Watch brands recommended for novice

Discussion in 'Wrist Watches' started by PierceArrow, Apr 2, 2017.

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  1. PierceArrow

    PierceArrow Registered User
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    Mar 11, 2017
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    I am looking for any recommendations on an entry level watch brand with a modest price point to get started in collecting and repairing watches. I am in Canada so that might be a factor thanks. Need to narrow down to where I need to research as there are so many manufacturers I don't know where to start.
     
  2. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    Seiko watches have many watches that are not expensive to purchase.
     
  3. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Bulova Accutron's are nice watches.

    Robert
     
  4. PierceArrow

    PierceArrow Registered User
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    Thank you so much for your response. I am wondering if there are any more brands you would recommend with a budget not exceeding $500 CAD. Also not to swamp you with questions are there any clubs up here and any watch repair or vintage stores you would recommend. Lastly When you had mentioned Seikosha besides the military grade watches were there high grade watches sold by this brand. As you can see just starting out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the response rob.
     
  5. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    "Collecting" is one thing. "Repairing" is another thing. The last watch you want to start collecting and *repairing* with no watch-working experience is an Accutron. (Sorry, Robert!)

    You have a couple of things to consider. Do you want to collect pocket watches, wristwatches, or both? Do you want to be able to repair any fully-mechanical watch that comes your way, or do you want to specialize? What about quartz?

    I'll leave the collecting side up to you. It's far too personal a decision for me to weigh in on.

    For repair, I'll tell you how I started as an example. I wanted to be able to work on any watch. I figured that the best way for me to learn would be to start small. I bought a whole bunch of Bulova 5-series watches (primarily 5AD) off of eBay. They're little bitty things that nestle quite comfortably on a dime. (US or Canadian. :) ) I didn't care what shape they were in as long as the movement was complete. Take them apart, put them back together, try not to destroy anything. Repeat. Repeat. Repeated until I was somewhat confident that my micromechanical skills were no longer horrible. Set aside the ones with mangled hairsprings. Take apart the ones I hadn't dorked up, clean them, put them back together, oil, and see how well they run. I was eventually able to start giving the 5AD watches to my daughter to wear. She now has a stable of six. I've become adept enough that the ones with mangled hairsprings have all been fixed and run well, too.

    If you learn on tiny ones, the first time you dig into a pocket watch it'll feel like you could do it with mittens on.

    I'd recommend you steer clear of the Seikos for repair until you have significant experience with American (e.g., Bulova) or Swiss (e.g. AS) movements. The Japanese have a different philosophy on several aspects that drive me nuts, even with eight years of experience. Their cap jewel springs are horrible.

    Bulova, Illinois, Hamilton, Elgin, Benrus, Croton, and other American and Swiss manufacturers are widely available in a vast array of styles and are great learning platforms. Many (a majority?) of them are very reasonably priced, if not downright cheap. Once you get into it and learn more, you can focus your interest.

    Have fun, and good luck!

    Glen
     
  6. Hawk53

    Hawk53 Registered User

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    Really great advise Glen!:clap:
     
  7. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I agree!

    I don't repair watches myself(maybe someday) but what was said above is great advice.
    I would only add that if you are interested in collecting(and repairing watches)
    you must have already seen some vintage watches that have drawn you in(ones that you like).
    For me, my first PW as a kid was a 1915 Elgin PW that my dad gave me. I have
    continued to collect Elgins.

    If you haven't a clue, use Glens watch Co. list above and search ebay, and you will find
    many very nice examples under $500.00

    Just as a side note, since Croton watches were mentioned above....
    I recently bought a 1950's Croton pocket watch with a "Montgomery style face"
    in it's original box and cloth bag for $30.00. It's actually a very nice watch, and runs really well.
    Being from Croton-on-Hudson, NY was also an extra added bonus. They were named
    after a landmark in my home town.


    Rob
     
  8. PierceArrow

    PierceArrow Registered User
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    Mar 11, 2017
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    Wow thanks so much glen. It was exactly the guidance I was hoping for. I am really interested in wrist watches. Particularly military and dress watches. It suits everyday lifestyle. I guess I want to be able to repair them as anything old (I assume) does not run as good as the first years of its life. I know I don't. Joking aside I always wondered if purchasing a watch from eBay is reliable or is a estate auction better. The take apart put back together is genius. Any suggestions on books that cover American and Swiss watch repair and tools I will need. Lastly that is great array of watches and will look into them asap. Thanks again I truly appreciate it
     
  9. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    Always better to buy when you can have it in hand and look it over, take a good look at it and look at the movement. If someone refuses to show the movement i walk away. Ebay you have to be careful, i bought a nice pocket watch recently, seller said it just needed a cleaning, balance staff was broke. You have to have a fair bit of knowledge to buy from Ebay.
     
  10. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I do not disagree with what Kevin W. said.

