Author Topic: Watches lovers  (Read 40107 times)

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Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2024, 05:45:52 pm »
Quote
Well...yes and no.

What I had in mind were scams like

- standard service is £600
- we can't service the watch if the ceramic case has a scratch on it (new case £1800)
- other service shops can't get some parts
- parts removed are not returned to you so you can't check if you were charged for replacing a good item
- no correspondence is entered into re the nature of the fault
- basically everyone there is a complete thicko who tells you nothing

The above is IWC UK but they basically all do it. The general idea is that a £600 service every year is what you are supposed to do.

Rolex are running a new scam now: you can't just buy one from a shop. You have to have a "relationship" with the shop i.e. buy other stuff beforehand. It is a way to prop up prices. Obviously there are ways around it but you just pay more. Rolex are not especially good watches either; they are just desirable "bling" items.

Most Swiss watches share a movement from ETA / Valjoux and most of the popular "chrono" mens ones in the few k - 10k range use the 7750, whose trade cost is roughly £200. It's all on google... But even PP (who mostly make their own movements - this is the "you never own a PP watch" advertisement) buy in many parts so the "own movement" debate is fuzzy, and we are now into 20k-100k sort of price range.

If I buy again it will be a solar Tissot, about £800. I just can't tell how well it works in the winter, with long sleeves worn.

You UNDERSTAND!!

Over the last 20 years the Swiss have figured out vertical integration.  There was a day I could send in a trashed Omega Constellation movt and get an exchange for $75!!  Then the Swiss figured out that service should not be a cost center, it should be a revenue center.

Swatch (owner of Omega and many brands like Breguet), Richemont (LeCoultre) and others OWN Bergeon, the gold standard tool source.  They bought this for their supplier records, but they also now control equipment pricing AND equipment requirements to be an authorized service center.  They have successfully reduced the number of authorized accounts who can order parts.  Parts are only available from the brand; they are no longer distributed to the traditional parts distributors.

Most watches, other than Rolex, are based upon ETA (Swatch) movements.  Just decorated and cased differently.  They do not even need to be adjusted to position after they leave Eta.

I like Rolex, they are a watchmaker's watch.  Meant to be torn down and reassembled and have the exact same performance; like a Swiss machine tool.  But, they have also followed the market.

Been to the Patek and Audemars factories.  Both have been quietly buying up parts for vintage/antique movts to avoid making them.  Omega even offered a vintage/new hybrid that mixed parts and people bought them at a higher price than the original vintage sold for! 

Can you blame the Swiss?  The other thing is that to the Swiss, cartel is not a bad word.  In fact it is valued.  Since WWI the industry has been a transparent collaboration between industry, banks and government.  Since 1930 they decided to have one manufacturer of escapements who supplied all the brands, there were 22 different standard sets.

Audemars has stated they want to service any and all repeaters ever made in Switz.  That tells you where new sales fit in.

I am not bitching; I did something similar in my business (cornered the market in my areas of specialization by having parts and mainsprings made for me exclusively).  I agree, competition is great; but for the "other " guy.  Not me.

Probably the biggest boondoggle is the widespread marketing of Tourbillions.  When you look at the performance of an out-of-the-box ETA 7750, there is no performance gain.  There WAS a time when it did add a gain.  And as a "tour de Forc"?  When it is all done by CAD/CNC?  There was a time when it was a true expression of human greatness.  But that was when an individual constructed it!

The Co-Axial is another one.  No gain for a lot of noise.  Daniels was a true expression and gain for HIS watches.  But now it is a doodad that is expensive to service ( I was trained and approved).

Do not get me wrong.  The Swiss treated me very well.  They invited me to "grad school" at the age of 55 when there was no gain for them.  But you need to meet them in their space.  I even enjoyed the societal structure and learned the history of why it is (was?) so rigid.

I laughed when the US "trade association" which was run by run of the mill watchmakers thought they could treat on equal terms with the likes of a Rolex or Swatch VP.  Now they all lost their accounts for which they sold out the rest of the trade.

And to buyers of new watches.  Bear in mind they may have sat in inventory for several years.  I would insist that it be torn down and serviced as a condition of sale unless the documents show it is under a year old.  The synthetic lubricants are rated for 5 years, and we were (I still do) to replace our bottles every year.  About $300; all to Bergeon of course (circle back to above).

Just remember, you already have the best timekeeper in your pocket.    A watch today is less functional in life than a Timex in the 1960s.  It is simply a piece of jewelry. And the industry is based on mass produced exclusivity.  So the piece you buy is just like all the others. 




