I have this tiny old watch, maybe if I can fix it, we'll have another morning Walk With Seiko

Dec 31, 2020,10:43 AM

I think it entered our lives about the time I expanded my watch repair facility from this modest home setup ...

to insane craziness by buying out my friend Ken's watch business, benches, parts and tools. That was in 2009 I think.

After a few months of sorting, buying tackle boxes by the dozens, cleaning and studying, I got organized.

But as we all should know by now, having lots of equipment doesn't make you a good golfer, fast driver, or great singer. Nor did it turn me into a professional watchmaker.  
Eventually I donated all this gear to the West Coast Clock and Watch Museum and settled down to only changing straps with my Camille Fournet setup:

No, I am kidding. I kept a fair amount of equipment to do my own work, but haven't needed to fix much for the last 3-4 years. 
So when it came to this non-functional tiny ladies watch, found in the bottom of a box, I was doubtful I could do it. 
I think this photo explains it adequately - wedding ring, watch, dime are seldom used to describe the same diameter.

Neither Tiger nor Mrs C thought I should bother. The movement was loose in the case, didn't run, and had no strap.

Picture from 2011. It obviously wanted to be fixed, because it's still around on the bench, never got lost, and when I shook it a bit, the red second hand moved a few degrees.

Since I was warmed up a bit by fixing lots of other watches for our walks,

both mechanical and quartz,

I reckoned, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained and set to work

investigating the Hi-Beat. I opened it up and everything seemed to be present inside (A Good Thing) and nothing was obviously broken. Dirty, yes a bit, but not bad.

I read up on this movement and learned that unlike others of that era, it can be hand-wound (not just shaken), it has a very efficient automatic winder (not Magic Lever), and an odd-ball quick-date-setting mechanism.

I didn't want to disassemble it unnecessarily so I just cleaned the outside at first. And it started running when wound. Yay. BTW, Hi-Beat for this watch is 28,800 (regular for the era was 18,000 or 21,600).

My wife wore the watch for an afternoon and it continued to run, but it was gaining about 10 minutes per hour. A bit too fast for me. 
A common cause of Too-Fast running is having coils of the balance spring stuck together, and/or magnetism.

Difficult to see deep down into the tiny space yet I was sure a spring coil was touching spring coil. So I pulled the balance using my #5 tweezers (sharper than needles). 

Sure enough, a couple turns were stuck together, so into the lighter fluid bath it went.

BTW - this is standard, old-school cleaning for delicate parts. We don't throw them into the big automatic parts washer, no.

After a bath, you set your bits into a small container of very fine sawdust. The solvent is absorbed by the sawdust, and as you agitate the part slightly the wood chips clean off the coils of the balance wheel, spring and jewel.

Then you pin down the balance and using a hand blower, gently blow away the remaining chips.

Then (as they say in the technical manual) assembly is the reverse of disassembly (only 10 times harder). I gave it a poke and it started running like a champ, and only a couple minutes a day off, even without regulation.

A bit of oil here and there, a thorough cleaning of the case, then a search for a gasket seal, 11mm strap, a tiny buckle and spring bars to suit ... and I was finished.

My bench is a mess!

Mrs. C was busy with a new crossword puzzle book, and couldn't work up too much enthusiasm, but I was jazzed.

If you want to see a real tear-down of this movement, you can go here for the blow-by-blow account (it's not me doing the teardown).

I'm just thrilled it works. What a great end of a dismal year; I'm happy to settle for small pleasures!


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Excellent venture and outcome 💪🏼

 By: ArmisE : December 31st, 2020-19:00
I enjoyed your play by play approach to this little watch, as well as the learning points provided along the way. Nice work.

Quite interesting post. Where you able.

 By: Ronald Held : January 1st, 2021-13:35
To regulate it better than minutes/day?

I haven’t checked it.

 By: cazalea : January 1st, 2021-14:39
Sorry, too busy frantically getting other Seikos running. Will check it later.