Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > Bend it, Mend it - Mods & Wreckers > Rectifying someone else's botched handiwork :mad:

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The moral of the story here, which isn't lost on me, is NEVER to buy someone else's Franken 7A38 - no matter how attractive you may find the concept.

The watch that would become the basis for that Franken, a well worn 7A38-725A, case-back serial # 780954, then still fitted with its original p/n G1285E bracelet, first appeared on eBay in early January 2018. It was listed by a German eBay seller (the Italian Christmas wrapping paper, used as a background is a red herring). I didn't keep any details of the listing and haven't been able to track any down at this late stage, but I did save the photos, of which I've only bothered uploading 6 of the 12.

Note the small scratch on the top L.H. lug and the badly mis-aligned Tachymeter ring - possibly a portent of things to come. Obviously, I've got absolutely no idea what price it may have sold for, but I do know who bought it (and knowing his favoured modus operandi, it was likely by making a lowball 'back door' offer).

It subsequently resurfaced in a for sale post as 'The General' on in July 2018. Now bereft of it's original p/n G1285E bracelet, fitted with one of those naff 'vintage look' pseudo leather two-stitch straps that the seller Ketap ('Carlo') seems so fond of. But why dark green ? The other obvious change is that he'd skimmed the top surface of the bezel, exposing the stainless beneath. His text below included: die Lünette oben ist aber auf Stahl frisch geschliffen worden. Google translates that as: the bezel above but has been freshly ground on steel.

His asking price was a typically over-optimistic 165 Euros and not surprisingly, it remained unsold. The FS post has since been annotated as 'Erledigt', which Google translates as 'Done', so was presumably automatically withdrawn some time later.

[Erledigt] Seiko Chronograph 7A38-725A "the general" top Zustand

Photos of the frankened 7A38-725A, fitted with a metallic black Ferrari Formula dial and a contrasting white Tachymeter dial ring, subsequently appeared in a typically mega-long thread on in February of this year. Its title translates as: Support group of Japan Quartz Crazy

As can be seen in those photos, the Tachymeter ring is out of alignment, to some degree or other. This is to be expected when fitting a Cartier Ferrari dial, because the Seiko dial ring's locating pips, moulded on the underside, not only don't align with the Cartier dial cut-outs, but they prevent the dial / movement from seating properly in a 7A38 case. The answer is to carefully cut / file them off flush. But then, with nothing to locate it, the Tachymeter ring is free to slip round, as he discovered.

Ketap had written in his next post in that thread (his German translated by Google):

I still work on the inner tachyring, first mentally, then mechanically to fix it.

He followed that 2 days later with this photo and the word: Tachyspielereien.

As revealed by this zoomed close-up shot, which he posted later in that thread ....

The '60' mark on the Tachymeter ring still wasn't perfectly aligned with '12'. :roll:

I suspect it wasn't any coincidence, but the same day he first posted photos of the Ferrari Franken 7A38-725A, 22nd February, Ketap ('Carlo') also posted the other by-product / leftover half of the equation for sale on It's the dial and Tachymeter ring from the 7A38-725A in a stainless two-tone 7A38-726A case. He'd also fitted a naff dark green pseudo leather 2-stitch strap (as seen in the previous side-by-side photos) and was asking a typically over-optimistic 188 Euros. :roll:

[Verkauf] Seiko Chronograph 7A38-726A Mod. Quartz

I don't read German, but using Google Translate, Ketap's sometimes rather strange phrasing never seems to translate particularly well. By his 4th post, it appears he was offering another loose Cartier Ferrari Formula dial for an additiional 60 Euros, to anyone who might fancy a bit of D-I-Y modding. If I remember, a similar one had sold on eBay Germany towards the end of last year for 25 Euros. :/

Presumably the Franken 7A38-725A/-726A combo' must have sold some time after 26th May, when he last gave the thread  a bump. :/ By then he'd reduced his price from 188 Euros down to 136 Euros.

August 28, 2019 at 8:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Posts: 13326

I've never been averse to plagiarism. I liked the concept of the gunmetal finish Seiko 7A38-725A case and the black and gold Cartier Ferrari Formula dial. So I started to keep an eye open for suitable donor components to build myself a better copy.

In fact, I'd completely forgotten that I'd already bought a suitable dial / non-running movement, which had suffered from a battery leak, off eBay Germany in November last year. Here's the seller's two photos:

And one I took of it as received:

So, in fact, I already had the basis. :)

August 28, 2019 at 8:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I've searched in vain on, looking for a For Sale post for the Ferrari Franken 7A38-725A and I'm blowed if I can find it - if there was one*. But I've since learned that Ketap ('Carlo' - which isn't his real name, incidentally) sold it on 23rd June for 300 Euros (and still charged the buyer 4 Euros on top for postage).

*Belated Edit: Transpires there wasn't one. An intuitive Google search reveals that instead Ketap ('Carlo') advertised it on eBay Germany 'Small Ads', where he uses his intials C.D. as a user ID, rather than his normal eBay user ID silversurfer365.

Unfortunately all that remains of the deleted listing, is this cached Google result:

Evidently the buyer wasn't enamoured with it, because on 3rd July, just 10 days after he'd bought it, a German eBay seller dinvde0100 listed what was clearly the same 7A38-725A based Ferrari Franken, with the same case-back serial # 780954. If I remember correctly, initially it had a Buy-it-Now price of 299 Euros (which the seller subsequently reduced down to 199 Euros), with the option to make an offer.

