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Building an MBW Sub + 'shortcut' rlx 1560/70 GMT conversions...


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Here is the MBK 5513/1680 lowdown...

All the later MBK 5513/1680 cases I've had experience with were very close to a genuine 1680 case internally except for the dial window and dial seat sizes.

MBK 5512/13/1680 -- The dial seat and dial window are cut for a 26mm 5513 spec dial and the inside of the case is spaced for an Eta 2836.

Dial seat = the flat area inside the case where the dial mounts.

Dial window = the opening in the front of the case where the dial shows.


A genuine 1520/70 and 26mm genuine spec 5512/13 dial will not work properly because the stem will be too far to the front of the case.

A genuine 1570/1575 date movement and 26.5mm genuine spec 1680 dial will work if the shoulder on the dial seat inside the case is enlarged from approximately 26.2mm to 26.7mm AND the dial window is enlarged slightly to expose more of the dial and allow more of the minute markers to show. The stem lines up Ok with this combination. You could cut the OD of an oem spec 1680 dial down to 26.0mm but it will probably cause the markers to be partially covered up (depending on each particular dial).

If you want to go with an MBK case, rolex 1520/70 and 5512/13 dial...you will need to use a 1570/75 date movement with all the date works removed and the date wheel spacer still in place or a no date movement with a date wheel spacer, 1570/75 center wheel, canon pinion, and hour wheel.  Why? Because the rolex 1520/70 no date movements are too thin to be used as is in an MBK case.

If you use rolex type case screws, they usually have to be the razor edge type and it may still be hard to turn the movement inside the case because the screws may bind in the 'screw groove' cut in the case so you may have to use case clamps and screws. Turning a movement/dial inside the case (especially one that is a tight fit) can scratch paint off the dial. I sometimes use case clamps and screws in MBK cases so I do not have to move the movement/dial back and forth in the case to r/r the movement. Case clamps work as just good and do not leave marks inside the 'screw groove' in the case caused by running the screw head out against the wall of the 'screw groove' to hold the movement tight in the case.

If you plan to use an MBK 5513/1680 case with a genuine rolex 1570/75 and 26.5mm dial, you need to have the dial seat and dial window cut. The dial window will work as is but it is a little bit too small for a 26.5mm 1680 dial and will scratch the minute markers and maybe the swiss T 25 at the bottom of the dial. This is why the outside diameter of the 1680 dials are roughly ground down to fit inside the shoulder cut in the dial seat on MBK 1680 watches...the dials were originally 26.5mm or so and they do a quickie grind job on them to reduce the od to fit inside the shoulder in the dial seat.

Catch 22...if you enlarge the diameter of the dial window very much you will cut into the angle in the reflector aka 'rehaut'. I cut about .5mm total at a 90 degree angle to the front of the watch, not at an angle to match the reflector. After enlarging the dial window I finished the reflector with sandpaper while spinning the case in the lathe and you will never notice it has been enlarged. It is also a good idea to lightly sand the dial seat with 600 or 1000 sandpaper so the rough surface will not scratch the dial when turning the movement in the case.

I doubt pictures would help much because anyone who can do the work can immediately see what needs to be done after measuring the dial, dial seat and dial window.

In reality the MBK cases are Eta 2836 with 26mm dial or 1570/75 with 26.5mm dial cases. For 1520/70 and 26mm 5513 dials, go with a Yuki etc case to get by without any modifications.


Note 5-30-16...I bought an MBW '5512' timehead (no bracelet) from an RWG member (easy deal!) a while back but the watch came with a thicker 1665 SD bezel assembly. Counting the cost of the watch plus a new bezel assembly, I probably would have been better off buying a Yuki case for an extra $150/$200. It had an Asian etaclone 2836 and a pretty good dial. It seems that a few 5512/13/1680 from this last batch came with SD bezels and you will not know until it arrives.

So...imho, the bottom line for an MBW case for a 1680 project using a rolex 1570/75 vs a Yuki case would be 60/40 in favor of the Yuki case for these reasons: 1...Yuki case is oem spec.  2...You get the correct bezel.  3...The Yuki case needs no modification.  4...The Yuki case has proper letters and numbers. Downside...no dial or movement.


