Just a quick introduction: My name is Olof, I am from Germany, collector of Swiss Timepieces of the 50ies - 70ies. I do own a Citizen bullhead Chrono and once had a Bellmatic, which I sold again. That said, I had not only heard about Grand Seiko, but also gotten curious. Last month I did another "vintage chronometer" search on ebay, and was stupid enough to fall for this one:
The text said it all:
Case has been rebuffed to remove scratches. Case Size : 36 mm (apprx)
Crown and Crystal replaced .
Bezel has been refabricated in stainless steel to match original. please note : a brass bush has been provided below the bezel to secure it firmly to case. ( brass bush not visible unless bezel is removed).
Dial has ageing patina and loss or paint due to use and age.
Does run . Timing accuracy plus or minus 2 minutes.
Date gets stuck on 24 and 25 dates only. May need some repair.
So I can't blame the seller. Some of You might recognize the text, as I am sure You do constantly monitor ebay... ;-)
The damage to the dial is obvious, the issues with the movement was not, but let's start with the case:
As You can see, it has not been "re-buffed" beyond hope. Visible is also the bezel, that comes quite close to the original, as far as I can tell from other pictures. I might be able to show more details later. The medaillon on the back is pretty worn out, but it is still there:
I have also sourced what I believe is the proper crown (the one mounted is signed "Seiko" and too big. The one I got now is also signed "Seiko", but has a "W" or probably a crown symbol on top of the lettering. Unfortunately the seal is completely dry and very hard, and the crown does barely fit over the barrel. I will probably have to replace it, but before that I will try to "soften" it.
The dial... I have sent it to a friend in Japan, to have it repainted by iishop.co.jp, here is an example of their work: http://www.iishop.co.jp/gs27748large.htm It seems they don't deal directly with foreigners, but let's hope that works out, my friend's wife is Japanese, and she has been in contact with them already. It doesn't cost more, than I would pay in Europe, and they seemingly have the proper print masters.
Now comes the ugly part. The movement was so dirty, it was hardly to believe. Scratches all over, also the date dial is pretty scratched (and has been repainted a bit). The balance wobbles quite a bit, a clear sign of heavy wear. But even that is not the worst part - the balance spring is not right. Bent, too "hard", an amplitude so low, You can almost not believe it is running at all. My watchmaker thinks - due to the way how it is mounted, and how it looks like - that this is another "home-brew" replacement by some backyard watchmaker in India. Just as he did "make" springs for the date mechanism (but it actually works). The watch did run upon arrival, in the specifications stated above, so I can not blame the seller. Anyways, I do need a new complete balance, knowing well that spare parts are scarce. After some research I found out, that the Seiko 5740A is practically the same movement - the balance bridge looks as if it could be directly used. I know it wouldn't be Chronometer anymore, but it is my best hope. A 5740A "donor" watches seem to be affordable, and I might even be able to use some other parts. Found one on sale in Germany, please keep fingers crossed (and withhold from bidding, in order to support my mission to restore this beauty! ;-)). That is - unless anyone else has a better idea (including scrapping it directly, I still wonder whether it will be worth the effort)!