Seiko SKJ003: a kinetic brought back to life
In today's chapter we will see how the purchase of a Seiko Kinetic SKJ003 could have been complicated because there were quite a few items to correct. Surely this watch has been used as a donor for the repair of another model.
Once received by mail, I set out to do the initial inspection. As we will see later, this watch has a couple of surprises that are not visible to the naked eye.
The first thing is that the watch does not work. According to the sales ad, the battery needed to be replaced, which is quite common in kinetic watches when they are left unused for long periods of time in a drawer.
The bezel is stuck and cannot be rotated.
The charge check button (located at 2 o'clock) is also jammed.
The watch is very dirty. Since I do not know the condition of the gaskets, which in this case were missing several, I proceed to disassemble the watch and check its internal condition.
As usual, with the jaxa key we proceed to open the back cover of the watch. Once opened, I check that the rear gasket is missing. We take out the crown and stem assembly in order to remove the movement from the case.
Checking the crown, I check that the crown gasket is also missing.
While we are at it, we checked the accumulator and .... there is no accumulator. I had thought that maybe it was a charge level problem, but it is clear that an accumulator is also needed. I also check that the generator rotor is missing. In addition, I check that the movement is very dirty, so we will have to make a complete disassembly of the movement and a cleaning of the same one.
Checking the state of the movement I notice that one of the coils, the generator coil is cut.
Although its cost was very low, I am beginning to fear that the purchase was a mistake and the cost of restoration was too high.
In summary, the problems detected are as follows:
- Missing accumulator.
- Jammed bezel, probably due to dirt.
- Charge check button stuck.
- Crown and back cover gaskets missing.
- Charging system coil cut off
- Quite a bit of dirt both in the movement and on the outside of the watch.
Spare parts search
The first thing is to find the necessary spare parts to bring the watch back to life, which are quite a few. Fortunately on ebay I found a couple of perfect lots with everything needed for the watch.
The first is a set of accumulator, crown gasket and back gasket.
The second is the generator coil. And a third is the generator rotor.
With all the necessary parts already received, we can begin the operation of bringing it back to life.
Dismantling the movement
The first thing was to perform a quick test to check the operation of the movement.
The first thing we do is to remove the movement from the case. To do this, we must release the crown and the stem by means of the indicated spring.
Once out of the case, we proceed to disassemble the rotor from the back of the movement. We remove the two screws that fix the bridge of the accumulator and place the new one.
We also loosen the two screws that secure the generation coil to the movement, and carefully remove it with the pliers by the metal part that does not have the circuit contacts. We place again the screws to fix the coil.
We turn the movement and we place only the second hand to check the operation and.... it is alive! the watch is working again without problems.
As I don't have more free time, I will leave the complete cleaning of the watch movement for the next days.
A few days later, I proceeded to clean the movement of the watch with more time, as it is quite dirty as can be seen in the following photographs:
The first step is to remove the stem together with the crown and take the movement out of the watch case.
We turn it over and protect the dial with a piece of paper and carefully remove the hands. We must keep them in a protected place to avoid damaging them.
Now we must remove the dial from the movement. In this model of movement, which is a Seiko 5M43, the dial is not fixed by screws, so we can easily remove it when it is inserted by pressure to the body of the movement.
Once removed, we have access to the calendar system, but we will start to disassemble the other side of the movement.
We turn the movement and start to disassemble it from the back side. Once completely disassembled, we proceed to wash the parts (with some exceptions) in the ultrasonic machine.
Remove the screw and the rotor. Then we remove the two screws that fix the accumulator plate and remove it as well.
We remove the two screws that fix the circuit cover, and remove the circuit with plastic pliers to avoid damaging it.
Next, we must remove both the coils and the oscillating weight.
And the movement looks like this. We can see that the dirt is considerable ... for now.
We must remove both the generator rotor and its intermediate wheel.
The undercarriage bridge is attached to the platen by a single screw. Once removed, we can see the fifth, fourth and third wheels, as well as the pitch rotor.
We remove all the wheels except the central one, that until we do not disassemble in the part of the date the central pinion will not be possible.
We turn the movement over and start by removing the circlip that fixes the day of the week dial..
Retiramos la pletina que sostiene el dial del dia del mes, rudas correctoras y demas piezas.
Once we have disassembled all the parts, we can proceed to the cleaning using the ultrasonic machine. To clean it I use the cleaning liquid recommended in the youtube channel of "El Relojero Aficionado":
By the way, it is an essential channel if you like watchmaking. The truth is that I recommend you to subscribe because you will learn a lot.
Well, after the recommendation, we continue. There are parts that obviously we can not put in the ultrasonic machine to clean them: the accumulator, coils, the circuit and the two rotors. The discs of the day of the week and day of the month I will not introduce them either, I will clean them with rodico by hand as well as the rotors.
Once cleaned, I dip them in isopropyl alcohol to remove any water that may oxidize them. And let them dry. A place that has helped me is to place them carefully on top of the router, with the heat of the device itself will help to quickly evaporate any remaining isopropyl alcohol.
Once all the pieces are dry, here we have the watch completely "gutted".
Assembly and greasing
Unfortunately due to a problem with the assembly process I don't have pictures. Basically it consists of following the steps in reverse order, but taking special care when performing the most complex step, at least for me: placing the running gear bridge.
As it holds several wheels, we must check one by one that the pivots of the axles of the wheels have fit into the rubies correctly before tightening the bridge with the screws.
If we do it wrong, we run the risk of breaking a pivot and we would have to look for a replacement for that part.
To know how to lubricate the movement, we can use the Seiko technical guide for the 5M42/5m43 movement. In it we will find an exploded view of the movement indicating the points to lubricate and the oils and greases to use.
Currently the watch is running almost correctly. It keeps the time well with a deviation of 0.4 sg/day, but there are still a couple of problems to correct: add the missing lume in the insert at 12 o'clock, and manage to unlock the charging button. Even after several cleanings and attempts to loosen it, it has been impossible, so it is still stuck without being able to check the charge level of the accumulator.
The problem of kinetic watches is well known when you have several watches and it is necessary to use them from time to time to prevent the battery from running out of charge, as it damages them quite a lot. Fortunately, I own a charger for 5€ for the kinetic watches and from time to time I charge it to maintain the charge.
Surely in a second chapter, we will correct these defects and leave the watch already 100% operational.