Watch Repair

Submitted by Jim Townsend on October 25, 2011 - 6:15am

Looking for a good reliable watch  repair person. Have a 14k ladies 1924 watch that needs repair. Has a 6 AF Movement 17 jewel.

Posted December 16, 2015 - 3:29pm


I found something that is interesting about the 11 series, the cannon pinion for that calibre and all it's sisters and Brothers is.....................wait for it ..................................11-94,

now if you check the parts list they do list part  91,92,93 and 94.

Just thought U would like to know the rest of the story

Posted December 16, 2015 - 3:45pm

Thanks James.

Posted April 24, 2016 - 2:27pm

Here's my 1971 Bulova Deep Sea 666. Received a couple of days ago. Not working.

Before I start I should say that I enjoy dabbling with watches and have done a few modified seiko's (hence tunokies - seiko nut). Have also done a mild case and crystal restoration on a couple of vintage watches.. On receiving the watch the priority was to see if I could get it working.N.b. The bezel doesn't rotate at present.  Needed to use a bench mounted watch case holder and a LG Case-back wrench, plus some muscle to open it. (prebiously someone's attempt has resulted in a deep tool mark).  Here's the inside. 

On the plus side, the movement looks nice and shiny with no signs of corrosion.  On the negative side, I think the reason why the case-back was so tough is because of the gasket turning to a stick tar. The battery also shows signs of leaking. But on further inspection it hasn't caused any damage. A new 344 battery in place and it's sweeping nicely, keeping time and the date flips over. Hooray! Next job, cleaning out the case and releasing the movement. Question. Where can I get a full set of gaskets please. i.e. case back, bezel and crown.   Thanks, Jason PS I hope this is the right place to post here.....1st accutron....please be kind.

Posted April 30, 2016 - 11:51pm

In reply to by tunokies

I wonder if this was normal to use this much tar or if someone did a custom job on it to ensure that is was truely waterproof and reliable when worn wet.


Posted April 28, 2016 - 1:38pm

I resently bought a 68' Bulova 666 waterproof and I can't seem to be able to remove the crystal, I have removed the bezel and still can not remove crystal I can get it to turn however it just won't come out. ANY IDEAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks James 

Reverend Rob
Posted April 30, 2016 - 9:46am

Depending on the model, it may have an armeé crystal, and these are fitted differently than the stepped crystals. Even if you can get it off you will probably need a proper crystal press to re-install or install a new one. I recommend taking it to a competent watchmaker. It is something they can do right in front of you. 

Posted April 30, 2016 - 11:37am

hanks Rev What is a amee crystal? James

Reverend Rob
Posted April 30, 2016 - 3:10pm

These are crystals that have a tension ring fitted to them, they are characterized by their parallel sides, unlike the angled sides of a stepped crystal. They have to be installed with a press, and very precisely so. They have to go straight on, or there is a risk of fracturing the crystal. They are a lot more water resistant because of this, and slightly more expensive also. They are made of acrylic plastic, just like the stepped crystals. 

Posted April 30, 2016 - 3:25pm

 Thanks very much I appreciate learning new things thanks for the lesson.

Reverend Rob
Posted April 30, 2016 - 3:35pm

I mispelled that, it should be Armée. 

Posted May 2, 2016 - 11:59pm

Any one needing 7AK balance completes, I have many. PM me for price.

Posted June 27, 2016 - 12:18am

Hello, can you recommend a reliable watch repair place in my area or near by to have my watch repaired? I live near traverse city, Michigan. 

Thank you

Geoff Baker
Posted June 27, 2016 - 5:23am

Private message sent.

