Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?
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  1. #1
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    Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    I own a vintage chronograph, Mathey-Tissot I believe, with a movement that has been trashed. Enough that the chronograph function isn't working. I believe it is a cal 28.9. I have taken it to multiple watchmakers who are unable to repair.

    So I am wondering, can I use any other cal 28.9 that I find and have someone swap that movement for the movement in my watch? For example, there is a Tissot with a 28.9 on eBay that looks very much the same, just with rectangular v round pushers.

    My goal is to save everything else: case, dial, hands, although truthfully I am not sure what really is original to the watch.
    I don't care about the cost as it has sentimental value. I expect the amount I pay to get this running will be more than the value of the watch.
    Any info welcome.
    Much appreciated,

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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?


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    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    Well, there is a technical aspect to this question and an emotional. I recently gave my wife's Tissot (quartz) to a watchmaker as it was becoming difficult to wind and set the watch. He said, that a service won't be worthwile as he could get a new movement for a fraction of the cost, so I asked him to swap. I should have kept my mouth shut, as my wife now feels that this is not her watch anymore (to which I partly have to agree).

    Well, what should I say? If there are no emotional aspects and from a pure collectors point of view, if the movements are identical (also close enough what concerns the year of make) and one is replaced by the other, you have the same watch in functional state. It's a lottery anyway which movement goes into which case during the manufacturing process. If you have a watch which was in the trench together with your grandfather, swapping the movement makes it another watch and for that matter all replacements whatsoever to some extend, but the movement - obviously - is the watch more than anything else.

    I had the first and only wristwatch of my grandfather serviced. The type of movement, although the watch was from the 1950s, was still available in large quantities, used and even NOS. I insisted on a repair (explaining why before I was considered to be an idiot) and a new balance staff was newly made and two jewels have been replaced (from old stock). It is running today like new (ultimate performance on the timegrapher with high amplitude and 0.0 beat error). If it wouldn't have been the watch of my grandfather, I would not have had problems to swap the movement if I wanted to wear the watch occasionally.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:30.
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    Member bsshog40's Avatar
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    I can understand the sentimental reasoning behind watches, but I have a tendency to believe that most people back in the day bought watches for thier looks. Of course I'm not talking about High End watches, but most average vintage watches. I would think that as long as you can look down and see what your grandfather, dad, etc... was looking at would be just as good. A swapped movement due to being unrepairable should not be enough reason to give up on the watch.
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    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    Quote Originally Posted by seekingvintage View Post
    . . . . I have taken it to multiple watchmakers who are unable to repair. . . . I don't care about the cost as it has sentimental value. . . . ,
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    Member pithy's Avatar
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    Quote Originally Posted by bsshog40 View Post
    I can understand the sentimental reasoning behind watches, but I have a tendency to believe that most people back in the day bought watches for thier looks. Of course I'm not talking about High End watches, but most average vintage watches. I would think that as long as you can look down and see what your grandfather, dad, etc... was looking at would be just as good. A swapped movement due to being unrepairable should not be enough reason to give up on the watch.
    I suspect that many bought watches for their time determination needs.

    Some movements and cases are serialized.

    Not all of these were terribly expensive in their day.

    Some components of some movements are serialized with the plate.

    Many of these were inexpensive.

    Your sentiments are noted.
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    Quote Originally Posted by seekingvintage View Post
    I own a vintage chronograph, Mathey-Tissot I believe, with a movement that has been trashed. Enough that the chronograph function isn't working. I believe it is a cal 28.9. I have taken it to multiple watchmakers who are unable to repair.

    So I am wondering, can I use any other cal 28.9 that I find and have someone swap that movement for the movement in my watch? For example, there is a Tissot with a 28.9 on eBay that looks very much the same, just with rectangular v round pushers.

    My goal is to save everything else: case, dial, hands, although truthfully I am not sure what really is original to the watch.
    I don't care about the cost as it has sentimental value. I expect the amount I pay to get this running will be more than the value of the watch.
    Any info welcome.
    Much appreciated,
    Just my thought but if you provide a working movement along with your watch to your watchmaker then they can rebuild the orig mvt or simply use some orig parts to maintain the sense of originally. I don't have the facilities to do this but it's fairly easy for someone who does.
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    Re: Can you always swap movement when they are the same cal?

    Thanks all. I don't mind for this watch having a movement that didn't come with the watch. The fact that it is in the shape it is (and has had other parts replaced) makes me more than comfortable with swapping. For me this is about looking at my wrist and having a nice reminder. :)

    I'm not sure why he bought the watch, but my guess was simply to tell the time as I believe the dial was replaced (or refinished), and perhaps the hands as well (or at least relumed). This could lead to a long philosophical discussion that would end with...well, if I replace all the pieces one by one, is it the same watch? :)
    I'll stay away from that and just wonder if the movements can be swapped (and if it matters whether I have round pushers but another watch with apparently the same movement has square), though!

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