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6538 budget build progress. Plus a question about hands!

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    6538 budget build progress. Plus a question about hands!

    Hi rep folk - Happy New Year's Eve!

    I'm working on a budget 6538 build at the moment. The base is the cheap Bond from Marvellous with a case marked 6541 (the same case used for the budget vintage Milgauss). I know it's very familiar to the modders out there - it has no case chamfers whatsoever, everything is sharp and the bezel can cut your fingers...

    So far, I've:
    • Drilled the lugs, counter-sunk them
    • Filed chamfers on the case
    • Polished and Cape Codded the whole case (which led to me thinking I'd poisoned myself as I coincidentally got a tummy bug the same day as doing the Cape Cod work, as it has "Danger of Death" warnings on the packaging..!)
    • Replaced the plexi with a Sternkreuz Tropic 19 from Cousins. I distressed the shit out of it, and then polished it back to transparency, leaving evidence of "age"... (I'll probably polish a bit more of the scratching out before I reassemble it for the second time - see below)
    • Bleached and distressed the insert (just a bit) and coloured the lume pip to match the dial
    • Sanded and softened the bezel, and brassed it using a blowtorch
    • Replaced the dial with one from Raffles. Coloured and aged the dial with coffee plus matt and gloss spray varnish
    • Aged the lume on the hands with coffee
    I took a few pics - but then realised that there were some "issues" relating to my l33t mod skillz.







    In my usual absent-minded enthusiastic haste to get it all back together and on my wrist, I completely forgot to place the spacer between the dial and the movement - so the dial was clamped against the date wheel. Plus, I also lost the plastic gasket that fits on the movement ring and forgot about that too - and these factors meant that the whole lot moved about in the case once it was back together... As a result, the watch didn't really work very well.

    Also, my attempts to glue in the crystal using just a little hypo cement had resulted in a hyper-thin string of hypo across the inside of the crystal. But that didn't really matter, as the crystal promptly fell out anyway.

    Having realised my errors, I'm in the process of rebuilding it again. And while doing so, I wanted to attend to the silver hands as well - replace them with gilt. So to start off, I sanded the silver finish off the hands (to reveal the gilt colour underneath) and I've currently got them in an "accelerated aging atmosphere" that I read about - a vinegar and salt fog made by microwaving a vinegar soaked cloth in a container, adding salt and then putting the hands in with it for a day or so. It'll be interesting to see how that works out (or doesn't!).

    However, the hands aren't right and I'd like to replace them. I'm thinking the hand set with code AK from Tiger Concepts would fit the bill: http://www.tiger-concept.com/hands-all.html It's a gilt set with a white seconds hand. Does anyone know this set, and whether the minute hand is the long 13mm one that it ought to be? I've searched but can't find much info on them. If anyone can confirm, or has any recommendations for an alternative set of hands, I'd really appreciate it.
    Last edited by p0pperini; 03-01-20, 07:31.
    FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

    #2
    the AK set of hands look ok to me- don't know anything about the length of the minute hand
    Any chance you can ditch the pearl with the metal surround and get an all acrylic pearl? Ofrei, Yuki and I believe Athaya have them.
    Countersinking lugholes is not advised- Rolex doesn't do it.
    But it's a nice watch and with a few tweaks it can be a great one.

    Comment


      #3
      Can't help you with those hands bro, but I just wanted to say it looks pretty good so far! I've not dabbled into vintagizing but this coulda fooled me! Nice application of techniques!
      We are all related in time since time is relative to us all.
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      Double Nine Gonzo!

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by n0bby View Post
        (which led to me thinking I'd poisoned myself as I coincidentally got a tummy bug the same day as doing the Cape Cod work, as it has "Danger of Death" warnings on the packaging..!)

        LOL !

        Looks nice Bro !
        QFOAHDT

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by alligoat View Post
          the AK set of hands look ok to me- don't know anything about the length of the minute hand
          Any chance you can ditch the pearl with the metal surround and get an all acrylic pearl? Ofrei, Yuki and I believe Athaya have them.
          Countersinking lugholes is not advised- Rolex doesn't do it.
          But it's a nice watch and with a few tweaks it can be a great one.
          Thanks for all your advice and comments alligoat - much appreciated.

