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16800 COMEX Build

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    16800 COMEX Build

    I've built that watch a few months ago but I never took time to post anything about it so I'll try to do it during the few next weeks.

    First I want to specify that it is my very first build.
    I joined RWI forum last october (I was searching for technical informations on how to repair an old automatic watch my father-in -aw gave me) and until that I really was no involved in watches.
    I read as much posts as I could in every sub-forum, particularly the technical posts and most off the stunning vintage watch modding threads, and decided that I should try to do something by myself.
    I first bought some Reps on M2M, tried my skills opening them, releasing the crowns, taking the movements off and putting them back, etc …
    And I was « there » until last December when I discussed about my new hobby with my elder son.


    WHY A 16800 COMEX BUILD

    My eldest son lives in Norway, works on and oil & gas engineering company and is specialized on subsea engineering.



    He dives since about 10 years and is on his way for an open water diving instructor certification.
    He came home during 2016 Christmas holidays and we talked about my new hobby, specificaly about divers watches.
    And because we are both Frenchies we talked about the COMEX and the diver watches ROLEX provided to that company over the years (Submariners and Seadwellers).
    So when he leaved back to Oslo I began to think about buying him a watch, something connected with his birth year, his diving hobby, his work.
    I made some research on TDs websites and found some fine COMEX reps, mostly 1680 models.



    But my son is born in 1984 so I really wanted a 1984 year watch.
    Unfortunately I discovered that none of those 1680 « easy build » models would do the job.
    After some more search I stumbled on the drsd (double red sea-dweller) website and discovered that the only Submariner model provided to the Comex in 1984 was the 16800.



    I came back to TDs website for a long search but … NOTHING
    I tried to find a 16800 on M2M sales … still NOTHING
    And I discovered that the 16800 Submariner has never been repped.
    So I searched the modd threads on RWI and I quickly understood that the 16800 Submariner was not only a very rare and never repped watch but a very difficult one to build.

    Of course trying to find a Gen was not a option.
    The only watch perfectly metting the specifications (16800 model / 1984 year / Comex branded) was sold at Christie’s Geneva in 2012 … for the « nice» amount of 46,500 USD.



    So I was stuck with a tough choice … give up the project or try something where almost only seasoned modders succeded.
    First option was the choice of reason.
    But I am not a reasonable guy and I am obstinate/stubborn/mulish/willful … pic the one you prefer.
    And that’s all about how I decided to make my first build, and that first build would be a 1984 year 16800 COMEX Submariner.


    SEARCHING FOR THE « BASE WATCH »

    The 1984 year 16800 Comex Submariner is considered a « transitionnal watch » between the 1680 and the 16610.
    Most of the specs are the same as the early 16610 Subs.
    Movement :
    - cal. 3035
    Case :
    - Thin case and doomed backcase
    - Drilled lugs
    - Thin crownguards
    - Unengraved rehaut (no « Rolex Rolex Rolex … »)
    Bezel :
    - unidirectionnal with a clear « click »
    - metal insert with a pearl circled with white gold
    - pointed 4
    Crystal :
    - sapphire
    Dial :
    - glossy
    - indexes circled with white gold
    - Tritium (SWISS-THands :
    - White gold
    Bracelet :
    - 93150
    - 501B endlinks

    I knew that the 3035 movement and the «white gold stuff » were not an option because of my low budget.
    But everything else seemed … hmmm … doable

    The GOOD news was that a 16610 case would do the job.
    The BAD news was that it had to have drilled lugs or that I would have to drill them.
    About the dial … thanks to the wonderfull threads of , I had a very good idea about how to modd it (COMEX + SWISS - T
    So I tried to find a 16610 watch with drilled lugs and thin crwonguards.
    There you began to laugh … and you CAN laugh because I did not found anything (except for some very high priced sales).
    But, once again, I’m a stubborn.
    I decided that a 16610 with thin crowguards would do the job, and that I could try to find a modder that would drill the lugs without charging too much for that.
    And I proved to be fortunate.
    After some days Sead1999 (supermirrors) showed me some stuff meeting almost every specs for my project :
    - BP 16610 with thin crownguards (very close to the 16800’s) and glossy dial with circled indexes
    - 92510 bracelet with 580 endlinks
    And eveything for 194 USD shipping included.
    So I quickly ordered (January 17th) and quickly received (30th January).



    COMPARISON – CHECKING THE FLAWS

    The first thing I did was to take a pics of my BP16610 in the same position than the Christie’s 16800.



    The result proved to be very encouraging and the Rep watch showed to be very « close » to the model.
    Plus the lume was a nice green, although sort of a little too « blueish » (but well … it’s not a tritium dial).



    Of course there were many flaws that I would have to modd, some easily and some not, but many things were good enough for a low budget build :
    Case :
    - main shape - OK
    - crownguards - not bad
    - lugs - BAD because not drilled … a mandatory modd
    Bezel :
    - monodirectionnal - OK
    - 120 clicks - OK
    - « flat 4 » insert – « good » according to
    Crystal :
    - almost OK except for the engraved crown … not very visible
    Dial :
    - circled indexes … no white gold but hmmm … «low budget»
    - Le cadran me semble globalement OK même si pas parfait
    - Coronet a little to small … MHO
    - « SWISS MADE » in place of « SWISS-T- no « COMEX » » … a mandatory modd
    Bracelet :
    - 93250 with SELs definitely not good buth the 93150 ordred with the watch would do the job after some work done on it






    LET‘S SEE WHAT INSIDE THAT WATCH

    After comparing and checking the flaws I quickly opened the watch and disassembled it (not the movement of course)

    Sead1999 had told me it came with a 21J so I thought about a DG2813.
    But no … DG4813 inside.




