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Thread: Living with a Vintage Watch

  1. #1
    Master
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    Living with a Vintage Watch

    Iíll preface this post by saying there probably isnít much that is novel here for regular forum members. I'm a relative newcomer to the world of wrist watches and very new to vintage watches. I thought this might be of interest to someone like me who was thinking of trying out a vintage watch but had a few concerns.

    I currently own two vintage watches, a 1960ís Longines and a 1970ís Hamilton W10. I buy watches to wear but these two get worn in very different ways. The Longines I wear approximately 2-3 times per month for a few hours at a time. The Hamilton Iíve been wearing daily for the last three week and Iím going to focus on my experience with that watch.

    After a couple of days of wear I developed three concerns, lume, water resistance and damage to the crystal. I started to think about selling the watch - and I love the design and how it looks on my wrist - and replacing it with the reissue, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer. Here is how I learned to live with and even appreciate these differences from my more modern timepieces.




    Lume

    The W10ís lume markers are very faint and fade quickly but there is still a little bit of glow from the hands. At first I found this a little disconcerting. I was used to going to bed with a glowing dial visible on my bedside locker. But the reality is I rarely if ever check my watch in the middle of the night as Iím a heavy sleeper. I also noticed that once my eyes were night adapted, I could read the hands. In fact by early morning the remaining Tritium glow was about the same as SL. Also the lume has aged fantastically so Iíve gone from being worried to being a fan



    Water Resistance

    This was a bigger concern for me. I like a daily wearer that is a go anywhere watch. For me 50m WR was a minimum and 100M preferred. Itís hard to find the exact water resistance of the W10 but I assumed splash proof at best. Onnce again I have to look at the reality of my lifestyle. I rarely swim and despite my plans to take up sailing (thank you Covid) I donít spend any real time on water. I am one of those strange people who used to shower while wearing a watch, but it's a habit Iíd given up prior to buying this watch. I do wear the W10 on long walks including a few in the rain and it has been to the gym. It has performed remarkably well. The only time I was really concerned had less to do with liquid water and more to do with ice. I was preparing a few rounds of drinks and noticed that the dial fogged up. It cleared the next day. This has me worried but then I found a thread (which I canít find again) that said this is a common occurrence and no one to be worried about. Overall Iím very happy, Iíve a watch that I can wear doing manual labour, hiking, running, lifting weights and I only need to be careful when shaking a cocktail.



    Acrylic Crystal

    This was my first daily with an acrylic crystal. I have to say I love the look and the distortion and I think the acrylic makes the watch. However tragedy struck. One week in and I scraped the crystal. Not a deep gash, but I could notice it in certain lights. So Polywatch to the rescue. I bought a tube, watched a YouTube video and two minutes later the crystal was perfect.



    Overall Iím very happy and Iím going to be wearing the W10 in regular rotation. All it needed were a few minor changes in behaviour and attitude.

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    Water resistance, or lack of, is the biggest worry when wearing an old watch on a daily basis. That's the bad news, but the good news is that a sufficient degree of water resistance can be restored in the majority of cases. Crowns can be replaced or new seals fitted, caseback seals can be replaced and a leaking crystal can be replaced too. Acrylic crystals can sometimes shrink slightly with age and this will compromise water resistance.

    Let's be clear, if a watch is fogging up it's getting water in and needs attention, unlike grazed knees they don't heal up and fix themselves, I certainly don't advocate using a watch in this condition.

    As for the movement, a watch that lacks lubrication will incur wear at a faster rate and invariably it's the self-winding parts that suffer, closely followed by the mainspring barrel walls.

    Refinishing acrylic crystals isn`t difficult, I`ve detailed how to do it many times using fine grade wet and dry paper followed by metal polish and finally polywatch. A small hard rubber block and some 3000, 5000 and 7000 grit wet and dry paper, a tube of Autosol, a tube of polywatch, plus 20 minutes of your time is all that's needed.

    I wear vintage watches most days, they keep excellent time and don't leak because I`ve sorted them out, and once they're sorted they generally stay sorted for a good few years.
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 21st July 2021 at 14:56.

  3. #3
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Agree, if my watch was fogging up, I'd be getting it looked at right away!

  4. #4
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    If any of my Vintage watches were to fog up I would stop wearing them, pull the crown out and place in a dry warm environment until I could get it looked at.
    There is likely a problem with the gaskets, crown or crystal.
    It is not normal for a watch to fog up. Even with extreme changes in temperature.

  5. #5
    Master
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    Point taken. I'll keep an eye on the watch, but this has only happened twice, each time with a temperature change. Watch was bought from and serviced by someone I'm very confident in.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    You canít really expect any lume on a watch that old. Isnít it from 1973? Most of my G10s are completely dead or a few seconds at most if exposed to bright light and they are from 1980 to 1982.

    Regular servicing is important. I have sent four G10s down to Olivier this year and they have been completely striped, cleaned, lubricated, the modules tested and one was replaced with a NOS module as it was consuming the battery six times quicker than it should. I also had the crystals replaced on a few of them as Olivier has access to genuine CWC parts and it makes a hell of a difference to an old scratched crystal.

    Yours is manual wind, so should be even easier to look after.

    Great looking watch, just enjoy and donít compare it to modern day watches and I certainly wouldnít sell and replace with a modern reissue.

  7. #7
    Master
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    It is indeed from 1973. The fact it has any lume at all was a nice surprise for me.

  8. #8
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrudd View Post
    Point taken. I'll keep an eye on the watch, but this has only happened twice, each time with a temperature change. Watch was bought from and serviced by someone I'm very confident in.
    Sorry to piss on your fireworks but the fact that the watch is fogging up indicates a problem, it isn't a situation you should be accepting.

  9. #9
    Think of it as a vintage car or motorbike.

    Would you drive / ride it hundreds of miles down a motorway in the rain?

    I'd rather not to be honest. If I had a modern car I'd take that instead.

    And does it have air con and DAB radio and airbags and power steering ?

    Er, no. It has points and carburettors and crappy headlights.

    But it has style. And class. And it's cool. And it's rare. And it turns heads. And it's quirky and fun and isn't depreciating.


    I only wear vintage -- unless I'm swimming / fishing / doing something rough, then it's a quartz beater with a sapphire and no soul.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Think of it as a vintage car or motorbike.

    Would you drive / ride it hundreds of miles down a motorway in the rain?

    I'd rather not to be honest. If I had a modern car I'd take that instead.

    And does it have air con and DAB radio and airbags and power steering ?

    Er, no. It has points and carburettors and crappy headlights.

    But it has style. And class. And it's cool. And it's rare. And it turns heads. And it's quirky and fun and isn't depreciating.


    I only wear vintage -- unless I'm swimming / fishing / doing something rough, then it's a quartz beater with a sapphire and no soul.

    Bravo!

    Post of the Season.

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