Thread: Watch dials

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  1. #1
    Member BullDawg's Avatar
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    Watch dials

    A while back I put together a watch with the case #1 from Ofrei. The dial was 28.5mm. I really did not care for the dial, it did not really pop out. I would call the style "70's Timex". If you take the TZ watchmaker level 1 class you will start with this watch case. I looked around and did not see any other dials that were 28.5mm; but of course by today's big watch standard this is very small dial. The Ofrei #1 case is 37mm or 38mm. I also found the generic SUB which case is 40mm or Explorer also use the 28.5mm dial. I think "FoxInt" can help find both of the Sub and Explorer cases.

    Here is a photo of the Ofrei #1 watch case, dial and hands:



    The dials I made are simple and with silver markers in the Calf-Style. The numbers are 3mm tall. The dial feet will fit the ETA 2824-2 and if shortened the ETA 2892-2. At 6 it says "AUTOMATIC" and at the bottom at 6 "SWISS MOVT". I also made some small initials for 12 position and I think these are 2mm or 3mm. Here are the four color dials I made:


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    Last edited by BullDawg; June 10th, 2009 at 14:26. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    Re: Watch dials

    Very interesting.

    Could you post a step by step of how you made the dials?

  3. #3
    Member BullDawg's Avatar
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    Re: Watch dials

    Hi BJ,

    Good question.

    1) Started with much preplaning and lots of prep calls and appointment setting then flew 24 hours to Macau
    2) Took a turbo jet boat ride to HK
    3) Took a crazy 500HK$ ($55) Taxi ride across the island
    4) Met with some great guys
    5) Took a crazy 500HK$ ($55) Taxi ride across the island
    6) Met with some not so great guys
    7) Took a crazy 500HK$ ($55) Taxi ride across the island
    8) Met with some no so great guys (went and took turbo jet boat ride back to Macau and enjoyed The Venetian Casino
    9) Went to China and did the same in two other cities.
    10) Repeated day one but different guys
    11) Again same for a total of 10 working days in HK and China
    12) came back and started serious discussions with 2 companies
    13) settled on one company (because of financial reasons I have to postpone watch case)
    14) Passed CAD files back and forth and picked out color using the common "Pantone color scale"
    15) Approved CAD by fax
    16) Paid deposit and had samples made (US banks charge $45 to $50 per transaction, No serious HK or Chinese manufacturer accepts PayPal or credit cards)
    17) Started parallel process for initials to be made so both can be shipped at once.
    18) Passed CAD files back and forth
    19) Approved CAD by fax
    20) Photos of mass production were sent and had to be approved
    15) Still more had to be approved by fax
    20) Paid Final payment
    21) Waited
    22) re verified shipping details
    23) Unexpected "UPS Brokerage" bill came COD during my lunchtime.
    24) Did not take lunch and waited with "UPS Brokerage" Check until UPS guy.
    25) As an proud USA citizen who lives in a country where we only have one American watch company that still builds here. I have spoken to a USA company the makes and sells a laser watch hand cutting machine but has never sold one in the USA. I think we need to rebuild these USA Manufacturing skills (jobs) of not only watchmaking but all the other manufacturing industries we have lost: watches, shoes, clothing, leather goods, electronics, printing, furniture, agriculture and much more. I think soon we will lose both our "Big 3" automotive and financial industries and health insurance industries. My over all experience with the HK and China was very good, so good it was scary. These guys are much more detailed oriented than steps 12 to 24 than I mentioned. Start to finish took 4 months. I have 102 of each color. I did this for myself and would not trade the experience for anything. I will be glad to answer most anything here in this forum but will not divulge my HK and Chinese contacts. If you want a dial please PM me, I also have initials for a great customized "One of a kind" look. Next time I will do a joint project with 90% input from you guys here at WUS. I did this all from a wheelchair and this was while working my full time job.

    Cheers,

    Bulldawg
    Last edited by BullDawg; June 11th, 2009 at 13:13. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
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    Re: Watch dials

    That's quite a leap from assembling pieces purchased from Ofrei.

    I don't think I'll be attempting that over this weekend.

  5. #5
    Member BullDawg's Avatar
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    Re: Watch dials

    Hi BJ,

    Just like most everyone her "I LOVE WATCHES". I'm not sure if I'm being "dis-ed" because I'm self taught and learned on putting together "Ofrie parts".

    In the last year, I have bought 16 watches (I thought is was more and might not have save all photos but below is what I found).

    I must admit my FAV is the 2824-2. I just do not have much love for the 2834-2, maybe it was my father's Presidential - I don't know but could not give a flip for a 2834-2. The 2836-2 is a very good looking movement but personally I always know the day and would perfer a "big date".