Seiko 7A38 Cartier Ferrari Blatt

Verkaufe diese wunderschöne Seiko mit sehr seltenem Ferrari-Cartier Zifferblatt. Die Uhr funktioniert einwandfrei. Batterie würde vor kurzem erst erneuert. Sie kommt an dem wunderschönen grünen Lederarmband.

Aus tierfreien Nichtraucherhaushalt.

The German eBay seller made 4 revisions to that first 30-day listing:

.... and subsequently ended it early, (very early) on 26th July because of an error:

Having replaced the battery (which begs the question why Ketap ('Carlo') hadn't done so, before selling it), he subsequently re-listed it, once again as a Buy-it-Now for 199 Euros, with a much longer title, but using the same two lacklustre photos. That re-listing was ended in a similar manner 10 days later.

He then re-listed it as a 7-day auction with an opening bid price of 1 Euro. I placed a couple of low bids on it and really should, with hindsight, have left it at that. But the 'Red Mist' came down and I foolishly ended up winning the auction for 140 Euros.

August 28, 2019 at 9:29 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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The parcel containing the ex-Ketap Ferrari Franken 7A38 arrived a week or so ago. I really should have returned it to the seller there and then. Instead I left it on the workbench in disgust and didn't get around to taking a good close look at it until today. The concept may have been attractive, but the execution and standard of workmanship, as received, are frankly nothing short of appalling. 

The first thing I did was to remove that ill-matched naff 'vintage look' pseudo leather two-stitch strap. I abhor the things. It's already been consigned to the trash can.

Next thing I noticed was that the day wheel isn't properly aligned in the window. In fact, this can also be seen in the German eBay seller's first photo.

Even in a flash-lit photo you can't properly see the black sub-dial hands he's used against the black sub-dials. What you can discern is that they're too long - almost touching the gold plated sub-dial rims. I'd hazard a guess the complete hand set was donated by a two-tone 7A38-7270, or a cream-dialed 7A38-7120 / 7A38-7130 (they all use the same hand set).

Something didn't look right in this side on view (apart from the cloudiness at the top of the crystal). Note also the uneven gap between the dial face and the underside of the Tachymeter ring, due to his slapdash trimming.

Turns out the bezel isn't fitted properly either and you can see a good 0.5mm of the white nylon gasket exposed on one side. Oh and the crystal's badly fitted too - it's warped - sticking up proud on the 12 o'clock side. :roll:

How did he manage to stop the Tachymeter ring slipping ? He glued it in place !! :o

More glue on the top of the Tachymeter ring (hence the apparent cloudiness under the crystal).

The careless botcher even managed to get glue on the rim of the dial !! 

August 28, 2019 at 10:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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As I had a pretty good idea what to expect, I'd been putting it off, but this morning I finally started the strip-down of the botched ex-Ketap 7A38-725A Franken Ferrari.

O-Ring case-back gasket. Movement sitting too high in the case, because he'd failed to skim the underside of the Tachymeter ring. In fact, he hadn't even trimmed the remnants of the moulded pips properly.

Close-up. Although they did actually work, pushers not aligned with switch levers.

Trying to force movement to sit flat / lower - resulted in bent crown post.

Gap shown in previous set of photos allowed me to easily pull the bezel off with my fingernails - without using any tools. Case / bezel gasket was ruined as expected.

Plenty of glue (Superglue?) where he'd 'fixed' the slipping Tachymeter ring. :roll:

Broke it getting it out. Not bothered as I hadn't planned to re-use it anyway.

Note ill-fitted crystal edge protruding.

Most of the glue cleaned off the inside of the case.

Just a quick trial fit / sanity check to see if the inner case flange is preventing the movement from sitting lower (read higher from the top side) - it isn't.

Pusher / switch lever alignment improved. :)

Finish off editing captions later.

September 3, 2019 at 6:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Time Out ! :P

In re-building the ex-Ketap 7A38-725A Ferrari Franken, I'd already decided to do it slightly differently. Not just in terms of build quality, but in my choice of components. Whereas he'd gone for deliberate 'contrast', I was going to make it match 'perfectly', or so I thought. Everything was going to be Black and Gold. :roll:

Apart from that battery acid damaged Cartier Ferrari Formula dial / movement I'd bought in November last year, which I'd temporarily forgotten about, I also had a potential donor, from which, had I not suffered a rush of blood to the bidding finger (read brain fade) I could have built myself a copy of Ketap's Ferrari Franken - entirely from scratch. My memory may be failing me, but sometimes I surprise myself just how good my photo archiving system is. Thought I'd just chuck these couple of very old eBay listing photos in here. I bought this 7A38-725A off eBay Germany nearly 10 years ago in October 2009. I still have it - albeit currently in pieces.

Photo from May 2010:

By April 2012, I'd replaced the movement with another from a scrapped gunmetal 7A38-6090, with black and gold day / date wheels. See page 4 of the WRUW thread, where I wrote:

Friday 13th. Unlucky for some. :( Possibly this old friend - soon for 'The Chop' - or a 'New lease of Life', depending how you look at it.


My 7A38-725A beater (on a cheap lizard grain strap):

The Tachymeter ring and Movement were installed in a gold-tone 7A38-7289 case - failed experiment.

Subsequently broken up, but I never got around to re-building it as a 7A38-725A.

Before I started trimming the underside of the Tachymeter ring, I thought I'd just drop it into place ....

I'd failed to notice that the Cartier Ferrari dial's minute marks were white - not gold.

So, should I use a Black Tachymeter ring with White lettering, instead ?

Or maybe Gold with Black lettering ? I'm going to sleep on it.

September 3, 2019 at 12:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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