An interesting refurbishment that came in near the end of last year was this Heuer 980.023 quartz powered 1,000m divers watch. The owner remembers buying it sometime in the early eighties and did many dives with it, he also said it holds a special place in his life story and as such he would like it running again. The watch has been used hard for its intended purpose and the owner didn’t want to take any of it’s history away by reluming or replacing the dial, he wanted it to be the watch he remembered wearing on his dives. Similarly we decided to replace the crystal but apart from a thorough clean of the case not to do anything further.
The rear of the watch is a solid lump with no embellishment beyond the model, material, depth rating and serial number.
Once inside and I realised the battery was still present I feared the worse. The watch is powered by an ESA 536.121 quartz movement but there were tell tale corrosion marks on the circuit board and it looked like it had some moisture in there in the past. A quick check of the circuit and coil showed both were dead so a new one would have to be found, not the easiest things to get hold of these days!
With the movement removed I could see the dial was in a very fragile state, fumes from when the cell dies tends to attack the printing and this was affected especially at the edges. It needed handling with kid gloves!
Behind the dial there was a lot more corrosion visble, some from battery fumes and some from moisture.
Still nothing was beyond salvage on the dial side so that was a plus point.
With the movement turned over circuit/coil assembly removed it was looking as bad as the dial side.
Quite a bit of corrosion probably due to moisture as opposed to the leaking cell.
Still, it was now time to put the parts through the cleaner.
Whilst that was going on I tackled the crystal.
It’s held in place with a locking ring, there’s a bit of a build up of grime under that bezel 🙂
One of the problems with these 1,000m Heuers is the lack of a suitable replacement crystal, originals have long since disappeared from the parts suppliers. Because of this and the fact the owner was no longer diving I decided to make a crystal of the correct depth and diameters. Although it has the wrong profile once installed it’s not noticeable. Two crystals of the correct depth and diameter were bought…..
…..and were glued together with glass adhesive and cured in the UV oven.
The finished result compared with the original.
And installed in the case – you’d never know!
With the parts cleaned and inspected the rebuild began.
The old circuitry was defunct so after a long search I managed to source a NOS one from Egypt 🙂
The train side is complete now….
….and with a battery fitted it springs into life.
The dial side was then assembled.
The battery fumes had affected the dial side quite vigorously with the result that the lume on the mercedes hour hand had cracked around its edge and was in danger of dropping out.
I tinted some lume and coated the back to strengthen it and fill in the gaps.
That looks better 🙂
The gently cleaned dial was then refitted along with the handset….
….and the movement was then recased.
With the bezel refitted the job was almost complete.
The owner wanted a period Heuer rubber strap for it but these are very difficult to source these days and I don’t think I’d like to trust my pride and joy to 35 year old rubber we decide to fit a black Isofrane as these were available as factory options back in the day. Below is a period catalogue picture of this very model on such a strap.
With the strap fitted the job was complete, another tool watch brought back from the dead and carrying evidence of its life. Beautiful 🙂