          I think the whole insert needs to be changed - although I do have Athaya pearls if I only need to swap out the pearl. I'll check the insert against reference.

          By "counter-sunk" lug holes, I really meant that I softened the edges of the holes a little - so they don't look newly drilled, but like they've polished to smooth edges over time. Hopefully they don't look too bad.
          Last edited by p0pperini; 01-01-20, 22:50. Reason: Removed my idiot waffling about the insert..!
          FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

          Comment


            #6
            Very nice work on the drilled lugs, it does make a difference!

            Comment


              #7
              WRT the insert and its metal edged pearl - having done more parts drawers rummaging, and also checking another build thread over on RWG, I'm now pretty sure this is the insert/pearl that comes with the watch. So I'll just replace the pearl.
              FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

              Comment


                #8
                Inserts get replaced so just swapping out the pearl would be fine IMO. The original inserts had a thinner font and a pointed 4 in 40. Originally they didn't have the minute marks from 0 to 15, but later ones did. But finding an early type insert could be tough- maybe Silix has them on their watches. This Ticino has a good copy of a 6538 insert (with a small metal surround for the pearl!)

                The lugholes aren't bad and I know what a PITA it is drilling them- the metal pooches up and then you need to polish the sides to get rid of the little lips.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Cheers again alligoat.

                  I've just been re-checking the early period bezels shown in the Guido Submariner book. They vary quite a bit in font and line thicknesses on the bezel from watch to watch in the book's examples, although by the time the 6538 comes around in '56 they do seem to consistently have the minute markers. As you say, there will have been plenty of swapping out of bezels over the years tho. WSO do a decent looking insert, but I'm not really inclined to spend the money on it when I'm just bashing this piece together for practice... https://www.ebay.com/itm/BEZEL-INSER...-/170912182030

                  I'll have a go at recolouring and adding an Athaya pearl to the one I already have, and call this Sub's insert done!
                  FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yeh, install the pearl and the tiger concept hands with some yellow coloring of the lume and some aging to match the dial lume plots and you're there.
                    Which movement do you have in the watch?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The movement’s a 2813.

                      And Happy New Year! I’m off to bed.
                      FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The Tiger Concept hands are now ordered, and in the meantime the stock hands spent the last 36 hours or so in their vinegar/salt atmospheric chamber. The result on first viewing, after such a short time, is quite remarkable...

                        They don’t look as dramatic after cleaning off the excess super-accelerated oxidization... I’ll post some more pics tomorrow once I’ve reinstalled them (they can go on till the TC hands arrive).



                        Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
                        FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by n0bby View Post
                          The Tiger Concept hands are now ordered, and in the meantime the stock hands spent the last 36 hours or so in their vinegar/salt atmospheric chamber. The result on first viewing, after such a short time, is quite remarkable...

                          They don’t look as dramatic after cleaning off the excess super-accelerated oxidization... I’ll post some more pics tomorrow once I’ve reinstalled them (they can go on till the TC hands arrive).



                          Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
                          Great thread man! Following and excited to see the Tiger hands as I'm still on the mager hunt on decent submariner hands......

                          Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Evening all! Thanks for your kind remarks and advice, I really appreciate it.

                            Today I put the watch back together again (again), attempting to get it a bit more right this time than the first time round... I remembered to re-fit the spacer ring under the dial, and robbed a plastic movement ring gasket from the parts drawers (thanks to a Milgauss that bit the dust...). So the Sub's sub-parts don't wander around inside the case any more.

                            After washing off the excess salt 'n' vinegar, the hands really have taken on a vintage look!

                            And the metal mounted lume dot has been replaced by a correct style Athaya plastic one, with a mix of mars yellow/white acrylic paint colour inside to represent its long-since depleted lume.

                            Here's some pics:























                            FrankenSubs! - Subs! - Daytonas! - Seamasters! - A 1675 Adventure - A Budget 6538 build

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Masterpiece!


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