Now I’m waiting on one more gasket and a hand setter. Those should arrive late this month.
Thanks to the wonders of the modern internet and the tireless work of archivists I’ve found all the gaskets I’ll be needing to complete the restoration thanks to.
This part list and these scans of their gasket coding system. Very cool indeed.
As promised, the next step is cosmetic restoration, which basically means a lot of polishing. The process was the same for every piece: apply a little diamond lapping paste, smooth it around the part and then have at it with a scrap of leather I cut from a bag strap that was way too long. The grades of the lapping paste go from 5 micron, down to 0.25 micron, between each grade the part is wiped down with a cloth and polishing direction was reversed at every grade change. You could do a figure 8 for every grade, but I find alternating up down / left right works just as well.
On the left here we have just a micro-mesh polish, and on the right the finished diamond paste polish.
As you can see I still have a little room for improvement on the lap, but really, it’s good enough for the kind of inspection it’ll be getting day to day. One thing lapping paste is bad at is removing bulk material and defects. The watch band was coming up poorly, so I hit it with a dremel buffing wheel with some 5 micron paste and it came out looking like garbage. Nothing but highlighted scratch marks and a mirror finish that looks like aluminium foil. I did however manage to get a uniform finish along the clasp, take note of the differences around the embossed text and the long sides.
Next on the list was repainting the bezel text. I bought some black nail polish for the task and had a few methods I wanted to explore. First up a fine skewer turned out not to be fine enough, neither was my smallest modelling brush. Figuring it was all too much work I coated the text with polish and hit it with a hair dryer to force it down to the bottom. Then I hit it with some 1500 grit micromesh and cleaned up any missing spots using a very fine hooked needle. The M has a shallow spot from being too aggressive with previous polishing, and the top of the R is in alarm is a little thin, but it all came out nicely. While I was here I also scraped out the old perished gasket.
Next I wanted to try my hand at glass polishing. My method was to apply some lapping paste to the some glass then rub the crystal around in a figure 8. I didn’t make it worse, but I didn’t make it much better either. The after picture is a bit deceiving.
Finally to finish everything off I hit the clasp up with some 1500 grit micro-mesh. This really hid all the surface scratches and now it looks pretty great. I think I’ll be coming back to it tho.
I also had some mail come in. I was incredibly confused at first as I definitely didn’t order this. It was in its original packaging, but the wife and I share an e-bay account so I figured she must have ordered it.
She said she didn’t tho, so I opened the packaging and took a look inside to find…
The new crystal I ordered! Which was great timing as far as this post in concerned.
But, now we’re in the long wait. I need to track down a full gasket set and wait for the hand setter to arrive before I start the clean and reassembly. Thanks for sticking with me so far!
I made some time today to work on the watch, and got further than I expected, so here we go.
Picking up where we left off it’s time to remove all the electronics. First to come off is the circuit block, 5 screws hold it in place and then it lifts off easily. Underneath I notice for the first time the movement designation, 7223A stamped on the Train Wheel bridge.
After that the battery guard gets removed and we find a tiny black rubber cushion for the crystal unit, the photo is a bit blurry, but it’s in the top right, under the notch. The coil block, a spring and the train wheel bridge comes off and we’re treated with a great look at wheels 3 through 6 The third wheel (right-most) is central on the face and a has a long shaft for what I think is the second hand to mount to.
Engaging with the Sixth wheel (left most) is the step rotor. This is what drives train and moves the hands. The bottom of it isn’t geared, but is a permanent magnet. By the geometry of the housing the step rotor has 2 precise positions it wants to rest in. Starting in the first rest position positive current is applied to the coil creating a magnetic field, which moves the rotor into alignment with the field. Current is halted, and the rotor sits in the second position. Then negative current is applied, we get a magnetic field that is inverse to the first, the rotor aligns, current is turned off, and it returns to the first rest position. The quartz crystal controls the timing of the applied current.
A few more parts are removed and it’s time to flip the watch back over. Nothing terribly exciting here, but we discover how the main stem movement works. The next photos are first, second and third position in order. The setting lever indexes the yoke which is sprung at the bottom of the watch, providing the positive snap you feel when moving the crown. The middle index is the furthest away, which moves the yoke forward, while the top index is closest, moving the yoke away from the movement of the crown, which explains the question I had about that movement in the last post.
