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Modding Adventures!

Discussion in 'Watches' started by Tru7h, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. Tru7h

    Tru7h Loaded Pockets

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    After wearing this watch for about 5 years, I decided it was time to play. Hope you enjoy reading!

    Subject:
    Seiko SMY111, Kinetic 5m63 Movement

    I really like this style. The kinetic movement has the best parts of the fun of an automatic, and the carefree accuracy of quartz. The case is designed with straightforward and simple elegance. The dial is gorgeous. I rely heavily on the day/date function. At this point, I have two: one as a daily driver, another is the dress watch.

    The thing that pushed it into the spotlight of my baleful gaze was the strap. I kept breaking spring bars. The end link is one of those hollow curved curved types that always gets bent out of shape, That means the first real link is pulling on the center of the bar, rather than right next to where it's supported in the lugs.

    Solution: Strapcode oyster with solid straight end links.

    [​IMG]

    After the simple band upgrade, I addressed the crystal. Seiko's Hardlex is arguably the best mineral crystal in the business, but it had taken some serious scratching. It needed replacement, but when something like a 29mm low double dome sapphire crystal is available? Did you know sapphire is basically transparent aluminum? How awesome is that? A company called Crystaltimes had one that fits like it was made for the watch with an AR coating on the inside. I also got a flat crystal from an eBay seller to fit the beater watch.

    Pics on that below. It's hard to photograph properly, but the low dome crystal is a subtle touch that adds a touch of pop to the look and feel.

    My main complaints about this watch other than the band have always been the lume and the fact that the hands aren't super readable. Silver is great. But it has this awful tendency to reflect colors and blend in. Also, the dark blue sunburst dial reflecting light can fool the eye. In certain lighting, it's perfect. But more often than not, I find silver hands are only extremely visible in a fairly narrow angle, which ruins the instant readability factor. Here's a good example shot.

    [​IMG]

    As mentioned above, the lume was ok but nothing for the poets to spill ink over. Special thanks to the stefanv.com blog. I used his method to create beautiful 1.25mm lume indices dots with a very sharp punch. The material is Jessup 7550 tape, an incredible 24hr glow rated material. Removing the original lume was a challenge I hadn't anticipated, but it had to come off because it was actually a raised surface that the new dots didn't sit flush against. That required *CAREFUL* work with a very small sharp tool.

    I should also note that in the dark, it's impossible to see which is the 12:00 except by where it should be from how you're holding your wrist. That was solved with a cutout shape for the 12 marker.

    Here's lume in before/after shots. Look at those 'lil stock dots.

    New dial look with custom indices and the domed sapphire on the right:
    [​IMG]

    Kinda a diver/dress look. Note that a couple are *very* slightly off position and were touched up later.

    Just after applying. No special light charge attention. Original left, new right.
    [​IMG]

    Full Charge:
    [​IMG]

    That's more like it! Now it lasts through the night. I can look at the watch at any point during the night and see the time.

    The final piece of the puzzle is the hands. Seiko quartz 110/65 size hands are surprisingly hard to come by. Got a SKX007? The aftermarket world is your blackberry bush buffet. A seller called Yobokies ("seiko boy" spelled backwards) had a couple sets of exactly what I was looking for. Simple, white, bright lume, pilot style, and a touch longer than the stock.

    Before left, After right under flat sapphire
    [​IMG]

    That's better! Now it's taking the best of all the dress/pilot/dive aesthetics. This shot really captures how the instant readability has completely changed.

    Lume with new hands vs old. The new hands on the right have more difference between the hr and min hands, and more lume surface are, however I find the brightness comparable.
    [​IMG]

    One more of the dress with the domed sapphire:
    [​IMG]
     
    #1 Tru7h, Mar 28, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
    Gary Gross and Moshe ben David like this.
  2. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    @Tru7h: that is really nice work! I bet you could make a business out of doing this part time... just based on these forums, there are a lot of watch folks who are constantly seeking better performance on their wrists!

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David