Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?
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  1. #1
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    Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    I don't know if anyone heard about the rain we had in Washington DC today, but it was quite a lot in a short period of time. I didn't realize that the weather would be so bad and had already strapped on my no-date type 270 Scuba Dude you see below. By the time I left for work it had just started raining, but I wasn't prepared for how much!

    I live about 3 blocks away from a subway station, so I always walk to the subway. I headed out with my umbrella in hand and Vostok on wrist. After a single block I was soaked up to my shoulders. I didn't worry too much about the watch, as I assumed a vintage diver would at least be rainproof. When I got on the subway I had plenty of time to wipe the water off my watch, but to my dismay I noticed that no matter how much I tried to wipe, the "Boctoc" text was a little blurry. When I got to the office my fears were confirmed, as I could clearly see the condensation build-up on the underside of the crystal. I took it off and left it on my desk for about an hour and all the condensation on the crystal cleared up. Whether that moisture is still in the case or if it escaped the same way it got in, I am not sure. The a/c at the office is super strong, so I am hoping it all dried out.

    My question is this: Can anyone help me to at least weatherproof this thing? I cracked the caseback to see if there was a gasket installed, and there is. I assume it is the right one? Beyond the gasket, my skills are just about at an end. Every other watch I messed with has met an unfortunate end, and I don't want that to be the fate of this one. I closed the case back up super tight, hoping maybe that was all that was needed.

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  2. #2
    Member antilucem's Avatar
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    Open the back and dry in a similar fashion to my effort which worked. Puffing the moisture out first is a good idea and then leave overnight.

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    Purchase a set of seals through Meranom and at least one spare set for comfort. That seal which you have has been compressed a few times

    https://meranom.com/en/amphibian-cla...ian-watch.html

    Replace the crown stem seals too as its not difficult - don't forget to rub with silicon grease.

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    Buy some crystals just in case: https://meranom.com/en/amphibian-cla...amphibian.html

    When your watch has dried out using the silica gel install the new seals. As it is an old watch use silicon on seals. Don't over-tighten the back so seal can do its job.

    Test the watch in the rain and if it still leaks then it will be the crystal which you will need to replace as well.

    You will find help with this online or you can report back here. As you say that your skills are limited you can buy the spares and take the watch to a repair shop. Without the seals you will be rejected because of its design it is not a normal gasket spare.

    The spares are very cheap.

    Barry
    Last edited by antilucem; 6 Days Ago at 07:13.
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  3. #3
    Member thewatchadude's Avatar
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    I often make a 'dry run' (pun intended) when I have doubt on an Amphibia waterresistance: take the movement out of the case, place a bit of absorbing paper (toilet paper makes the job) instead and close it back. Then put in water for some time (an hour or two), re-open and check whether the paper is dry, humid or wet. If dry, you got it. Place the movement back, close the watch exactly the same way and you're done.
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  5. #4
    Member EndeavourDK's Avatar
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    IMHO it is a bit weird that rain is sufficient for water ingression. Of course the usual questions are if the crown & back-lid screw-ring were screwed tight. Despite the superior water-resistance design of the Amphibia, it is actually in its most vulnerable state at surface. With increasing water depth, the rubber seal underneath the back-lid gets more compressed, providing a better seal. Same for the crystal, that one expands, providing a better seal. The crown has to be screwed down tight at any "depth".
    Divers use, as mentioned above, silicone grease to aid the (initial) sealing. One doesn't need a lot and a small amount will last you a long time. I'm using Nitecore (10 gram) silicone grease to wet my Ampibian rubber seals. Available on eBay for example.

    Also, IMHO, the back-lid screw has to be screwed tight to provide the initial (surface) rubber seal compression.

    Silicone grease won't help you just now with the crystal, even though a very small amount can be put in the case-groove before pressing a new crystal in. Be careful not to get any silicone grease on the inside of the crystal; it is hard to wipe off and to get rid of.

    Give you watch ample of time to dry out and in the coming period check for rust. If you see rust, best is to get it serviced a.s.a.p.
    If you want to you can indeed renew the rubber seal, but still "wet" both seals with silicone grease and tighten up the screw-connections.

    TheWatchadude "dry run" is a good idea to see if there is something major wrong with the case or crystal, but once you break the seal after the test, in principle the watch has to be re-tested for WR.

    In a way, with the above advises given, that should do the "trick" ....

    Perhaps other comrades do have some other/more suggestions ?
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    Last edited by EndeavourDK; 6 Days Ago at 15:49. Reason: Spelling.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    How likely is it to be an issue with the crown tube? It seems easy enough to replace gaskets, a little harder to replace the crystal, but I have no idea how to replace a crown tube.

