A staple of many watch enthusiasts’ collections is the pick-up-and-go watch. The trusty quartz, ticking away in the watch box, oft neglected but waiting patiently for some attention. In the armory of classic Seiko dive watches of the 1970’s and 80’s sits the 7548, the middle market quartz equivalent of the 6309 automatic divers and, if we’re honest, a higher quality offering than the second generation 6309 sold from about 1985. Reflecting this higher tier status, the 7548’s generally cost a fair bit more than run of the mill slim case 6309’s of the same era, and in my searches I struggled to find one meeting the right balance of condition and price. Then in early 2010 I saw a 7548-700B on eBay, looking rather forlorn and described as ‘needing service, battery’. I took this to mean anything from ‘it needs a new movement’ to ‘it needs a service’ to ‘it needs a battery’ but it otherwise looked in decent nick and so worth a punt. £37 sealed the deal plus another £13 postage and about 10 days later I received it. Here are two of the seller’s photos:
The watch appeared generally in very sound condition, sporting plenty of scratches and a couple of dinks on the case and bezel, a clearly trashed insert, lots of crud but a beautiful dial with lovely honeyed markers and hands that while not in perfect condition, were perfectly serviceable. The first thing I did on receiving the watch was to replace the battery and much to my relief is sprang into life.
So, with an apparently healthy movement, all that was needed was the usual clean, case refinish, new insert and crystal and gaskets all round. While I had been waiting for the watch to arrive, I had found a decent, but not mint SKX009 insert, and had also bought a NOS 6309 crown from Cousins. The crystal I was to order after having received the watch and in the end I opted for a flat, AR coated sapphire, to keep it looking as original as possible.
Let’s begin then. Out with my Dad’s old penknife and off with the bezel:
Before moving on to the case, I decide to replace the crown, which looks a bit beaten up. First job is to separate the male and female parts of the stem (no sniggering at the back there), taking care not to lose the washer at the end of the spring:
In order to replace the crown, we now have to separate the male part of the stem from the crown itself. This requires a needle vice to secure the stem, whilst turning the crown anti-clockwise (Note: there are some who would advocate not using a needle vice for this operation as it risks damaging the operational part of the stem, suggesting instead that you hold the stem by the threaded part):
and we are finally ready to tackle the case. The first part of the exercise involves the use of pegwood sticks to remove most of the grime. Here we see the case, partly cleaned, with a goodish view of a significant ding on the lower right lug:
I’ll spare you the rest of that process, but it is rather time-consuming, tedious yet somehow therapeutic. Here’s the case post trauma, with a satin finish to the top, and a polished finish to the sides and back:
Right, now we are ready to reassemble. Or we would be if we had that crystal. After a 5 day wait for the rather excellent Hong Kong postal service to do its stuff, the crystal arrives and we are ready to continue. Here’s the refinished case, the chapter ring, gasket ring and crystal gasket:
So far, all that is required is finger pressure, but the crystal retaining ring needs a crystal press to get it back on: