Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay battery upgrade

Serenity_Cuckoo

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May 6, 2010
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Let's preface this by saying I'm a cuckoo clock guy -not a watch guy by any means.

My X-wife bought me a Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay SMA113 (5J22 movement) for a wedding gift back in '01. Unfortunately the pathetic thing didn't even outlast the marriage (which wasn't very long in itself) before I had to send it back for warranty work because the capacitor went out within the year. The second capacitor lasted about that long before it too gave up the ghost and I threw the darn thing in a drawer in disgust. It's definitely the last Seiko product I'll ever own. It's sat there untouched except for a few removes to new houses.

I'm getting married again next month and was rooting around in my jewelry junk drawer for a set of cuff-links that will match my new Invicta, and I find this poor old disappointment of a watch and figured maybe there was something that could be done for it. I found the reciept in my files and the original purchase price was $349 from Princeton Watches with an online deal so I sent them out an email to see what could be done. The watch is WAY out of warranty, of course, and they want more to just ship and look at it than what I can find one of those newfangled LiIon battery upgrade kits that cost $19.99 from http://www.swatchbattery.com/

I'm NOT a watch guy -I'm a cuckoo clock and mantel clock collector who has learned through trial and error of self-teaching & reading to work on his own stuff and is only recently starting to get more serious with decent tools and equipment (I just dropped over $250 at Timesavers this past month on new clockmaking tools). I own a watch vise but I've never even had a watch movement in it. It's just handy for some small stuff. I don't even own a case wrench. I guess I should invest in one...

Am I going to wreck this thing by attempting this myself? I've got a decent loupe and small enough screwdrivers. I've just got zero experience with watches although I've done a few batteries on cheaper quartz watches. The question is am I going to have any chance of retaining the waterproof seal? Can I get an O-ring/seal kit for this thing somewhere? I can't seem to find anything online about that. Or should I just say the heck with it and fix it and pretend it never was waterproof and just be careful in the future? I'd like to not have to worry about water if I could.

Any hints/advice/warnings?
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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I think with what you paid for this.I would take it to a qualified watch repair person. Working on a watch is much different than working on a clock.
Just my 2 cents worth.
 

burnz

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Jan 24, 2006
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Hmmmm,
you could always invest in more tools and time pieces--and--skip another marriage---lol!
 

Serenity_Cuckoo

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May 6, 2010
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This morning I got fed up and decided to see if shaking the heck out of the thing for 10 minutes straight would charge it to the point where the second hand quit doing that 2-step dance that indicates a low/failing capacitor/battery.

It worked.

Now I'm wondering if I just never wore it enough in the first place to ever charge the replacement cell that was put in back in '02. :eek: I figured they charged it up at the repair facility when they tested it and the thing goes into sleep mode anyhow when it isn't used. Why should it show that trouble mode with the second hand if everything was OK. But I might have been dead-wrong ignorant.

How long will this continue to work now? Did I "fix" it and all it needed was to be properly charged by shaking it long enough. Or is it just too late for that now after sitting dead for so long? Will the problem come back again? It's supposed to go to "sleep" after a couple of days of no movement and then it will "auto relay" back to the correct time when it has been shaken enough to charge to the point where moving the hands back to the correct time will not cost more energy than it has received from shaking it.

It didn't seem to work before like that but maybe I just never did the initial shake-in charge?

It's been nearly 8 years by this time and even if it hadn't died right away that capacitor is probably going bad now anyhow. Did I just charge up a weak capacitor that is now going to leak all over inside the case and ruin the movement?

I fired off an email to Coserv to ask them if they could tell me if I had an actual old-style capacitor installed or if they had started to use the Li-Ion battery by that time in 2002. Either way, it's probably not good because the capacitor is probably bad if there is one and the Li-Ion is probably damaged from sitting discharged all this time.

I found this guy: http://www.qualitywatchrepair.com/seiko_kinetic.htm who appeals to me and it might be worth spending $67 to have it done right rather than spending $19.99 on the battery myself plus who know how much for a new case seal and not being sure I did it right since I've not got a lot of experience doing watches and I'd hate to have a little moisture get in and ruin a $350 watch (what my X paid for it -not what it is really worth I guess).

Cuckoo clocks are much more forgiving and easy to work with := -I should stick to them in the future. These fancy watches seem like they are more trouble than they are worth. Good thing I didn't invest $10,000 in a Rolex or I'd be even more full of self-recriminations. Then again, $10K would have been chicken-feed compared to the "clock-cleaning" I took in that last divorce. It's only funny now looking back. Still, it was WORTH it every penny...
 

Serenity_Cuckoo

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May 6, 2010
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I'm hoping this next marriage will "take."

44 years with her would be great for me, if I live that long!

I knew when I was getting married last time that it was a mistake and things were always rocky. I thought maybe that because she wanted it SO MUCH that it would finally make her happy. Boy was that wrong.

With the current one I'M the one who is afraid she might change her mind about the wedding because I'm getting the better part of the deal with this one. She's a keeper. I'm super lucky that she also feels the same way about me.

I've got high expectations about this one. I've got a good feeling about it too.

Now this watch... Not so much. I'm worried it's not going to live out another year or even the week as it is going now. Maybe I should just have it serviced or maybe just get rid of it while its still working...

:devil:
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Tough one to pick, cuckoo clocks.I think i would go with a watch over a cuckoo.
If you really like the watch, maybe just see what progress you have made and if you want to pursue it, take it to a watch repair person.
My better half and i have been together almost 30 years.The old expression, time flies.
I dont know about capacitor life, and if they leak.As far as i know there is nothing that could damage a watch from a old capacitor, a old battery yes.
 

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