MBW disadvantages when using it for a 1680 with 1570/75 and 26.5mm dial...if you count the cost of having an MBW case modified to accept a 1570/75 and 26.5mm dial, you will probably need to spend an additional $50 to $100 and if it has the wrong bezel you are out an additional $50 to $100.  Upside...lower buy-in and a movement/dial combo left over to sell.

MBW watch vs Yuki case for Eta movement project...imho 60/40 for the MBW case only if it has the correct bezel and a good dial. But here's the catch...for a 5512/13 you probably need to put an Eta 2846 or something similar in it for a slower beat rate and the MBW dial might not be up to snuff. Add the cost of a 2846 etc and a dial and you are back in Yuki case $$ territory.

MBW watch vs Yuki case for a 1680 project using a rolex 1570/75 and 26.5mm dial...Go for the Yuki unless you get a real deal on an MBK watch with the correct bezel and a good movement and dial to sell to help pay for the modifications to the case.


DW 5513 and 1680 cases...

These are all really 1680 spec cases (more or less) so if you have one with 5513 stamped on it, a 1520 and 26mm 5513 dial will mount up in the case but the dial is a bit too small for the dial window and will also be too far from the dial seat. What you end up with is a 26mm dial in a 26mm dial window with the dial mounted about .8mm below the dial seat and nothing holding the dial in place except the dial screws. I did make a very thin spacer out of aluminum to fill in the space on one DW '5513' but it took a long time to make the spacer in a lathe because it was so thin and flimsy. I had to finish it up in an old 8mm WW type 'bezel chuck' made in the 1920s. WW = regular watchmaker lathe.  'Bezel chuck' = a chuck that looks like a steel wheel with concentric grooves cut in it. It will expand or contract a few mm to accommodate small, thin bezel rings etc.

DW cases are a low $$ alternative to expensive 'genspec cases' but you will need a genspec bezel kit, crystal, tube, crown etc. Also...as I have mentioned many times before, the DW cases have rounded case sides like a DJ and not flat like a submariner. They could be sanded flat on a disc grinder or by hand but it would take a lot of careful work. One good thing about the rounded case sides is they make the watch look like an old 'high mileage' example with a storied history after they get sufficiently scuffed up. I have seen a few genuine 1680/5512/13 with the case sides rounded from years of wear and numerous polish jobs so there are genuine examples with rounded case sides in circulation.



Yuki, DW (David Wong), and MBW/MBK cases are no longer available so now it is Ruby, Phong and a few others selling cases with Ruby's probably being less expensive.  Once in a while one of the Yuki, MBW/MBK, DW cases may show up for sale here but not often.


Note 2-26-16...I tried a genuine 7mm crown on an MBK 5512 I got last week and it will not work because the case tube in the MBK case is not oem spec and the post on the genuine crown will not go into the MBK case tube...the hole in the tube is too small. The MBK tube is made to have an O ring down low outside and the crown does have the skirt machined at the bottom for O ring clearance but of course none of it is oem spec. On my other MBK cases, I removed the case tubes as soon as I worked on them and installed aftmkt oem spec case tubes (did not try any genuine oem crowns) and the oem spec case tubes screwed right in but iirc the relief in the case for the case tube base gasket (where the tube contacts the case) was not oem spec and I had to use an aftmkt gasket of some sort. The MBK crown will not screw down onto an oem spec case tube either because the MBK crown threads are too small. The MBK tube and crown look like the same case tube and crown set that came on some of my DW cases. The MBK case tube is made like an old 8mm tube except for the size.  :hi:


Note 10-6-16...IF  the case neck is oem spec 28.2mm and IF  you need a new bezel assembly...here is what I found (usually)  works:  GS PA 462-66 crystal and ST/Clark etc bezel kit IF  the ID of the inner bezel is 30.2mm.  The 28.2mm case neck and 30.2mm inner bezel will not crack the crystal when pressing it on because it is not a real tight fit on the crystal while at the same time the crystal will not pop off or leak in day to day service (although I have not tested one below about 5 atm/70 psi).  GS crystals are precision made and always the same spec unlike much of the inconsistent junk scattered all over the internet.  The PA 462-66 is a domed crystal that has the sidewall coming straight up about 1.7 to 2.0mm above the bezel insert.  You also have to make sure the bezel washer does not cause the rotating bezel to bind.  The washer needs to fit over the small lip on the inner bezel (if there is  one, it is there to keep the sharp washer away from the crystal) while not sticking out over the outer edge of the inner bezel or it will bind the rotating bezel.  Many (if not most) aftmkt bezel washers are out of spec in my experience.

