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jimcon11

Winter 7922 / Reflections

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I thought I'd share this Tudor 7922 big crown build that I finally have near completion after a few months of messing around with cheaper builds. Added are some thoughts that might help others since this is a very uncommon build. 

 

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Specs:

Rubyswatch 6538 case                                 
ETA 2451 18000 bph, non hacking                
DIY movement ring from a silix case                                         
Athaya 8mm crown and tube                        
Vietnam 7922 gilt dial, aged by hologramet      
Jkhorological hands                                       
Default Vietnam plexi shaved ~1mm                              
Phong insert and pearl                                 
Tropic dive strap

 

total cost: ~$1400

 

Notes:

 

•Case

I've noticed that a lot of people advise that the dial is the most critical component of a rep and that you should start with the best available dial and go from there. I'd have to disagree and say that the case is the most important part. Before getting the Vietnam case I tried the HR and Silix, and both of them nearly put me off from wanting to continue wearing a vintage Sub. They're just too big in diameter and don't look right on the wrist. To me the early Submariners are basically regular sized watches from the era (read: SMALL by today's standards) but with an oversized case in order to make them super durable and functional for divers. It's a specific look. When you watch the early Bond movies, the 6538 does not look like a big, eye-catching watch. There are certainly some awesome looking HR and Silix builds, but to me the 1-2mm dial and case difference is a deal breaker. I'm probably in the minority here as I'm partial to smaller, vintage, particularly military watches. 

 

With that said, I think ability to accept gen parts is an even bigger factor. If you bother to wear a rep watch in the first place, you're probably attentive to detail, and over time you are going to want to improve your build. The cheaper cases are dead ends in that regard. Getting the Vietnam case opened my eyes, not only to how elegantly designed the early sub cases are, but to how easy it is to improve on this build with gen parts in the future. 

 

Regarding Rubyswatch, this case was not perfect. The finish is spectacular: chamfers on the lugs are excellent in my view, lug holes are perfect, caseback and bezel function smoothly, engravings look great, and everything is brushed or polished as it should be. There is a minor flaw in the way one of the lugs is cut on its inside edge, but I'm being very picky there. Unfortunately the crown and tube I got were very bad. They didn't screw together properly and I stripped the threads in about one day. The tube itself was bare inside with no gasket and the crown didn't fit snugly as it should. Worse, the tube hole drilled into the case itself is not straight, it inclines as it heads into the watch, so that when I installed the Athaya tube it was noticably drooping downward off the side of the watch and would never have aligned with a movement stem. Long story short, I managed to bend the Athaya tube upward, probably about 3°, to exit the case properly perpendicular to the "ground", and the crown functions as it should. 

 

Despite the trouble, I would recommend dealing with Rubyswatch, I'm sure she would have accepted a refund or gotten a replacement if I had asked. Just be prepared to do some work if you want to pay half of Phong's prices. 

 

As far as this build goes, from reading around (here and VRF) I determined that early Tudor 7922s from ~1956 were cased with 6538 cases where the 6538 is struck out on the caseback and replaced with 7922. The 7922 big crowns were perhaps all military issue watches (MN, USN, etc.) total numbering in the 1-200's. There is a lot of confusion because later on, ~1958, Tudor seems to have released small crown subs labeled 7922 and big crown subs labeled 7924. Interestingly, the later 7924 used its own case that looks slightly fatter and has more bull-nosed lug ends from the side (more like a 5513 or 7928). So repping the 7924 seems like a lot of work since no one makes that case.

 

I would need to fix the caseback and between the lug engravings to make this case totally accurate. I should also age it but so far I can't bring myself to do it.

 

 

•Movement

It was a pain in the ass to get this movement working after I lost the correct cannon pinion but the slow beat rate is something you immediately notice in the gen watches so it was worth the effort. Hopefully it won't cause trouble for a while. Originally from an interaktiv build so thanks to him. 

 

•Crown/tube

The Athaya stuff looks and feels awesome and was really a lifesaver as shown above

 

•Dial

These are really hard to find so thanks to hologramet, who I think did an excellent job aging this one. As far as accuracy goes, it doesn't make sense that a big crown would have a 100m dial, but sure enough you can find several examples of seemingly original big crown Tudors bearing the shallower depth rating. 

