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Unimportant '1655' FYI...


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I've have a cartel '1655' for a few years and it always struck me as being very well made with an interior case clamp groove, brass spacer, good bezel numbers, oem spec crystal neck and case tube threads, good lug hole centering, rounded case back bulge etc.  It came with a DG 3804 and above average dial and average foldoyster bracelet.  I drilled the lug holes out and that was as far as it went until a while back. 


Also have a Phong '1655' case and to be honest, there is not a whole lot of difference when comparing the two except the high $$ case has much better case back and lug letters/numbers...but not $1000+ better.

Where is this going?


I still have the rlx 1575 with a 'shortcut' GMT modification that is outlined in the sticky above this section.  I was going to put the shortcut GMT movement in the Phong case but on a whim I decided to try the shortcut GMT movement and oem spec dial in the cartel case. 


How did it go?

The movement fits perfectly with the oem spec dial, everything lines up except for one thing...the genspec dial is a hair too small in diameter.  I laid a dummy no foot 1655 'cartel spec' OD .4mm thick dial on the movement and tried it in the case.  Perfecto!  The stem centers in the case tube and everything fits precisely, no spacer needed.


What's next?

Probably cut the dial feet off the cartel dial, put it on the shortcut GMT movement, and put the watch together.  I'll save the Phong case for the complete in-spec 1575 GMT movement that took me 7+ years to find all the nos oem GMT parts...the dial spacer is the only used GMT part.

Then I'll have one for Go! and one for Show!  Ha!


The cartel case number is 3838448 but it probably does not matter because the next one off the line might have been different.

This might be what it is.  The key word being might.



Or this one, it has the same case back etc:




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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m in the middle of a 2 year long quest to build a 1655. I have everything now and the movement now doesn’t fit in my phong case lol the retainer grove needs to be teamed out a fraction of a MM to get it to fit. 
but I also have one of those cArtel cases and they are very good when massaged a bit. 

thanks for posting your findings. There is a lack of showing what people have done for builds these days to one cut cost and maintain accuracy.  

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"I’m in the middle of a 2 year long quest to build a 1655."


I started on mine in mid 2011 when I got the Phong case and a rlx 1575 in a trade with a member.  The movement had about half of the nos parts with it to make a GMT and it took 5 or 6 years to find the rest of the parts at a reasonable price.  By then I had basically lost interest and the project is still in a box.  When I got the case and movement in 2011 the rlx 1575 also had the 'shortcut' GMT conversion parts with it and this is where they came from.  I had another 1575 and put the shortcut parts in it to make a GMT after getting a genuine GMT canon pinion, hour wheel etc so the hands would not be jammed together.  When I discovered the shortcut movement would work in the cartel case using the cartel dial I started to finish it up.  It is not finished yet but getting close.  I need to clean and oil the balance and escape wheel jewels because the movement has been stored a while and then put the date wheel and 24H parts back on it.  I used all standard rlx 1575 parts except for the GMT CP, hour wheel and shortcut GMT parts.  The standard 1575 calendar spacer was also used in the shortcut GMT but a genuine spec GMT has to have the thicker calendar spacer because the oem 24H parts need more space under the dial.


"I have everything now and the movement now doesn’t fit in my phong case..."


A rlx 1575 GMT fits Ok in my Phong case.  

The shortcut 1575 GMT does not fit correctly in the Phong case...the movement is thinner because of the standard calendar spacer so the stem is not centered in the case tube.

The shortcut 1575GMT fits Ok in the cartel case, it had a DG 3804 to begin with.


After almost 10 years on this project...looking ahead and looking back, I may:

Stick a swisseta 2846 with a China 24H conversion in the cartel case and call it a day.  I have all the parts needed.  The jury is still out.

Finish the all genuine 1575GMT movement and put it in the Phong case for now.  Since a genuine rlx 1575GMT movement is now going for $3kUSD+/-  I doubt the Phong '1655' case with a genspec 1575GMT movement would sell for much more than that.  This means the Phong case may end up as a 'storage case' for the genspec GMT movement until the movement is sold or put in a genuine case.  Long shot on finding a genuine case.

Put the shortcut GMT movement in the Pong case or put the shortcut GMT mvt back to original and back in the 1603 case it came from, depending on the 'Jury decision'.


Lessons learned:

There is a huge difference between a Frankenstein 5512/13/1680 and a F-stein 1655 or 1675 if you do not already have a 1675GMT movement or GMT parts for conversion...probably $2kUSD+/- more, especially now with almost all rlx parts being cut off.

There is also a huge $$ difference between a Frankenstein 5512/13/1680 and the same case etc with a swisseta.  No one can tell the difference anyway.

A converted 1575GMT is exactly the same as an all genuine 1575GMT as long as genuine parts are used and none are left out.  There is no difference at all. 

Never saw a genuine 1655 that did not have a 'hack' movement.  Do not know if 'nohacks' exist in any '100% original' examples or not, I just never saw one.


Be Happy!  Wear a quartz watch.  Ha!   :yeah:  

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