I have tried this same setup with a GS PA 462-67 crystal and the inner bezel was too tight.  Also measured a couple MBK inner bezels and they were both 30.15mm id...not much difference but they can be pretty tight with the GS PA 462-66 crystal.  Matter of fact, I broke a new PA 462-66 with a MBK inner bezel on an MBK case a few days ago.  It leaked and I had to look down through the outer edge of the crystal with a 10x loupe under bright light to see the hairline cracks.  I found that ST/Clark rotating bezels will accept oem spec inserts and they snap in correctly...many aftmkt inserts and insert seats in bezels are out of spec.


More DW case info:

DW 55xx case review... - The Rolex Area - RWG


Edited by automatico
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  • 6 months later...
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  • 4 months later...

Thanks for the kind words!


Added 2-14-17

Fitting bezels on 5512/13/1680 etc:


1...If you plan to do much crystal fitting, you will need a precision digital caliper, not a $12.99 cheapo, a good one...if you do not have one already. 

2...Measure the OD of the crystal after  it is pushed down on the case neck...write it down.  Measuring a loose crystal is usually not going to give an accurate measurement.

3...Measure the ID of the inner (crystal retaining) bezel...write it down.

4...The inner crystal retaining bezel needs to be around .1mm to .2 mm smaller than the crystal (measured on the watch). 

5...Use a heavy duty bezel press with metal dies if possible, plastic dies are usually too flimsy.  You will soon develop a 'feel' for proper fit.  Mine is an old Japan made 'BB' press from way back and now reproductions are available at 'affordable' prices.


Here are BB styles with tapered and straight wall dies and you can find these presses at reasonable prices if you look around.  The second listing has a much better price. 






Here is a cheapo model that might  be Ok:  https://www.amazon.com/Watch-Crystal-Press-Watchmaker-Repair/dp/B000RB3HRU   The frame is probably made out of 'pot metal'.  BB type bases are made out of cast iron.


The general rule is cheapo tools = broken parts....but not always.



Genuine crystals are over rated, especially on project watches.  I have used GS crystals for 40 years and never had any problems and their crystals for vintage no date submariners come in 4 or 5 sizes.  Sternkreuz are Ok too but sometimes not a precision fit.

Like I said many times before...when you find a crystal that fits...buy 3 of them.  Many no name 'internet' crystals are out of spec, sometimes from one batch to the next.

Many no name internet bezel kits are not too hot either.  The better sets come from Clark, watchman408 (on eBay) and ST in my experience.  Better = they fit.

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  • 2 months later...


Added this from another thread, it pertains mostly to cases with a groove cut around the inside for case screw heads or clamps to fit into.


There are four common styles of case screws:


1...Regular flat head screw.  Self explanatory.  Use the size that is needed.


2...Screw with a thinner, straight edge outside 'skirt'.  The 'skirt' area is thinner than where the screwdriver slots is.  This is probably the most common type, rlx p/n 7897.

'Skirt' screw:  eBay item number  182288035756


3...'Knife edge' screw.  Outer diameter is knife edged to fit where a regular screw will not go, rlx p/n 7896.

'Knife edge' screw:  eBay item number  322379259479


4...'Notch head' screw:  There is about one third of the screw head cut away.  This is done so the movement can be inserted straight down into the case with the notches facing outward, then the screw is backed out (hopefully into the groove) to hold tension on the movement.  This type of screw is sometimes a real pain because they will not turn into the notch because the screw head it too thick or has to be unscrewed too much to line the notch up to slip past the rail of the case groove when installing the movement/dial combo.  This type of screw keeps from having to set the movement in the case where notches are cut in the case to allow for the case screw heads, then turning the movement to where it needs to be.

'Notch head' screw:  eBay item number  152410745980


On a few projects, I used case screws and case clamps because the screws would not line up in the groove in the case.  MBK Frankenstein '5512' for example.  Knife edge screws may have worked but I went with screws and clamps because you do not have to turn the movement/dial combo in the case to put it in the correct position.  Turning the movement/dial combo in the case can scuff paint off the outer edge of the dial.


