Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > Bend it, Mend it - Mods & Wreckers > Easy fix of an eBay seller's 7A38-7270 ? Let's see.

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

Some of you may have seen this stainless 7A38-7270, which was listed, albeit very briefly, for a matter of a couple of hours as it transpired, by a UK eBay seller on Thursday evening of this week. (It was supposed to be a 10-day auction).

The watch appeared to be in lightly worn, well cared for condition. Here's just a couple of the eBay seller's photos to give you an idea:

The seller's description went as follows:

This is my own Seiko watch I've owned from new. It's in excellent used condition with only minor wear commensurate with age. The glass looks clear with no apparent scratches. The case measures approximately 37mm with a depth of 10mm.

I can't be exact but I think the watch dates from the late 1980s. I havn't worn it for many years now, but have just had a new battery fitted and the watch appears to be keeping perfect time.

On 15-Feb-18 at 19:50:52 GMT, seller added the following information:

On further examination of the watch, I have noticed that the large second hand arm which rotates on the stop watch function, although working correctly in use, does not reset after use into the 12 o'clock position. It resets into the 46 minute position as can be seen in the photos.

I didn't have any real expectations of winning the auction, so although I was the high bidder at only £34 at the time, but with nothing to lose, I sent the seller a message, in an attempt to help him sort out the errant sweep second hand. I explained that it was quite normal for a chrono' hand not to return to Zero after a battery change - and the simple process of resetting it. He wrote back saying:

5 minutes later the eBay Bid Cancellation Notice wafted into my email inbox:

Normally, I'm incensed when I receive one of these :mad: - as it often means some unscrupulous b*st*rd has made the seller an offer to end the listing early. In fact someone had tried to lowball him. I must have been feeling mellow, after a couple of glasses because I messaged him back, offering to take a look at it.

I sent him a couple of links to threads on this forum. He seemed suitably impressed and messaged me via the contact form, giving me his mobile number. I phoned him on Friday morning, asking him to further describe the symptoms, in an attempt to establish exactly what the problem was. It does indeed sound like a stuck pusher - although in his photos the 4 o'clock pusher doesn't appear particularly depressed. Worst case, it could be a seized switch actuator lever behind it, I guess. :/

Let's see - it's due to arrive by RMSD tomorrow morning. :)

February 18, 2018 at 4:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

The 7A38-7270 arrived safely this morning, just before 10:30 - showing the correct time, but with chronograph hands all awry.

The 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock pushers work O.K. - if a little sticky in operation. The 4 o'clock pusher is slightly depressed - and absolutely solid. It shows evidence of someone having possibly attempting to free it - tool-marks on the sides of the button:

In close-up there is a serrated scratch across the top of the button:

February 19, 2018 at 6:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

The bracelet was off 5 minutes later and is already soaking in neat Flash, prior to a session in the ultra-sonic bath. First thing is to concentate on the watch head.

Nice tidy case-back - thankfully devoid of tool-marks. 77xxxx serial number dates it's manufacture to July 1987.

Note plenty of DNA gunge around the 2 o'clock pusher cup (hence probably why the operation feels sticky) and more signs of tool-marks on the slightly depressed 4 o'clock pusher.

Unscrewing the case-back reveals a clean looking anti-magnetic back-plate with no evidence of prior battery leakage. A fresh Rayovac #394 battery had been recently fitted. Not my personal choice, but Hey-Ho.

I moved most of the hands to the 12 o'clock position and withdrew the movement:

Nice clean 722L dial. Note some light marks on the shaft of sweep second hand. They were there before I rotated it to 12 o'clock (and can be seen in 3 of the seller's photos). Hmm. What's that lurking near the end of the 4 o'clock baton ?

Some rust on the cam of the switch actuator lever. With the movement out of the case, it actually works O.K., but is probably worth investigating.

As far as the inside of the watch case goes, surprisingly the area around the 4 o'clock pusher was remarkably clean.

February 19, 2018 at 7:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

I flipped the watch case over. There are a couple of light scratches on the original Seiko Hardlex crystal. It's also slightly fogged on the inside, as you may be able to discern from the area in the middle that I've quickly wiped.

I normally try to leave the bezel in situ when replacing a crystal, so as not to risk disturbing that white nylon gasket, but because I could see some tell-tale signs of rust under the bezel, I decided to pry it off anyway. Glad I did, as it transpired. The 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock pushers almost fell out when I removed their circlips - their seals were very dry. There was actually very little dirt in their receptacle cups.

