Service: Zenith Respirator luxe calibre 2562PC

The serial gunkster has struck again – and pretty much covered this lovely Zenith watch. There is black sealant all over the watch, and it has even gotten between crystal and dial.

The dial particularly worries me – not sure if I can get it off from there …

The stuff is everywhere.

Before taking the movement out, I try to clean off as much of the sealant as I can, using a swab of kitchen towel with methylated spirit.

Having lifted out the movement, you can see how much of the stuff is everywhere.

Now I clean off the back of the dial.

Phew – that was lucky. I managed to clean the dial without damaging it.

Not so lucky with the date ring – the numbers come off with the sealant. But, I manage to find a new one, so not a problem.

The 2562PC movement beats at 28,800.

I take the movement apart and clean everything.

With a new mainspring, I put the movement back together.

Bottom plate with new date ring.

With the mainspring lightly wound, this is looking very good.

Ready for casing.

The date doesn’t quite align with the dial opening, and that is due to the new date ring. I don’t really want to modify the pawl, as that is a bit too final and non-reversible. I will check with my client and see what he wants me to do.


We decided to give the pawl a shot – here is the slightly shortened pawl. I have taken some material off the left side of it.

Not perfect, but better. There are limits to how much I can take off the pawl without impairing the function of the date change mechanism.

14 thoughts on “Service: Zenith Respirator luxe calibre 2562PC

  1. Great restoration! I have a similar Respirator and the gasket (gunker) is so brittle everytime I move it a piece breaks off. Would you have any idea where I can order a replacement square gasket – not looking forward to trying to make one myself!!

    Thanks! David

  2. Hi Christian,
    Thanks a lot for your blog!
    I am a hobby watchmaker in Sweden and got this beautiful Respirator Luxe on my hand.
    I need to change the stem, but the funny thing is, that I can´t get in to the case… What tool do you use to “lift off” the caseback ?
    Thanks !

      • Thanks a lot Christian!
        The pins are spring loaded, so I managed to firmly and carefully push the case downwards on the crystal-edges, out of the “lug-frame”. Strange system, but this is the heart of the “respirator” I guess…
        Thanks again!

  3. Hi Christian. I really enjoy reading your blogs and have watched your YouTube video of the Timegrapher with great interest. I am a self-taught restorer of vintage watches – lifelong hobbyist looking after my own collection, but now selling a few vintage online also. Until recently I have worked almost entirely on manual-wind movements, although possessing several automatic Zeniths, which in my opinion are fabulous watches. My father in law used to work for Zenith back in the 60s and early 70s, selling direct to jewellers throughout the U.K. I am proud to own some of his that he used to wear back then. This 2562PC movement you have serviced here interested me in that I have just purchased another Zenith Respirator with the very same movement. It is my understanding that when winding an automatic movement the mainspring is designed to slip within its barrel to prevent overwinding and possible damage while the rotor is continually topping up the wind. This particular watch winds tight, just like a manual wind movement, so I wonder if you can put any light on this. Do you think that a non-auto mainspring has been wrongly installed here, and if so should this be changed to avoid any damage to the watch? Otherwise the watch is a beauty! Hope you, or someone else is able to provide some advice here. Many thanks!

    • Yes, you are right. The mainspring just slips in the barrel when it’s fully wound. Winding an automatic watch by hand always needs a bit more force than a manual wind watch, as you also have to operate the reverser wheel(s) and parts of the auto winder gears. But if it feels too much, a service certainly won’t hurt. I doubt the watch has a manual mainspring fitted. It would slip anyway, as there is no hook in the barrel to catch it.

      • Thanks so much, Christian, for your prompt and helpful reply. Yes, it is tighter to wind than a manual-wind watch but definitely comes to a complete full stop where it won’t wind any further, just like a manual wind watch. I do have a spare movement and may see if the mainspring from this is in good condition, and if so give it a clean and replace in my latest Respirator. If that doesn’t work and I need to go the full service route I may come back to you if I am in any doubt it’s beyond my own capability. I’m sure at some point in the future I will use your services anyway and have already recommended you to others who have asked me to take on servicing and repair work. As an enthusiastic hobbyist I will only work on on my own watches, so it’s good to know about you and what you can do when people ask. Many thanks once again.

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    • Couldn’t agree more. Imagine the pleasure I felt when I discovered that stuff – invisible in the photographs, the description careful to be accurate, but not mentioning the gunk. Did the vendor know? Hmmm. Little I could do at that point. It’s now become a rather expensive lark – but the day was rescued by Watch Guy again. Nerves of steel, that man. This watch had been returned to me by another watchmaker too scared to touch it once he saw the gunk. Christian, thanks again so much for daring to attack where others feared to go. Now just need to find a crystal…. and so on…

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