Tip:  If the movement/dial combo gets stuck in the case when turning it to the correct position...use a pin wrench to turn the movement/dial combo one way or the other.  There are two holes in the back side of the main plate where the tips of a pin wrench will fit...this should  prevent damage or scratches to the movement when turning the movement/dial combo.  I have had some movement/dial combos stuck tight in the case, not just on project watches but on genuine watches as well.

Try the movement/dial combo in the case without case screws first to make sure there is no binding.  Usually they hang up because the case screws get stuck in the groove in the case.


Cheapo pin wrench:  eBay item number  252149585873

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  • 1 month later...

Here are the sizes of various 15xx calibre Rolex hour wheels and canon pinions.


Because with some case/dial combos, they have to be swapped around like with the MBK projects mentioned above.


Rolex 1520/30/60 etc no date:

hour wheel = 1.27mm high, p/n 7890

canon pinion = 2.2mm high, p/n 7889   both parts together p/n 7829  (not too hard to find)


Rolex 1525/75 etc date:

hour wheel = 1.8mm high, p/n 7952

canon pinion = 2.75mm high, p/n 7951   both parts together p/n 7950  (easiest to find and the 7950 combo is available in high quality generic parts for $30 to $50)


Rolex 1565/75 date with GMT:

hour wheel = 2.2mm high, p/n 8032

canon pinion = 3.15mm high, p/n 8031   both parts together p/n 8030  (these parts are pricey and very hard to find)


Rolex 1556 Prez Day - Date:

hour wheel = 2.46mm high, p/n 8005

canon pinion = 3.4mm high, p/n 8004   both parts together p/n 8001  (these parts are hard to find but not much demand for them)

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Made a few mistakes when typing the part numbers above:

p/n 7829 is for center wheel and canon pinion for Rolex 1520/30/60 etc no date movements together in a pack

p/n 7950 is for center wheel and canon pinion for Rolex 1525/75 etc date movements together in a pack

p/n 8030 is for center wheel and canon pinion for Rolex 1565/75 date/GMT movements together in a pack

p/n 8001 is for center wheel and canon pinion for Rolex 1556 Prez Day - Date movements together in a pack


The hour wheel part numbers and sizes are correct.

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  • 7 months later...

I posted this in The Rolex Area 2-20-2018 and thought I would also put it here because it will soon be buried:


Just for fun, here are some of my cases with prices from the past:


March 2011 - like new Yuki 1680 case...$420 from 'Stilty'.  Traded it for a like new Phong 1655 case/dial with a member.  Still have the 1655 case...stalled out for a long time by GMT movement parts search.  Finally have all the parts...around $2500 so far including 1575 movement/GMT parts etc.

August 2011 - used DW 5513 case, no case back...$50.  Put a 'River' case back from sapphire Exp II and Clark bezel kit on it.  Had a 1520 with Yuki dial in it for a while.  Put the mvt in an MBK 5513.  Still have the DW case.

March 2012 - two new MBK 1680 watches from Narikaa...$800 for the pair, delivered.  Put a 1575 and Yuki dial in one case for a while, other watch is still complete.  One had a nice 93150 bracelet with hollow mid links, other had 93150 with solid mid links.  Dials were Ok but had been roughly ground down to fit in 26.0mm dial seat.  Machined the dial window on one case for OEM spec 26.5mm 1680 dials.

2011/2012 - about 10 new assorted DW cases, some 5513, some 1680, some unmarked.  Paid $150 to $200 for them.  All are 1680 spec.  Still have them.  A lot of posts probably still up about them. 

September 2013 - one new IG44 1680 case from a member, $300.  Best finished case of them all (that I have).  The lugs have a slight 'canoe' shape (side view).  Have a no hack 1575 and early genuine 1680 dial for it...the mvt/dial combo is in a DW case now.

May 2014 - one 5513 and one 5512 case from Yuki plus one 'free' dial...$1100 for it all.  Very good cases.  Still have them.

January 2017 - complete new MBK 5512 watch with 2836 etaclone and bracelet (oyster with riveted on side plates and solid links) from RWG member...$400.  Put a Yuki dial and rolex 1570 in it.



All MBK cases (5512/13, 1680) that I have are genuine rolex 1680 spec except they are made for a 26.0mm dial.  If you make a 5512/13 with rolex 15xx movement you will need to use a 1575 date calendar spacer, center wheel, and cp.