« Last Edit: January 07, 2024, 05:49:45 pm by watchmaker »
Regards,

Dewey
 
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Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2024, 08:47:15 pm »
I like Swiss watches, Rolex, Omega, you name it, but I have very outdated opinion about paying xx,xxx $ on a watch. My opinion is that it is an affront to humanity. If you have that money to spend, you should rather feed or clothe a poor child. A 1000$, or even 100$ watch would do the same thing.
Again, don't mind me, I'm just a simple man...
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Offline G7PSK

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2024, 09:06:29 pm »
The swiss had to change their market strategy when the Japanese came into the industry. I was just starting in the watch world as they did this in a big way, a lot of people started coming into the shop asking for a quote on repairs and then leaving saying they would go and buy a new Japanese watch. Now you can get a radio controlled watch accurate to a second in a hundred years and it's almost cheaper to buy a new one than have the battery replaced professionally, in fact I have just got one that is solar powered, no bling but extremely functional and is not going to attract the Rolex razor gangs.
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2024, 11:52:27 pm »
Yes; the Swiss watch business almost went bust when quartz arrived, and they successfully reinvented themselves as lifestyle accessories etc. But this was decades ago.
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Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2024, 12:12:36 am »
I like Swiss watches, Rolex, Omega, you name it, but I have very outdated opinion about paying xx,xxx $ on a watch. My opinion is that it is an affront to humanity. If you have that money to spend, you should rather feed or clothe a poor child. A 1000$, or even 100$ watch would do the same thing.
Again, don't mind me, I'm just a simple man...

I agree.  If you want to see the pinnacle of conspicuous consumption, look up Gruebel Forsey.  That was another factory we visited.  In 2010 prices started at $150K.  The hook was that each watch was skeletonized and engraved.  And they really are; a loss rate of about 20% when we visited.  Then the kit is sent to a watchmaker who assembles and adjusted it.

Better than a mass produced Tourbillion, but still a piece of jewelry.  But as we said: "Thank the gods for crazy people".  They keep the industry afloat.

Here is a story of engineers who are considered today to be national heroes.  In the 80s and 90s, everyone was convinced mechanical watches were dead (except Rolex).  Many machines, tools and parts were destroyed.  A group of engineers decided to save the things required for the production of the Zenith El Primero chrono.  They built a secret room and bricked it over.

When Swatch (N. Hayack) decided to rebuild the industry (remember the Swatch craze of the 80s?) the discovery of the foresight of these engineers gained them national recognition.  Hayack put the small businesses that made parts and tooling back into business (they were literally selling their tooling for pennies; this was also when $1USD bought 1.5 CHF) and HE is recognized as the father of the rebirth.  When I was there, they still talked about this period in whispers as "the crisis".

But, he was ruthless in international business.  The biggest mistake he made was introducing China to production.  That is also the saving grace of independent watchmakers who use generic parts for service.  But Rolex among others will actually confiscate a watch that has such parts as counterfeit.

About the only business the Swiss kept from China was mainspring production.  When I visited the factory that made mine, accompanied by the obligatory bottle of wine, the owner was very gracious but denied my request to see their production.

This is also the period in which I tooled up.  Today it would cost a small fortune to replace my shop, if the stuff could be found.

At some point, I will tell you how the Swiss industry grew from a cottage based industry in 1875 to a juggernaut in the making by 1900.  And the report that enabled this which was literally a national secret until a couple decades ago.

You just cannot make this stuff up.

Regards,

Dewey
 

Offline quadtech

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2024, 06:17:43 am »

During COVID, I restored to working condition an Empire School Clock I had assembled in the early 1970's.  In order to adjust its escapement verge, I made a "beat meter" based on a MAX9814 breakout board (sound).  An LED and photodiode is another method, but I wanted something I could just lay a watch on or set on a clock case.  It also worked well with my electro-mechanical Timex watch.

I hope the attached files are self-explanatory.  Although my beat meter only measured the timing, one could probably extract intensity data from it.


Interesting project. There are open source timegraphers like tg -



IEEE spectrum had an article on an interesting mems watch movement -

https://spectrum.ieee.org/hybrid-smartwatch


 

Offline Tation

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2024, 01:14:10 pm »
I think it would be really nice to have here a sub-forum, or chat, or whatever, about horology. Although I think it will be mainly off-topic. But, as the Cooking chat, maybe it may fit as another chat, provided there is a minimum number or members interested on it.

