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    Advices for a first vintage build/mod

    Good morning all,

    First of all I'd like to say a big thanks to the community, discovered the forum a few months ago, i've done a lot of reading and scrutinizing on lots of photos! I'm monitoring daily the m2m sales sections as well, looking for a first catch on a vintage rollie.

    In the meantime, all the stories i've read about making a own watch are starting to nag me... So i'm thinking about different routes, and would love your feedback/advice on what to do, bearing in mind that I am no watchsmith!

    Option 1: continue to monitor m2m section, hoping to find a nice 1680, 1665, preferably coming from Europe (i'm based in France). Doing some research on past sales, i've seen a few over the past year..

    Option 2: buying a cartel base (1665 or 1680), trying to mod it myself, knowing my limits (i.e. don't know how I could reshape a case or enlarge lugholes for example..). In this case I guess the modding would stop at trying to fade the insert, maybe try to age the case. I could try to open it and change the dial or plexi, but risking to mess it up.. But I must say it's tempting to try it by myself

    Option 3: go a safer way, buy a cartel base and send it or have it bought for the build by the builder/modder, and let the magician I have heard about here do their magic, showing them picture of what I would have in mind..

    I am sure several of you have had this kind of interrogation at a time, would love to have your views and advice!

    Many thanks.
    H.

    #2
    Originally posted by Kalmine64 View Post
    Good morning all,

    First of all I'd like to say a big thanks to the community, discovered the forum a few months ago, i've done a lot of reading and scrutinizing on lots of photos! I'm monitoring daily the m2m sales sections as well, looking for a first catch on a vintage rollie.

    In the meantime, all the stories i've read about making a own watch are starting to nag me... So i'm thinking about different routes, and would love your feedback/advice on what to do, bearing in mind that I am no watchsmith!

    Option 1: continue to monitor m2m section, hoping to find a nice 1680, 1665, preferably coming from Europe (i'm based in France). Doing some research on past sales, i've seen a few over the past year..

    Option 2: buying a cartel base (1665 or 1680), trying to mod it myself, knowing my limits (i.e. don't know how I could reshape a case or enlarge lugholes for example..). In this case I guess the modding would stop at trying to fade the insert, maybe try to age the case. I could try to open it and change the dial or plexi, but risking to mess it up.. But I must say it's tempting to try it by myself

    Option 3: go a safer way, buy a cartel base and send it or have it bought for the build by the builder/modder, and let the magician I have heard about here do their magic, showing them picture of what I would have in mind..

    I am sure several of you have had this kind of interrogation at a time, would love to have your views and advice!

    Many thanks.
    H.
    Start out with the cartel (JKF) 1680 with a 2813 movement. They’re pretty cheap and movement is cheap too in case you mess it up. Practice on that and see how it goes. Once you get better at it, buy the 2836 version and keep working on it from there. Modding can go wrong very fast if you’re not used to it. Luming alone is rough. Just don’t drink any coffee before luming. Lol.

    I would start with a 5513. Those are fairly easy to work with and cartel cases only having room for a 26mm dial, the 5513 will be the only one that will fit if you’re planning on using a upgraded dial (Vietnam, Ruby, yuki.. etc).

    Or you can buy one that’s already been modded. Most are pricey but there’s a lot of work that went in to it.

    Good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Comment


      #3
      Also 5512 from JKF is nice: it has a more correct dial (26mm for both JKF and upgraded dial) to start from, because the triangle at 12 on 5513 JKF is "explorer style", quite wrong for the 5513 classic dial.

      If you don't plan to change dial, but want to try to relume a cheap dial, also 1680 and 1665 are great choices in my opinion. Of course they have also 26mm dial, while the upgraded dials are 26.5 and requires more work.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Matt5513 View Post
        Also 5512 from JKF is nice: it has a more correct dial (26mm for both JKF and upgraded dial) to start from, because the triangle at 12 on 5513 JKF is "explorer style", quite wrong for the 5513 classic dial.

