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Thread: How easy it building a watch?!

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    How easy it building a watch?!

    I've become slightly obsessed with the thought of doing a scratch build.

    Basically a SKX007 style thing but to my own preference.

    Buuuuut i've got absolutely no experience of 'modding' other than a strap change here and a battery change there.

    I've been looking at the Namoki website as a source for the majority of parts, and I need to replace a few of my watch maintenance tools.

    It's not cheap though is it?

    For a NH36 based build i'm already at about £250 and i've not yet got a dial or a strap.


    Am I kidding myself that it can be done or should I bite the bullet and give it a go? or just get someone else to build it for me?!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    I've become slightly obsessed with the thought of doing a scratch build.

    Basically a SKX007 style thing but to my own preference.

    Buuuuut i've got absolutely no experience of 'modding' other than a strap change here and a battery change there.

    I've been looking at the Namoki website as a source for the majority of parts, and I need to replace a few of my watch maintenance tools.

    It's not cheap though is it?

    For a NH36 based build i'm already at about £250 and i've not yet got a dial or a strap.


    Am I kidding myself that it can be done or should I bite the bullet and give it a go? or just get someone else to build it for me?!

    I can offer absolutely no advice (!) but I am really interested in this idea so will be reading this thread with interest!

  3. #3
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    There are a few threads on this - but beware it's another rabbit hole...

    Inspired by this thread

    My first self build


    ...Here's one I tinkered with eventually looking like this...

    Franken MilSub : finished

    z
    Last edited by zelig; 13th August 2020 at 16:39.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelig View Post
    There are a few threads on this - but beware it's another rabbit hole...

    Inspired by this thread

    My first self build


    ...Here's one I tinkered with eventually looking like this...

    Franken MilSub : finished

    z
    Thanks for that it's great!

    Reading your write up it seems as if the servicing & taking to pieces is more difficult than the building from scratch and that that was just a case of putting a few parts together?!

    Which bouys my confidence somewhat.... which is worrying and probably expensive...

  5. #5
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    Thanks for that it's great!

    Reading your write up it seems as if the servicing & taking to pieces is more difficult than the building from scratch and that that was just a case of putting a few parts together?!

    Which bouys my confidence somewhat.... which is worrying and probably expensive...
    Itís definitely worth a go & very rewarding to assemble something unique.
    With the right tools, itís petty straightforward too.
    However, I would not attempt strip down & servicing... that would take much more time, patience and skill

    z

  6. #6
    Master Marco-T's Avatar
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    A build from scratch is lot's of fun, if you got the right tools.
    Expensive or cheap is relative, but depending on the wishes, you'll end up at around GBP300-400.

    Check list for a watch from scratch:
    - case
    - case back
    - case back gasket
    - crown
    - stem NH35/36
    - movement NH35/36
    - chapter ring
    - crystal
    - crystal gasket
    - bezel
    - bezel insert
    - bezel gasket
    - dial
    - hands
    - fatbars
    - strap

    Good reference for all items: https://www.seikomods.com/

    Other suspects:
    - DWL
    - AjuiceT
    - Dagaz
    - Yobokies
    - Monsterwatches
    - Namoki
    - One Second Closer
    - Rafflestime

  7. #7
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    Yeah I got a very similar list from Namoki

    https://www.namokimods.com/blogs/nam...u-need-exactly

    As you say prices up with dial & strap I was at about £300, which is a chunk to spend to then bodge it up :D

    Is it as simple as being careful and putting things together or is there 'more' to it?

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Master Marco-T's Avatar
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    A build from scratch definetly needs practice and "Just being carefull" won't do it.

    Also, tools are important...
    Pushing in a crystal into a fresh gasket with a cheap press from China is like having a 5 year old pushing a Landrover....
    Count in the price of required tools and divide this by the number of projects you'd like to build....

    So....

    If you're set on getting one unique build and don't have the skills and proper tools, have it done by someone else.
    If you're planning to continue this as a hobby, go for it and join club WIS

  9. #9
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    Definitely doable. I didn't know namokimods was doing cases until now. Crystaltimes was always the go-to for sapphire and was the first to start doing cases.
    Rather than discourage you I think it's a great idea. However, I will suggest that you practice first on a cheaper Seiko5 such as a used snk809. Swap the crystal to sapphire, swap or remove and replace the hands and dial and see how you fare.
    The reason I suggest starting with this is that the tolerances on the crystal means easier fitting and you'll find out whether you have an aptitude for it before spending loads out on parts.
    Tools for a Seiko 5:
    Rodico
    Small sticks...cocktail will do
    Tweezers
    Empty jam jar or parts tray and dome
    Good lighting
    Magnification
    Case vice
    Caseback wrench
    Presto hands removal tool
    Clear plastic bag to protect dial while removing hands
    Hand setting tools
    Cheap crystal press
    Maybe a movement holder
    Finger cots
    Dust puffer

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    Plenty of good advice here.

