Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...
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  1. #1
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    Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Hello everyone! This is my first post so I had better introduce myself (I'm sure there's a thread for this on the main part of the WUS fora but I don't expect I'll venture out of the Russian section for a while, anyway). I've been lurking on this forum for a few weeks looking at information on Vostoks, and have found it incredibly useful. As for me, I'm a student from the UK with nothing very interesting to report except that I've recently bought an 80s Amphibia; this one, to be precise:

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    (I've been lazy and used the Ebay seller's photos so it will probably disappear in future).

    It seems to be in pretty good nick (by my judgement anyway - I'm a bit of an amateur watch fiddler with no real expertise to speak of but I've brought over/underlubricated pocket watches back to life by full disassembly, cleaning and oiling), but I wore it in the shower earlier and there was a little condensation on the inside of the crystal. I've opened it up and it's now drying gently on a little lighter fuel handwarmer (much better IMO than a dusty radiator with gaping holes to lose bits down).

    The case gasket is in what appears to be good condition - still consistently flexible and supple. It was ungreased, but I believe this is normal? As for the crown gasket, it seems good but its a little harder to see, and I've got nothing to compare it with. What little moisture there was inside the case was concentrated around the case gasket. This turned me against my first thought, that I had left the crown a little loose. The crystal shows no signs of damage, which seems to be another common explanation.

    Any ideas, or recommendations for what I could do to sort it out? I don't think it was anywhere near wet enough to cause any damage, so I'm really more concerned with making it waterproof in future. I know it's probably 30 years old and hasn't been looked after much, but I think it's fair to expect it to be waterproof, right? The best I can come up with is just dry it out and put it back together a bit tighter.

    Thanks,
    Ben

    (PS - pre-dampness, it was running to between -2 and -4s / 24hrs, which was a very pleasant surprise!)
    Last edited by benhudson; February 7th, 2012 at 20:36.
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  2. #2
    Member hks3sgte's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    if all the gaskets seem fine, I've been told the crystal is where the problem may be.

    Nice Vostok, BTW

  3. #3
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Thanks, that's what I thought until now ;)

    The crystal is, as far as I can tell from descriptions, the original rather than a cheap thin replacement. The best test I could devise to check its seal was to put my lips around it and try to blow air through it, which it passed. Unlike other people who've reported removing the bezel to discover a hidden crack, it seems undamaged from all angles. Is there anything else I should look for, or any good way of testing it?

    Just to eliminate the loose crown / caseback possibility, I shall reassemble it sans movement, and see if it's watertight now. Will report back.

    Ben

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  5. #4
    Member JRMTactical's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Some of the guys may recommend against this, but I dab a little clear silicone around the outside of the crystal perimeter. I had 1 watch that had a similar issue to yours. After changing the crystal I used the silicone...never another issue. Good luck with yours, it's a nice looking old watch!
    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said "....I drank what?"

  6. #5
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Quote Originally Posted by JRMTactical View Post
    Some of the guys may recommend against this, but I dab a little clear silicone around the outside of the crystal perimeter. I had 1 watch that had a similar issue to yours. After changing the crystal I used the silicone...never another issue. Good luck with yours, it's a nice looking old watch!
    So around where the bezel will go, or on the inside of the case? I may give that a go. It's very clever how the lack of shearing force on the gaskets makes grease unnecessary, but I dare say a little wouldn't hurt.


    By the way, my unscientific case waterproofness tests seemed to show that it is watertight (I submerged it in water for maybe half an hour, and tried dousing it beneath the full flow of a tap for several minutes), so I think it may be a case of either user error not doing the crown up enough, or seller error sending it with a loose caseback. I did notice when I opened the case to check it, that the gasket was damp. Is this a normal outcome of the fact that it is, after all, keeping the water out, or should I be concerned?

    Ben

  7. #6
    Member JRMTactical's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Take the bezel off and just rub a bit around the gap between the crystal and case. If that gasket is damp...I'd replace it for sure. Make sure the case back is clean on the mating surface. The extra silicone that might get on the crystal will easily rub off after it dries, it won't stick to that mineral glass. If you replace the gasket, I'd suggest going to Zenitar's web store on eBay and get the whole set for the case back and crown, along with a new Amphibian crystal. That way tou're assured of alleviating every possible issue. You'll probably spend about $25.00 US WITH SHIPPING.
    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said "....I drank what?"

  8. #7
    Member schnurrp's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    My own personal belief about vintage watches and waterproofness is that they aren't, period! I try my best to keep mine dry. When I know I'm going to get my watch wet I either take it off or wear a new watch or my vintage screw-back Casio G-shock. That having been said the following test method was recommended to me by member Seele:

    Remove movement and dial and put it aside. Take a small piece of old newspaper, wad it up and put it in the empty watch case. Close it up, insert and tighten the crown and submerge the watch for whatever period of time you deem appropriate. Open watch and inspect for any leaks as shown by wet spots on the paper. Make adjustments and re-test...and so on.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by schnurrp; February 8th, 2012 at 00:06.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    I'll try the newspaper thing overnight and see how it goes. By the way, will the crystal Zenitar sells be the right size for the old models? I don't know how much, if at all, the dimensions have changed.

  10. #9
    Member schnurrp's Avatar
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    The type 420 (the round one) is the only body type listed as fitting that was in use during the soviet-era.

  11. #10
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    Re: Oh no! Leaking 80s Amphibia...

    Well, after being left overnight (albeit only in a jar of water), the newspaper seemed dry. Not sure if some parts of it were very very slightly damp or if it was just me. Not damp enough to be visible, just felt slightly different. Anyway, that seems to suggest that either the caseback or crown was loose. I've cleaned up all the various parts and put a little grease where I think it should help, and we'll see how it goes.

    This is now making me wonder whether I want a new Amphibian for when I know I'll be getting wet ;)

    Ben

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