I want to raise a general question. Do you think that the high and luxury brands are moving into the "I offer you a service, not a product" tactics? I mean, e.g. Omega asks you 550€ for servicing a non-chrono, non-precious quartz watch. Such watch can cost you, new, around 2000€. In other forums people reported Omega charging ~200€ for a battery replacement. I speak about Omega because I use to like them, but other brands do also rose its service costs...

And now a more "electronic" one. I do own a Kundo ATO electric pendulum, similar to this (image from eBay, the coil is fixed at the bottom, the pendulum is the curved rod thru it): https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/KvsAAOSw941kLoid/s-l1600.jpg

It uses a circuit with just 2 transistors to detect the instant the pendulum reaches some position and then kick it. The circuit is powered by a 1.5 alkaline C size cell. The problem is that, with a fresh cell, the pendulum edges reaches to hit the coil, thus causing noise and affecting rate. As the cell discharges, such effect disappears. Thus I planned to change the circuit by another one with some kind of amplitude control. Maybe switching to a 18650 Li cell will help maintaining a more constant voltage (with less energy inside, though). But then my mind started to wander wanting to introduce OPAMPS in the circuit, or even an MCU detecting the pendulum position and kicking it accordingly. But, having an MCU, why not measure ambient temperature and pressure to compensate for them? Or why not abandon the pendulum as the time reference and PLL it to the 32 kHz oscillator of the MCU?

So, do you think that all these ideas are abominations and I, better, keep things as they are, or these crazy ideas merit further development?

Regards.

 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2024, 02:47:35 pm »

So, do you think that all these ideas are abominations and I, better, keep things as they are, or these crazy ideas merit further development?


I wouldn’t change it, use Ni-Mh batteries to avoid the hitting of the pendulum ends. Or can you add a resistor or another coil series with the kick coil?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2024, 02:53:10 pm by Miti »
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Offline Tation

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2024, 04:18:53 pm »
I still don’t understand how it measures the amplitude.

The sound of the escapement is composed of 3 peaks (each tick or tock is composed of 3 sound pulses), related to some events occurring during the escapement action. The time interval Δt between the 1st and 3rd of these peaks is recorded by the timegrapher. This time is related to the so called "lift-angle" and to the amplitude of the swing. Knowing this angle and Δt it is possible to calculate the amplitude. When using a timegrapher you need to tell it the lift-angle of the escapement, usually 52º for the swiss lever escapement.

See here: https://adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.com/2023/09/23/lift-angle-seiko-business-a-8346a-and-bell-matic-4006a/
« Last Edit: January 08, 2024, 04:34:30 pm by Tation »
 
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Offline Tation

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2024, 04:47:46 pm »
A must read: https://www.amazon.com/Science-Clocks-Watches-L-Rawlings/dp/0950962139. Don't worry about Amazon's price, you can buy it directly from the British Horological Institute https://bhi.co.uk/about-us/bhi-products-and-books/ at 20 gbp + shipping.
 

Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2024, 05:26:24 pm »
I think it would be really nice to have here a sub-forum, or chat, or whatever, about horology. Although I think it will be mainly off-topic. But, as the Cooking chat, maybe it may fit as another chat, provided there is a minimum number or members interested on it.

I want to raise a general question. Do you think that the high and luxury brands are moving into the "I offer you a service, not a product" tactics? I mean, e.g. Omega asks you 550€ for servicing a non-chrono, non-precious quartz watch. Such watch can cost you, new, around 2000€. In other forums people reported Omega charging ~200€ for a battery replacement. I speak about Omega because I use to like them, but other brands do also rose its service costs...

And now a more "electronic" one. I do own a Kundo ATO electric pendulum, similar to this (image from eBay, the coil is fixed at the bottom, the pendulum is the curved rod thru it): https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/KvsAAOSw941kLoid/s-l1600.jpg

It uses a circuit with just 2 transistors to detect the instant the pendulum reaches some position and then kick it. The circuit is powered by a 1.5 alkaline C size cell. The problem is that, with a fresh cell, the pendulum edges reaches to hit the coil, thus causing noise and affecting rate. As the cell discharges, such effect disappears. Thus I planned to change the circuit by another one with some kind of amplitude control. Maybe switching to a 18650 Li cell will help maintaining a more constant voltage (with less energy inside, though). But then my mind started to wander wanting to introduce OPAMPS in the circuit, or even an MCU detecting the pendulum position and kicking it accordingly. But, having an MCU, why not measure ambient temperature and pressure to compensate for them? Or why not abandon the pendulum as the time reference and PLL it to the 32 kHz oscillator of the MCU?

So, do you think that all these ideas are abominations and I, better, keep things as they are, or these crazy ideas merit further development?

Regards.