    In the last 4 months I have really been getting into the 2892-2. I have personally taken apart each an every one of about 20 watches 2-3 times. Half are back into their 70's or 80's cases. Some are flipped into something newer Ofrei or some case from Germany. I do not have a cleaning machine and I use solvent and a brush for everything. Most the time I do not have a timing machine but if you put a watch together right, do not over oil and replace the needed parts a watch will be very acceptable (+/- 15 seconds).

    I have adopted a master watchmaker as a stepfather. He was trained by Rolex in PA, he worked in a third-world country in a RADO shop for 20 years before coming to USA (oh I gave him and son a bunch of RADO watches). The watchmaker's father was also a watchmaker and his son is 20 years younger than me but I think will be a watchmaker too. I think the father loves tutoring me just for the "charge" it gives his son.

    My watch timing machine cable is broken on the Vibergraf b300 and I think it only needs a cable. I went to the guitar store but "Vibrograf" was not in their cable catalog. Can someone tell the the nomenclature or part number and brand of the cable ending near the microphone? Parts are missing / broken on it I think.

    Anyway here are some photos of the watches I hare worked on. I'm in telecom sales and work 55-60 hours a week and nights I play with my watches.

    I love watching a 28XX and the way the second hand slide between the numbers. I love the smell of the chemicals as I clean the parts. I like going to my local watch parts guy and talking watches to him and his father (his father has the loop attached to his glasses for the last 60-70 years). I like the feeling when the watch you manually adjusted for the 6th time and it is only 20+ second off. I like having a few "spare part"; yes maybe I over-ordered a stem or have the right crown from a month ago but I know right where it it! I have only read 2 books and I know I could not fix anything that is not a ETA 2824 or her sister but that is OK.

    I invested a lot of time and money in my dials that will work with an Ofrie #1 case and maybe it will be something you will be proud of having on your wrist. The 28.5mm will also work on a generic sub that is 40mm to 42mm across or a generic "Explorer".

    I was at first very concerned about the stem height but I think the "slop" is plastic movement rings is forgiving enough to allow 2824, 2834, 2836 and 2892 to be interchanged. I'll give you the rest of the story in 10 years, maybe I'm wrong.


    Sorry for the diatribe.

    Cheers,

    Bulldawg
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  6. #6
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    Re: Watch dials

    Guys,

    If you are having trouble sourcing parts let me know (foxint@foxint.com.au), if I have then at hand, I would be more than happy to help

    Submariner cases and Explorer are part of my stock (generally).

    So email me.

    I will be getting some hi spec (special) cases in about 2-3 months. Otherwise if you can not wait, I do have some others I can get my hands on.

    Dan
    Orange

  7. #7
    Member BullDawg's Avatar
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    Re: Watch dials

    Dan,

    I think you told me both your Submariner and Explorer case take 28.5mm dials and the movement ring was made for a ETA 2824-2?

    Thanks,

    Bulldawg

  8. #8
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    Re: Watch dials

    Anyone looking to make dials in Hong Kong might want to consult the Hong Kong Trade Development Council which has extensive listings of Hong Kong dial makers.They're on the net under HKTDC

    I've used Nelson Dial myself with good results.

    However, if it is just a few dials you want, most dial refinishers can supply them if you have the dial blank.

  9. #9
    Member P. Loatman's Avatar
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    Re: Watch dials

    Very interesting story, and nice dials.

    Do you have a lathe? Or do you just disassemble and reassemble? If you want to be a real watchmaker you need to get some time on the bench with a lathe, learning to use one opens up so many doors for repair service and just making personalized parts.

    Nothing wrong with self teaching in watchmaking, but it's important to understand the theory of horology before anything.

    Here's a good book that you can download as a PDF file, it explains a lot of things that most books in print today just don't cover.

    http://www.pdfclassicbooks.com/scien.../prod_179.html

    There's also the "Theory of Horology" published by the Swiss Federation of Technical Colleges, it's harder to find and much more expensive, but it's an actual physical book.

    Good luck on your endeavors, passion for horology is the most important thing a watchmaker should have and you already seem to have it.

  10. #10
    Member BullDawg's Avatar
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    Re: Watch dials

    P Loatman,

    I bought as you suggested: "The Theory and Practice of Horology: A Course in Horological Engineering" for $4.95 USD

    I also read Donald de Carle "Practical Watch Repairing" and "Complicated Watches and their repair".

    I was thinking with ETA making there Automatic movements difficult for companies outside of Swatch group, that I would need to rebuild 2824. I think it was a simple ETA ploy to increase their movements from commodity prices to scarcity prices (the $150 range). Now that the economy has softened, I think the ETA movements will be affordable (for now).

    Thanks,

    Bulldawg





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