        If you don't plan to change dial, but want to try to relume a cheap dial, also 1680 and 1665 are great choices in my opinion. Of course they have also 26mm dial, while the upgraded dials are 26.5 and requires more work.
        I would just go with a helenaru dial. They’re good for the price. You can get a lumed dial with whichever color you want for about a $100. $70 if you don’t want them to lume it. I’m pretty sure they use applied markers so I would just go with the non-lumed version.




        That fits perfectly on a cartel case. If you don’t want to do too much modding on the internals, that’s the route I would go to. That and a atheya crown and tube.

        You can re-shape the case using hand files, a dremel and polish. Drilling lug holes bigger, you just need a drill and a 1.25mm drill bit. I would go with titanium bits and oil them so they don’t get too hot.

        With that, all you would need to do is:
        Remove the movement from the case (this is tricky for beginners) just be VERY gentle with the keyless when removing the stem. There plenty of tutorials on here but here’s 2 steps that you def need to know.

        Put the crown in the hand setting position.

        Use a screwdriver that fits the slot perfectly (black or red works).

        Gently pull on the stem as you gently push down on the stem release.

        Once that’s done, remove movement tabs and then the movement.

        Then it’s case modding time!

        Bezel can pop off easily using your fingers but if you’ve never done that before just use a butter knife or something similar and gently push up on the bezel and go all around until the bezel pops off. There should be a washer and a tension ring holding the plexi on to the case. Sometimes all of these come off at the same time so don’t get confused. Lol.

        Case modding:
        Use hand files to shape the crown guards but I wouldn’t start with this until you get your tube and crown ready to be installed.

        Remove the tube using a star screw driver or if you don’t have one, use a rat tail file. Put some heat on the tube first to loosen the glue or whatever they used. It should unscrew easily.

        Use the hand file to shape the guards. Find a picture you want to use as a reference and follow that.

        Dials... that’s all up to you. There’s plenty of options for dials or modders who will lume dials.

        I actually have a cartel 1680 dial I lumed that I’ll probably list for sale soon. Nothing great but it beats the stock cartel dial imo.

        Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions or want advice. I’m no pro but I’ve been around the block a few times and made plenty of errors and fucked up plenty of watches too. lol. That’s how you learn.


        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

        Comment


          #5
          Hey to all! I am in the same boat Kalmine64 as I want to make a Tudor 7928. I have seen one that looks quite nice from puretime (style 6) but I don't have any experience in modding and I want to start it as a hobby.
          bc1221 What essential tools do you think we need to start? Is it wise to buy some starter tools from aliexpress or ebay? Cartel 1680 is JKF ones right? Do you have any recommendation from any TD?
          Thank you in advance!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by bc1221 View Post

            I would just go with a helenaru dial. They’re good for the price. You can get a lumed dial with whichever color you want for about a $100. $70 if you don’t want them to lume it. I’m pretty sure they use applied markers so I would just go with the non-lumed version.




            That fits perfectly on a cartel case. If you don’t want to do too much modding on the internals, that’s the route I would go to. That and a atheya crown and tube.

            You can re-shape the case using hand files, a dremel and polish. Drilling lug holes bigger, you just need a drill and a 1.25mm drill bit. I would go with titanium bits and oil them so they don’t get too hot.

            With that, all you would need to do is:
            Remove the movement from the case (this is tricky for beginners) just be VERY gentle with the keyless when removing the stem. There plenty of tutorials on here but here’s 2 steps that you def need to know.

            Put the crown in the hand setting position.

            Use a screwdriver that fits the slot perfectly (black or red works).

            Gently pull on the stem as you gently push down on the stem release.

            Once that’s done, remove movement tabs and then the movement.

            Then it’s case modding time!

            Bezel can pop off easily using your fingers but if you’ve never done that before just use a butter knife or something similar and gently push up on the bezel and go all around until the bezel pops off. There should be a washer and a tension ring holding the plexi on to the case. Sometimes all of these come off at the same time so don’t get confused. Lol.

