Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers

Subtitle

Forums

Post Reply
Forum Home > Bend it, Mend it - Mods & Wreckers > The WatchUseek Restoration Challenge Game thread... continued - A FREE 7A38 !

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9312

In the past I've been (and still am) a member of many other watch forums, worldwide. I still post on some of them when time allows.

One of them, naturally is WatchUseek - the world's largest watch forum. In fact, I've made a few odd posts on there fairly recently.

One post, which I made at the weekend was deliberately tongue in cheek and prompted a PM from the person I'd responded to.

My post read simply: Correct - in a matter of fact way, perhaps, Ray - but there's plenty of online support for Seiko 7Axx's elsewhere.


I was of course referring to this forum. 8)


February 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9312

I'm sure Ray won't mind me copying and pasting part of his first PM - it'll help explain the story. The rest I'll paraphrase and précis. ;)


7A38-7000 Repair or Free

Nice to see someone focused on 7Axx Seiko movement watches ....

Ray continued:

If you're in the US and interested, I'd love to send it to you and see how much you'd want to repair it. If it needs too much or you don't want to repair it you'd be more than welcome to just keep as it deserves better than sitting in the dead section of my watch cabinet.


Initially, I pointed Ray in the direction of Spencer Klein. As some of you may be aware, Spencer (who used to post regularly on SCWF as SpencerPK; nowadays on WristSushi as Seikoholic) turned his hobby into a job last year and became a professional watchsmith:

http://sites.google.com/site/kleinvintagewatchrepair/


But after I'd done that, I had a thought. Knowing Spencer is trying to make a living, he would charge accordingly. Note the model in the title of Ray's PM: 7A38-7000. Maybe fine investing some money on a stainless 7A38-7000, but what if it happened to be a gold-tone ?

He could end up spending more with Spencer, in parts and servicing costs, than the watch was worth. So I asked the question.


Ray replied that it was a two-tone. Of course there's no such thing as a two-tone 7A38-7000, so I asked if he could send me a photo of the watch on offer. To cut a long story short, turns out that it's actually a 7A38-7069 (fitted with the wrong case-back off a 7A38-7000).



 

But that wasn't the only photo which Ray included in that particular PM. There were also these two of the dial / movement:




Now I wouldn't say that I've got a photographic memory, but I have a very good memory for photographs ! 8)


As soon as I saw them, I recognised them instantly. I knew they came from a thread on WatchUseek - from the captions I'd given them when I'd saved them to my own photo folder in May 2009. It took me a matter of minutes to find that thread and Ray's post once again:


http://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/restoration-challenge-game-thread-261130-7.html#post1917911

The 7A38 should be a better project since it would be my first attempt at servicing a movement. The only question is, is it too much to bite off for someone who has never serviced a movement? Maybe the pics will help someone render an opinion... 

Pics of 7A38-7000 (The 3 photos being of a 7A38-7069 dial / movement.)


Here's Ray's previous post # 67 from higher up the page:

http://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/restoration-challenge-game-thread-261130-7.html#post1917777 

Okay no comments on using a H556-5029 as a project watch, so how about a 7A38-7000? I dug through my dead watch box and found it last night. This watch doesn't run. I put a fresh battery in it and can see the seconds counter trying to move. Chronograph functions perfectly. My guess is it needs a service.

 

I've looked at the service manual and the movement seems pretty simple. Is it simple enough for someone who has never worked on a movement to service (clean and lubricate)?

Interestingly the post at the bottom of page 7 was by none other than Lew Brown

Oooh..I don't think so. I've rebuilt many of those and they are not for the novice to attempt. That's a 15 jewel 98% mechanical movement and the gears & pivots are tiny. These are a bit too complicated the main plate has seven pivots to align and are very delicate. Sorry. :(


In another subsequent PM, Ray wrote:

 

Consider the watch a donation to your forum and run a contest or do whatever you want to figure out who should get it. Feel free to use the pics if you want. Let me know who is supposed to get the watch and where I need to send it. I'll include the user manual and warranty card. The way the band is now, it will only fit someone with a 7 1/8" wrist or so. I'll look and see if I can find some extra links for it. Given that I found the manual and warranty card my guess is I have some extra links somewhere.


Unfortunately he couldn't find any more spare adjustment links, :(


Ray and I have traded numerous other PM's since. The upshot is that he is no longer stipulating that it goes to an enthusiastic potential repairer / new owner in the USA. He's prepared to mail it Worldwide (using basic USPS First Class International - without additional insurance or tracking), but expects the recipient to share the cost of the postage. Personally If it was me, I'd pay all of it. :P


February 11, 2014 at 8:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9312

Here's my two ha'ppence worth:


1) This watch should go to an existing contributing forum member - one who already has 20 or more posts up the forum.

2) The person should be capable of fully completing the overhaul - not just taking the thing apart and leaving it in lots of pieces.

3) Once the watch is fully functional, should they decide not to keep it, Ray should be given first option (before putting it on eBay).

4) That whoever takes it on continues this thread with a fully documented account of their re-build efforts including plenty of photos

5) That the rebuild is completed by 28th December 2014 - the 5th anniversary of the date of the last post in the Watchuseek thread.


Any volunteers ? :lol:


February 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

nova
Member
Posts: 109

A functional overhaul with a new glass or a complete one with new dial and hands and parts to get a like NOS one :) ??

February 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Now this is interesting, and I volunteer, of course. I am not the most expert, but surely I have done a lot of tinkering with the 7Axx and 7Txx, and I have some spare parts here... but in the end, I'd like to keep it, of course.

February 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

donwatch
Member
Posts: 520

nova at February 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A functional overhaul with a new glass or a complete one with new dial and hands and parts to get a like NOS one :) ??

