Well, it's been WAY too long for me; I had my watch bench put away for several months while I sold my house and moved. But the drought is over, and I'm finally back to tinkering with watches again! Here's my first victim...
I picked this up at an antique show last year, and frankly I think I paid too much for it (I think I talked her down to $90), but it came with a presentation box, and the 39 jewels was interesting. Plus I'm light on automatics that have date complications.
The case is a bit dinged, and no one will call the dial "mint", but it has a nice patina to it. Inside is a Benrus FR45, which is based on the AS 1581.
It was obviously a well-used watch; big gouges in the lugs, and some of the winding gears are very worn in places, but otherwise a very nice watch. The winding module is standalone and can be removed entirely without affecting the rest of the watch. This requires a number of additional parts to the design though. Several of the gears in the autowind modules are highly customized and would be extremely difficult to fabricate, so I'm imagining this is one model that will quickly become scarce as time goes on.
Ranfft lists the base model as having 17-25 jewels; they push this one up to 39 by adding a bunch of nominally "functional" jewels underneath the date ring. Because we all know how often the date ring wears out.
I had to cheat a bit on the mainspring; it's supposed to take a 3-10.5-13.5 mainspring, but the closest I had was a 3-10-12.5. That means the amplitude will be a bit lower, and the reserve a bit shorter. Shouldn't affect it too much though. And so far, it's keeping perfect time.