It belongs to Mike, and it was his late father’s watch. His dad was a soldier with quite a bit of active duty in the 70s and 80s. He died in 1982, and left this watch to Mike’s younger brother. Mike was left one of his father’s army issue watches.
In 1985, Mike’s mother wanted to have the two watches serviced, so she could give them to their sons as a christmas present and a memento to their father. Alas, the watches never made it to the watchmaker, as her house was burgled, and the two watches were taken.
For any watch, that would be the end of traceable history, but this one is made of tougher stuff.
Mike became a police officer, and, in 1999, so 14 years later, took part in a raid on a house where stolen goods were suspected. Mike stumbled across a box of stolen watches, and there were three Seiko World Time in there. The raid was a good 100 miles away from his mother’s hose, but something about one of the watches struck Mike. He checked with his mother, who happened to have a receipt from an earlier service. Hard to believe, but the serial numbers matched!
I imagine it’s not easy for a police officer to tell his sergeant that the watch actually belongs to his family, but after enough due process, the watch was finally handed back to the family.
This is not where the story ends, though! Mike’s three year old niece, whose mother has an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, thought she’d try it out on uncle’s watch to surprise him. That she managed, but the cleaning fluid (mostly water) did a fair amount of damage to the watch.
So it has found its way to me, as Mike wants to give it to his brother for his birthday.
This does not look good, and I wonder already if this movement is salvageable at all.
Ouch. That’s a lot of rust.
This is beyond repair.
As luck has it, I have an old 9400 donor movement lying around! Now the challenge will be to use some of the original parts of the movement, so we can preserve a bit of originality.
The balance has some rust damage on the pivots as well, but the hairspring is in surprisingly good condition. As that is really the heart of any movement, I will put the hairspring onto the donor balance.
Here we are – original hairspring on donor balance.
I take apart and clean the donor movement, and now it’s time to put it back together.
The bottom plate comes together.
Date ring in place.
I lightly grease the case where the world time ring goes in.
The case back gets a new gasket – only the auto winder missing.
The auto-winder gears are mounted, and I use one of the old, slightly rusty screws to fix it on – just as a little reminder.
Mike managed to find a replacement dial on eBay, and I had the spare hands to go along with it. The dial doesn’t look new, but I think it is just in the right condition for this watch.
There we are – back in business!
The watch now has a new dial, new hands, and a replacement movement. What’s original:
- the case
- the case back
- the movement ring
- the hairspring
- the balance cock
- one screw of the auto-winder assembly
- the barrel
- the crystal
It’s the best I can do, and I hope the watch will be passed on in the family!