 

Perhaps not many people build crownguard-less Tudor subs because there is really no accurate dial. The Tudor script in particular is different on these compared to the more famous 7928, which all the rep dials do a great job mimicking. See the difference,

gen on top:

AGeujqo.png 

                  CUkahkr.jpg

 

 

The correct font is taller, thinner, and more calligraphic. They all look like that. It's subtle but a dead tell once you notice it. I realized this too late and just decided to go with the most expedient and nice-looking dial available, since not even Minh Quy seems to get it right. Let me know if you are aware of a more accurate dial... I may try to print one in the future. 

 

•Hands

JKhorological are the best cheap hands I think. The proportions are off but it's not clear to me if anyone does better, even for ridiculous prices. Are the Michael Young hands still available? Hands are important to me and I might have to spring for gen eventually if I can ever find them. 

 

•Crystal

The crystal coming with the case seems fine to me, although it was way too tall so I sanded it from the base. Maybe I need to go even a bit further? 

 

•Bezel

The teeth on the Vietnam bezel don't seem totally accurate but I'm just so happy they aren't the big ugly square Silix ones :clap2:

 

The Phong insert I got also isn't totally accurate, it should have a narrower triangle and the pearl should sit higher. I really haven't seen one exactly like this on a gen watch, but I love the early, no minute hashmark and rounded font look. Almost all of the gen 7922s I've seen have either the round font/red triangle/minute mark insert or the later squared font with serifs insert that was undoubtedly a service replacement. All three I've described can look really nice and it was a hard choice. I bleached this one for a couple min and I'm really happy with the result. No more [censored] gluing in crappy Silix inserts!!

 

Oh, and I definitely need to do something about the stock pearl!!. Not sure what yet as all my aging strategies would get washed off over time..

 

•Strap

I really like the tropic straps even though they didn't appear until the 60s somewhere. This will be an unpopular opinion but I don't understand using a leather strap on a dive watch, leather is not going to hold up around seawater. But I do have to admit that some of the brown and black ones can look really nice. I'll eventually get a 7206 from Yuki or ruby and deal with that, but this project has already broken the bank for now.

 

____________

 

Well that about covers it. Hopefully this was an interesting or helpful read for a few of you. I'd like to hear what you guys think; there are some incredible builds around here and I wish I had stumbled upon this forum sooner. I appreciate the knowledge base here that helped me with the build and hope I'm adding to it a bit. 

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Great build review mate ! 7922 builds are not common, yours is really nice for a moderate budget ;) Congrats !

Like you I started my Big Crown quest with Silix and HR builds, I managed to get good results but the Vietnam case was my turning point in this hobby. 

Except for the bezel teeth, this Ruby case seems similar to mine from Tonny. I understand your disappointement concerning the bezel, it's not inaccurate in my opinion, it just looks like the later ones used by Rolex. But as you say "no more crappy Silix bezel".

The bezel on the left is the original version, and the ones the right are the later version.

 

 

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Just add an Athaya pearl, they are far better. And start to save funds for a Vietnam 7206 and a gen Clasp, it will be the icing on the cake.

About the hands, are you sure the second is from JK ?

 

 

 

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Thanks guys!

 

Bart - Your 6538 build is probably what made me realize that I can get a very good result at a high but not astronomical price. Less than a Kingston at least, which is what I had my eye on before I found these forums. I actually got interested in dive watches from wearing a Benrus Mil-W plastic US Army watch for a number of years and then noticing the Benrus Type 1, which I think is an amazing looking watch but turned out to be too big for what I want to wear daily.

 

Thanks for the info on the bezel teeth, it makes me appreciate what I have a lot more. Looking closely on mine there are tiny irregularities on each tooth so that it almost seems hand-cut to me... which is just hard to fathom, that level of craftsmanship. I hope these guys have decent working conditions. 

 

And good eye, the second hand is not from JK. The tail on their seconds hands is too short so I went with this one, which I believe came from my Silix build. I have a nice trimmed HR big ball hand but it needs to be relumed and I haven't ventured into luming yet. Incidentally, probably 95% of 7922 and 7924 I've seen use a gold, big ball hand. 

 

I did not do too well on these hands, they're unevenly sanded and more silver looking than gold, and the lume isn't too convincing. But I don't want to bother with others until I can get a full 13mm minute hand and an hour hand with just a bit longer "trunk" portion below the ball. These seem like the most elusive parts of the 50s sub builds.

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I like that mate,I've been trying to find a nice 7922 dial , I've bought one but it's not as nice as that one,where did you find it?

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk

When I bought my case it came with 3 bezels,I used the original style one (it came with 2 of those) Im using the other on my budget (TC) big crown build ,
I also used an athaya crown and tube as the one that came on the case just looked a bit [censored] really db4b46c6e5b6732d4eff63d59a754867.jpgd559779123e12d99618cf09947bc239c.jpg

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk

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I like that mate,I've been trying to find a nice 7922 dial , I've bought one but it's not as nice as that one,where did you find it?