Posted July 25, 2016 - 2:23pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum. I hope I'm posting this correctly; the Repair section seems to function differently from the rest of the forums. I have my father's Bulova 23. I will submit photos later when I have access to a camera at home, but for now I'll say that it looks identical to the one posted here, right down to the dimpled feet of the lugs: Both the case and the movement are L4/1954, and Mom remembers buying it for Dad in 1955, the year before they married. When I told her that the ads list it as costing $71.50, she said she must have been nuts! She was eighteen and only making $33 a week at the time. Ten dollars of that went to her parents for room and board, so it was not a small purchase for her by any means. The watch is special to me; I can remember my dad wearing it when I was very young, and the "zing zing zing" of the autowinder is imprinted in my mind. We thought it lost for a long time (I don't think I'd seen it since the '80s), but Dad passed last year and in going through some of his stuff I came across it, which was unexpectedly emotional. The case is pretty beat-up, as Dad wore it to work, and honestly, I don't want to restore the case since all the wear and tear is by his hand. However: 1) The crystal has a star-shaped break, and I would like to replace that. How do I know which crystal I should order? Is this the type of crystal that is replaced using a crystal lift? I know, I can bring it to a repairman, but seeing as this is Dad's watch, and because I'm a tinkerer and that is directly due to Dad's influence (to the point I often manage to repair things I'm told can't be repaired), I'd like to replace the crystal myself if I can, if only because Dad would appreciate that (if that makes any sense). 2) The watch gains considerable time. With the regulator at the setting it was at when Dad wore it, very close to the center mark, it was gaining about fifteen minutes over the course of a work day. I moved the adjustment as far as it would go to slow it down, and it's now gaining only two minutes, give or take, but that's still a lot. I'm guessing that this is one of those things I'm not going to be able to fix myself, but I have to ask if there is something else I can adjust. 3) It is not fitted with its original expansion band, and I'm going to have to replace this one (a spring leg is sticking out from one of the links). I seem to remember that when I was a kid, the watch used to have the same band with curved links as shown in the 1955 ad for the 23D. What are the chances of ever finding that band? Thank you so much. I will try to get photos submitted this evening. --Bob

Posted May 11, 2017 - 11:25am

In reply to by Farace

If you haven't already fixed it, try demagnetizing it. You won't even have to open the case to do so. Hopefully that significantly reduces the incredible amount of gained time. But I very much agree that the watch really should be given a complete service. The demagnetize might just help to more accurately determine any additional factors affecting it.

Reverend Rob
Posted July 25, 2016 - 4:20pm

It is proabably a stepped crystal, but a watchmaker will be able to tell you for sure. If that is the case, then a crystal lift is one way to install the new crystal, but you have to have the correct size, it doesn't have to be a Bulova crystal, an aftermarket one will be fine, there really isn't much difference, depending on the model. It is probably well overdue for an overhaul, which is a CTR in the trade. Fast running can be caused by many things, not the least being the hairspring itself may need adjustment and it is probably magnetized to some extent.  A CTR is full disassembly and then cleaning using industry standard solutions. Jewel holes are properly pegged to remove all traces of dirt and dried lubricant. The sparkling parts are then re-assembled with repairs and adjustments being made as needed, and lubricated with modern synthetic lubricants, followed by demagnetisation and adjustment and regulation. The Mainspring is usually replaced along with any other worn parts like the Cannon Pinion. Everything, from the barrel arbor shake to the wheels in the train to the escapement and balance, will affect timing.  Mechanical watches can and do destroy themselves if run without proper servicing, the old lube will begin to act as an  abrasive and dirt and corrosion need to be addressed. I always say you don't need to service an old watch unless you plan to wear it and run it, or it will be subject to accelerated wear and eventual failure.  Your Dad's '23' is a good watch, and it will run for ma ny more years if you take care of it!

Hope this helps. R

Posted July 28, 2016 - 2:15pm

Update: I visited the local watch repairman today who, upon listening to the symptoms (gaining time, even after adjusting the lever all the way), but without actually opening the watch, told me that it would probably cost me nearly as much as the value of the watch, or more, to repair it, that he would likely need to replace the hairspring and balance (he said it would probably be $125-140 or so). And that he's five to six months backlogged. I'm tempted to get a second opinion (if I can find another repairman around), but if this is the case I am likely to keep it as a memento rather than wear it. Can anyone offer thoughts or advice?

Thank you.

