Watch Hunting in Bangkok - Jatujak Market 12th August 2002
Part II, Part III

Dear All

This watch hunting is getting addictive :-) Every Saturday I am already longing to dive into those masses flocking the Saphan Khwai Street Market and the Jatujak Weekend Market. If it were not for the watches, you have to go there once, just to see all beautifully dressed young female fashion shoppers. Well most of the time you will not have much time for such contemplations, because you have to watch your step and find a way through the unbelievable maze of Jatujak. It certainly takes a while until you can navigate confidently in there.

As usual we started our search along the road, the Saphan Khwai area. I know by now most of the faces of the watch sellers and I am sure they know mine, since there are not too many foreign regular visitors.

At this booth I had found watches before, a very friendly old and solemn looking white haired man has a nice selection of vintage inexpensive watches. His prices are good, and I felt the first time, that I do not have to negotiate too hard here. The prices are already very good.

I bought this pair of vintage hand wind Seiko mid-size ladies' (but they go as well as men's watches in Thailand were boy size is extremely popular despite the current big watch trend) at his table. Two reasons: Rob wants us to work on as many different movements as possible during his watch tutorial and secondly I was tempted by the awkward position of the 12 and 6 hour indices. Yes, maybe there was a third reason, I felt that if I bought two identical watches, I would have some spare parts if one movement turned out to be not workable. I did not know that I was in for a big surprise yet...even if I could have seen it, if I looked closely with my pocket loupe.


Caliber 2107-0520S AD Mid-size Ladies' hand wind from the 70ies, probably one of the first mid-size watches for ladies. The crystal is badly chipped at 12 o'clock and the second hand has been bent a couple of times it seems and not really successfully straightened. Both need to go one day ... see below!


With a new crystal (Seiko Part Nr. 270W02ALOO) and a new second hand, the watch now looks like this on November 23rd 2006.

How I managed to change this crystal, a rather tough job (because I am not a SEIKO trained watchmaker nor do I have their tools of the trade :) )
Changing the crystal was not easy since the newer crystal seemed to be slightly bigger. The crystal is only held by the bezel with a press fit. This is not your regular watch crystal that is held with a silicon ring or with a tension ring (two frequent ways SEIKO fits crystals to the case). This crystal with its peculiar inner loupe - that was another reason I wanted an original replacement - has a stepped rim that snaps on to the dial side of the case. Then the outer bezel will create a "press fit" if pressed down over the crystal. The crystal is now squeezed between the case's dial side rim and the outer bezel. Click on the thumbnail below for a sketch of how this crystal is fixed to the case:


Click to enlarge

First I tried with the case press. No way the bezel would slide down over the acrylic crystal. I tried to heat the bezel (with a hairdryer) but the expansion was not sufficient to allow the bezel to slip over the crystal. Finally I greased the inside of the bezel and the outside of the crystal's edge with silicon grease and used two dies from the case press on either side of the watch and slowly worked the bezel over the crystal in a vice. I turned the "sandwich" (flat die on the back, watch in the middle, conical die on the bezel) in the vice while loosening and tightening the vice's jaws. That was lots of stress since I was always ready to hear that cracking sound of the crystal. But luckily all went well, just the two case press dies had a couple of scars from the higher pressure in the vice. I used sandpaper and filed case press dies flat again so they could be used again. That was not an easy job at all! Next time I will consider filing down the crystal a bit. A lengthy and cumbersome job that requires a lot of concentration, trying and re-fitting. And not really something one wants to do with an acrylic crystal. Scratches are easy to be made (filed bits, sand paper residues - glass!) and finger prints on the inside of the crystal will then need careful washing.
I really admire the "elves" - speak watchmakers - that perform this "wonders" and "miracles" on a daily professional basis and much faster then I did. They really deserve respect for their great work in that micro-mechanical world! Often without real appreciation! I lift my hat in respect gentleman. Only if one tries to tinker a bit oneself one can imagine how much energy goes into these watch repairs.
Changing the second hand was easier...
However I ran into small problems too. First the replacement hand was from ETA and far too long. I have a watchmaker's pair of clipping pliers, these came very handy now. How to fix hands that need to be clipped. Quite easy, I used a block of Rodico and stuck the old and the new hand into it and then carefully trimmed the new hand to the same length as the old hand.
The next problem was that the the hole diameter of the replacement hand seemed to be smaller then the original hand. Now the smallest reamer of the watchmaker's reamer set A&F 17040 came into action. I carefully plugged the entire hand onto the block of Rodico and carefully reamed the hole to a bigger size. The second hand could now be replaced. Of course I tested it's fit by slightly pulling it up with the handslifter. It sits firm and should not jump off even if the watch will eventually get a little shock.

