Friday, June 24, 2011

Under the Knife

My favorite daily beater lately has been a Seiko 6309-7290 diver. I bought it well used but restored—new hands, dial, bezel insert and crystal, and heavily buffed. It came on a rubber dive strap, which I first changed out for a cheap and uncomfortable oyster bracelet, and more recently for the Jubilee bracelet that came on my Seiko SKX009. It's now very comfortable.

My 6309-7290, with its original shoes on.

I have low expectations of my mechanicals in terms of timekeeping. If they are no worse than +/- 1-2 minutes per day, they are usable. I've never had a mechanical that was worse than that, and most are much better. My 6309-7290 was easily doing that, until just lately. Now it seems to be loosing maybe 30 sec per hour. Completely unusable.

I have not found a local watchmaker, but anyway, I'm not keen to send it out for regulation. This is not an expensive watch. So I thought I'd try to regulate it myself. In theory, it's not that hard. But putting a watch under the knife for the first time caused me a few jitters. This is no longer the shallow end of the pool.

Luckily the case back, as with all divers, is a screw down, and easy to get off. The regulation lever was a bit stiff, but I gave it a good nudge. How far do I turn it? No way to know, without a timing machine. It's all trial and error. Watching it over the last couple hours, it still appears to be very slow. The lever cannot move that far. I'll give it another good tweak, but it's quite possible that my baby will need some professional attention. Hopefully it just needs to settle in.

I was interested to see that the case back had a number of inscriptions on the inside. They are light and hard to make out, but there are clearly some dates—Jan 8/94, and also the years '88, '89 (less certain) and '97. These might be service dates. Alas, one more may soon be added to them.

Addendum: Right now, the day after, my watch seems to be running about -1.5 minutes per day. That's decent. The only downside to my first home surgery is that I put two big scratches in the case back while tightening it down. The result of cheap case tools and my having five thumbs.

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