    Tools and patience are essential and practice makes perfect.

    Loads of tutorials and videos online as well.

    +1 for CrystalTimes - very impressed with the parts Iíve bought from them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys. Some great info.

    I guess from a tools points of view the 20-30 quid sets from Amazon aren't going to be any good?

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    Thanks guys. Some great info.

    I guess from a tools points of view the 20-30 quid sets from Amazon aren't going to be any good?

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    :D

    I get it I get it...

    So can anyone recommend a decent set of tools - not even specifically for building a watch - but even just for maintaining one?

    I've had one of the cheap kits from ebay before and they're not great in terms of things not snapping or falling to peices.


    But googling / searching seems to return the same kits sold at varying prices regardless of if you look at amazon / ebay or even some of the specialist websites.

    I'm not planning on spending hundreds on separates from Bergeon but appreciate the twenty quidders aren't the greatest either !

  14. #14
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    To be honest Iíve mostly bought tools as and when I need them, CousinsUK are a good source. Iíve bought things when things are on sale there as well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    George Daniels' book Watchmaking is really a DIY guide and gives pretty clear instructions on how to make a watch from scratch.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGent View Post
    To be honest Iíve mostly bought tools as and when I need them, CousinsUK are a good source. Iíve bought things when things are on sale there as well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    +1 on this.
    Started off with a cheap kit much like the OP. Then I bought things as needed and built up that way. Cousins is the go to but also some good quality things like a Robur crystal press would come up once in a while on eBay.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Master Webwatchmaker's Avatar
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    I've had this book over 20 years and I'm still on page 2.
    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier View Post
    George Daniels' book Watchmaking is really a DIY guide and gives pretty clear instructions on how to make a watch from scratch.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Sent from my SM-A105FN using TZ-UK mobile app

  18. #18
    Master
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    @Dan1981 I started a couple of months ago with bezel/crystal swaps. That escalated, it's good fun.

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenVrs View Post
    @Dan1981 I started a couple of months ago with bezel/crystal swaps. That escalated, it's good fun.

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk
    More or less exactly what I want to build too!

    Have you just gone for basic tools or have you splurged? Particularly for the crystal press?

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

  20. #20
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    More or less exactly what I want to build too!

    Have you just gone for basic tools or have you splurged? Particularly for the crystal press?

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
    Generally basic stuff, crystal press one of these. Think they're cheaper on AliExpress, but several weeks delivery.

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk

  21. #21
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    Hmmm I was thinking of giving this a go rather than jumping in feet first... But I'm still tempted to just go for it!

    https://shop.diywatch.club/

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan1981 View Post
    Hmmm I was thinking of giving this a go rather than jumping in feet first... But I'm still tempted to just go for it!

    https://shop.diywatch.club/

    Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk
    I'd just go for it. At least that way it's exactly what you want spec wise.

    I started with modifying one of the new Seiko 5 divers, but it's now totally from scratch and I've still got the 5 to tinker with.

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk

  23. #23
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenVrs View Post
    @Dan1981 I started a couple of months ago with bezel/crystal swaps. That escalated, it's good fun.

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk
    Mind me asking what the bezel insert is on that one?

    Iíve modded a SKX009 with a coin edge bezel and ceramic insert but Iíd rather one without a bezel pip stuck on:




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGent View Post
    Mind me asking what the bezel insert is on that one?

    Iíve modded a SKX009 with a coin edge bezel and ceramic insert but Iíd rather one without a bezel pip stuck on:




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    https://www.monsterwatches.eu/product/my-lumed-inserts/

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenVrs View Post
    https://www.monsterwatches.eu/product/my-lumed-inserts/

    Sent from my SM-G980F using Tapatalk
    Cheers!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  26. #26
    Master
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    Just watch a load of youtube videos.

    That is how i learnt to build computers, it helps a ton to see something done.

  27. #27
    Craftsman TheGent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    Just watch a load of youtube videos.

    That is how i learnt to build computers, it helps a ton to see something done.
    Yes - thereís so much content out there to help now, itís amazing really.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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