Does this require a proper case back ? and that dial looks funky---with new glass it will look much worse,  who ever gets it   Good Luck :/

February 11, 2014 at 10:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

donwatch
Member
Posts: 520

There is a donor watch on ebay in Italy # 111276328051 --The dial looks good on it-- BUT postage to The USA is $ 40.00

February 11, 2014 at 10:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9312

That's assuming my assessment of it in this thread, based on the eBay seller's photos, is correct, Don.

Besides, being a hotch-potch, that won't yield the correct case-back needed for the WUS project watch - it's a stainless 7A38-7060. :roll:

February 12, 2014 at 5:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Seiko7A38
Site Owner
Posts: 9312

donwatch at February 11, 2014 at 10:11 PM

nova at February 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A functional overhaul with a new glass or a complete one with new dial and hands and parts to get a like NOS one :) ??

Does this require a proper case back ? and that dial looks funky---with new glass it will look much worse,  who ever gets it   Good Luck :/


Personally I think it ought to be rebuilt with the existing water-damaged? dial. It's a mark of its heritage. A bit like my 7A38-7000 project.


February 12, 2014 at 5:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

I also think it should be kept as original as possible: case, dial, hands and band (the latter only if in wearable condition...) should stay. While I'd replace the glass, for obvious reasons, I would not swap the movement if not too damaged, but only replace the parts that are damaged with good working parts. It all depends on the real condition of the watch, without having it in front it's quite difficult to assess its condition from a couple of pictures.

February 12, 2014 at 8:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

nova
Member
Posts: 109

Ok,

an used original crystal with only a few light scratches should be used.

That provide the authentic look with a little bit wabi. :)

Looks like a project for George - He did already the mainbridge video documentation.

February 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

donwatch
Member
Posts: 520

Treat the watch as if it came off the street and into a watch repair shop. Treated as a family heirloom--lightly cleaned serviced and working properly. ?  With a better used crystal--But maybe that scrape was when grandpa fell out of the fishing boat. :D

February 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Thanks Andre, for saying this is a project fit for me, and for recalling the video. I hope it helped many of you who were struggling with this specific rebuilding step. I would eventually make videos of this restoration project, too, should I be the "chosen one"... :P 

February 12, 2014 at 11:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Hi all.

After a short wait, this morning I received the package from Ray with the watch. Had a lot to do today, so I am only now uploading the pictures I took this evening. Please be patient. :) As for the watch per se, it's not in such bad condition as the pictures posted above might suggest. It does have a rust problem though, even if not that much, and probably the time / seconds hand step rotor will need to be replaced, since one tip is rusty and probably broken.


Will update with pictures as soon as they are online.


February 20, 2014 at 2:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

So, here goes... this is what I received:



Fortunately the German Customs decided that the package was neither interesting, nor "dangerous", so they applied a green sticker and forwarded it without charging me any money...




A hand-written note was included for Custom purposes, just in case...




The small package contained what I was waiting for: The watch and papers (1 year warranty and the instruction manual):



February 21, 2014 at 4:21 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

The watch is in not such bad condition as expected, after all:




There are some scratches and dents on the glass, but nothing really "dramatic". I will eventually replace it when all the rest is done.




Even if discolored in some parts, the bezel has no major damage:




The band is in good condition, not overly stretched:



But it does show signs of use, with the typical discoloring of the gold plated inserts:




Even if the crown has seen "better days"...



The sides of the case are in overall good condition, without major scratches:



February 21, 2014 at 5:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Once I'd removed the 'wrong' case-back, I was presented with a rather clean movement. No signs of rust (as yet...)




The battery compartment is clean:



February 21, 2014 at 5:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Once I removed the movement from the case, the dial showed all its defects and flaws: the border is starting to flake in some places, and there is moisture damage on the smaller dials, as well as on the main dial surface. Damage is not so bad, though, so I am considering eventually to replace it, if I find one in pristine condition.




Some lume is also missing...



As I said before, the dial is starting to show some flaking damage. The lacquer used to protect it is starting to flake off pretty badly on some spots:




Turning the movement upside down, and removing the back-plate, something I was not hoping to see said "hello"... rust signs:



A close look shows that in fact this is not rust, but acid damage. An old battery had definitely leaked some acid, and got removed / replaced soon enough not to corrode everything, but still left some marks on the plate and circuit board:






I will have to test the circuit board to see if it really works, and will do so when I reassemble the movement, later on. I  still want to keep this watch as original as possible, swapping the least number of parts. The circuit board is giving me hope, since flipping it over, it's pretty clean:



Removing the circuit board from the movement, I noticed something strange: one coil was held in place by a screw that was not properly tightened down, as you can see here:



The green plastic  spacer is full of rust, but it is only debris that's coming from the movement, of course, and that has not affected the metal chonograph contacts:



February 24, 2014 at 4:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

Talking about rust, this is the condition of the switch lever actuator:



Rust-color stains are present almost everywhere:



Fortunately, the chronograph minute bridge appears to be clean:



The chronograph 5/100 second bridge is apparently ok, too:



But upon removing the chronograph minute bridge, some rust stain is present on the tip and teeth of the minute counting wheel:



The yoke lever, underneath the setting lever spring is stained, but intact:



The main plate, is still in good condition, but some acid staining is clearly visible:


February 24, 2014 at 5:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

garacs1
Member
Posts: 508

A closer look to the switch levers shows how bad the situation is, but I still think it is not unrecoverable:




The dial screws come off easily:



but the dial shows some rust on the underside:



The dial sheet is glued to the plate, and some force is needed to remove it:



Fortunately, the rust is only superficial:



The day / date mechanism is unaffected by rust, fortunately, and only presents the classical debris whch can be easily removed with a proper cleansing and some rodico.


February 24, 2014 at 6:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

You must login to post.