I thought I’d feature this 6105-8110 as it’s an example that actually worked for a living as opposed to being taken for an occasional swim or snorkel! It was bought in the 1970’s by the current owners father who was a professional deep sea diver back in those days. He wore it throughout his diving career and when he’d finished the watch dropped off the radar only to reappear in 2015 when his son was clearing out the garage. He contacted me to see if it could be resurrected as a reminder of his late dad. As you can see it’s had a hard life, the insert has faded to a lovely grey colour but that’s about the only positive I could see! The lume was grotty, the hands were ominously stained with rust and the seconds hand was floating about under the crystal. The movement couldn’t be turned by the crown, everything was locked up.
A peek at the caseback shows a production date of December 1974.
With the caseback removed there was quite a bit of corrosion evident inside, the oscillating weight had the characteristic green whale snot all over it – not the nicest type of corrosion to remove 🙂
A bit further into the movement and some tell tale signs of rust around the barrel arbor.
With the movement uncased I got my first decent look at the dial, it’s not great but it’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Note how the Seiko logo has corroded almost to black, this would be highly polished when new. I decided to leave it in place as the dials surface was too fragile to start trying to drill it out from behind and I actually quite like the fact it’s a reminder that this watch was used as designed.
The handset was toast, the plating was completely corroded so we decided to get an aftermarket set and relume them along with the dial and bezel pip so everything matched properly.
Before taking the dial off I dug out all the degraded lume compound ready for reluming later.
The strip down went reasonably smoothly from this point….
….until I got to here! It’s always a bad sign when wheels come off with the plates, it usually means the pivots are corroded and stuck in the jewels or bearings.
At least the movement came apart without shearing any screws so I was very thankful for that 🙂
It was now ready for it’s trip through my vari-Matic cleaner, coincidentally also from 1974 (although it’s an April one not December)!
Whilst the cleaning was taking place I turned my attention to the case. The springbars were rusted solid so had to be cut out and everything needed a good ultrasonic clean.
Whilst the movement was still in the cleaner and the case was in the ultrasonic bath I stripped the crown to replace the rock hard o-ring.
When I put these back together I dish the retaining washer with a suitable stake and anvil. This reduces the diameter slightly due to the dishing effect so I can fit it into the end of the crown and flatten it back out, this will spread it back out and grips it in place nicely.
A new crystal finishes the case work off, I didn’t refit the bezel yet as I needed to relume the pip when I do the handset and dial so it stayed off for the moment.
After inspection the reassembly started with the mainspring and carried on as per normal. A couple of the wheels and the centre wheel bottom bearing were replaced due to corrosion and wear.
The dial spacer was a bit degraded and had a split in it so a NOS one was fitted.
The dial was replaced and the lume work could now take place.
The bezel pip still had it’s little plastic window but the lume had gone from behind. The remnants of the old lume was cleaned out and some new compound added, again from behind.
The after market handset was stripped and lumed to match. I always find the red ‘stoplight’ on these is far too red anyway so it’s always a good idea to lume them to get them looking more period.
The movement was recased….
….and once the caseback was refitted the job was done. I absolutely love the finished look of this one, that faded bezel is fantastic! It’s great that the owner can now have a memento of his dad with him at all times. For me the fact that this watch worked for a living is the icing on the cake 🙂