Of course that bracelet has to go, but I did not have time yet to think about that. I have been working everyday recently, either disassembling or assembling watches or hunting for watches. The crystal has been chipped at 12 hour, but as I said, I bought that pair to be sure, to have at least one running watch. And once the watch underwent that Crystal Clear procedure, it will sure look a lot better. Those are the pictures of the watches as I bought them.


Probably August 1978, but you can never really be sure about the decade

Maybe the movement gives more information:


Caliber 2107B, B stands for B-Grade as opposed to A-Grade, the top grade
Concluding from the shock protection, I would say August 1978 is probably correct - and what a great surprise, the movement is in excellent condition! A barrel shaped neat little hand wind!

A nice metal spacer in that watch and I also liked the way, the case back closes into the case, this recessing of the case back saves probably 2 mm of height. All in all a nice little PMW ("Poor Man's" Watch).


Big surprise, those twins have different calibers! 2118 - 0410S AD in this one, now that was really a big surprise and I realized it only yesterday when opening the case backs.


This watch is in top condition, almost NOS, compared to its white twin sister. Here you can see the inner date loupe clearly.  And are those hour indices not very special?

Finally I got a case back with a Letter N (=November). So far none of my over 30 Seikos had a production date after September obviously:


Most likely Noveber 1980 for the production date of the dark brown dialed Seiko mid-size hand wind. And you can see from the case back, this Baby is almost NOS, what a lucky day! And it should become even better!


Caliber 2118A in this one, and Caliber 2107B - and the movement has never been touched! Wow!
The only small differences I could make out so far are behind the balance wheel, on the left hand side. The disassembly and servicing will hopefully reveal more.

I was very happy to find those movements in such a good condition and I also learned, that I should always check the 6 hour position with the loupe first :-) But those two movements could have served as spare parts for one another, since they are so similar. Well, no need, since both are in good condition.

After buying those two watches I told Rob, that we need a little detour in order to confuse the sellers a little bit. I had seen that they had been spotting and watching us already as we were approaching that little car park where many watch sellers have their stand. So we walked around the block and found countless amulets, coins and that was quite revealing, machetes, batons and other useful household items being offered on the sidewalk. After returning to the car park at Saphan Kwai, I spotted that flawless and beautifully dial of this Seiko:


Seiko Automatic, no hand wind, unidirectional, Caliber 7005

It is quite rare to find a watch in such a condition at Saphan Kwai, so that one had to be bagged :-) Well, the back was not virgin anymore, but seemed to be original and with a bit of polishing, it will well serve its purpose. No idea how the previous owners manage to "eat" out those two little holes just left below the serial numbers :-) But else the case is in reasonable shape.


Most likely March 1974 for this production date

The movement is definitely a predecessor of the ubiquitous 7S26, the movements look very similar, even the magic lever mechanism (the arrow is pointing to that mechanism) is already there. Btw. the arrow does not indicate the winding direction. The magic lever mechanism is bi-directional. The arrow of the rotor should point towards the hole in the winding wheel. For a detailed explanation of this, please see Rob's article on Timezone

Also this movement is in good shape as the close-up suggests, yet it definitely needs a cleaning! And if you look closely at the hairspring, there is something not right with it, the spiral of a hairspring evolve equidistant. Just above the regulator, the windings seem to be too close together. The watch was running, but erratically. On August 22nd 2005, I finally found the time to service and clean and oil this watch. And I had indeed to replace the balance wheel. And I am very happy, this was the first service that I did on my own. And I needed only two phone calls to my tutor Rob ;-)


Some patina on the rotor is the only "damage" - but an ultra-sonic bath should get rid of that

In order to let the pages load in reasonable time, I split the report in 3 parts. Please click on the part you want to continue, of course I would be happy if you joined the whole tour. There are definitely more surprises in both parts.

Part II, Part III