All DW cases (5513, 1680) that I have are genuine 1680 spec and all have a dial seat/window made for a 26.5mm dial.  If you make up a 5512/13 you will have to use the date parts same as with an MBK case and there will be a space between the outer edge of the dial and case because of the 1680 spec 26.5mm dial and 26.0mm 5512/13 dial.  I have seen pictures and read about early genuine 5512 with a space showing.  Someone could make up a pretty good early 5512 with the dial gap and PCG and the rounded sides would add to the character.




DW cases are high quality but the sides are rounded like a DJ, not flat, giving them an 'aged' look.  The lug holes may be a hair too close to the lug tops when drilled out to 1.3mm or so.  The case necks are a hair too small and it is hard to find a 1680 crystal that fits exactly.  Making up a 5512/13 is not as bad because T19 crystals come in many sizes (GS crystals for example).  DW watches came with 'spring wire' bezels and need a Clark, ST etc. bezel kit.  The engraved numbers are Ok but many are unmarked.  Some DW cases have undersize case back threads...oem is 30.9mm, some DW are 30.4mm.  This is Ok as long as you have a set.


MBK cases are very high quality but have laser engraving.

In my experience Yuki cases are first class quality, same goes for my one Phong 1655 case.

IG44 is hard to beat but IG44 is long gone.


I would spend the $$ on a good case if you want a watch to keep.  Get one that is OEM spec so if you decide to put a genuine movement in it now or later.

A Yuki etc. case with good dial and genuine movement will probably cost between $2200 and $2700 now because of jacked up case/movement prices.  You could start out with an ETA 2846 or something and dial made for an ETA then go with a genuine movement later if you want something to wear while looking for a genuine movement etc. 

Be a good idea to stay away from 'big crown'  projects with 1030 base rolex movements because of high $$ parts.  The rolex 15xx parts situation is not too bad...yet.  ETA is a LOT cheaper.


Here is the info on one of my MBK 5513 projects a few years ago, 2011 or 2012 iirc (I have posted this before).  It ended up costing about $1300.  I still have it but it is apart right now.
$300 or less for case (can not remember exact $$, got it from a member)
$102 for Yuki dial
$25 for TC tube and crown
$12 for ST hands
$650 for 26 jewel rolex 1520 hack mvt
$20 for mainspring etc
$0 for c/o  (did it myself)
$85 for fake 358 hoods and put together '93150' bracelet, also have a folded oyster from 'Mary' that adds up to about the same
$12 for GS crystal
$68 for ST bezel kit (better fit than MBK bez with the GS crystal that was used)
$25 misc...spring bars, gaskets, case screws etc

Had to use a 1575 date center wheel/cp and calendar spacer on the 1520 because the MBK 5513 case is made to 1680 spec, not 5513 spec.  Extra cost is included with movement.  If you want to make up an MBK 5512/13 it would be easier to start out with a date movement (1570/75) and just remove the date works.  If you do not want a '5513' with a chronometer movement, many of the early 5512 did not have the 'officially certified chronometer' blurb on the dials and they looked like a 5513 except for the movement and reference number so you could make an early '5512' with a '5513' dial.  As far as time keeping...the 1520s I have owned kept time about as good as the 'certified chronometer' 15xx movements.  Most have been apart 5 or 10 times by now and very few watch fixers worry with them if they are within 10 or 12 seconds a day.  The 1570/5 in my MBK '5512' has gained about 10 seconds since Tuesday and that's pretty good for a 45 or 50 year old no hack movement (most were hack after 1972).
The center sweep sec pivot is the same on 1520/30/60/70 and 1575, the date movements have a second hand with a longer tube, GMT second hand tube is longest of all.


Good info:





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"Why is MBK case superior to JKF?  For the ones I see, the MBK ones still have same the stem position flaw as the JKF."


The MBK 5512/13/1680 cases are very close to genuine rolex 1680 spec with one exception...the dial window/dial seat are made for a 26.0mm 5512/13 dial on all three, not a 26.5mm 1680 dial.  The crown position in the case is correct for a 1680.  If you compare a genuine 5512/13 and a genuine 1680 you will notice the 5512/13 case has a slightly taller reflector (aka rehaut) than a 1680 case and this is because the 1680 has a slightly thicker movement on account of the date works and the whole shebang sits higher in the case...the cases are basically the same on the outside.


