Service and Case Replating: Zenith calibre 40-T

IMG_2250Whilst we are at case replatings, this great Zenith came from Anders in Norway. The case is badly damaged, the plating is gone in places, and it doesn’t look too good any more…
This is the worst bit of the case damage – let’s see what can do with it!

IMG_2254Now this looks rather good – the movement is in excellent condition!IMG_2255

But the amplitude is a bit feeble, so I will service the movement as well.IMG_2362

The parts are all in very good condition, and cleaned and ready for reassembly.IMG_2366

The movement is back together, and looking spectacular.IMG_2367

And this looks rather good, too!IMG_3415

As the luminous compound had come off the minute hand, I’ve relumed the hands with a “vintage” tone luminous compound, which comes pre-mixed from

The case looks like new again!IMG_3421

This is where the case was damaged – nothing to see here… The dent was in-filled, and then replated.


19 thoughts on “Service and Case Replating: Zenith calibre 40-T

  1. That was a lovely job. Do you do it professionally or as a hobby? If it is your job, how much would a restoration like that cost?

  2. Wow, the replating looks very nice. Also, how long does it take for you to disassemble and reassemble a typical hand-wound or automatic with date? I watched a Patek promotional video, and in it they say, “a skilled watchmaker will have to spend 5-8 hours reassembling a simple movement.” I’m just curious if this is a bit a stretch, or does it really take that long?

    • This varies quiet a lot. Taking apart is easy, and in about half an hour, you can take apart a day/date automatic movement. Then it’s off to the cleaning machine, which takes about 20 minutes.
      Once out of the cleaning machine, you have to put the parts into a clean container, and epilame treat the parts that need it, which is another 10 minutes or so.
      Then the case is taken apart (crystal, bezel, etc.) and put in the ultrasonic cleaner, with the help of a toothbrush and some elbow grease. Drying, inspecting, cleaning last bits off with pegwood, etc. another 20 minutes.
      Now comes the reassembly of the movement. If everything goes really really well, you can do that in about 2 hours. A lot of time is spent oiling under the microscope, checking if everything is ok, and fiddling a lot until everything runs just so and you are ready for adjusting on the timegrapher. On average, that turns out to be more like 3 hours, and on a bad day with a movement that has a lot wrong with it, you can easily spend 4 hours (adjusting pallet stones, reshaping hairsprings, etc.).
      Then it’s casing – pressing the crystal in, putting the dial and hands on, greasing gaskets, checking everything works, waterproof testing, and that can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour again.
      Once that’s done, it’s testing in the background, which isn’t too labour intensive as you only have to check once in a while and wind if necessary. On top of that is the paperwork. I write on average 15 emails or so per watch, with photos, invoicing, packing, running to the post office, chasing things up, ordering of spare parts, workshop maintenance, etc. so that when all is said and done, I can manage 2 automatic watches per day if everything goes really really well. On a bad day, it’s one. Alternatively, I can do about 1 chronograph movement in a day.

  3. Enjoy following your skilled work. Have been doing a bit at an extremely amateur level myself since opening the back of a vintage Buhre with a chisel to find a beautiful mechanical treasure inside. I would be interested to know the ages of the watches you work on.

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