Sometimes, you buy a watch not because you like it particularly, but because you like something about it: a nice case perhaps, married to an ugly dial; or a fetching set of hands in something otherwise a bit ordinary; or a lovely dial in an ordinary case. A couple of years ago, I bought a gold-cased (plated) Seiko 6309-8019 in tatty condition but with the most wonderful sunburst gilt dial fitted with applied markers.
I tend to avoid gold cased watches, largely because I don’t much like them, but also because the cases themselves tend to age very poorly and in such a way that renders them immune to any attempt to freshen them up short of replating. But while I don’t like gold coloured watches I do have a bit of a thing for gilt dials in steel cases and so my plan with this one was to marry the dial with a suitable steel case, preferably something with a vintage Rolex Explorer vibe, smallish military style steel case and acrylic crystal.
An added bonus with this example was that it was not a Seiko 5 watch which meant the dial was unencumbered by the clunky ‘5’ sitting below the SEIKO logo. However, having bought it I soon realised my options were limited by the fact that the watch had its crown at 3 and not 4. You might think this shouldn’t present any great difficulties but the large majority of interesting Seiko 61** and 63** series watches have the crown at 4 making this dial unsuitable without resort to vandalism. Nevertheless, I’ve kept my eyes peeled over the intervening two years for that elusive crown-at-three case with a bit of something about it.
Finally, last month, I spotted something dead cheap from a seller on eBay UK and snapped it up. It claimed to be a Seiko 6309-7150, had a case very similar in style to my 6309-8019, but the model number advertised appeared not to belong to the watch I’d purchased. Here’s the seller’s photo from the eBay ad:
Looks promising but something fishy about it. With a bit of detective work, I discovered the seller had sourced it from a Philippines seller who appeared to have assembled it from a disparate selection of bits and pieces. With the watch separated into its key components we can see the extent to which this is a first class frankenwatch and a pukka botch job to boot: nothing to the right of the red line in the photo below belongs with that sitting to the left.
The model number imprinted on the case back belongs to one of these:
which is clearly not the same as the watch I have. With nothing much to go on then, I eventually stumbled upon the identity of my watch: a 6319-8000, usually fitted with a higher jewel count version of the 6309 and not a model I’ve come across before. This discovery meant that not only was the case back wrong, but so too was the movement and, as we discover below, the dial, hands, crown and crystal. So let’s look at that dial then:
First part of the dial code printed at the bottom reveals it to be intended for a 7009 movement and not a 6309. Turning the movement over, we see the absence of dial feet and the inevitable realisation that the dial has been glued to the movement.
As far as this project is concerned, this movement, dial and handset is garbage and likely only to be used for parts in the future, if at all. Looking at the case now, it is also clear that the crown is undersized:
and so the shopping list will have to include a new crown, stem and crystal to go with the parts sourced from the original watch shown in the first photo above. The case itself had been very poorly refinished and with the bezel off, we see a fair amount of filth and some corrosion hidden beneath
You can possibly also see that even the crystal has had to be shaved down to ‘fit’. On a brighter note though, we can lift our spirits by turning to the donor watch which is original, unmolested and in very decent condition internally:
To add a bit more faux milspec integrity, I’ve opted to replace the seconds hand with something with a bit more character and which references the celebrated 62mas dive watch (see here and here).
With all of the ingredients to hand, we can now proceed, starting with the movement disassembly,
before cleaning and refinishing the case
and the correct acrylic crystal
With the movement serviced, and with its dial/movement spacer in position
with the new crown fitted to the correctly trimmed stem. Turn over and survey the result
A couple on the wrist to appraise the new crystal
At this point, we have something rather nice, but the crystal, which is correct for the case, is a little low profile and I start to think a nice rounded acrylic dome might complete the story a little better. Fortunately, I had just the ticket stashed away and so with the movement out once more, the replacement acrylic defuzzed and fitted, the gaskets greased, we are done.
Excellent result, great match of case, hand-set and dial and a very wearable piece I am sure.
Terrific result Martin, once again. I like the final result very much and also i’m not keen on gold cases and not always on gilt dials but this one goes particularly well.
Bravo! That particular dial is a rare find! Beautiful.