When it's a W-760.
I've had a hankering for a vintage Marlin for some while now. The trouble is that most that I've seen have either been really beaten up, or too expensive (meaning: more than I'm willing to pay). But a little bit of random looking around on ebay showed up an interesting thing... The W-760 has the same case as the the W-650 Marlin but with a 548 module (the same as the DW-3000 "Tank", and the titanium TW-7000). The functions of this module are almost exactly the same as the 248 which was used in some of the Marlins such as the W-35, W-450 and W-750. In fact, the only thing which isn't "Marlin" is the lack of the Marlin logo on the crystal. Because of this, it seems to be a little less sought-after, and prices are therefore a little more realistic.
So, a few days ago, I was having a little lookie around on ebay and I found a nice looking W-760 for reasonable money. The case was clean, crystal looked relatively good, and the bracelet original and long enough for me. The vendor said it was fully working. It was a Buy It Now with a Best Offer option - I didn't want to lose it, and I figured that I wouldn't save that much on a Best Offer - so I paid the BIN price and waited for it to arrive. I was really looking forward to this one - it reminded me of my first Casio digital I bout in the early 80s.
A few days later it arrived in the post. The external condition was good - really good. Not so pristine that I'd be afraid to wear the thing, but a gentle patina of wear softening the edges very slightly - and the crystal was very good - a very few minor sleeks, but no real pecks or chips in it. So far so good. But when I tried to re-set the time, I realised that the recessed re-set button had no effect when I pushed it in, and then I also noticed that the alarm buzzer wasn't working. Bummer. Should I contact the seller and complain? What to do?
Pop the back off, of course! I used my caseback ball, which easily got the back off. Gasket present and correct, but old, hard and flattened (note to self - measure up and order a new one!). I could straight away see that the re-set button contact has got slightly displaced - a quick wiggle with a pair of needle-pointed tweezers, and that was working fine. There are two contacts on the back of the 548 module which contact the caseback - a "ground" contact which touches the steel caseback itself, and a "live" contact which touches the piezo buzzer disk. I could see that when the battery had been replaced, this had gotten trapped under the battery retaining clip - unhooking the clip released the contact and it sprang back up unharmed - but was the circuitry OK? One way to find out... Getting the battery retaining clip back in place was a bit of a fiddle, as the battery has a tendency to move out of place, but a little perseverance paid off. Tap the A/C contact - good to go. Gently screw the caseback on and...
"Beep - Beep!"
Cool! the alarm still works - We're golden!
In the meantime, I had the bracelet off and examined that - a bit "gunky" but in very nice condition, and sufficient length for my wrist with a bit to spare. Good. I put it in soak in a jar with a bit of detergent. 24 hours' soak and a good going over with an old electric toothbrush got it really clean. Rinse and repeat for that final sparkle...
Armed with the approximate dimensions of the old gasket, and doing a bit of a guess as to how much it would have compressed, I ordered a few different gaskets (£0.75 for a pack of 3) around the size I measured from CousinsUK.com and waited for those to arrive in the post. They arrived a couple of days later, along with an O-ring grease applicator (£2.44), and I had a little play around to get the best fit. 0.75mm x 29.70mm was the best fit on paper, but the 0.80mm x 30mm seemed to offer just that little extra bit of resistance to the last 1/8 of a turn of the caseback before it reached its stop, so I figured that was "the one" giving the best seal. I took the case out of the watch-case holder and polished it off with a soft cloth, and re-attached the bracelet, a quick re-adjustment on the clasp, and... perfect fit!
What did I do then?
Stupid question - I took photographs...
I've got to say what a really nice, comfortable watch this is: slim, solid, but not too heavy, very legible, and usable functions. Loud alarm. And a couple of nice features - the hourly "beep-beep" signal also has a half-hour "beep" signal at 30 minutes, and I just discovered today that the stopwatch gives a little chirp after every 10 minutes have elapsed (though only while the stopwatch is displayed - so unfortunately it doesn't remind you it's still running if you return to the time display mode). EDIT - it also has the 10-minute interval "beep" in the countdown mode - nice. It also reminds me of generally how small wristwatches were back in the 1980s: it only measures 36mm across and 40mm lug to lug. Here's a quick comparison shot with one of the smaller G-Shocks available today...
I tell you, I'm really happy with this watch. It's scratches that "Marlin itch" I've had for a few years - the styling, the steel case and bracelet, the super-clear LCD, and those lovely shrouded buttons that I just used to so admire back in the 80s.
This one is definitely a keeper!