Tation,

Absolutely you are just licensing a new watch.  They can confiscate it if you "mistreat" it by installing generic parts.  This started with trying to control the conversion of Rolex stainless bands into Rolex President bands in the 90s. 

And the inexorable closing of independent accounts and parts restrictions to the trade have that same effect. 

I tell people to inquire about the total cost of ownership by having it serviced through the brand network.  It looks very much like a subscription model.

As for the ATO, there is a forum at NAWCC.org specifically for electric clocks which I have ignored (you know my bias against quartz).

But, I think you are on the right track.  It is yours, these are not rare, and you can play with the voltage inputs without permanent alterations.  To me, it is no different than placing a diode in a solenoid wound electric clock to reduce the spark.

In both, it is the pendulum that controls the timekeeping and the electrics are there to provide the impulse to the pendulum to keep it oscillating.

There is a book specifically devoted to the theory of electric clocks by Hoopes I believe.  Gave away my copy.  The Rawlings is good.

Depending on what you want to know, some excellent books do a deep dive into the physics of the lever escapement.  And there is a host of books that were not published in English.  French and German readers have a real advantage regarding theory.

Look at https://www.booksimonin.ch/home.php
« Last Edit: January 08, 2024, 07:06:09 pm by watchmaker »
Regards,

Dewey
 

Offline peter-h

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2024, 07:41:49 pm »
I think most of the 3k-10k watches are in the 500-600 for a fixed price service.

The gotcha is what IWC did to me with the ceramic case.

I doubt Rolex would be allowed to confiscate a watch here in the UK. That would be theft. It would be different if it was a stolen watch, of course, but they would still not be able to "steal" it.
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Offline Tation

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2024, 08:28:33 pm »
In fact, as time passes, I find the "usually desirable" watches, more and more undesirable. Even, after years of using only mechanical watches, I'm now more interested in the quartz ones and, of them, the solar ones. Changed the Omega & JLC pages by those from Seiko & Citizen  :-//
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2024, 09:25:10 pm »
Interesting project. There are open source timegraphers like tg -

I’ve tried few IOS free apps, none works. The IPhone microphone is not sensitive enough to pick up the tick tock from a wrist watch.
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Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2024, 09:38:19 pm »
That Maxim amplifier I mentioned earlier worked fine with my Timex battery powered watch.  It's really quite sensitive.  I gave the whole thing to one of my granddaughters who is into science.  Here's how I wired it on the perf board.  I you decide to go that direction, I will put together a little package for you with more detailed information.  You will need a way to program the chip (or I could do that) and a 3-wire RS232-type of display like the highly overpriced Parallax 2X16 display.
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2024, 02:12:51 am »
That Maxim amplifier I mentioned earlier worked fine with my Timex battery powered watch.  It's really quite sensitive.  I gave the whole thing to one of my granddaughters who is into science.  Here's how I wired it on the perf board.  I you decide to go that direction, I will put together a little package for you with more detailed information.  You will need a way to program the chip (or I could do that) and a 3-wire RS232-type of display like the highly overpriced Parallax 2X16 display.

Thanks for the offer! I have Pickit3 and 4 to program PICs, I don’t need help with that. What does it measure? I assume is just the rate and beat error. Do you have a picture with the LCD?
I have an HP frequency counter that can measure period with GPSDO timebase, so together with the oscilloscope would be probably enough.
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Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2024, 11:23:10 am »
I searched and unfortunately don't have any pictures of the Parallax display or the device's output.  I had two of those displays from years ago.  One went with the beat meter to my daughter/granddaughter in 2021.  The other went in the trash last month when it stopped working. 

What my design did was report the time between beats.  The  MCU acts as a one-shot and captures the time.  The attached image is what it showed on an oscilloscope for my Timex wrist watch.  The device outputs 3 digits in BCD ASCII; although, the inherent timing of the MCU could be more precise.
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2024, 03:33:23 pm »
I have a seconds hand that lost its mounting barrel (not sure if this is the correct term) and I want to glue a piece of syringe needle. Do you think that my daughter’s UV clear nails gel is good as glue? It dries really hard and sticks well to metal but I’m not sure about long term reliability.

Cheers,
Miti
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Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2024, 03:50:05 pm »
I never thought of nail gel.  I just reach for my cyanoacrylate adhesive (CA, super glue).  It has the advantage of being available in a thin version that wicks well.  CA polymerization is base catalyzed.