Disassembling the main stem leaves us with a bare movement, and the disassembly is complete! Here’s how it’s all being stored, lovingly and carefully.
But really, what we’re all here for is the next photo, the money shot.
With this my parts catalogue is complete, and a lot of dirt and grime has been found. I’ve also found a (purportedly) new old stock crystal to replace my scratched up one with (but I’m still going to try and restore the damaged one with my lapping paste) and I’ve got a hand setter on the way.
Next, polishing and restoration of the case.
Finishing off the alarm mechanism.
First of all, thanks one of my readers for the tip on the brass tweezers. They’re just plain better than the ones I was using before, massive quality of life difference.
Short one this time, finishing off the first section of the manual. First off is a pair of springs that tension the unlocking wheels. I’m hoping to figure out why on reassembly. The next couple of photos show how they engage with their gears.
After that the upper and lower unlocking wheels come off, they both had interesting designs. On the rear of the upper wheel is a slotted copper plate and on the back of the lower wheel is built into the battery housing with the blue plastic layer being there to insulate the wheel train from the battery. I also think the entire plate rotates under the battery. I have a hunch that this odd setup of plates on wheels might be to run the alarm speaker.
Next the alarm stem mechanism needs to be removed. After taking off a few gears we’re given an excellent view of how we set the alarm. The next photos are the crown in first and second position, displaying how it engages the alarm sliding pinion to the alarm winding pinion. To the left of that would be the intermediate alarm setting wheel, which would engage the alarm setting wheel, which in turn moves the alarm indicator in the chapter ring.
Not removing the main stem yet, but taking a look at it I came across something I didn’t expect. The first position has the pinion in the middle, moving it to the second position moves it further right while the third position engages a linkage that moves the pinion in the opposite direction, moving the pinion itself along the shaft of the stem.
And here we are, we’re done on this side of the watch for now, next up page 7, the electronics.
The disassembly commences.
Back to the watch. The last couple weeks have been a bit hectic. Just started a new job and uni is back in, so finding time to work on the watch has been difficult. But I got a couple hours yesterday morning to begin the main disassembly, and a chance to try out my new head worn loupe.
The first thing that needed to come off was the hands, I don’t have a hand removal tool but didn’t want to stall out for another week while I order another tool so I pressed ahead and slowly worked the hands off their shafts using some fine tweezers. The second hand is incredibly tiny and delicate, and I’m not looking forward to putting them back on, but we have a great many concerns before that happens anyway.
After the hands we need to remove the alarm ring. the service manual shows that there’s a notch to help pry it off, after finding it and having at with a small screwdriver it came off easily.
Next the face, the service manual shows it just lifting off. A little pry gave too much resistance, and there’s no mention of anything else to do in the service manual but a little investigation turned up the locking mechanism. If you’ve ever built ikea furniture it seems to be the same tactic. There were two locking screws on the underside of the watch. Turning them so they line up with the pin they engage with released the face which came off easily afterwards. The top of the next picture shows the locking mechanism aligned with the pin, ready for removal. The back of the face is very dirty, and seems to have a manufacturers stamp on it. Hopefully I can preserve that when I go to clean it up.
The next few steps involve removing the day and date rings which involves removing a tiny circlip that was a pain in the ass (seen in the photo above on the main shaft), and removing our first screws. After that was lifting out the first few gears and mechanisms. There was nothing terribly interesting about that, but all the photos of the individual pieces can be found in the parts catalogue I’m keeping. The next 3 photos just show the the removal of some parts.
After that it was time to pack up and go to work. I’m keeping any screws and the components they go in in labelled zip-lock bags, and I’ve picked up another storage box for components. For those following along with the service manual we’re up to page 5 component 22, the unlocking wheel spring screw.
The Band, Early Polishing
Lets look at the band. I think it’s the original and like the watch itself self documenting. Not every link comes apart, just 3 or so on either side of the clasp. The links themselves are comprised of only 2 parts each, and there’s an arrow etched on the removable links to guide you. It’s apparently standard practice, but I’ve never looked before.
I’ve ordered a head worn loupe off e-bay and I’ll be picking up some MEK tomorrow so I can get started on the disassembly and clean, but before that I decided to give everything a good polish. I went a bit too far with the bezel and front case and I’ll be taking it back to a more brushed look later, but here’s everything you need to polish whatever you want: micromesh, water and time:
This is the same technique I use for pens. I start at the coarseness I feel it needs to remove the worst scratches and marks. Washing the part and pad often I polish to a uniform surface finish, then move on to a finer grit. The next two photos are after the first step, and then after the last.
