Vintage Watch Restoration

From fabrication of parts to the case exterior and crystal

After looking for close to a year and not finding anything suitable I decided to take the chance and acquire one of the Vector copies from a China based E-Bay seller. These milling attachments have been both criticized and praised on horological forums with only a few people actually buying them and adapting them for their use. Luckily the opinion of the people who were using them was quite a bit more positive than the people who hadn’t actually seen one. I know, it’s the internet.

It did require some minor dressing around the front of the spindle where an unbroken edge was contacting the sleeve. I also gave the spindle a very light polish on both contact surfaces which was done in the universal chuck.

A set of cutters is on the way but in the meantime I’m concentrating on how to provide the power. Either a small motor attached via a bracket from the rear gusset or through a counter shaft.

Milling Attachment

Milling Attachment

If you can’t tell immediately , I did a fair bit of dressing on the casting as it was a fairly crude shell as it came. The grinding itself was good enough but the finish was crudely painted which hid a few warts on the cast.

Milling attachment

Milling attachment

I punched a zero mark where the lightly etched line was prior to re-finishing.

Milling attachment

Milling attachment

If the dedicated motor option is used it will be mounted on this side of the gusset. an L-bracket can be shaped to provide the proper tension for vertical or horizontal position.

Gruen Diamond Dial cal 460

Gruen Diamond Dial cal 460

Here’s one I picked up for a daily wear watch that’s on the bench along with about a half dozen others right now. It’s a cal 460ss bumper which are a very easy movement to work on and the cross hair dial and diamond shape indices are a nice combination. The dial has received a dip in tarnish remover to take off the heavy patina and what’s left is flaking¬† lacquer to be dealt with later. there’s also a bit of rust on one bridge screw but it’s localized as far as I can tell so it shouldn’t be a problem. Updates to come.

Gruen Diamond Dial cal 460

Gruen Diamond Dial cal 460 with crumbs.

Bezel with new reflector crystal and case polished

Bezel with new reflector crystal and case polished

Re-cased after first cleaning

Re-cased after first cleaning

Dealing with the rust on the hands is the biggest issue in this case since any significant removal of the metal will result in plating loss. New hands may have to be sourced to finish it off. What’s left is a simple overhaul of the movement which is in very good condition. The bracelet is in good enough condition to keep with the watch., so it’s on the wrist and being wear tested.

Farringdon H Waltham 7 jewel pocket watch.

Farringdon H Waltham 7 jewel pocket watch.

Well, the short answer is yes. Realistically speaking some might take longer than others though. If you have the skills to fabricate metal not much larger than a flea you could probably take on any project and achieve success. The Large Horology houses do this all the time.

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