Four years ago I spent the grand sum of £8.73 plus postage on a small carboard box filled with what the auction title (or rather the Google-translation) described as ‘mechanical wrist watch various junk’.
I had happened upon the auction whilst looking for Seiko 56-series movements from which to farm parts. This particular haul turned out to be something of a disappointment in failing to reap a single working example of the notorious day-date corrector wheel rocker from the half dozen or so examples of 56 series Lord Matic watches in various states of disassembly contained within. Clearly, someone else had had the same idea as me and had left me with carcasses picked clean of the anticipated treasures.
Nevertheless, in spite of its failure to yield what I’d hoped, by way of consolation, my box ‘o’ bits offered up plenty of other rewards, including: a couple of early Seikomatic movements, assorted watch cases, loose parts, movement/dial combinations from Seiko, Citizen, Ricoh, Griffin and others, one or two more or less complete watches, as well as a small but critical mass of very early Seiko Marvel and Crown movements, dials and cases.
The two items in question are both dials dating from the very earliest period of Seiko’s modern history as a watch company producing products wholly of its own design and construction. My plan is to take these two solitary items and, just as Michael Crichton’s anti-hero John Hammond created whole dinosaurs from fragmentary DNA samples, so it is my intention to assemble two complete watches that resemble as closely as possible the models to which these dials would originally have been fitted.
In the photo shown below, the dial on the left, seated temporarily in a wholly incompatible case, is from a Seiko Marvel dating from about 1956. The dial on the right is from a Seiko Crown dating from about 1960.
The transformation of these two forgotten remnants of a watchmaker’s parts bin into something approaching their former glories will form the basis of the following two entries. These two tales of reconstruction may be viewed independently (for that is how I intend to present them) or as an origin-of-the-species diptych providing the genetic code to which most of the projects described elsewhere in this blog owe their ancestry.