restoring a vintage watch
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  1. #1
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    restoring a vintage watch

    hello my friends!

    for many years i've owned my nonno's old ernava mechanical chronograph. it's in pretty bad shape, to be honest, but it still winds and runs once wound. however, the chrono reset button no longer functions, the crystal has a pretty large crack from about 12 to 2 o'clock, and the dial has quite a bit of patina on it, specifically near the edges.

    this watch means a lot to me, it's a bit small for me to wear, but i would never sell this watch. rather, i'd like to completely restore it and give it to my father. i think it'd mean a lot to him.

    i guess my question is in two parts:

    1. is there a ballpark cost for this kind of restoration?
    2. i don't want to leave this with just anyone, is there anyone in the community who does this type of work/has done this type of work and knows a guy?

    many thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Vintage chronograph service isn’t usually cheap. You’re probably looking at $3-400 if nothing is broken, which it sounds like it is. That dial is also never going to be great, but I’m sure it could be cleaned up a lot.
    My local guy, who is also well known nationally, is Kelly Hunter at Art of the Watch. You could mail
    It to him for an estimate.
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  3. #3
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Quote Originally Posted by atdegs View Post
    Vintage chronograph service isn’t usually cheap. You’re probably looking at $3-400 if nothing is broken, which it sounds like it is. That dial is also never going to be great, but I’m sure it could be cleaned up a lot.
    My local guy, who is also well known nationally, is Kelly Hunter at Art of the Watch. You could mail
    It to him for an estimate.
    haha i was afraid someone might say that. to be honest, $400 doesn't sound terrible, i was worried it might be a thousands of dollars thing.

    i appreciate it, have you had kelly do any repairs for you? would it ever make sense to completely replace the dial? my interest is not in preserving the value of the watch, but in making it beautiful as something that could be passed down through our family.

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  5. #4
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Kelly just finished a full overhaul of a basket case 70s Hamilton chronograph for me last month. Not sure on replacing the dial. Value-wise it’s not good, but if it’s worth it to you, it’s worth it. If you’re not planning to wear it, I think I’d personally get it cleaned up and see how it looks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ne57rico View Post
    haha i was afraid someone might say that. to be honest, $400 doesn't sound terrible, i was worried it might be a thousands of dollars thing.

    i appreciate it, have you had kelly do any repairs for you? would it ever make sense to completely replace the dial? my interest is not in preserving the value of the watch, but in making it beautiful as something that could be passed down through our family.

  6. #5
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Quote Originally Posted by atdegs View Post
    Kelly just finished a full overhaul of a basket case 70s Hamilton chronograph for me last month. Not sure on replacing the dial. Value-wise it’s not good, but if it’s worth it to you, it’s worth it. If you’re not planning to wear it, I think I’d personally get it cleaned up and see how it looks.
    thanks, that's where i was leaning. personally i have no experience with ernava so i was also hoping some of the folks on here had some knowledge.

  7. #6
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    If you can get the case back off, if it’s removable, people can tell you a lot more about it. I’m not familiar with the brand either.

    Quote Originally Posted by ne57rico View Post
    thanks, that's where i was leaning. personally i have no experience with ernava so i was also hoping some of the folks on here had some knowledge.

  8. #7
    Member SomeAssemblyRequired's Avatar
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    $300-400 is pretty optimistic for a repair that extensive. Getting it cleaned up is one thing, getting a full restoration another. It'd be wise to go into the process (should you choose to get an estimate) with low expectations on what can be done for that price, and to what extent you'd be satisfied with a watch that is only marginally better than it is now.

    That said, its sentimental value may be so important that it's worth the $$$. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
    ne57rico, timefleas and rfortson like this.
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  9. #8
    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Ernava, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Ch

    $400 will not cover a complete overhaul. Dial restoration (pulse or tachymetre scale ?) alone will burn a hole into your pockets.
    Last edited by stuffler,mike; March 2nd, 2018 at 19:56.
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  10. #9
    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    I'm afraid this one's a goner. My guess is well into the 4 figures to restore this one, if possible at all.
    "Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" -Ben Franklin
    Damasko | Hamilton | Longines | Mido | Orient | Oris | Rolex | Timex



  11. #10
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    Re: restoring a vintage watch

    Quote Originally Posted by stuffler,mike View Post
    Ernava, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Ch

    $400 will not cover a complete overhaul. Dial restoration (pulse or tachymetre scale ?) alone will burn a gole into ypur pockets.
    thank you, it seems that they're no longer a functioning brand. were they quite reputable in their day?

    that's more of what i was afraid someone would say haha. the sentimental value is immeasurable to me so it'd be worth just about any cost, the problem being affording it (and also not spending that money purchasing new watches).

    i've reached out to kelly hunter at atdegs suggestion so hope to hear back.

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