Hot-rodding a Seiko 62MAS revisited

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10 years ago, I bought a rather ratty Seiko 62MAS.  Its movement was tired, its hour markers pock-marked with black funk and its bezel insert pretty nice but with the odd nibble along its inner diameter.  In one sense perfect.  2010 was also pre-nutty inflation in vintage watch values so an amateur watch fettler could exercise a degree of latitude in deciding how to transform scruffy specimens into presentable but, crucially, wearable watches.

In 2011, I sent the dial, hands and bezel to be professionally relumed in the USA.  The dial returned with a conspicuous scratch and competently executed relume in a poorly chosen white.

I serviced the worn-out movement and replaced the insert (for reasons that now escape me) with an excellent after-market understudy.

I wore the watch for a little while until … I could tolerate the colour and texture of the lume no more and sent the dial, hands and insert off for a professional relume in the UK.  The dial returned with a second scratch but a much more period-correct colour of lume.

I was generally satisfied but the lume had been made up with a glossy binding agent and I did not like its shiny finish.

Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to replace the knackered original 6217A with a much better example.

I wore the watch for a little while until … I could tolerate the shiny lume no more and elected this time to perform a third, and hopefully final, relume myself.

Somehow, I managed to achieve a quality of colour and finish to lay to rest any concerns about the outward appearance of the watch.

But my fiddle stick could not resist executing another permutation to the engine room.  Out with the 6217A (to be put to good use elsewhere) and in with a hybrid hacking hot-rod motor, a 395/6218A/6217A Frankenstein.

While there was some enjoyment to be had in up-jeweling and up-speccing the movement, I had neglected to attend to the single biggest issue with these old 62 series movements:  their vulnerability to barrel arbor hole wear in the mainplate and barrel bridge.

Here we are in the Summer of 2020, ten years into my ownership of this watch and opportunity has knocked in providing a potential solution to the engine room conundrum.  A few months ago, I bought a ragged example of a Seikomatic 6216-9000.

The dial was irredeemably water-damaged but the movement looked very tidy.

And so I decided that the time had come to do what I should have done at the last iteration and install a movement with jeweled barrel arbor holes.

Ordinarily, I would be writing these accounts having done the deed and you, as reader, might be anticipating a tale of A to B, duckling to swan, rags to riches, with a plot line that includes a few twists and turns along the way.  This time, however, we join this journey at the start.

This post, therefore, provides an entry point to a series of YouTube videos charting the servicing, repair, conversion and eventually (hopefully) installation of a 39 jewel Grand Seiko wannabe Seikomatic 6216A into a humble 6217-8001 diver’s watch.  I have not yet decided how to co-ordinate the production of the video account of this project with any parallel account here, but it is likely that I may attempt to do that, either by updating this post or adding additional posts as inspiration allows.  Without further ado then, the first in this series can be found below.

Subsequent episodes should appear regularly, subject to unanticipated interruptions to progress and/or technical issues associated with the very real challenge of working on a watch movement whilst attempting to film the process in as un-obstructive way as possible.