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk
 

When I bought my case it came with 3 bezels,I used the original style one (it came with 2 of those) Im using the other on my budget (TC) big crown build ,
I also used an athaya crown and tube as the one that came on the case just looked a bit [censored]

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk
 

 

Thanks, the dial was from hologramet, I think I noticed his fall ad a bit before you ;)

 

Your case is nice looking, I like the slightly fatter bezel teeth there. That crown looks gen too.

 

 

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The first picture is my Vietnam case,the second is the tiger concept v3 case with a silix brevet crown and a Vietnam bezel that I modded to fit

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk

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Awesome build! That dial and the rest mates perfectly...

 

please isolate the bezel insert with Kapton or some type pf masking

tape. Then take some Polywatch ans give that pearl some love. Jensens and Phongs pearls look like rotten yellow M’n’Ms.

 

Once again... Awesome!

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Awesome build! That dial and the rest mates perfectly...

 

please isolate the bezel insert with Kapton or some type pf masking

tape. Then take some Polywatch ans give that pearl some love. Jensens and Phongs pearls look like rotten yellow M’n’Ms.

 

Once again... Awesome!

Thanks Valentin, couldn't have done it without you:notworthy:

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It's not as nice as yours but this is my attempt with a decal dial and a tiger v3 case 60b1e9b53568c0e68f8c338289987757.jpg91ae663fbec6b01b46a0508041fe002c.jpg1c37055e22af29c13d14df3ab789490d.jpg

Sent from my Lenovo P2a42 using Tapatalk

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I've made some progress on this build so I thought I'd update the thread.

 

As nice as the Vietnam dial is for this watch, its typographic style resembles the later 1960s text in the 7928, which is subtly different from the earlier Submariners. The only thing to do is print your own dial, so that's what I did. The text on this one is lifted straight from a front-on pic of a gen dial. It's interesting to note that there's some variation in the text and especially the exact position of the two text blocks in different examples of the 7922 and 7924. 

 

After a while of looking at gens I realized that the text on the Tudor subs isn't negative relief gilt, it's printed-on gold ink. Similar to how some Rolex gilt dials have the depth or chronometer information printed on later, Tudor seems to have done this with all of the text, probably a cost saving measure. For my dial, I let the brass surface show through on the chapter ring and swiss text, and covered the middle area with a thin layer of gold paint. The result is pretty interesting; in some light the Tudor rose and calligraphic logo jumps out in bright gold, and at other angles the inner text disappears almost completely and the chapter ring shimmers instead. I'm really happy with that result. The lume on the other hand.. I need to get better.

 

I also replaced the hands with the closest things I could find to the 50s flat style hands. Still not perfect but much improved. 

 

I've saved many pics of gen 50s Tudor subs and about 75% of them are found with a later service bezel insert with serifs and hash marks, so I went with the awesome, recent fat font insert produced by slay. 

 

I'm pausing to enjoy it for a while now, but still in the works for this watch:

-Fleurier 390 movement

-dial gold electroplated rather than brass relief, with better lume work

-case engravings to make this a crossout 6538 case with the correct range serial number 

-gen Tudor hands, although this one is more like wishful thinking

 

Any other ideas? Thanks for looking, and thanks to  several people in particular who have really helped me with this project: @Bart Cordell @Alan72 @hologramet @JSebWC @slay

 

 

 

 

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Great Job man...it turned out awesome!!  I like how the lume looks on the dial .  You gotta be happy with that!!  HNY! 

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Amazing! You just keep evolving it.  Hope you find another project Because this is basically as good as it gets.

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You’re so close mate ! It’s really beautiful. Congrats and best wishes ;)

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Those flat hands put it over the top... well done!  :tu:

 

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I appreciate it guys! 

 

Valentin- I've seen Bart and Nanuq's watches... it can get better :shock:

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Looking at this watch.. something still wasn't right. I thought: I finally have hands that are the correct length and general proportions, but they nonetheless look off. I looked around at some gen flat hands, and what I noticed is how incredibly thin they are structurally. Compared to mine:

 

7ASS3.pngy7wRhhW.jpg🎳 

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Gen is on the left.

