This lovely Lemania HS9 came in as a non runner recently for a spot of fettling and a service. These models are known as the HS9 after the engraving on the caseback. HS stands for Hydrographic Supplies (or Services), a government organisation tasked with the procurement of timepieces (and other devices) for the Navy. The 9 is the number of the specification that this watch was made to meet which was a wrist chronograph. Specifications 1 to 8 included normal wristwatches, deck chronometers, pocket watches and so forth. So this model is made for the UK government for issue to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. This one is a silver dialled example but they did come issued with a white dial (with no luminous compound) for use on nuclear submarines and black dialed ones were issued to the RAF. These Lemania models were supplied to many armed forces the world over and are one of the nicest issued military watches in my opinion. It’s powered by the beautiful manual wind, 18,000bpm Lemania 15CHT movement. The dial has everything going for it, it’s Lemania signed with the company logo above, below that is the T – circle logo indicating the luminous compound is tritium based (rather than earlier radium), it has the broad arrow above the 6 denoting it was government property and it doesn’t have the long dash of luminous compound at the six o’clock marker which is sometimes seen. The crown isn’t the original but the style does suit the watch so it’s not too big a deal.
This Panerai Luminor Submersible ref PAM 243 came in recently for a service and I thought it would make a good subject to post about simply due to the fact that it uses the calibre OP III movement which is based on the venerable Valjoux 7750 chronograph.
Well 2016 is now behind us, thank goodness, it wasn’t a particularly good year on a personal level with accidents, deaths in the family and one thing and another. Unfortunately all this impacted quite severely on my ability to keep this blog updated on a regular basis. Having said that the work has been coming in thick and fast all year so I thought I’d show a little of what’s been across the bench to try and make up for the lack of updates.
I’ve seen quite a lot of vintage Seiko exotica on the bench last year including some early 6159-7000’s.
Hello everyone! To start with, apologies for the lack of updates over the past few months but it’s been very hectic here. I’ve been working seven days a week to try and keep on top of the work queue!
Anyway I thought I’d do a little informational post on something I see on a regular basis and that’s misaligned 6138/9 sweep hands. The bullhead pictured below came in for a movement service but as you can see the sweep hand consistently resets to the 1 second past position which means it’s been fitted incorrectly.
This Rolex Sea Dweller ref 16600 came in recently for a service and I thought I’d feature it as I love these particular watches, I’ve had one for many years and they are my favourite Rolex sports watch. I’ve had them, sold them, tried vintage Rolex (5513 & 16800) but have always returned to the ref 16600 – there’s just something about them! The one featured is an F from 2004, meaning the serial number starts with the letter F. The various letters denote years of manufacture and this is a handy way of dating your Rolex if your not sure how old it is, however Rolex now uses random serial numbers which just isn’t cricket 🙂
This quartz Heuer came in recently for a movement service. I see quite a few variants of these across the bench but rarely with a full glow dial, and rarely one in such cracking condition as this example. The rotating bezels on these usually are a lot more worn than this one is and dials can so easily become damaged by dead battery cells that have burst inside the watch. This one really is a rare survivor in such great condition! The dial is actually phosphorescent as opposed to lume and the advertising of the time marketed them as “Night diver” watches. The dial will glow for 10 minutes after a 10 second “charge” under a strong light. This model also came in a black case (980.031) and a ladies sized black case (980.030). Powered by the ESA 536.121 quartz movement, it makes it a rock solid reliable performer.
This lovely one button chronograph came in recently a little the worst for wear. The 5717-8990 is a 21 jewel, manual wind 18,000bph single button chronograph. The 5717 signifies the movement has a date complication, models of these without a date are powered by the 5719 movement. The 5719 and 5717’s were brought to market on the back of the 1964 summer olympic games in Tokyo where Seiko were the official timekeepers. The early ones had an olympic torch stamped or etched on the caseback, but later ones can be seen with the seahorse design or the standard horseshoe type. There are also versions with the Asian games torch and the Military anchor so there are quite a few variants to choose from.The chap who sent this in received the watch as an engagement present from his fiancée in 1965 and the watch had been worn for many years until the pusher was lost and he was told no spares were available for that model anymore. As is usual in these cases the watch was consigned to a drawer for many years until it eventually made its way to me. Superficially the watch isn’t in too bad a shape but obviously the chronograph start/stop/reset button is missing and the crystal’s rather scuffed.
I thought I’d feature this 1962 Grand Seiko that came in recently for a service because I’ve never seen another in stainless steel. As far as I’m aware these were never offered for sale to the public in stainless steel so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why they were manufactured, if you wanted one you had the choice of Gold or if you were lucky and had deep pockets Platinum. There are various theories about whether they were display pieces, working salesman samples or for purchase by Seiko employees. I guess we’ll never know for sure now but what a joy to actually work on one of these! It’s powered by the same calibre 3180, chronometer grade, low beat, 25 jewel movement as it’s precious metal cousins.
This charming Thermidor twin register chronograph came in for a service recently. What’s interesting about this watch is it’s powered by a Calibre 12 movement, the calibre 11 which preceded it was developed by the ‘Chronomatic’ partnership of Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and Dubois-Depraz in an attempt to be the first to the market with an automatic winding chronograph. The calibre 11 was revealed to the press on March 3 1969 in press conferences in NewYork and Geneva and was manufactured until about 1973. The calibre 12 was introduced in 1971 and was produced until 1980. The calibre 12 addressed a few of the issues that appeared with the calibre 11’s, modifications included using lighter jumper springs, a weaker mainspring to drive a redesigned date mechanism, some strengthening of various levers and hammers and a faster beat rate of 21,600 as opposed to the cal 11’s 19,800. This Thermidor cased example has a typically bright seventies style dial and handset design, and you can also see one of the cal 11/12’s more striking features, a 9 o’clock crown.
Hands up all you vintage Seiko dive watch enthusiasts who remember this one? I certainly do, when it appeared on ebay last year I was inundated with requests for information for the duration of the auction! Some people were a bit coy and showed me a few photographs saying they “had the chance of purchasing a 6159 diver that was in pieces”, others were more candid and said “this 6159’s on ebay, what do you think?” Looking at the picture below it actually looks quite reasonable, probably in need of a relume you may think.