Geoff Baker
Posted July 29, 2016 - 6:31am

In reply to by Farace

It's sad that a professional would treat a customer in such a manner. It might have been nicer if he'd just said "go away". The truth is it may well cost that much but why not at least look at the watch FIRST. Perhaps the sentimental value of wearing your fathers watch is worth MORE than that to you. At any rate, let's see if we can find someone who is at least willing to look at the watch and give you a professional estimate to repair it. You might even consider a full restoration including having the dial refinished.

Where do you live?

Posted July 29, 2016 - 11:43am

In reply to by Geoff Baker

Hi Geoff, To be fair, he was polite, but he seemed a bit overwhelmed, and I heard him telling someone on the phone that he had been up until 2am replacing crystals. He's only open certain days, so I get the sense this is a second job for him. Still, the back of the watch is easily opened. As for a full restoration, the wear and tear on the watch is due to my dad having worn it to work, etc., and while it's not the prettiest, I think that, other than replacing the crystal, I'd like to keep it as-is because he is no longer with us, and they're marks of his presence. I am in Clinton, Connecticut, which is located along the shoreline about halfway between New Haven and New London. Thank you, --Bob

Reverend Rob
Posted July 29, 2016 - 1:25pm

In reply to by Farace

Without seeing the watch, it is difficult to say, but I always confirm the problem, otherwise I make it clear that I am speculating. Hairspring would probably need adjustment, unless it has been previously touched or deformed beyond manipulation. To replace it does cost a fair bit, both in time and $. A balance complete is your best bet, because it means you have a pristine balance and to fit a hairspring is more time consuming, so the price goes up.  Just for comparison, I do full CTR with case polishing and crystal on an Auto/Date for $225. This is average for my area, but I should point out that I am not accepting mail in repairs. It is always best to speak with your watchmaker directly, but finding a local horologist may be challenging, depending on where you live. You can contact your local chapter of the NAWCC or AWCI to find watchmakers nearest you. 
Posted August 17, 2016 - 12:56am

I have a 1959 Sea King. It is not obvious to me whether the movement is removed by popping off the back or whether it comes out the front. Anyone know? 

Geoff Baker
Posted August 18, 2016 - 5:59am

It looks to me like a front loader.

Posted August 19, 2016 - 12:47am

In reply to by Geoff Baker

Should have asked during my original post - next steps? Can I assume a two piece stem? If so how do I get the two pieces apart so I can drop the movement out after the crystal is removed? Appreciate the help.

Reverend Rob
Posted August 19, 2016 - 11:09am

You want to be certain that it really is a front loader. It does look like one, but I have also seen snap case backs that llok like this. If you pull on a normal stem too hard (You need to pull straight out with some extra force to extract the female end with crown on a two piece stem) you can destroy parts of the keyless works. The lack of scratches on the case back does lead me to believe this is a front loading case, but proceed cautiously.

Posted August 20, 2016 - 12:24am

Great response everyone, thank you. It still isn't apparent even when I look at my surf king which is a front loader with two piece stem.  On this one, removed the crystal, had the dial face down, rotated the stem, wiggled the case but the movement wouldn't drop. The black dial version in a previous post is same year case and it does appear to be a snap back. There is however no apparent groove for a case opener and one attempt has left a mark I will eventually buff out once I figure this out.  Thanks again all for the input. I'll keep trying and post a side close up or two.  We'll figure this out yet. Patrick BTW, once this is cleaned and polished I'll add it to the dbase.

Reverend Rob
Posted August 20, 2016 - 12:40am

If it is a front loader, the bezel may have to come off, it looks like the dial is behind it, that is, larger than the opening. Either that or it is a snap back. 

Posted August 20, 2016 - 12:57am

In reply to by Reverend Rob

Hmmmmm...With the crystal off the bezel is not covering any part of the dial. Unfortunately, there is insuficient gap between dial and case to see what the stem looks like.