 

I knew what must be done.. The thought of trying to thin out tiny, delicate hands while somehow maintaining their perfect lines seemed like it would end in disaster, but I had to give it a shot. I started with the minute hand. After removing the lume, I simply held it by the post hole and scraped a #11 blade at about a 45° angle against the interior of the two columns that hold up the pointed tip. After about 20 passes of shaving off small bits of metal, making sure to remove material evenly from the entire interior of the lume plot, I stopped to check the work. Before long, I had nice, thin columns.

 

I thought: this is great, but surely the complex curves of the hour hand will be a different story. I noticed that just about everything on the hour hand needed trimming: the interior of the point, the whole ball of the Mercedes logo, and the rectangular plot at the bottom, which needed to be lengthened all the way to the post. I set to work, and soon realized that curves are even easier and more forgiving than straight lines. The hardest part was extending the bottom plot and keeping right angle corners square.. even the tiny tip of the #11 blade starts to round them out if you're the slightest bit imprecise. 

 

After about an hour of work on each hand, I was able to get a satisfying result:

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They aren't perfect, but overall, I was really surprised how easy and forgiving it is to alter these hands, and I'd recommend to anyone that they order some spares and give it a shot. It was a lot easier than luming my dial 😓. I'm sure that someone skilled with a rotary tool could get better results in less time. 

 

My big ball second hand was an unfortunate casualty in this experiment; it was just too thin and flimsy to work with after I've over-sanded it trying to get an even finish, and I mangled it trying to shave down the tip. So this was a two steps forward, one step back sort of endeavor, and my nice looking hour and minute have to endure being stationed with a crummy generic sweep second hand for now.

 

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WOW ! Great skill to make these hands closer to original. I want to try it, I have some spare hands, and perhaps a long HR minutes hands somewhere…

Sincerely your dial and hands look so legit to me. Congrats !

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What an effort, and what great results!! You've got crazy steady hands.

This kind of stuff is what makes RWG the place it is. Well done!

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Thanks guys. Honestly, I think you will find the shaping of the hands very easy. I can barely lume a dial and my attempts to cut lug chamfers have been disastrous. I didn't even use magnification doing this... there's a lot of room for improvement. The JK hour hand has the perfect outer dimensions, it's just too fat everywhere :icecream:

 

The hardest thing for me, besides lume, has been getting a deep, even bronze finish on the hand surface. I have a bad habit of working by lamp light and it totally masks the luster of the hands and convinces me they are uniformly the right tone, then in natural light I realize they are half polished and half dull, mottled between brass and almost silver color, and usually way too bright and shiny, overpowering the gilt dial. Most of the gen hands I've seen have a tone even with the chapter ring or are even darker/more tarnished. I found one method that kind of works, using ammonia fumes, but the effect was pretty uneven. Anyone know how to darken and dull the hands without them just going silvery and rusty looking?

 

I added this absurd early-style second hand after noticing a couple gen Tudors with them. It's a bit too long, and I don't think it was ever original, especially for the early military 7922s in the big crown case, but it looks hilarious to me and the little dot way out there helps to emphasize the low beat movement. A luminous second hand is now an ISO standard for dive watches, so I'm told, and it's funny how these early tool watches met all the modern standards but in such a stylized and barely-functional way, i.e. the Rolex way :snorkel:

 

 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 5:16 AM, jimcon11 said:

 

•Case

Before getting the Vietnam case I tried the HR and Silix, and both of them nearly put me off from wanting to continue wearing a vintage Sub. They're just too big in diameter and don't look right on the wrist. To me the early Submariners are basically regular sized watches from the era (read: SMALL by today's standards) but with an oversized case in order to make them super durable and functional for divers. It's a specific look. When you watch the early Bond movies, the 6538 does not look like a big, eye-catching watch. There are certainly some awesome looking HR and Silix builds, but to me the 1-2mm dial and case difference is a deal breaker. I'm probably in the minority here as I'm partial to smaller, vintage, particularly military watches. 

 

Very true!!!!  Back then a watch could have been sporty and elegant at the same time.  Especially the 6538 had a dual nature of being both a sports watch and a dress watch at the same time.  Most of todays watches are so big and bulky like the 1970's ones where you would need an arm sling to wear one.  That is just my opinion

On ‎1‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 5:16 AM, jimcon11 said:

 

•Case

I've noticed that a lot of people advise that the dial is the most critical component of a rep and that you should start with the best available dial and go from there. I'd have to disagree and say that the case is the most important part.

 

 

Totally agree!!!  Not much point having a genuine original dial and a case without lugs for example.  Sure the case is important.  You can buy a lot of genuine dials - even brand new.  Try getting a new genuine case either here on anywhere for that matter

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