    Also, this watch was serviced recently. It was done by an ebay seller for a really low price though. The caseback gasket was greased for sure, but I am not sure if it was replaced. Given the 1000 ruble service cost, I assume it is probably the original gasket.

  7. #6
    Member EndeavourDK's Avatar
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    Quote Originally Posted by haejuk View Post
    How likely is it to be an issue with the crown tube? It seems easy enough to replace gaskets, a little harder to replace the crystal, but I have no idea how to replace a crown tube.

    Also, this watch was serviced recently. It was done by an ebay seller for a really low price though. The caseback gasket was greased for sure, but I am not sure if it was replaced. Given the 1000 ruble service cost, I assume it is probably the original gasket.
    If and when the screw-thread of the crown tube sits flush with the housing, it should provide a better water resistance for just rain than what you are experiencing.
    Of course, there is a slight chance of capillary working, but that IMHO would be very little. They are press fit.

    Of course from a distance, without having the watch in my hands there is no way of telling if a cheap service is an expensive one?

    If rain was sufficient, I would assume the reason why should be detectable ..... Are you sure the back-lid was screwed tight ?

    BTW; it's a nice watch with the more rare 270 case with the original dial; scuba dude with big lume dots.
    Last edited by EndeavourDK; 5 Days Ago at 17:19.

  8. #7
    Member antilucem's Avatar
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    If you were holding umbrella up with left-hand and rain falling heavily it would probably hit the face so I would suspect the water resistance of the crystal, especially in a vintage watch. The watch back gasket has signs of grease but did look new. The two stem gaskets are an easy fix - one in the tube and one under the crown.

    I suggest you test it like the watchdude suggested but it might be a good idea to change all the seals on a vintage anyway. No need to replace crown tube just the seal in it.

    The scenario you describe means that a very tiny amount of water made ingress to cause the condensation.

  9. #8
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    This doesn't sound like water penetrating the watch, but instead, moisture already in the watch reacting to temperature changes. If the watch was last opened in a humid environment, that same humid air remains in the watch. When you go from somewhere quite warm (outside in Washington DC) to very cold (the air conditioned subway), that moisture may condense in the interior of the watch.

    Replacing the gaskets is a good idea, but I emphasize that when you put it all back together, it should be done in as close to a perfectly dry environment as possible. Leave the watch unsealed with silica gel in an airtight plastic bag overnight, then close it up while still in the bag. That should help ensure that the ambient atmosphere within the watch has zero to very little moisture.

  10. #9
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    Re: Can Anyone Help Weatherproof a Vintage Vostok?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpmurray View Post
    This doesn't sound like water penetrating the watch, but instead, moisture already in the watch reacting to temperature changes. If the watch was last opened in a humid environment, that same humid air remains in the watch. When you go from somewhere quite warm (outside in Washington DC) to very cold (the air conditioned subway), that moisture may condense in the interior of the watch.

    Replacing the gaskets is a good idea, but I emphasize that when you put it all back together, it should be done in as close to a perfectly dry environment as possible. Leave the watch unsealed with silica gel in an airtight plastic bag overnight, then close it up while still in the bag. That should help ensure that the ambient atmosphere within the watch has zero to very little moisture.

    That is correct what bpmurray just wrote, it's trigger from your wrist temperature. I get that all time when I wearing a watch when its raining.

    It's fine, it's normal, nothing to worry about
    My advice- buy a watch that pleases you. Don't let anyone judge or tell you what to wear. Good cheap and expensive watches are no different between them. Both still can tell the time.

  11. #10
    Member Odessa200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownSekonda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bpmurray View Post
    This doesn't sound like water penetrating the watch, but instead, moisture already in the watch reacting to temperature changes. If the watch was last opened in a humid environment, that same humid air remains in the watch. When you go from somewhere quite warm (outside in Washington DC) to very cold (the air conditioned subway), that moisture may condense in the interior of the watch.

    Replacing the gaskets is a good idea, but I emphasize that when you put it all back together, it should be done in as close to a perfectly dry environment as possible. Leave the watch unsealed with silica gel in an airtight plastic bag overnight, then close it up while still in the bag. That should help ensure that the ambient atmosphere within the watch has zero to very little moisture.

    That is correct what bpmurray just wrote, it's trigger from your wrist temperature. I get that all time when I wearing a watch when its raining.

    It's fine, it's normal, nothing to worry about
    I would not call it ‘normal’ but if the watch is not hermetically sealed, then eventually the moisture will come out (de-condensate). But such fluctuations will eventually take a tall on the watch. I would seek a way to seal the watch or only use it in ‘mild’ conditions. 🙂

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