I completed this unusual job (all will be revealed later) over a year ago and have been meaning to post about it ever since, stumbling across the photographs on my hard drive the other day means I’ve now finally got it done! The watch, a Panerai PAM90 was bought for the owner by his wife as a wedding present 11 years ago. It came brand new from a dealer and as such was box fresh! After the intervening years he found he wasn’t wearing the watch as much as he’d like to, so as it was a watch that would never be sold he set about giving it a little makeover. The watch arrived here for me to strip the case and return it to the owner then service the movement. Meanwhile the owner was planning something special with the case! 🙂
The first job for me was to strip the case so here’s a view of the caseback before I get going.
The movement is held in place with a couple of clamps.
Undo those, remove the crown guard, withdraw the stem and out she pops.
I removed the bezel and crystal and the parts photographed were the ones that were returned to the owner for further treatment.
This left me to get on with the servicing of the movement. The PAM90 is based on the venerable Valjoux 7750, although with the chronograph functionality removed. It looks a bit odd under the dial but the date corrector is unmistakably Valjoux 7750 so it doesn’t take long to realise what’s been modified.
Once I’d removed the date disk I could then undo the top plate ready for removal.
With the top plate off it’s looking a lot more 7750ish with the date driving wheel and keyless work on show.
With the motion work off you can see the driving wheel canon pinion next to the running seconds pinion.
With the up and down work removed there’s just the keyless work to go and this side is done. Again the keyless work is unmistakably 7750.
That was this side stripped, ready to be turned over.
With the train side uppermost you can see some big differences here between it and the 7750, all the lever work is missing for a start.
I removed the autowind bridge, a relatively simple affair.
After removing the ratchet wheel and upper crown wheel this left balance cock and the train bridge ready for removal
Once I’d removed those the train is now on display.
The parts were then put through the cleaner and inspected.
The rebuild started with the mainspring refitting into the barrel.
The jewels and caps were fitted to the balance and the hairspring checked for concentricity, centering and flatness.
With these out the way the rebuild started, beginning with the train.
The bridge, ratchet wheel and upper crown wheel were next.
The movement was then flipped to rebuild the keyless work.
This allowed me to wind some power into the barrel to get the rough timings done after the pallets and balance were refitted.
The autowind bottom plate and spacer were next to go back.
The movement was then flipped and the under dial work was replaced.
Then the calendar components then completed this side.
Turn the movement back over and fit the autowind components and it’s ready for the dial and hands.
Once these were fitted I had to wait for the case to be returned.
Once the case components arrived it all becomes clear what the owner had in mind!
The case had been off to Viljo Marrandi for some beautiful engraving work. This man is a master of his craft and has much longer waiting lists than even I do 🙂 There was also a new AR coated crystal in the package so that was fitted ready for the movement.
The movement was recased and the rotor fitted.
And I think you’ll agree the result is stunning, the watch has been transformed from one that didn’t get much wrist time to one that’s truly unique and will be worn a lot, the perfect update to a watch that will never be sold.