            Case modding:
            Use hand files to shape the crown guards but I wouldn’t start with this until you get your tube and crown ready to be installed.

            Remove the tube using a star screw driver or if you don’t have one, use a rat tail file. Put some heat on the tube first to loosen the glue or whatever they used. It should unscrew easily.

            Use the hand file to shape the guards. Find a picture you want to use as a reference and follow that.

            Dials... that’s all up to you. There’s plenty of options for dials or modders who will lume dials.

            I actually have a cartel 1680 dial I lumed that I’ll probably list for sale soon. Nothing great but it beats the stock cartel dial imo.

            Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions or want advice. I’m no pro but I’ve been around the block a few times and made plenty of errors and fucked up plenty of watches too. lol. That’s how you learn.


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            Great advices! Nice to hear about the helenrou 5513
            I'll pm you for a couple of advices

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Conjurer View Post
              Hey to all! I am in the same boat Kalmine64 as I want to make a Tudor 7928. I have seen one that looks quite nice from puretime (style 6) but I don't have any experience in modding and I want to start it as a hobby.
              bc1221 What essential tools do you think we need to start? Is it wise to buy some starter tools from aliexpress or ebay? Cartel 1680 is JKF ones right? Do you have any recommendation from any TD?
              Thank you in advance!
              Oh man. That turns in a very deep rabbit hole.
              It really depends on what all kinds of mods you want to do.

              The essentials:
              Case opener. For rolexes, I would def get one that is made for those and not use a rubber ball. You can find a Chinese version pretty cheap.

              Loupes. I have a set from 2x-10x and a loupe holder.

              Movement holder. You can buy a pair of small and large one on eBay for about $10 bucks.

              A nice set of tweezers. You’ll want some really nice ones. You can get cheap ones but you’ll most likely need to sharpen them from the start.

              Also a bronze tweezer. Use these for gentle parts like hands and movement gears n such because these will not scratch them.

              A decent set of screwdrivers. You can buy an ok set on amazon or eBay pretty cheap but you get what you pay for so the more you spend, the better the quality.

              Hand removing tool. I would go with the lever kind and not the handle kind. The handle kind (looks like a weird wrench type thing) can scratch the dial and if the hand is very close to the dial, it will not work.

              A set of hand setting tools. These can be found cheap and the cheap ones work. I’ve never had a problem with them. Just be sure to sand the setting part to be flat. They will have some extruding plastic bits that you’ll need to sand off.

              Finger condoms or whatever they’re called. Lol. You can use those or just buy a pack of latex or nitrile gloves. Just keep the powder away.

              Rodco for sure. You need this for everything.

              You can get most of this stuff in watchmaking kits and build up from that. You’ll most likely end up buying better versions of the tools but it’s a good way to get started without spending a bunch of money.

              Case modding:
              Get a decent set of hand files. Shaping crown guards need this unless you’re very good with a dremel.

              Dremel/rotary tool. This comes in handy for everything.

              Different grades of sandpaper.

              Polishing wheel and compounds. You can get a polishing wheel for a drill. It’s worked for me many times.

              Razor blades. These come in handy when removing bezels, tension rings..etc.

              Crystal press or you can use a ghettoed option like I did. PVC pipe that is the diameter of the ring/bezel and a c clamp. It’s worked for me many times.

              Grease for the gaskets.

              And the most essential tool that every modder/watchmakers have to have. Toothpicks. Seriously. They come in handy quite a bit.

              Oh and a LOT of patience. That’s the most important thing.

              The further you go up in modding, the more tools you’ll need. Luming will need lume kits and oilers.
              Oils and sonic cleaner with solvents..etc. this list can go on forever but the the list is just the basics.

