Thursday, October 22, 2020

To Jim, from Dad & Mum - Christmas 1934


Broken and discarded, then found by Jim's grandson, this 1930s Swiss A.S. watch is now ready for a new lease of life. Without any doubt this was the most difficult restoration project so far. 

A. Schild S.A. was a watch movement maker operating from the 1890s through to the 1970s.

Adolph Schild began producing watch movements Grenchen, Solothurn after 1896. Schild produced many different movements and became one of the largest movement makers in Switzerland by the 1920s. Schild movements were used by many manufacturers in the 1950s through 1970s, including such familiar names as Harwood, Fortis, Enicar, and even Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The quartz crisis of the 1970s hit Schild especially hard, as inexpensive Japanese and quartz watches cut into the market for volume-produced three-handed watches. By 1979, in order to survive the Japanese onslaught, Schild merged with ETA.

What made this restoration painful is the fact that there was not a single component that was not either affected by rust, broken, out of shape or simply worn out. Thanks to two other AS554 donor movements, the end result was luckily a success.

Make sure to watch until the very end to see what's coming next!

Check it out here:

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Tough - yes, but not unbreakable


Omega Moonwatch plexiglass replacement - this is not a trivial repair. It requires specialist tools, removing the mechanism out of the case, removing the bezel and cracked plexiglass, case cleaning, and installation. Each set requires a very specific set of tools and parts are friction fit (press in fit). And lastly, the final step is a water pressure test. The whole exercise takes about 1 hour. Even the most experienced watchmakers do not take this job as a routine repair. The bad news is that recently our spare parts supplier informed us that a new price list for Omega parts is to be expected any day now. We used to charge $300 for parts, labour and GST inclusive. The bottom line is - be kind to your Moonwatch!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Rusty vintage Rolex: how to cure 'under the crystal' rust?


If you are into vintage Rolex submariners fitted with plexi glass (models 5513 and 1680) then you are well aware of a rather annoying problem-  rust visible 'through' plastic glass. This unsightly imperfection is actually too common; finding a perfect vintage Rolex submariner showing no sign of rust and pitting underneath the bezel is almost impossible. Pitting is a form of extremely localised galvanic corrosion that leads to the creation of small holes in the metal.

Actually, even the smallest amount of rust located directly underneath the crystal is perfectly visible, thanks to glass acting as a magnifying lens. The only way to get rid of the rust is to remove the bezel, bezel tension ring and then the plexiglass itself and clean all pitted surfaces.
Here is a photo of the middle case after rust removal. Unfortunately the pitted case is no longer waterproof.

The possible solution to restore water resistance would be to grind out pitted spots, fill in the cavity by laser welding and then re-grind the surface. However this intervention is a rather major undertaking and would only be done with the owners approval only.

For your enjoyment only


The story of Breitling began on 1884 when a 24 years old watchmaker Leon Breitling founded the small watch manufacturing workshop in Saint-Imier, Switzerland.

Leon Breitling specialised in the production of chronographsBy early 1930 Breitling had 40 different chronographs on offer.

In 1939 Breitling signed a large contract with the British Air ministry to make flight chronographs for the Royal Air Force. After WW2, Breitling was an official supplier to Douglas, KLM, BOAC, Lockheed, Air France and United Airlines.

To this day, Breitling chronographs are regarded as true pilot's watches known for their reliability and precision.

Featured in this video is the restoration of a 1953 Breitling Ref. 178 with 18K rose gold case and a Venus 170 mechanical column wheel chronograph. The previous restorer was unable to get the chronograph running and in desperation simply glued both pushers to the case, permanently disabling them. Cleaning the grim of the dial and deoxidising movement parts was a serious challenge. The entire restoration took 9 working days to complete. 

Video recorded and edited by Michael Johnston.

Watch it here: