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The Happy Accident ... or how I finished my 5514

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I'm beginning to see a trend with my decisions to take on franken builds. Not quite sure whether this is a good thing, or a bad thing. My wrist likes it, but my wallet ... not so much. I like to call this trend "The Happy Accident."

"The Happy Accident" seems to be occurring a lot. It starts with me just reading the various message boards and minding my own business, and I happen to see a post advertising a part (often rare) for sale. Most of the time, I haven't even considered a build of the particular watch the part comes from, but somehow it managed to catch my eye either because it's a great deal, or just a rare part I don't see come available very often.

It all started during my 16014 DateJust build. The first 16014 case I bought did not come with a bezel, so I initially bought an engine turned bezel for it. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed when it arrived. It also wasn't correct for the model number of the case, so I figured it would just be a placeholder until I found the correct white gold fluted bezel. The timing of this was terrible, as while I was searching the price of gold spiked, and gen bezels were commanding insane money (most were in the $300 range ... ouch!). One day on eBay, I happened upon a complete 16014 case with a perfect gen WG bezel, crown, tube and crystal at a $299 BIN price, so I bit the bullet and picked it up.


Happy Accident.

Of course, the leftover case then needed to be used for something. My initial thought was to just build another DateJust. I already had a spare linen dial (which had been sent to the sidelines when I found my silver roman dial) and the engine turned bezel, so another DateJust would have been easy. Although KBH would say you can never have too many DateJusts, one was certainly enough for me, so I likely would have just sold it off at some point.

So what to do instead? Well, shortly thereafter I read LHOOQ's 1016 thread suggesting the 16014 case would be good alternative for a 1016 Explorer build, so that became project #2. You can read about that one here.

While I was gathering parts for the 1016, I ran into a couple of challenges which delayed things. Finding a dial, and dealing with the MD2020 debacle (he still had the 2846 I intended to use ... and my money!) had things on hold for a bit. Of course during this time, I was still minding my own business and reading the various boards ... when the perfect storm hit.

More Happy Accident(s).

During my leisure time on the boards, I had been following Whoopy's dial project, and also HH's vintage Rolex case project. I love how some of our members take on these product development projects for our benefit. I have neither the time, nor the knowledge to do it myself, so I'm amazed at their dedication and effort. I had already made the decision to buy one of Whoopy's 1016 dials and was waiting to get that order done. I was disappointed when it looked like HH's case project was dead and the few cases he managed to get completed were gone. Then another member posted that HH might still have a case or two left, and I got lucky enough to pick up one of his last. Since Whoopy also happened to be making 5514 dials in his run, after a quick additional purchase, another project was born! I've always said, "when the perfect storm hits, just ride the wave."

Collecting the rest of the parts for this one was fairly easy. Denimhead had an old MBK 91350 hollow link bracelet for sale, and Omega had a gen 5513 insert. I found a gen Tropic 19 on eBay at a great price, and went back to another eBay seller I had bought from previously to score a donor watch with an ETA 2846. After initially finding a gen 703 crown/tube, I changed directions and got Athaya's 702 crown/tube combination which fit the HH case without retapping and was a bit more period correct.

Based on a couple of reviews I had seen, I decided to try out a couple of new people for the labor on this one. Droptopman had highly recommended Cwazy over at RWI for vintage Rolex lume, so Whoopy's dial and TC's 16610 hands went that direction. Misiekped was recommended for servicing the movement, so after the dial came back all the parts went to him for the service and final assembly.


Naively, I thought this was going to be an easy build, based on all the research I had done during the parts gathering process. But, of course, several small glitches occurred during the build. Appears the HH bezel washer can be a bit "finicky" during assembly. Thanks to Akira and Dbane883 for the guidance there. Once again, it's great to have forum members that are willing to help when you get stuck on something. I love that part of this hobby. Misiekped also reported that the Whoopy dial needed to be sanded down from 27.55mm to 27.34mm to fit the case, that there was a little bit of stray lume on the edge of one of the hands that needed to be cleaned up, and the movement ring that came with the case ended up not working out well with the 2846. I also sent the wrong endlinks with the 93150, so there was a slight delay in sorting that out. Best laid plans ... what can I say? Thankfully, Misiekped was great in working through everything that came up, and he also did a great job of refinishing the bracelet.

So now I present Happy Accident #2, aka my Rolex 5514.



The final build looked like this.

HH 5514 case
Athaya 702 Crown / Tube
Gen Tropic 19
Gen 5513 Insert
Gen caseback gasket
MBW Hollow Midlink 93150 Bracelet
WSO 580 endlinks
Whoopy 5514 Dial
TC 16610 Hands
Swiss ETA 2846-2 movement from donor watch
Star-Time RP23-1675SW Springbars

Thanks again to all that helped. HH, Whoopy, Athaya for the custom parts, Akira and Dbane for the knowledge on the bezel, Netniet, Lionsandtigers, Dbane and Ubi for their inspirational builds, and Droptopman for pointing me to Cwazy. I've probably missed someone, so thank you too ... :)


More pictures will be forthcoming, but for now, here are a few from Misiekped that were taken during the build.












And yes, there was a Happy Accident #3 already in the pipeline, a Daytona 6265 was next up, but another Happy Accident changed those plans. More on that one later .... :)

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T, she is a stunner.  Funny I just received my 5513 yesterday and will post up the build shortly.  Your pictures are much better than mine.  I think we discussed this before, but we do have similar tastes for vintage Rolex builds.  Awesome build man, just a beautiful time piece.  Enjoy and Merry Christmas.  

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A few more quick shots:













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Great looking build Tomhorn.

Happy accidents can be expensive but I'd rather spend money picking up an HH case or a Rolli dial or some of the other great pieces made by members of the community than the latest version of the AP Diver or whatever.

Not that we all haven't done that as well.

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Well done, Tom. All that is needed now is some 'natural' wear & patina.

Many years ago, I had a similar 'happy accident' that lit my path on the road to frankens & gens. I came across a TZ post from a guy who had an unused 3035 he received from Rolex as part of a display his company was contracted to make for them. In the end, the display never got used & he did not need/want the movement. For some reason, the post completely missed the attentions of most TZ readers (especially, those who would instantly appreciate the value of a NOS 3035), so I was able to pick it up for a song. This led to my putting together my 1st franken-gen (a 100% gen watch assembled out of gen parts from disparate sources). And the rest, as they say, is history.



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