    Not the most reliable of the 21J movements, according to the threads I have read, but I’ll keep it and cross my fingers.





    Now I have uploaded 10 pics so I must put an end to that post.
    But I'll be back tomorrow (or the day after) to tell you more about that build.

    ... TO BE CONTINUED ...
    Last edited by manodeoro; 08-10-18, 16:19.
    1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
    2 - sorry ... that build is classified
    3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
    4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

    #2
    Watch modding takes time and patient! Waiting for your final work! Good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Watch Enthusiasts

    Rolex?GMT MASTER I Ref.1675 UAE?Submariner 1680 Great white?6263 Paul Newman?Submariner 1665 Great white; Ceramic Daytona.

    AP: 15703 V6 Double AR ; 15706 V6 ; 26400 White Panda ; 26400 Blue Panda.

    Pam: 217 ; 372 ; 382 ; 3646Type D ; 6154 ; Hornlug.

    Comment


      #3
      Cant wait to see more
      Awesome project


      Follow me on Instagram: ciccio_started_it

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Ciccio_started_it, post: 3683231, member: 77045
        Cant wait to see more
        Awesome project


        Follow me on Instagram: ciccio_started_it
        Thanks [emoji4]
        Should be quickly updated cause the build is already done but I have tons of pics to sort and organise before putting then on that thread.

        Sent from the RWI App
        1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
        2 - sorry ... that build is classified
        3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
        4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

        Comment


          #5
          DRILLING THE LUGS

          I did almost nothing on the case, apart from drilling the lugs and sanding the rehaut.
          But you know what ???
          Drilling the lugs FROM SCRATCH was the TOUGH PART

          I have already posted a tuto about that mod there : https://forum.replica-watch.info/thr...weller.381147/
          So I wont detail the process again and just put some pics.

          That was the second time I drilled lugs from scratch and the first time that I did that without any help.
          I really still have to improve my process but anyway, it does the job.








          SAND THE REHAUT

          The 16800 COMEX Subs had a flush rehaut so after drilling the lugs I had to sand the engravings.
          It's been only a few minutes working with sand paper of different grades.

          I started from a fully engraved rehault and just kept the serial number (which is not period correct) everything else being removed

          BEFORE





          AFTER 800 SANDING





          AFTER 1200 SANDING





          AND THE SERIAL NUMBER IS STILL THERE






          CHAMFER THE LUGS and POLISH

          Then I have chamfered the lugs then polished the case sides.














          CASE BACK MOD

          A Submariner is definitely not a COMEX without an engraved caseback. ... so that's what I've done.
          I did the design on Photoshop and illustrator.
          At first I wanted to do electrolytic engraving but I had the opportunity to have access, for a few hours, to a laser engraver so 've decided to go that way.
          And here it is !!!

          I had to pick a "diver's number" so I engraved my son's size, in centimeters (and YES he's a tall guy).
          The diver's name is, of course, perfectly engraved but I have hiden it on the pic, for confidentiality reasons.



          And CASEBACK was the tenth pic so

          ... TO BE CONTINUED ...
          Last edited by manodeoro; 08-10-18, 16:30.
          1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
          2 - sorry ... that build is classified
          3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
          4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

          Comment


            #6
            Holy moly!! You definitely need to let me know next time your in town!!That is one awesome build. Love the case back engravings.
            http://www.cigaraficionado.com

            https://www.tudorwatch.com

            If it floats , flies or fucks it's probably cheaper to rent!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by johnlogan, post: 3684851, member: 117509
              Holy moly!! You definitely need to let me know next time your in town!!That is one awesome build. Love the case back engravings.
              Thanks buddy [emoji4]
              I won't come in Norway this year but probably next spring to pay a visit to my 2nd grand-child (soon-to-be-born and still don't know if boy or girl [emoji6]).
              And YES I will let you know.

              Sent from the RWI App
              1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
              2 - sorry ... that build is classified
              3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
              4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

              Comment


                #8
                Loving this thread and the backstory. Glued to this thread to see the outcome!
                My collection | Who has the best sub? A guide for noobs | List of TDs contact info

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Nivka, post: 3684908, member: 100385
                  Loving this thread and the backstory. Glued to this thread to see the outcome!
                  @Nivka ... I'll update that as soon as possible
                  I love to give a background to my threads because, as @TheSociety says "it doesn't just tell time, it tells history", but there may be more ... sometimes watches tell stories
                  1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
                  2 - sorry ... that build is classified
                  3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
                  4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

                  Comment


                    #10
                    What a great thread and work mate !

                    Tonny 6538 - Phong 5512 PCG - HR 6538 - Silix 6538 - 5500 Explorer - Jmb 6610 - Cartel 5513 - 1675 - 6542 -Decals dials - 6538 cases

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I love these threads. Thank you! Your build looks awesome!


                      Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk Pro

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Bart Cordell, post: 3686286, member: 108254
                        What a great thread and work mate !
                        Merci l'ami
                        1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
                        2 - sorry ... that build is classified
                        3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
                        4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by grilledcheese, post: 3686320, member: 109094
                          I love these threads. Thank you! Your build looks awesome!


                          Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk Pro
                          Thank you very much
                          IMHO "awesome" is a little too superlative but as it was my really first build I'm really happy with the result.
                          1 - A/6538 Burford Milsub
                          2 - sorry ... that build is classified
                          3 - 16800 Comex Rolex - dated 1984
                          4 - Heavily modded 16610 cheapie

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Very cool

                            There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by manodeoro, post: 3686507, member: 137165
                              Thank you very much
                              IMHO "awesome" is a little too superlative but as it was my really first build I'm really happy with the result.
                              You did something no one ever before did so in my eyes it is awesome.


                              Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk Pro

                              Comment

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