The chemistry of nail gel is similar and UV cure is initiated by a "photosensitizer" (aka photo initiator): https://radtech.org/proceedings/2018/Applications/Pavlovic-Liz_UV-Nail-Gel.pdf

CA sticks to clean metal, particularly aluminum quite well.  Metal oxides are basic and that initiates polymerization.  Atmospheric water helps.

Bottom line: I have never used nail gel for an adhesive, but I suspect it will work.  My main reservation is its gel consistency which may restrict its flow into the tiny clearance between the needle and shaft.
 
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Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2024, 04:46:04 pm »
My issue with CA glue is working time. The UV gel stays liquid for minutes and once you expose it to UV from a UV flashlight, it hardens in seconds. It gives me the time to adjust the needle. I’m not sure about the heat resistance though, do I leave the watch in the sun for 10 minutes and it looses the seconds hand?
I also have a very good epoxy, Devcon HP 250, but it takes days to fully cure. Once cured though, it is super hard, almost as glass, and it can take 120C.
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Offline jpanhalt

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2024, 05:16:29 pm »
Again, I can't speak about nail gel, except for its similar chemistry.  CA's are not particularly heat stable (e.g., above 100°C +/- 20°).  That's both good and bad.  The good part is, they can be removed by heat.  I don't think the heat of sitting outside will cause decomposition.

An alternative that solves the working time issue is a LocTite anaerobic adhesive (i.e., threadlocker or for fixturing bearings). They are similar to CA's but only polymerize in the absence of oxygen.  They can be added to threads days or more before assembly. 

You can also "passivate" the metal with a little vinegar, let it dry, and that should delay polymerization or use a thicker version of CA. 

You didn't say what metals are involved.  Aluminium is very reactive; copper is almost non-reactive.  A use a piece of bare PCB with a small puddle of CA, and it stays liquid for hours.  If the hand is aluminum, it probably has a brass hub, which is not very reactive.  Attach it to to the shaft, get it adjusted, then add a micro dot of thin CA to fix it. 
 

Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2024, 12:01:51 am »
Is this a watch of value or a $100 quartz?  The former makes problems (see below), the latter means you likely can get a replacement hand from a material house.  Material houses are just as cranky as some EEs, so you may need to have watchmaker take care of it.

There are various ways the seconds hands has been mounted.

On older work (pre 1970 or so) the hand was riveted to the pipe with a flange under the hand to make it easy to remove with levers.

Later, they were just friction fitted onto the pipe and you had to use "D" tweezers to grab the pipe and pull it off.

Today, hands are generally one-use material.  They are made to self destruct to ensure the watch is serviced at a brand center.  These are serviced by unknowing at great risk; many learn the hard way they cannot get a replacement.

The correct way to replace the hand begins with turning a new pipe that will be a friction fit on the seconds wheel arbor pivot.

Gluing a substitute pipe means the seconds hand arbor pivot will be broken at the next service.
Regards,

Dewey
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2024, 04:31:21 pm »
It is a good quality Rolex Milgauss replica that I paid $40 CAD for. I used it for training as it came disassembled and not functional, movement in one box, hands in another box, band was scratched. I restored it nicely and, even though it has an automatic Chinese movement, it works very well. The only thing that’s missing is the seconds hand.
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Offline watchmaker

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #48 on: January 13, 2024, 08:20:48 pm »
It is a good quality Rolex Milgauss replica that I paid $40 CAD for. I used it for training as it came disassembled and not functional, movement in one box, hands in another box, band was scratched. I restored it nicely and, even though it has an automatic Chinese movement, it works very well. The only thing that’s missing is the seconds hand.

Ok.  I would suggest ordering via one of the houses's websites.  In Canada, Perrins is one house.  Cousins in the UK is reasonable even with shipping.  In the US Jules Borel in Kansas or Cas-Ker.  You may need to broach the hole to size but you should find a finish and style that look right.

You got much further than I ever did with quartz.  Congratulations!  YOu may get stuck with a hnad kit which I suspect is less than $20.  A set of hand broaches is very cheap, and you need the taper of the broach to make a hole that will be a good friction fit.  Seconds hand is not like a a chrono hand where it has to withstand the flyback, but you still want it to stay good enough.
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Dewey
 

Offline MitiTopic starter

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Re: Watches lovers
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2024, 02:37:38 am »
You may need to broach the hole to size but you should find a finish and style that look right.

That's exactly how I damaged this one, I broached it until the pipe came off. I don't know the story behind this watch but the hours and minutes hands were good fit, while the seconds hole was too small. It is a special thunder bolt like hand.

https://www.chrono24.ca/rolex/rolex-new-2023-milgauss-black-dial-116400gv--id27437815.htm
Fear does not stop death, it stops life.
 


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