The thickness difference between a no date and a date 15xx movement is about half a millimeter.


If I had the choice of a new MBK 1680 case for $400 and a new Yuki 1680 case for $700, I would go with the Yuki case because of the better engraving on the Yuki case and the fact that the MBK dial window/dial seat need to be enlarged.  The dial seat/window should be machined if possible to accommodate a 1680 dial because it is very hard to cut a level dial seat by hand.  The dial window can be enlarged with 'Cratex' on a Dremel tool but you need to be very careful as you only need to remove .25mm from the edge (a .25mm cut = .5mm in diameter).


I am not familiar with vintage type cases other than older cartel (early 2000s), DW, MBK, Yuki, one Phong, and one IG44.  Some of the early cartel cases were very good and accepted genuine spec crystal/bezel sets/case tubes but many had the case back gasket cut in the case like the 1665 sea dweller and most were made for Eta 28xx and 21 jewel Miyota clone movements.  The case back gasket groove being in the case really makes no difference other than many of the case backs will have a sharper outer edge because they were made thinner from not needing extra metal to allow room for a gasket groove.

One common problem I have seen on a lot of 'cartel' cases is the lug holes will be bored too close to an edge.

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The $400 price was an example.  I paid about that much each for two new, running, MBK 1680, one with swiss Eta, hollow mid link bracelet, and one with etaclone and solid mid link bracelet. 


Parted out they will go for approximately:

Around $100 for swiss Eta (looks like new, strong runner, good date wheel, not the usual junk), $40 for the etaclone (date wheel pumps it up).

Dial and hands $25.

Bezel kit $35 or $40 (I use ST or Clark).

Hollow link bracelet, around $100, looks very good.

Solid mid link bracelet, about $50, very good clasp.


That leaves about $100 in one case and $200 more or less in the other one for an average of $150 each.  Add $80 for a bezel kit, $12 for a crystal, $20 for an oem spec case tube, and $5 for gaskets = around $275. 

Not too bad.


I use MBK cases because they accept genuine movements. 

If it was to be an Eta movement, I would go with a cartel case. 

If it was going to be a '21 jewel' movement, I would use a cat food can.   :pimp:

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  • 6 months later...

"Do all MBW 1680 cases have the gasket groove under the retainer ring?"


I have four cases the oldest being 7 to 10 years old and they all have the groove in the top of the case.  Afaik no matter what the reference number is, the 5512, 5513, and 1680 cases are all identical.  I could be wrong though as I have never owned any of the older cases.  All mine have 'Original Polex Design' on them.



"If yes, are they then replicating the later 70ies case that is more correct with a mk4-6 dial?"


Yes, they are made more or less like the later cases.  I have an MBK '5512' with a 'me first' dial and it is not period correct because of the extra O ring...but it's a replica. 

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On 9/3/2018 at 2:13 AM, automatico said:

"Do all MBW 1680 cases have the gasket groove under the retainer ring?"


I have four cases the oldest being 7 to 10 years old and they all have the groove in the top of the case.  Afaik no matter what the reference number is, the 5512, 5513, and 1680 cases are all identical.  I could be wrong though as I have never owned any of the older cases.  All mine have 'Original Polex Design' on them.



"If yes, are they then replicating the later 70ies case that is more correct with a mk4-6 dial?"


Yes, they are made more or less like the later cases.  I have an MBK '5512' with a 'me first' dial and it is not period correct because of the extra O ring...but it's a replica. 

Ok, good to know, I was actually really happy with my MBW 1680 until i actually compared it to gen dials. It looks like all rep 1680 red mk4-mk6 dials have the wrong spacing between the 12 o´clock triangle and the coronet logo. I think Phong is the only one who has a decent 1680 red dial.

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  • 4 months later...

January 29 2019

In answer to the question:

"what is good price these days. i bought a 1570 over 10 year ago for $800"

Posted in:  "Wanted 1575 movement"  in the "I Want To Buy..."  section.

I thought it might help anyone starting a project with a rlx 1570 etc.


