotta be tuff to work on 'em.
  14. I stuck a JMB '1016' together and here is the story: https://rwg.cc/topic/192105-jmb-1016-project-update/ The ST 18k gold cases will accept oem parts...dial, mvt, crown, bezel etc. Looks like the only 18k case they have for 3155 DD is white gold...might as well use a steel case. The 18kyg ST DJ case for a 3035 was around $900 when I bought one in early 2001...because of $275 troz gold. No way I can see paying $3600 for the same case now. A ST 18kyg submariner case was around $1200 back then. Ongoing gold DJ project: I have an 18kyg DD/DJ (for Eta movement) case but the dial opening is too big. It came with an Eta 2834 and oversize DD dial but the dial was not very good so I never used the case. Years later I bought a 'refinished' DJ 41 dial on eBay and a DW overlay for a DJ 41 dial/Eta 2836 but never got around to finishing it. The case does not have any way to secure the movement...no case clamp groove or anything. It originally had a plastic spacer and I am not a fan of plastic spacers in expensive projects. I worked on a 'Marathon' of some sort a while back and it had a metal spacer that fits against the movement main plate and the case back. There was a thick rubber O ring where the spacer contacts the case back and when the back is screwed down it compresses the O ring to hold the movement in place. It has to be a precision fit in order for it to work and if I ever finish this project I may go with this method. The O ring has to be lubricated with silicone grease to prevent the friction from turning the movement inside the case and breaking the stem when screwing the back down. Note on the 'Marathon'... A friend had a Marathon dive watch and the crown threads went bad in a hurry (common problem). He could not find a replacement crown anywhere (No Parts For You!) but he finally found a 'nos' replacement case somewhere and it had the spacer in it (his case did not have the spacer). The case looked like it might have been a replica but I could not say for sure. The case back O ring was very small in diameter compared to his other case and the fit and finish was not too hot.
  15. Modern 5 digit or latest models? Five digit sapphire crystal models could be very good with swiss Eta movements even if the hand stack might not be correct on many of them. The 24 hour works and date wheel overlay were Asian made and generally trouble free. Info on the latest models with ceramic bezel inserts is easy to find on the forum. Some are very close to genuine in appearance. The burning question is...who makes the best sub?
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