The 4 o'clock pusher was another story. The circlip came off easily enough.

But would it budge ??? Nope - it's absolutely solid. So I drowned it in WD-40.

Still no joy. :( But it's now looking squeaky clean from the outside and in ! :roll:

February 19, 2018 at 8:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

Ah. The wonders of WD-40. :)

Turns out it was a combination of an almost completely disintegrated O-ring seal and jammed washer that was holding that 4 o'clock pusher so tightly in place. Nothing more. :roll:

(The white nylon spacer is just something handy, that I used to ensure I didn't end up pushing the cup out of case, whilst giving the pusher some 'welly' from inside).

February 19, 2018 at 9:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

I was planning to reassemble the watch tomorrow, fitting new pusher seals and replacing the crystal. Not long after I made my last post, I received a phone call asking if I could work from Tuesday through Friday. I still haven't quite retired yet - and working pays for my continued collecting. So rather than rush it, I'm going to leave it till the weekend. I phoned the watch's owner and he's happy to wait. :)

Of more anon - at the weekend ....

February 19, 2018 at 9:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

Now, where was I, before I was interrupted (by the need to earn a crust) ? :roll:

Ah Yes. This morning I looked at the parts I'd stripped and cleaned. I first examined that errant pusher, which I'd removed from the 4 o'clock position. Under a loupe, a couple of the marks which had been inflicted by the seller, in his efforts to free it up, were actually quite deep. My plan had been to spin it up in the chuck of a mini-drill and buff them out using fine Wet & Dry paper. Only I wasn't 100% confident of being able to completely eradicate them. :/

You know what ? Sometimes I amaze myself at how well organised I can be. :P

Rummaged through my stock of pushers and found some I'd prepared earlier. 8)

In fact, I ended up using two of them. Once I'd cleaned out the usual detritus, I found that another pusher I'd removed had some serious corrosion at the bottom of the pusher shaft (although the button itself looked fine). Reassembled the three pusher assemblies with new O-ring seals (bloody fiddly job), gave them a tiny blob of silicone grease and they were back in the watch case 5 minutes later.

Topside with replacement crystal fitted:

I hadn't forgotten about that rust I'd seen earlier, on the cam of the 4 o'clock pusher's actuator lever. Once the movement was back in the case, I decided to do a quick partial strip-down of the top end - just to check if it had spread any further. Absolutely no sign of rust (nor evidence of battery leakage) inside:

Decided to pop that switch lever off anyway:

A quick scrape with a scalpel blade was all it took to remove the loose rust.

Rubbed it with WD-40 and the movement was reassembled 5 minutes later.

February 24, 2018 at 12:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

Here's the watch head fully re-assembled, everything now working as it should:

Bracelet re-attached (in haste, the wrong way round - subsequently rectified).

Back in it's Seiko presentation box, ready to post back to the owner on Monday.

February 24, 2018 at 12:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

Only it doesn't necessarily have to go back to the eBay seller. ;)

During an earlier conversation with the owner, he asked me if I'd like to buy it.

I did think about it briefly, but then declined.

1) I already have 5 of this particular model, including my original 7A38-7270, which I've owned for 30 years, a NOS example and a couple of others I've refurbished. The only one I ever seem to wear lately is that 'cheapie' which I picked up on eBay Germany on Christmas Eve 2014 for the Euro equivalent of under a Tenner.

2) If I did buy it from him, I'd undoubtedly offer him less than if it was actually worth, were he to re-list it on eBay - particularly in view of the way prices have increased.

3) I don't wish to put myself in a situtation where I could (as owner of this forum) be accused of abusing or taking advantage of my position, by 'back dooring' it.

I did briefly try to explain to him what brilliant little watches these are, in the hope he might decide to keep it, once I'd sorted it for him. But No. :( He told me that it didn't hold any sentimental value whatsoever - plus he'd moved on to better things, including a Rolex Explorer II and a Mondaine. :roll:

So I had an idea. I suggested that I might be able to sell it for him, by offering it for sale to the forum membership. :)

Just hold your horses while I compose a FS thread in the Members Trading Area.

February 24, 2018 at 12:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14390

This morning I've added a few more photos to that FS thread. Something I forgot to mention was that before putting it away yesterday afternoon, I set the watch to the correct time (using This morning, when I got it out again, it was absolutely spot on - to the exact second. :)

February 25, 2018 at 7:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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