              Good luck



              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

              Comment


                #8
                Very nice advices here! Agreed to all. I might add that you should definitely try and mod a Cartel... Lots of work to be done, but at the same the ultimate test to discover what the enthusiast in you is really made of. Along the way many findings you can only experience first hand and the reward is very cool to wear on the wrist!
                i think if you are thinking about building it means you like to work and create with your hands otherwise you would have gone the commission route!
                By any means it is really not that easy but at the same time neither is it too hard.
                soon it will be 3 builds for me, and the tool are not that expensive for the little things i do. Get the best tools you can. Nice files is a Big help.
                Have fun!

                Comment


                  #9
                  I've been looking all over, but don't seem to find the answer: where can you buy a "cartel" case? I often see them referred to as JFK cases as well, but either one I'm coming empty handed when checking the usual dealer sites (Trusty, Intime,...).
                  Would appreciate it if any one could point me in the right direction.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    bc1221 I can't thank you enough for this reply. You are so helpful!! Oh boy I' ll start searching for these right away. May I pm you for additional help when I start modding?
                    Spare I won't really post links to you as I think withour reading any rules, I may be violating one by proposing a certain. Believe me I am in the same search but I have concluded to a puretime one I ve seen with the tudor 7928 dial. I just wanted that with that dial to age it. I think all vintage rolexes from puretime are JKF ones. Intime just says it on the title which ones are JKF. Some people recommend to ask via email Sead (Supermirrors) or any other TD. I think you shouldn't mention though cartel cases because so far noone has pointed out those for me. As for any other TDs I would also like to know if Silix cases are cartel ones or if people reccomend any other source to buy.
                    ​​​​

                    Comment


                      #11

                      Conjure you're the man. Thanks - much appreciated.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Conjurer View Post
                        bc1221 I can't thank you enough for this reply. You are so helpful!! Oh boy I' ll start searching for these right away. May I pm you for additional help when I start modding?
                        Spare I won't really post links to you as I think withour reading any rules, I may be violating one by proposing a certain. Believe me I am in the same search but I have concluded to a puretime one I ve seen with the tudor 7928 dial. I just wanted that with that dial to age it. I think all vintage rolexes from puretime are JKF ones. Intime just says it on the title which ones are JKF. Some people recommend to ask via email Sead (Supermirrors) or any other TD. I think you shouldn't mention though cartel cases because so far noone has pointed out those for me. As for any other TDs I would also like to know if Silix cases are cartel ones or if people reccomend any other source to buy.
                        ​​​​

                        Yea man. Shoot me a pm any time you have questions. I’m no pro but I’ve messed up plenty of times to know how to fix most situations. Lol. Trust me. You’ll most likely mess up the first few mods. Start out with the cheap option (2813 movements). If you break those movements, not a big deal. They can be replaced cheap or you can put a 2836
                        In the case.


                        JKF = Cartel. BTW. Most TDs have them and as far as I know.

                        Mary on RWG ( and a few other TDs) has a special on those now. She’s selling the 2836 versions for $180. The only downside is that they don’t make much money on these deals so the customs risk is all on you. They won’t sent a replacement on seizure.

                        I’m REALLY hope that the special deals mean they’re getting rid of old stock and making updated versions.


                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks alot guys from your deeply appreciated advices. Lots of info here and gives strong envy to go ahead!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by bc1221 View Post

                            Oh man. That turns in a very deep rabbit hole.
                            It really depends on what all kinds of mods you want to do.

                            The essentials:
                            Case opener. For rolexes, I would def get one that is made for those and not use a rubber ball. You can find a Chinese version pretty cheap.

                            Loupes. I have a set from 2x-10x and a loupe holder.

                            Movement holder. You can buy a pair of small and large one on eBay for about $10 bucks.

                            A nice set of tweezers. You’ll want some really nice ones. You can get cheap ones but you’ll most likely need to sharpen them from the start.

                            Also a bronze tweezer. Use these for gentle parts like hands and movement gears n such because these will not scratch them.

                            A decent set of screwdrivers. You can buy an ok set on amazon or eBay pretty cheap but you get what you pay for so the more you spend, the better the quality.

                            Hand removing tool. I would go with the lever kind and not the handle kind. The handle kind (looks like a weird wrench type thing) can scratch the dial and if the hand is very close to the dial, it will not work.

