(Originally blogged on 27th November 2017)
Fantastic Watch that put up a great fight!
This Seiko model I have wanted for a long time so when I finally saw one come up for sale in a lot of 3 non running watches I just had to purchase it. They took 3 weeks to arrive and it was an apprehensive wait as the photos were not that great so I could not really tell the condition of the dial. I can polish most cases well enough and I had already sourced a new crystal and an after market bracelet that was the same design as the original Seiko would have been judging from my Google image searches.
when the watch arrived I was pleasantly surprised. It appeared to be in good condition however the crown would not release to engage the day / date wheels or to change the time. Worryingly it had rusted in. I did not want to spray any releasing oil into this area because it could seep through onto the dial and ruin it. I had to manipulate with a screw driver and eventually pliers until I had managed to get the crown to the second position. With more persuasion I finally was able to press the release latch and the crown & stem were free enabling me to get to the movement.
What I found was good, movement looked in good condition and the rotor for the autowind had come loose so a quick tighten and a few turns of the mainspring and the watch fired back into life for probably the first time in years.
Now at this point I sound have just put back in and cleaned the case up but I decided to service the movement and that was when all the trouble started. Stripping the movement down to the mainplate was pretty straightforward with no surprises, cleaning was also a success the rebuild however was a different matter entirely and this is where I learned allot from some silly mistakes.
When I rebuild I always start with the motion side because this is the one that can have no error so I want to be sure it runs before adding the keyless works and the calendar parts. I fitted all the train wheels, escape and barrel. Installed the click and ratchet wheel and gave the mainspring half a turn to be sure all the wheels were in their respective pivots. All wheels spun as they should so great, on with the pallet & bridge then balance. The pallet on these 7019’s for me is a real pain, hard to get to sit in its pivot and line up with the escape however after a few tries it was installed and with a nudge with my tweezers the fork would move from one side to another. Good, lets get the balance in! Again the balance is a quite a task to get seated on these ones and it probably took a good 15 minutes of trialling before it was finally installed. Moved the balance wheel to start the watch and nothing! I could see the escape move and the balance moved as it should but what was stopping it? I puzzled this overnight and the next day decided to remove the balance and fork to take a closer look. This is where I made the biggest mistake, I took my eye off what I was doing and pulled the hairspring with my tweezers when trying to remove the balance. I ruined it!!! I then also found out that the pallet top pivot was broken or worn and although it was seated right is was too loose!
I managed to find spares of both parts in my stash and proceeded to install. Once seated right I tried again and this time the movement sprung into life! however when I turned it the other way up it stopped! I soon realised that on the dial side I had removed a jewelled cover that is for the train wheel pivots. bang head moment. I installed this and got much better results but it still would not work if turned the other way. To save an even longer story I ended up using another 7019 I had spare and building that one using the fork and balance I knew would work, in the end it fired up and worked how it should to my relief! I then had more issues with the hand installation where the second hand was too lose and would move on its own if shook. this took a long time to fix and ended up being some left over dirt that was still in the hole of the hand and in the cannon pinion!
I can now safely say that I know the in’s and out’s of a 7019A like the back of my hand!
End result though was worth the wait and hard work. total cost is unbelievably cheap for this watch, all 3 donors cost $20 combined of which all three should be salvageable, bracelet was a further $10 and the crystal only $4! So I would think the expense was only $20 but it has taken hours and hours to complete but then this is why I do it for the love of the restoration!