Posted August 20, 2016 - 10:01pm

Stumped here guys. I got a 1929 Garfield that doesn't work, seems the movement has been greased way too much. The bigger dilemma is the dial, it has never been touched and is all original, and in decent condition with some nice patina on it that I like. However, big problem I noticed the radium seems to be flaking/chipping off in small quantities, which is a problem. I don't know what to do. What would you guys do is this were your watch? Redial completely? I don't like that idea too much... I would love to remove the radium and then relume with some brown paste the recreate the old radium look, I don't care about it glowing and what not, but obviously that's nothing I'd be able to do. Any help any advice is greatly appreciated, would love nothing more to wear this watch before school starts back up in just over a month. This is the watch

Reverend Rob
Posted August 27, 2016 - 2:02pm

In reply to by Spartcom5


Ideally you want this to look good, so I would send it to a re-dial place like International. I no longer touch Radium dials, and International does a good job with these, as other members here can also attest.

Posted August 27, 2016 - 12:25pm

Okay so in my dumbest attempt to try and repair a stopped seconds hand on a bulova 2192.10 movement I accidentally dropped and bent the index wheel, therefore making it unusable.  What would be the best route in going about getting a new one or should I just send in the watch to someone who is more qualified, which I am not opposed.  What would something like this cost?  If anyone can help please let me know, this watch has heavy sentimental value and I would love to have it up and running again. Thanks.  Jeff

Reverend Rob
Posted August 27, 2016 - 2:00pm

In reply to by f1humlam


The tiny index wheel is the hardest part to find for Accutrons and is one of the most fragile parts. Even touching it can destroy it. There is a specialist in the US, just do a search for Accutron repair. 

Posted August 27, 2016 - 6:08pm

Are the 218 index wheels the same as the 219's?

Happy Hooligan
Posted September 20, 2016 - 1:14pm

Hi, anyone recommend a place in The Valley of So Cal to service a 1970 Snorkel 666?  Or a place to mail it out to?  thanks

Posted October 26, 2016 - 1:10am

I have looked at the manual for  perpetual watches and that states that the battery changes requires a factory re-calibration. Obviously removing the battery does a complete reset so needs a software update to tell it the year and it's base location. Mind you they replace the battery with a seven year one so it's not that expensive per year if it's capabilities are really required by you.You must consult Watch Repair person or shop.

Reverend Rob
Posted October 26, 2016 - 11:36am

In reply to by sandlersmith


Not all perpetual calendar watches need to be returned to the manufacturer. Seikos, for example, can be done by any competent watchmaker. Although it is possible to do the battery change yourself, it is extremely easy to damage the circuit on these, so I don't recommend it.  A seven year battery is probably an accumulator or capacitor, and for these I'd recommend an authorized service centre. 

Posted December 23, 2016 - 12:16am

Hi, I'm new to the site.  I'm looking to have a 1959 Bulova Senator with movement 11AF repaired.  It is a gift from my deceased father.  I live in NJ but work near Philadelphia.  Any recommendations for local repair shops in NJ or Philadelphia are appreciated.    

Posted February 25, 2017 - 3:06pm

Hey all,
Does anyone have a recommendation for a watchmaker in the NYC area? I just grabbed a 1970 Oceanographer H off ebay. It was described as "not working"--seller suspected it needed a battery ;)-- but it runs off and on. It looks like there may be some gunk interfering with the balance wheel pivot. I suspect it just needs a good COA. Normally, I'd poke around more myself but this is my first interaction with an 11BLACD and I'd rather not screw it up.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

Posted March 2, 2017 - 3:14pm

I don't know if is the correct site but during some time I asked in "Watch parts & trade" about some necesary pieces to repair a Bulova Conqueror. Finally the watch has been repared and I think could be interesting the step by step that I made. You can find two post in these links about the watch and the reparation. Admin, it isn't correct, please delete this entry.

Best regards.


Posted March 3, 2017 - 9:46pm

In reply to by PedroA

What an amazing job! Very nice restoration. Hopefully you can source the correct hands one day to give it that extra touch.

Posted March 22, 2017 - 1:25pm

REPLACEMENT CRYSTAL >>>>  ?????  .... I need a ..... 702AWD .... anyone have a crystal ?????