"What is good price these days. I bought a 1570 over 10 years ago for $800"


I would guess a 1570 or 1575 in good condition (no rust and no service history) is fairly priced at $1000 to $1300 now.  Sometimes you can find a complete watch with rough case/dial for that price, mostly reference 1500.  BIN prices on eBay are pretty high but when you look at 'sold items' they are sometimes a bit more reasonable.  From my experience, most of the 'just serviced' watches have not been touched for years other than with Rodico to remove specks. 


Many rlx 15xx movements are in bad mechanical condition but still look good. 

1...Look at the outer edge of the main plate to see if the winding rotor has worn the plating away because of a worn rotor axle, broken jewel, loose a/w assembly etc.  There is usually a small circle of brassy unplated area on the outer edge of the a/w plate but this is always present and not caused by the rotor.  Rotor axles can be replaced but they are not just 'knocked out and pressed back in'...the outer edge of the top of the rotor axle should be cut off and the axle pushed out from the top to keep from enlarging the hole in the rotor when an axle is driven out from the underside.  The riveted part of the axle on the underside of the rotor will remove metal from the rotor when it is driven out and the next axle may be loose even after it has been riveted.  Many 'rolex mechanics' take the shortcut and just drive them out.  It may work one time but usually not two or more because the hole in the rotor is enlarged each time. 

2...Reversers also cause problems and if the red anodized surface is worn or chipped it is a good indication of a high mileage/low maintenance movement.  Many 'rolexperts' claim the red is Teflon.  Not Teflon, it is hard anodized for wear resistance.

3...The 'intermediate wheel' that transfers winding power from the a/w assembly to the movement can also wear, check the teeth and pivots closely.  High quality aftmkt replacements are available.

4...Mainspring arbor (axle) holes in the main plate can wear out of round if they are dry for a long time.  This causes the m/s barrel to rub the main plate causing low power reserve. 

The fix:

A...new main plate. ($$)

B...Peen the area around the hole to close it a bit (not the best practice but it works).

C...Put a bushing in the hole.  A tedious job but probably the best fix. 

D...Grease the plate under the ms barrel so it will turn easily for a while...a common 'quick and dirty fix' for traders.

5...Balance staffs can get broken but usually the watch stops or only runs 'dial up' or 'dial down' so they are fairly easy to spot.  The staff can wear down from dry pivots/dirt/no service especially if the watch is left 'dial up' or 'dial down' overnight for years because the balance is swinging on point contact, not line contact as it would be when 'dial right', 'dial left' etc.  This is why mechanical watches can gain time when 'dial up' or 'dial down'...there is less friction when running on point contact, as long as there is some oil.

6...Because the 1575 date is slow set, the canon pinion is often loose.  Some may get so loose that the watch will run but the hour and minute hands do not move.  The fix is to tighten the c/p or replace the 'center wheel with c/p' (available in aftmkt).

7...Check the teeth (aka leaves) on date wheels for wear/bent teeth along with the numbers, background paint etc.

8...See if the dial screws are present and not broken off in the holes...same for calendar spacer ring screws.

Etc, etc.


My last few rlx 15xx buys:

Last movement I bought on eBay was around 2012...a '1570' that turned out to be a 1560 with 1570 autowind bridge, the rotor was turned so you could not tell it was a 1560 in the pictures.  I doubt the seller knew the difference but it was still a pretty good deal for $650. 

May 2015 I snagged a 1603 DJ from a watch trader with a good black dial and very good case for $575 but the stem was rusted and stuck in the main plate (no rust anywhere else).  Early last week I finally got around to soaking the plate in white vinegar and now most of the stem has been melted away where it was stuck.  I covered the steel parts (winding pinion/clutch wheel) with Testors enamel to protect them and the plate was set only deep enough to cover a few mm of the plate where the stem was stuck.  I am soaking it in penetrating oil now to finish it up.

January 2016 I traded a Heuer Pasadena (V7750) for a rlx 1500 with very good case/dial/movement,  Funny thing is I had owned the same Heuer Pasadena over 20 years before and I had $300 or so in it back then.  Got it back March 2015 for $250 from a gold/diamond trader and it looked the same with no more nicks/scratches than before.  Bought a rlx DD cal 1556 movement from the same guy May 2013 for $600...they had melted the case and bracelet. (!!) 


A good deal is where you find it. 

I usually find the best deals when I am not looking for a deal.  :pimp:

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