                            A set of hand setting tools. These can be found cheap and the cheap ones work. I’ve never had a problem with them. Just be sure to sand the setting part to be flat. They will have some extruding plastic bits that you’ll need to sand off.

                            Finger condoms or whatever they’re called. Lol. You can use those or just buy a pack of latex or nitrile gloves. Just keep the powder away.

                            Rodco for sure. You need this for everything.

                            You can get most of this stuff in watchmaking kits and build up from that. You’ll most likely end up buying better versions of the tools but it’s a good way to get started without spending a bunch of money.

                            Case modding:
                            Get a decent set of hand files. Shaping crown guards need this unless you’re very good with a dremel.

                            Dremel/rotary tool. This comes in handy for everything.

                            Different grades of sandpaper.

                            Polishing wheel and compounds. You can get a polishing wheel for a drill. It’s worked for me many times.

                            Razor blades. These come in handy when removing bezels, tension rings..etc.

                            Crystal press or you can use a ghettoed option like I did. PVC pipe that is the diameter of the ring/bezel and a c clamp. It’s worked for me many times.

                            Grease for the gaskets.

                            And the most essential tool that every modder/watchmakers have to have. Toothpicks. Seriously. They come in handy quite a bit.

                            Oh and a LOT of patience. That’s the most important thing.

                            The further you go up in modding, the more tools you’ll need. Luming will need lume kits and oilers.
                            Oils and sonic cleaner with solvents..etc. this list can go on forever but the the list is just the basics.

                            Good luck



                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                            Hey man! Im reading alot and lot lately as im also thinking to get into modding/repairs. And Also im looking to brush/polish/buff my own cases and bracelets. Not done that before either.

                            Ive bought a batman noob head without a movement and asking on this forum i came to a decision to get a 2836 ICHS movement that way i could adjust the hour hand independently i think. Unless you have other suggestions?
                            As for tools, is this list going to be the same for me?

                            For brushing/polishing, Scotch brite pads and capecod cloth is what i have ordered now. But im reading sand papers/ sanding/brushing sticks is also the way to go or dremel tool. Any advice or suggestions on that brother?

                            Thanking you in advance!


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lutaito View Post


                              Hey man! Im reading alot and lot lately as im also thinking to get into modding/repairs. And Also im looking to brush/polish/buff my own cases and bracelets. Not done that before either.

                              Ive bought a batman noob head without a movement and asking on this forum i came to a decision to get a 2836 ICHS movement that way i could adjust the hour hand independently i think. Unless you have other suggestions?
                              As for tools, is this list going to be the same for me?

                              For brushing/polishing, Scotch brite pads and capecod cloth is what i have ordered now. But im reading sand papers/ sanding/brushing sticks is also the way to go or dremel tool. Any advice or suggestions on that brother?

                              Thanking you in advance!


                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                              Brushing you can pull off with scotch brite (green i think). They’ll look fine. I typically do a polish before re-brushing so you don’t end up with brush lines going everywhere. You can get some nice finishing sandpaper from the paints section in any hardware store. If you want a deep brush, you kinda have to test out different grits. It also depends on what metal(s) you’re brushing too. If it’s a 904L, you’re going to need a lower grit.

                              I don’t even bother with cape cod anymore. It’s just too much hand work for minimal results. They’re good for small hairline scratches but that’s about it.

                              I use a bench grinder with a wool or cotton pads and different grades of compound. If you’re in the US, you can get a small bench grinder for like $30 bucks.

                              For small work, I use a dremel with a jewel polish compound. Idk. That’s what it was labeled as and it does a great job.

                              For vintage pieces, you kinda have to beat it up a little and then polish. That way it looks like a 50 year old watch but looks like it’s been taken care of. That’s just me though. Some people like that “beat to shit, found on the bottom of the ocean floor” look.

                              Good luck man. It’s fun but gets expensive quick.


                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                              Comment

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