    Ebay is a jungle, but I buy mostly from ebay, and I have done very well. If you don't like something
    you can return anything(you do pay for the return shipping). Sellers on ebay would rather refund your money rather than get negative
    feedback. So, you must check the sellers feedback!
    I like the convenience of sitting in my office, or my home, or anywhere and I can
    look through pictures of 100's of watches.
    BUT, as said above, and I would agree, there is nothing equal to holding a watch in
    your hand. I just don't have the opportunity to look at estates, antique stores, or pawn shops.
    And, ebay has such a large selection, that I can look at anytime.



    Rob
     
  11. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I meant Accutron's for collecting and forgot to emphasize that.


    Robert
     
  12. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    #12 Kevin W., Apr 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
    Also look at the Can dollars it sucks, take that into account. Also i try to avoid Global shipping, its a real money grabber.
    New watch movements can be bought cheap. I paid 130 for a service on my Seiko and the same movement new was available for just over 50 dollars.
    Many sellers on Ebay have very little knowledge about watches and how they run or should run. You take your chances.
     
  13. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I've had pretty good luck on ebay so far. But I rarely by anything from a seller that doesn't provide good photos.

    Robert
     
  14. PierceArrow

    PierceArrow Registered User
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    Mar 11, 2017
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    I do see a lot of pocket watches up for grabs lately at estate auctions. If I want to make the switch to watches later would that be possible. What I am saying is are the movements the same. Some pocket watches are under $10 CAD
     
  15. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    Watches pretty much function the same if that is what you are asking, generally a pocket watch movement is larger and easier to learn on. Some pocket watches for 10 dollars could be a real bargain.
     
  16. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    One piece of good advice(that I've read) is to buy a working watch
    so that when you put it back together, you know it should work
    if you did everything right.



    Rob
     
  17. PierceArrow

    PierceArrow Registered User
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    Thanks. That is what I was asking. Not sure if the two I have in mind are whole or together but for the cost I won't cry if it is a waste but I am hoping to get an understanding of how everything works. Obviously would like it to be complete though. Is there a store in Quebec that you deal with for tools or a place you can recommend for tools
     
  18. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    eBay is a fabulous resource for "sacrificial lambs" to learn on, though. Find a big lot of ladies' watches that are going cheap (make sure they have known brands in them, see below), buy them, and if you utterly destroy one, throw it away.

    I forgot to add another line this morning. Don't get either Timex watches or dollar watches to learn with. Most Timex pieces are riveted together, and will not come apart. Dollar watches are cheaply made and it is really, really challenging to get them to run right at all. Start with decent, jeweled movements. The list of manufacturers I gave earlier is by no means complete, but steer clear of no-jewel watches to learn with. I don't believe I ever spent over $10US on a Bulova 5AD (fifteen to 21 jewels), except for the two that have actual diamonds in the case. I probably have twenty of the 5-series Bulovase all told, and way over 100 watches for experimenting and learning and parts. (Hmm, how does this dial-foot soldering machine work? Oops! Well, it was a sacrificial lamb, anyway...) I've only gotten maybe ten watches from someplace other than eBay.

    Glen
     
  19. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    The CSOW course recommends starting with a Waltham/Elgin 16s 3/4 plate movement.

    Robert
     
  20. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Yup. If you want to choose a larger watch to learn with, either of those would be grand. At least seven jewels, the more the merrier. Jewels keep you from running into wallowed-out pivot holes, and make it easier to tell when you really have the hole clean. One disadvantage is that they're danged expensive relative to wristwatches from the same manufacturers. A pocket watch is also going to be a LOT more robust, and a LOT more resistant to oopses. You still have to be danged careful with the hairspring, but even they are more forgiving. As I said, I chose to start with itty-bitties. Most other people aren't going to be that insane! :excited:

    Glen
     
  21. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    As much as I like Walthams, I think that Elgin would be better to start working on, when considering watches from the two big names. I say this purely because of the shipper/setting spring that is used by Waltham take some getting used to. They tend to fly into oblivion easier than the type that Elgin uses. Some Walthams, like '83 models aren't so bad, but they are full-plate and present their own challenges for the newbie. I'd recommend 16s 3/4 plate or bridge model of some sort, as they'll be easier to take apart and put back together without breaking pivots and jewels.

    To find out what that all means, as well as checking out watches as collectibles, you should probably get a copy of the Complete Price Guide to Watches, by Gilbert, Engles, and Shugart. It's a great place to start the learning process for nomenclature and values.

    After you do a few 16s and/or 12s pocket watches, you should be able to transition to larger wrist watches, providing you have the patience and good tools, screwdrivers and tweezers in particular. It's a great hobby. It's relatively clean, and your collectibles take up little space. Good luck.
     
  22. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I think, "It's a great hobby.", deserves it's own exclamation point. It's a great hobby! It's becoming my favorite hobby.

    Robert
     
  23. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    I recomend getting good tweezers, and practice picking up tiny screws and parts. I also think its better to get non runners to practice on, why break pivots on a running watch. Learn how to asseble and take apart without breaking. Then do a running watch.
     
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