It’s early in the piece for a polish, but I just really love polishing.
The first approach
My Parts Catalogue
The Technicians Manual
Our first step is band removal, and the first appearance of a specialised tool, the spring bar remover. Removing the top bar here reveals the level of dirt this watch started with on it, it was seriously gross. The watch band goes into an ultrasonic cleaner with some solution for 10 minutes and comes out sparkling, before I move on to cracking the case open I scrape off as much dirt as I can with a toothpick to avoid scratching the metal, then go at with alcohol, cotton buds and a lint free cloth. I don’t want any crud falling in when I open the case.
Next is opening the case, this isn’t mentioned in the manual I have, but a bit of research and it’s found to be a snap back, bringing in our second specialised tool, a case opener. Snap back watches have a recess somewhere to aid in opening, and a little searching with a loupe reveals us this dirt filled spot. Thankfully the case prised open quite easily and revealed to us our first gander the guts.
Now that it’s open I turned my eyes on to the case back. It’s actually 4 pieces total. The outer case, an inner case that holds the speaker and the battery access hatch. They’re also filthy and got a good clean in the ultrasonic bath, then a hand touch up.
To remove the movement from the main body of the watch we first need to remove the stems. In this watch the main stem controls setting the date in the first position, and setting time in the second. The second stem, first position turns the alarm on, and second position allows you to set the alarm, the current alarm is displayed on the chapter ring, it’s the big red section, the alarm status is displayed right where 12 o’clock would be, the little white oval you can see switches to a blue swatch when on, and a red when being set. It’s clever as hell and I can’t wait to see the mechanism.
Removing the stems turns out to be interesting, for the main stem you need to set it to the second position to reveal a push bar, push that with something very small and it’ll slip right out, in the photo this bar is the rounded bar with a divot located just under the main stem.
The second stem was a trickier find, as it’s not in the manual nor a common method as far as I know. It’s a tiny lever with an arrow carved out of it. Pull it in the direction it’s pointing and the stem is released.
This, and the back, are all that keep the movement in, so we can take that out and turn out attention to the top of the case. I knew the bezel came off, and imagined it would be pressed on, a quick inspection revealed a likely location on the inside of the case, a screwdriver and a twist later and it popped off easily. Next the glass was pushed out very gently and everything was given a good clean.
Finally, I saw in the manual a method to test the speaker, if its resistance is between 70 and 90 ohms then it’s in good working condition, thankfully mine is!
And this is the state of the watch after this post:
I returned the stems back to the movement so I could see how they interact as I take it apart, they’re going to need to come out at some time, but I hope it’s later.
Lastly, this is how I’m documenting:
I’m terrified that once it’s apart I won’t be able to get it back again, here’s hoping this helps that!
Last week at an antique fair I was struck by this Seiko 7223. After a first polish, buff and test I declared it the exact right amount of broken to pick up a new hobby.
The good news is that it runs. The bad news however, it loses about in a minute in 5, making it useless as a time keeping device,
the alarm function also doesn’t work and there’s a mark on the day ring on the number 5. There’s only one cure for it. Take it apart, service, and restore it.
This is the first watch I’ll be setting my hands on, so this is likely to be a slow and heavily catalogued process, my method will be along the lines of:
- Disassembly and part cataloguing
- Polish the case, bezel and band back to original condition
- Paint the text back on the bezel
- Resurface the glass face
- Clean and restore the movement and gear train
- Rebuild and hope for the best
Now I’ve been told that because of what type the glass is it probably won’t take a polish, but if the worst I do is not fix it then I’m exactly where I were. There’s some diamond lapping paste on the way for that, and I might experiment with some other methods, maybe a clear lacquer resurfacing.
At the end of it, if it also doesn’t keep time we’ll try a crystal replacement, if that doesn’t work, we’ll try to dial down to the component, and find a donor, or we may need to replace the entire movement.
We’re also not going in blind, the watch repair community is alive and well, and catalogued for us the original technical manual. It’s a bit of a dodgy scan, but it’s better than nothing.
All my tools arrived today, so we’re going to open it up tomorrow and see where I need to start.